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Newbie
Sep 16, 2019
15 posts
3 upvotes
Would you guys recommend an used Sonos playbar for $300-400?
I just want to grab something for my parents, they are not crazy audiophiles. Just something to fill the room without lots of wires and equipment.
I would like to pair the playbar with the Ikea Symfonisk speakers.
Sr. Member
Apr 30, 2008
782 posts
333 upvotes
Toronto
Gobias87 wrote: Would you guys recommend an used Sonos playbar for $300-400?
I just want to grab something for my parents, they are not crazy audiophiles. Just something to fill the room without lots of wires and equipment.
I would like to pair the playbar with the Ikea Symfonisk speakers.
While I've heard maybe 4-5 different soundbars in my lifetime at peoples houses, I feel like they're largely the same at the lower end. Sure, they're all going to have their certain nuances and acoustic differences, but those are subjective. Any soundbar is going to sound better than crummy TV speakers. I think whatever you find on-sale, and if you like the brand or styling of that soundbar, should suffice. I'd certainly aim towards that $100-$200 range if this is for parents who don't care so much (and maybe same brand as parent's TV)

If you want to really minimize wires, there's soundbars that are single units with no subwoofer, which for casual viewing, is totally fine. I personally like Yamaha's as I feel they've got a more pleasing and warmer sound (purely subjective) and better design/focus on acoustics (somewhat objective). You might want to invest in some cable covers as well if appearance is a priority, and possibly a speaker mount depending on the application. I've heard some Sonos speakers, and their sound is quite rich/full, so they're surprisingly decent speakers. I think they're launching a new lower-priced Ray soundbar, so you might want to wait for that one if you're leaning towards Sonos.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Mar 6, 2003
17052 posts
9182 upvotes
Ottawa
TH3R wrote: Anyone here go from a dedicated receiver/amp and speaker set up, to a soundbar, can comment on the sound quality and experience of the soundbars in general, or perhaps this one? I've always had receivers and speakers, and never heard a soundbar that could compare. I'm not talking expensive speaker setups either like B&Ws or anything, just run of the mill Polks and Klipsch. Granted the dedicated setups with Polks/Klipsch were a lot more expensive than the $400-$700 soundbars I've heard.

At $1300, I figure a 3.0 set up with a receiver and LCR speakers could be found fairly easily, and sound better.

Those $200-$400 soundbars I can understand - for not much money you can get much better sound than out of your TV, for less money than even a receiver. But at $1300 and some even higher, I'm not sure I understand the benefit of the soundbar vs. dedicated gear, outside of the size/convenience factor of the soundbar.

EDIT - meant 3.0 system. Hard to get LCR plus subwoofer plus a receiver for $1300
I used a 2.1 system for a long time. Center channel speakers are usually a compromise due to their design (MTM arrangement), and placement (need space below your TV) closer to the floor, they don't sound the best. With a 2.1 system, you rely on a phantom center but if you aren't off center and if your LR speakers have good dispersion, then it can be very enjoyable. I liked my setup and didn't really miss the surround effect. Personally I don't care that much above over the head or rear speaker surround effects....I would sacrifice that if I can spend more on the quality front audio.

I have an expensive GoldenEar soundbar and it sounds very good (it's a passive soundbar which still needs a receiver, the speaker array has crosstalk cancellation built-in. The unit costs $1000+ and has the same AMT tweeters as their flagship speakers) but I don't find the speaker array has any huge advantage over my previous 2.1 system.

If I was setting up a minimalistic system from scratch, I would go with just a 2.1 system again. Pair with a small SVS sub like a SB2000, get a 2 channel NAD 3045 (it is one of the few that has ARC so you don't have to worry about input managing switching inputs and volume separately), and a set of good bookshelf speakers like Arendal 1961 or ELAC Debut Reference 62. The advantage is that this system would be great for critical listening of music as well.

For my other TV, I have a Sonos Beam and it's good as a turn key, smart speaker, but you definitely pay a price for the convenience and Sonos ecosystem. The sub is ridiculously priced, but I got mine at a discount and overall I think it does what it promised.
Sr. Member
Apr 30, 2008
782 posts
333 upvotes
Toronto
Ok, well I don't count soundbars that needs a receiver as a soundbar!

And your minimalist system is like $3k-$4k?! Audiophile much? ;)

How was your Beam without the sub? Did it sound decent? I can't convince myself to spend Sonos kind of money. I'd much rather spend that kind of money on components, although as another commenter mentioned, prices are getting ridiculous for stuff these days.

I'm happy with my HT setup, but my main floor that consists of budget in-ceiling L/R speakers, small Polk center, and entry Sony receiver, I'm starting to get tired of. The tiny Polk center sounds like garbage, but yet I don't have space for anything much larger.
warpdrive wrote: I used a 2.1 system for a long time. Center channel speakers are usually a compromise due to their design (MTM arrangement), and placement (need space below your TV) closer to the floor, they don't sound the best. With a 2.1 system, you rely on a phantom center but if you aren't off center and if your LR speakers have good dispersion, then it can be very enjoyable. I liked my setup and didn't really miss the surround effect. Personally I don't care that much above over the head or rear speaker surround effects....I would sacrifice that if I can spend more on the quality front audio.

I have an expensive GoldenEar soundbar and it sounds very good (it's a passive soundbar which still needs a receiver, the speaker array has crosstalk cancellation built-in. The unit costs $1000+ and has the same AMT tweeters as their flagship speakers) but I don't find the speaker array has any huge advantage over my previous 2.1 system.

