Thinking about Sonos, need help with family room (Soundbar? Play:5? Other?) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 02-03-2013, 05:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I am pretty sure I am going to go with Sonos for my whole house audio. I will be using Sonos:Amps to power in-ceiling speakers in each zone, with the exception of the family room.

There are currently no speakers in the FR. It is a fairly large room: 20' x 20' with a 20' ceiling. It is a problem acoustically, because it is very echoey. I am working on the problem with drapes, larger/thicker carpet, some "soft" wall paper and perhaps some sound deadening paint. This room is where we do most of our TV viewing, and dialogue on from the TV can be difficult to understand. I have a cheap Sony HT CT-500 soundbar that sounds ok but doesn't help much with the dialogue problem.

I would like to play music in this room and need advice on my options. Option 1 is to get a better soundbar and use it to play music via a Sonos Connect (if that is the right product). Option 2 would be to keep the current soundbar and get a Sonos Play:5 to play music and hope that the drapes and other things solve the TV dialogue problem. Option 3 would be something better that you guys come up with smile.gif

One of the challenges of Option 1 is finding a soundbar that would provide good dialogue enhancement, be excellent for music and cost <$700. I have been through the Soundbar forum here and my head still hurts from going through all the posts over there. I am not an audiophile, but I would like it to sound good.

Any advice, suggestions or thoughts would be appreciated!
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post #2 of 21 Old 02-04-2013, 06:37 PM
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Can't speak to the soundbars, I think they look cool and sleek but prefer seperates. As for the Sonos, I'd fix your sound issues first, upgrade your sound system, and then decide. For a clean, simple look, hook a Sonos connect into one of the inputs on whatever sound system you end up with.

The Play:5 is excellent, but you'd probably want two linked for a room that large. For a bedroom, office, etc. the Play:5 is perfect. For the price of two of them, you'd be better off in the end spending the money on your overall sound system (since a decent receiver will run what a single Play:5 costs).
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post #3 of 21 Old 02-06-2013, 02:23 PM
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Or you could wait until this gets released...

http://gizmodo.com/5971309/sonos-sound-bar-filing-hits-the-fcc-and-may-land-in-your-living-room-soon

Would be great if they break into TV sound. How cool would it be to listen to the game while outside at the pool?
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post #4 of 21 Old 02-08-2013, 11:02 AM
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What did you decide on for the TV room? I'm loving my Sonos system throughout the house and am holding off on my TV audio ...
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post #5 of 21 Old 02-09-2013, 03:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I haven't decided anything yet. I'm not getting any traction on my tread in the Soundbars forum. I have been able to tweak my current Soundbar (a cheap Sony CT-100) to improve dialogue a little, and will try driving some music through it today using my AppleTV.

I am currently thinking of upgrading to a Yamaha YHT-S401BL for several reasons, including its clear voice feature. I will probably order 1 Sonos:Amp this weekend and try it out in different zones to make sure it can do what I want.
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post #6 of 21 Old 08-25-2014, 03:27 PM
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I'm in a similar boat, i.e., dialog is an issue. I would love to have a playbar w/ 2 play 5's (for R/L and base) and the playbar for C, but I don't think this is possible. What did you decide to do?
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post #7 of 21 Old 08-26-2014, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goombawa View Post
I'm in a similar boat, i.e., dialog is an issue. I would love to have a playbar w/ 2 play 5's (for R/L and base) and the playbar for C, but I don't think this is possible. What did you decide to do?
I do wish Sonos would get more involved on the home theater front and release a new and improved Playbar with things like HDMI switching and the ability to add L/R speakers (at least Play 1 and Play 3s like you can already do with rear)

You'd definitely gain better separation with distinct Left and Right Play speakers in combination with a Center-only Playbar. However, I think I'd put higher priority on adding a Sonos sub to the playbar. You don't get the separation, but you get significantly better bass that adds to overall sound quality, including dialogue.
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post #8 of 21 Old 08-26-2014, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goombawa View Post
I'm in a similar boat, i.e., dialog is an issue. I would love to have a playbar w/ 2 play 5's (for R/L and base) and the playbar for C, but I don't think this is possible. What did you decide to do?
If you're going to have separate speakers anyway, why even go the Playbar route? A wall-mount, low-profile Center speaker, appropriate L/R, sub all attached to a network-enabled AVR and you get what you want. If you've got other Sonos units around the house and therefore would benefit from the common UI/app - use an inexpensive AVR and a Sonos Connect as a source.

