Sonos Playbar review

On the buttons: David Phelan has ears-on time with an impressive new sound system

Sonos is a company whose reputation is building through word of mouth.

It makes attractive systems with speakers that stream music from your PC, tablet or the internet to multiple rooms. So, if your music is on your Mac in the study downstairs, Sonos will grab it from there and play it on a stereo speaker system in the living room, and another one in the bedroom, say. Or it will play different music in different rooms at the same time.

It's a highly sophisticated system, though its success lies in the combination of its utter simplicity to set up and the remarkably high quality of its audio output. Your music may be compressed but the Sonos makes it sound as good as it possibly can.

It works well with the music you have on your computer hard disk but really excels when you link it to your Spotify account, for instance, so you can stream from a massively wide range of tracks. You need a premium Spotify for this, please note.

The stereo speaker unit, called the Play:5 was joined by a smaller, cheaper version called Play:3 and last year by a big whomping sub-woofer.

Now the company has launched the Playbar, a neat-looking speaker bar designed to improve the sound from your TV. The shape of flatscreens – and the clue is in the name – is rarely conducive to good audio. Some manufacturers, notably Sony, have found ways round this with speakers in the stand under the TV, or bolted onto the side.

But on the whole, the audio from television is likely to be underwhelming. Place a soundbar like this one from Sonos under the telly and the effect is transformational.

The Sonos Playbar has multiple speakers to create a wider, more immersive effect. They're placed at 45 degree angles so the Playbar works just as well whether it's hung on the wall under (or above) the TV or laid flat on its side under the goggle box. Happily, the Sonos logo looks the same both ways up.

We'll come back to the Playbar, which will go on sale shortly for £599, when we've tested it properly. For now, the fact that it works with all other Sonos components is a useful bonus. And the company claims it will work as a standalone speaker system for your audio as well, so it may cannibalise sales of the Sonos Play:5 – or even mean that you don't need a separate hi-fi.

 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache, MySQL, Moodle)

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior .NET Web Developer - Winform / MVC

    £21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Award-winning pharma softw...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Java Developer

    £30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Java Developer is requ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there