September 22, 2018

Which Speaker Sets from Sonos are Best for Home Theater?

One of the best things about Sonos components are how modular they are. You can create the stereo system that’s right for you regardless of what your intentions are. That said, the full range of speakers available can be a little intimidating if you’re just getting started. That’s where speaker sets come in. Sonos has packaged together a number of different sets that are tailored for specific needs. If you’re looking to craft together a stereo setup for your home theater, there are a few options available to you. While they may not be perfect for you, they can work as a great jumping off point for your theater system.

The 5.1 Surround Set

Ranging in price from $1,299 to $1,696 are the 5.1 surround sets. All of these come with the capacity to fill your entire room with authentic 5.1 surround sound. What’s great here is that you have a lot of options to make the set your own and scale it up to match the exact parameters of your home theater. Lower priced models come with the classic Play:1. While it’s one of the earliest speaker models that Sonos has put out, it’s still a respectable choice, giving you deep and meaningful sound combined with the ability to stream music services directly. If you’re really looking at stepping up your game, consider investing in one of the sets with the new One speaker. This is essentially the next generation of the classic Play:1, taking the fundamentals of the original speaker and combining it with built-in Alexa speakers. This allows you to control your entire home theater system with your voice, and it’s a system that works well. Whether you’re blasting out music or tuning in to a high octane action movie, these speakers do a good job of interpreting and responding to your voice.

You have three options for the principal component of each of these 5.1 systems. While the Beam is a little smaller than its contemporaries, it’s also the most feature rich component. It comes with all of the streaming services you can expect from the full Sonos catalog along with additional compatibility with other virtual assistants like Google Assistant and AirPlay 2. You may want to scale down to the Play:1 if you get this model, as the main advantage the One has over it is its Alexa functionality, and you’ll find that duplicated in the Beam. The Beam can also coordinate Alexa with an existing video streaming device like the Amazon Firestick, giving you greater control over your video services. If you’re looking for an additional boost to your sound, look to the Playbar or Playbase. While they don’t include voice activated technology, they manage to pack some powerful sound into their larger packages. Functionally, they’re very similar. The Playbase can serve as a stand for your TV, while the Playbar can be mounted on the wall behind your TV or placed in the front of your entertainment center. All of the 5.1 speaker sets come with a Sub to add an extra satisfying rumble of bass to your stereo system.

The Surround Set With Beam

There’s little doubt that the 5.1 speaker set is the best speaker set for a home theater system that Sonos offers, but it can be a little pricey. You’ll find something a little more modest in the surround set with Beam. At approximately half the price of the least expensive 5.1 speaker set, it’s a much more affordable alternative. The Sonos Beam isn’t the most powerful soundbar the market, but it’s still a respectable piece of technology. This set comes paired with a couple of Play:1 speakers as well, simulating the power of surround sound, albeit not with the full and deep bass you’ll find in the more advanced speaker systems available. It’s a good choice for a smaller or medium sized entertainment room, but it might not really suit your needs if you’re demanding a top shelf home theater system, but one of the advantages of Sonos’ models are that you can scale your system up as the situation demands. Consider adding the Sub to this system to make up for the lack of bass, or invest in a few more of the Play components to provide a richer and more full bodied sound. Regardless, you won’t be lacking for features. The Beam comes packed with the capability to run all of your music directly through the dedicated Sonos app using your computer or mobile device, but it also comes with voice activation technology that lets you run your music apps hands free and can even partner with an Amazon Firestick to expand your control over your speaker system.

The 3.1 Surround Set

Falling comfortably between the Beam surround set and the 5.1 are the 3.1 surround sets. Available with the Playbar, the Playbase, and the Beam, these are scaled down, bringing the full force of the Sonos Sub but sacrificing the two extra speakers in the process. That means you won’t get the full surround sound richness of rear speakers, but you’ll still get a respectably powerful sound system. If you aren’t sure how much power you need, this can be a great place to start, and you can always scale it up easily with the inclusion of a couple Sonos Ones or Play:1s. You’ll save a few hundred dollars in the process, but you’ll likely want to consider springing for the Playbase and the Playbar. They’re significantly more powerful than the Beam, and they’ll be doing the heavy lifting in this stereo setup.

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