Jeff


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post #9 of 21 Old 08-26-2014, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post
If you're going to have separate speakers anyway, why even go the Playbar route? A wall-mount, low-profile Center speaker, appropriate L/R, sub all attached to a network-enabled AVR and you get what you want. If you've got other Sonos units around the house and therefore would benefit from the common UI/app - use an inexpensive AVR and a Sonos Connect as a source.

Jeff
Good points - here's my situation/goals. I want to create a "dolby 3.0" setup.

I can't use a sub since the bass on the floor would upset my neighbor below me. So, all the bass I can use has to be from the speakers on the bookshelves. It's not nearly as good, but it's what I have to deal with.

I can't do surround sound since I have no where to mount them in the room.

However, I'd like to use 5.1 as my source so that I get a center channel signal to produce the dialog more clearly than when in stereo.

So, my spitball guess was to use the playbar as the "center/faux surround" speaker and the play 5s as the R/L, using their decent bass to help offset the lack of a sub.

The use of a networked AVR is definitely a possibility, but my built-in cabinets don't have line of sight (solid wood doors) and there is zero ventilation in it. So since I don't want to put it on top of the cabinet I'd have to keep opening the doors, which isn't ideal.

I like the idea of self powered, wireless speakers (like the play 5) so that I'm no longer mucking around with as many wires. Do you have any suggestions for a center speaker like that? If I went sonos, I don't know if a play 3 would be a viable solution.

Just to add, my sources are xbox one, ps4 and a chromecast. I just cut the cord so I no longer have a DVR - I have Verizon FioS with ethernet out from the ONT and a local TV package, so I'm looking into making that work with a new TV (TBD on which one)

Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated!
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post #10 of 21 Old 08-26-2014, 12:11 PM
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You can't add Left/Right speakers to a Playbar, regardless of Play 1, Play 3 or Play 5. You can add Play 1 and Play 3 speakers as Rear speakers with a Playbar. Play 5 does not work at all with the Playbar.
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post #11 of 21 Old 08-26-2014, 12:21 PM
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You can't add Left/Right speakers to a Playbar, regardless of Play 1, Play 3 or Play 5. You can add Play 1 and Play 3 speakers as Rear speakers with a Playbar. Play 5 does not work at all with the Playbar.
So that answers that... In that case I'd have to use a play 3 as a center w/ two play 5s (R/L), but don't know if that's possible.
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post #12 of 21 Old 08-26-2014, 01:01 PM
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So that answers that... In that case I'd have to use a play 3 as a center w/ two play 5s (R/L), but don't know if that's possible.
The Playbar is the only Sonos speaker designed for use with a TV/home theater. The only way you could get TV sound into any Sonos speaker other than a Playbar would be the Line In on the Play 5. You could pair two Play 5s for stereo mode, but it is impossible to create a true center channel with any combination of Sonos speakers.

The Playbar is really the only decent option for a wireless Sonos home theater system and you are stuck with using the Playbar for your LCR in the front ... there is no way around that.

As already mentioned, if you can figure out a spot for an AVR and wire the fronts, you could use a Sonos Connect.
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post #13 of 21 Old 08-26-2014, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by edpowers View Post
The Playbar is the only Sonos speaker designed for use with a TV/home theater. The only way you could get TV sound into any Sonos speaker other than a Playbar would be the Line In on the Play 5. You could pair two Play 5s for stereo mode, but it is impossible to create a true center channel with any combination of Sonos speakers.

The Playbar is really the only decent option for a wireless Sonos home theater system and you are stuck with using the Playbar for your LCR in the front ... there is no way around that.

As already mentioned, if you can figure out a spot for an AVR and wire the fronts, you could use a Sonos Connect.
Thanks. Well I guess I'll have to start digging into other wireless speaker setups besides Sonos then... Even if my cabinet was glass and ventilated, I still really don't want to buy another boat anchor (AVR) which has 25% of what I need and 75% of what I don't. Trying to streamline my A/V down to the essentials - TV, xbox1/ps4 and speakers. All my sources will be streamed over the net, so I don't need analog inputs, radio antennae, composite/component video inputs, etc., etc.
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post #14 of 21 Old 08-26-2014, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by goombawa View Post
Trying to streamline my A/V down to the essentials - TV, xbox1/ps4 and speakers. All my sources will be streamed over the net, so I don't need analog inputs, radio antennae, composite/component video inputs, etc., etc.
http://www.amazon.com/Marantz-NR1504...J3J8BJNYB4X0MG

You still need an amp, volume control and source switching somewhere in that chain, and an AVR is the cheapest way to get that.


