Best Sonos Playbase Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2022:
Three years after the Playbar soundbar , Sonos completes the family with its Playbase sound tray. Launched at the same price as the soundbar, this model wants to be as discreet as possible under the TV, while offering a quality sound experience for cinema and music.
Best Sonos Playbase Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2022
Sonos wanted to do it in absolute discretion for its Playbase and we can say that it is successful. With its rounded lines, its smoothness and its matte finish, this sound plate benefits from an extremely refined design which makes it almost invisible when placed under the television. The colors white and black are available, if you are looking to blend it into the decor or on the contrary to force the contrast with your TV stand.
The Playbase is protected by a solid polycarbonate chassis which does not reveal any assembly marks. In its black version, however, it remains sensitive to fingerprints. As a sound tray, this model can accommodate televisions weighing up to 34 kg.
This discretion is reinforced by the hidden cables once the tray is installed. Simplicity is also essential for the connection: there is only one input for the power supply, an RJ45 port and an optical input. The Playbase exists only to serve the television and nothing more. For wireless, we are content with Wi-Fi. We obviously regret this lack of versatility, even if it is true that getting started is extremely simple and fast. The first configuration and connection to the network are done very easily and quickly thanks to step-by-step guidance.
The owner’s tour is very fast since there are very few controls and especially no remote control provided. Only the Sonos app offers the ability to manage the speaker, but you can still control the volume with your TV’s remote control. The Sonos multiroom is always there with its 30 streaming services directly integrated into the application (Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, SoundCloud, Deezer, TuneIn, Bandcamp, Qobuz…), which is very practical for research and navigation.
It is also possible to stream music stored in a music library and a smartphone. TruePlay, sound calibration via the microphone of an iPhone, is also part of it, just like an EQ and some additional options (Lipsync, Loundness function…).
Like the Playbar, the Playbase can be completed with a subwoofer (€ 799) and two Play 1 speakers (€ 458) as surround . It’s a good idea … if you’re ready to get your hands on the wallet.
The Playbase has a total of 10 speakers (3 tweeters, 6 midrange and 1 boomer). The set develops beautiful sound performances, even if we are far from having a faithful reproduction.
The sound plateau goes down well in the bass and offers us deep and diffuse bass. The immersion is well felt, even if we would have liked more precision in this area. Without any adjustment, the voices stand out very well, in particular thanks to a very nice feeling of proximity and a slightly warmer coloring, whether for male voices or female voices.
The sound rendering between 1 kHz and 6 kHz is homogeneous and relatively precise. It is rather in the treble that hurts the Playbase … and therefore our ears. Their exaggerated emphasis really accentuates the room effects, which can quickly become invasive. It also accentuates the brilliance – even almost the flicker – on non-musical sources, like metallic noises in movies or cymbals in music sources.
In addition, the internal digital signal processing causes a kind of noise disturbance in the treble which favors the flickering phenomenon already mentioned. For the more experienced, we suspect a problem in the digital processing of the signal creating harmonic distortion in the treble (well beyond 20 kHz, therefore inaudible for the human ear) and which disturbs the audible signal by a phenomenon spectrum aliasing after resampling.
Without TruePlay, the Playbase does no miracle in terms of spatialization. The scene is confined to the physical limits of the enclosure, but it is very stable. With a calibration shot via TruePlay, the scene becomes much wider and envelops the listener at almost 180 °. The tool is however clearly more efficient in a “classic” part than in a very matte part.
In this last configuration, the magic does not work very well and we feel like a hole in the center due to unfortunate effects on the phase. In addition, the equalization is not very effective in this kind of room. We lose a little spatial precision in the end and the voices seem a little more nasal with TruePlay.
For a sound stage, we can say that the Playbase has power to spare! You can without any problems properly sound your living room for your cinema sessions on the sofa. If you want to protect your signal from distortion, do not push the tray to its last entrenchments. Anyway, you will have plenty of things to do before reaching the last volume levels.
The communication latency in optics is around 40 ms; nothing too alarming on this point.
- A serious envelope, a pretty feeling of proximity.
- Perfectly intelligible voices.
- Impeccable manufacturing and finishes.
- Ultra-simple to install.
- Easy to use application.
- A reliable and responsive sound ecosystem.
- Exaggerated room effects.
- Too much shine, almost scintillating.
- The phenomenon of spectrum distortion / aliasing.
- No HDMI, no analog input, no Bluetooth.
- The strong dependence on the smartphone to control the speaker.
- Closed Sonos sound ecosystem.
The Playbase is an efficient and impeccable sound platform in terms of manufacturing and ease of configuration. However, it is absolutely not versatile and relies heavily on its ecosystem, certainly reliable, but still quite closed. Its sound performances also leave us hungry, especially because of the fate of the treble. However, this set remains an interesting solution if you already live in a Sonos environment and are looking for a solution to drastically improve the sound of your TV.
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