If I was setting up a minimalistic system from scratch, I would go with just a 2.1 system again. Pair with a small SVS sub like a SB2000, get a 2 channel NAD 3045 (it is one of the few that has ARC so you don't have to worry about input managing switching inputs and volume separately), and a set of good bookshelf speakers like Arendal 1961 or ELAC Debut Reference 62. The advantage is that this system would be great for critical listening of music as well.

For my other TV, I have a Sonos Beam and it's good as a turn key, smart speaker, but you definitely pay a price for the convenience and Sonos ecosystem. The sub is ridiculously priced, but I got mine at a discount and overall I think it does what it promised.
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Mar 6, 2003
17052 posts
9182 upvotes
Ottawa
TH3R wrote: Ok, well I don't count soundbars that needs a receiver as a soundbar!

And your minimalist system is like $3k-$4k?! Audiophile much? ;)

How was your Beam without the sub? Did it sound decent? I can't convince myself to spend Sonos kind of money. I'd much rather spend that kind of money on components, although as another commenter mentioned, prices are getting ridiculous for stuff these days.

I'm happy with my HT setup, but my main floor that consists of budget in-ceiling L/R speakers, small Polk center, and entry Sony receiver, I'm starting to get tired of. The tiny Polk center sounds like garbage, but yet I don't have space for anything much larger.
I never said my minimalist system was cheap. It's a state of the art system with top notch objective performance, leaves no performance on the table, but without paying for questionable snake oil benefits. You can scale it down accordingly depending on your budget. The key is a small amp that has ARC, which makes the system comparable to a soundbar in user operation (rather than needing multiple remotes or macros). I haven't looked to see if there are cheaper amps with ARC but I'm sure they are out there.

Basically, I'm not really keen on soundbars, but in the Sonos case, it makes sense. It's the hub of a media center, you can do streaming services everywhere, cast audio content to it, I can tell Alexa to turn on the TV and adjust my lighting. For the size and price of the Beam (was $350), it sounds about what you expect, the frequency response is fairly good so dialogue is clear enough, no holes in the frequency response like some cheap 5.1 soundbars. The ONLY knock is that the matching sub is $900, which is obscene and you can't substitute your own (I have a perfectly good spare SVS that I could have repurposed)

If you already gone the route of separates, then replacing your budget center, or going phantom might be a good option with good LR speakers and improve your situatioin.
Deal Addict
Nov 18, 2015
2318 posts
919 upvotes
Richmond, ON
just set this up and am impressed with the sound.

It does pack some decent bass for the tunes and TV sounds.

Have not watched a movie yet.

Built well, sturdy, no complaints so far.
if you don't ask, the answer is always NO!
Jr. Member
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Jan 22, 2010
156 posts
72 upvotes
Burnaby, BC
Anyone else think $1300 is ALOT for a soundbar?

I was using a VIZIO SB36512-F6, which is a 5.1.2 soundbar (~$500) for the past few years for my TV mounted above the mantle which served it's purpose well. I've now moved the TV downstairs and setup a 2.1 system with some old KEF Q100 bookshelf speakers, a Jamo 12" Sub and bought a Sony STR-DH590 receiver off craigslist for $240. Without a doubt, the sound is so much clearer and crisper along with a boomier subwoofer. My experience is the soundbar made hearing voices and speech in certain scenes quite muddled since the speakers are so tightly packed together.

A soundbar definitely fits a minimalist/space deprived niche but if you're planning to spend this much on a soundbar, maybe consider trying out an amp/speaker setup.
Sr. Member
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Oct 24, 2019
629 posts
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Edmonton
cazzo1980 wrote: Have not watched a movie yet.

Built well, sturdy, no complaints so far.
Use 6 Underground on Netflix. Lots of bass in the opening scene.
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Deal Addict
Nov 18, 2015
2318 posts
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MahlerMusic wrote: Use 6 Underground on Netflix. Lots of bass in the opening scene.
Image
Thanks...will see how it sounds.
if you don't ask, the answer is always NO!
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Oct 24, 2019
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Edmonton
cazzo1980 wrote: Thanks...will see how it sounds.
Have a vomit bag ready as it's a Michael Bay movie.
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Deal Addict
Nov 18, 2015
2318 posts
919 upvotes
Richmond, ON
MahlerMusic wrote: Have a vomit bag ready as it's a Michael Bay movie.
Image
Lol..I have already seen it.
if you don't ask, the answer is always NO!
Member
Feb 5, 2007
391 posts
238 upvotes
Jtn wrote: Anyone else think $1300 is ALOT for a soundbar?

I was using a VIZIO SB36512-F6, which is a 5.1.2 soundbar (~$500) for the past few years for my TV mounted above the mantle which served it's purpose well. I've now moved the TV downstairs and setup a 2.1 system with some old KEF Q100 bookshelf speakers, a Jamo 12" Sub and bought a Sony STR-DH590 receiver off craigslist for $240. Without a doubt, the sound is so much clearer and crisper along with a boomier subwoofer. My experience is the soundbar made hearing voices and speech in certain scenes quite muddled since the speakers are so tightly packed together.

A soundbar definitely fits a minimalist/space deprived niche but if you're planning to spend this much on a soundbar, maybe consider trying out an amp/speaker setup.
Exactly this. I am not opposed to sound bars. In fact, I have an old Panasonic Htb450 which I split the speaker and wall mount left and right and wireless sub for my main floor. I also have soundbars for other televisions in my house. However for the main movie system, I use a full 5.1 setup.

It is whatever works for people though, and our input on this thread is not to argue but ensure everyone is aware of their options!

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