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post #15 of 21 Old 08-26-2014, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by goombawa View Post
Trying to streamline my A/V down to the essentials - TV, xbox1/ps4 and speakers. All my sources will be streamed over the net, so I don't need analog inputs, radio antennae, composite/component video inputs, etc., etc.
http://www.amazon.com/Marantz-NR1504...J3J8BJNYB4X0MG

You still need an amp, volume control and source switching somewhere in that chain, and an AVR is the cheapest way to get that.
Thanks...95% of my switching is via my xbox1 so the only thing I really need is power and vol. That why the play 5s are/were compelling. I don't care about the software either since again the UI of the xbox1 is what I use.
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post #16 of 21 Old 08-27-2014, 07:05 AM
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Thanks...95% of my switching is via my xbox1 so the only thing I really need is power and vol. That why the play 5s are/were compelling. I don't care about the software either since again the UI of the xbox1 is what I use.
An inexpensive AVR then, under <$200, would be you best bet, along with some decent LCR speakers.


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post #17 of 21 Old 08-27-2014, 04:23 PM
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An inexpensive AVR then, under <$200, would be you best bet, along with some decent LCR speakers.
I currently have Vienna Acoustic Weberns for LCR but have had them for a long time and never really liked them. And without a sub they are even less desirable. So, if I do an AVR again I'd need to get bookshelves that have a solid level of bass response given I can't do a sub. Still, the center channel is likely going to be an issue since I don't really have the space to put it under the tv (its on the fireplace mantle, so that's why a playbar was so appealing) Are there slimline center speakers like a playbar out there?
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post #18 of 21 Old 08-27-2014, 04:52 PM
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Still, the center channel is likely going to be an issue since I don't really have the space to put it under the tv (its on the fireplace mantle, so that's why a playbar was so appealing) Are there slimline center speakers like a playbar out there?
Yes, many top speaker brands include slim speakers specifically for use as a center channel under a wall-mounted TV. Those same brands will also have 'matching' L/R wall-mount speakers as well.

I have a Def Tech LCR 'speakerbar' in my bedroom, for example:

http://www.definitivetech.com/produc...tand-speakers/

Also:

http://www.martinlogan.com/motionSer...ultra-slim.php

And there are many other examples...

Jeff


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post #19 of 21 Old 08-27-2014, 06:43 PM
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Yes, many top speaker brands include slim speakers specifically for use as a center channel under a wall-mounted TV. Those same brands will also have 'matching' L/R wall-mount speakers as well.

I have a Def Tech LCR 'speakerbar' in my bedroom, for example:

http://www.definitivetech.com/produc...tand-speakers/

Also:

http://www.martinlogan.com/motionSer...ultra-slim.php

And there are many other examples...

Jeff
Thanks for the links. The Motion 20 looks interesting given the 46Hz low end (which is what I need given I won't have a sub), but the $ is a bit high for my needs. Also don't need 'thin' L/Rs since I have the shelf space for regular bookshelf speakers. I only need a thin C speaker.

But this is still really helpful so thanks.
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post #20 of 21 Old 08-27-2014, 07:33 PM
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Thanks for the links. The Motion 20 looks interesting given the 46Hz low end (which is what I need given I won't have a sub)
Note that bass is bass - whether it's being produced by a sub or 'regular' speakers, low frequency energy is going to escape the room when played "too loud". Now, a sub on the floor is in direct contact with the framing and will transmit more vibration into the structure, but getting the speakers off the floor doesn't magically fix the issue, either...

But good for you for realizing that bass escaping your unit into others is a problem BEFOREHAND!!!


Jeff


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post #21 of 21 Old 08-28-2014, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post
Note that bass is bass - whether it's being produced by a sub or 'regular' speakers, low frequency energy is going to escape the room when played "too loud". Now, a sub on the floor is in direct contact with the framing and will transmit more vibration into the structure, but getting the speakers off the floor doesn't magically fix the issue, either...

But good for you for realizing that bass escaping your unit into others is a problem BEFOREHAND!!!


Jeff
Ya...I hear ya...but I don't play at loud volume pretty much ever (guess I'm an overly good neighbor So I have to believe mid rangey bass sitting on a shelf at moderate levels is better than low rangey bass sitting on the floor banging away, at least to some degree.
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