We finally got a Sonos Playbar into our showroom and it barely touched the floor before I absconded with it for some serious reviewing. Sonos has pulled out all the stops with their Playbar. It’s a nine-speaker, wall or tabletop mountable, soundbar with networking features, that will blow your metaphorical doors off!
The sound. Let’s get this out of the way. The Playbar sounds perfect with sharp highs, confident mids, and pleasing lows. I spent hours falling in love with my music collection again as I streamed it through the network to the Playbar. My only complaint is that Sonos has chosen to sell the Sub separately. Though the Playbar is mind blasting on its own, it would melt faces with the rolling thunder of the Sonos wireless Sub. You will want to pick up the Playbar and a Sub at the same time. Heed my words and save yourself the second trip.
The style. Unlike most of Sonos’s gear the Playbar is available only in black. It becomes obvious why when you realize it is wrapped in fine acoustically invisible fabric on three sides. The style itself is simple and modern like most of Sonos’s gear. It’s a handsome soundbar with a robust shape and well-considered styling but it’s not a striking piece of art. It is clearly designed to compliment your TV and capture your ear not your eye.
The Playbar is expandable through Sonos’s Play:3 speaker line to a 5.1 system of wirelessly networked speakers. I didn’t have the chance to test the system in this configuration but I suspect that the sound would be excellent.
Setting up the Playbar in your home network is easy. First, plug in power and connect the provided LAN cable to a router. Next, download the Sonos app for your portable media player and follow a setup wizard that takes about 5 minutes to complete. I was playing music in my brand new and independently controlled “Living Room” zone in 15 minutes. (Including the time it took me to unbox)
Sonos products are primarily designed as home network speakers that can be grouped into rooms or “zones”. Each zone can then be fed media from your personal library, music subscription services, or Internet radio. The Playbar takes this a step further by adding any media feeds that may be connected to your TV.
The build quality on the Playbar is satisfying with a sturdy feel, robust controls and a clever design that allows for wall mounting or tabletop usage. I realized how much thought went into the Playbar when I saw the multiple IR pickups placed so that no matter how you position the Playbar it will always have a good signal from any IR remotes to which you might slave it.
The Playbar is the most practical audio solution I have seen. It’s your Stereo, it’s your home theatre, it’s your wireless dock, it’s your Internet radio, and it sounds amazing every time. I want one because I don’t have tons of space for multiple systems and I can’t run Anchorwires but I love great sound. I don’t know why you will want one, but you will!