Sonos vs Cheap Soundbar/Subwoofer/2 Speaker setup?


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Old 06-14-16, 09:00 AM
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Sonos vs Cheap Soundbar/Subwoofer/2 Speaker setup?

Hi All,

I'm trying to figure out the actual, realistic difference between getting Sonos and getting, e.g., a Samsung 4.1 channel setup (the ones that come with a soundbar, subwoofer and two speakers, all wireless).

If we get Sonos, then it can access Pandora, Spotify, etc. and play music. If we get the Sonos Play(sound)bar, then we can also hook it up to the tv. A regular Sonos speaker (i.e., a 1, 3 or 5) cannot be hooked up to the tv by itself correct? Only the Play(sound)bar can connect to the tv, and I'm assuming other Sonos speakers would "talk" with it and also have the tv sound. (Correct?)

If we get the, e.g., Samsung set-up, then it will only be able to access Pandora, Spotify, etc. through my Android or my wife's iPhone, correct?

Assuming the above is correct, is there any real difference in having Sonos directly stream Pandora/Spotify by itself vs. having Samsung set-up stream Pandora/Spotify from our phones?

The benefit of not going with Sonos would be that the Samsung systems cost $200-$300 or so. A Sonos 1 speaker by itself is $200. With the Samsung system, I'm also assuming we could connect our CD player to it. (I'm assuming no way to get FM radio with either type of set-up).

I am not a huge audiophile whatsoever, so I doubt I would really be able to notice any sound quality difference (unless I'm told that the $200-$300 setups are simply horrible. FYI - the type of Samsung system I mean is along the lines of the HW-J370 (although not necessarily that one; just something similar, regardless of brand).

Any advice would be very greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
 
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Old 06-14-16, 01:22 PM
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What type of tv do you have? Are you using any external speakers now or just the tv speakers? How important is surround sound to you? Will just better sound quality than from the tv set work for you?
You did not mention your current set up or exactly what your wanting to accomplish. Just some questions to think about. There are a multitude of choices out there now.
 
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Old 06-14-16, 01:44 PM
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Thanks for the quick response!

We currently have a 42" Panasonic EDTV from 2006 (only one HDMI input, although I do have an HDMI switch, so I can use 5 HDMI inputs). No external speakers, just the ones that are in the TV. We do have a Marantz 5600 - I think that's the number - receiver, two Monitor Audio Radius 90 speakers, a Radius 225 (I think that's the number) center speaker, and a Radius subwoofer. But - the receiver's output to the front left and center speakers no longer work (the speakers themselves appear fine). Also, the subwoofer itself seems bad (I've tried changing the fuse twice and also using a different power cord - it just never comes on).

I'd like surround sound for sports and movies. Its not ultimately important, but I'd like it more than just a simple 2.1 soundbar, I think.

So, I'd like better tv sound; my wife wants something she can listen to music with. We just got back from visiting friends that have Sonos, and she likes the idea of just listening to Pandora, etc. easily. I think we can do that just by using our phones/ipad to stream to a bluetooth soundbar. But I'm just trying to find out all our options.

Current setup is the TV, with a 5-disc CD changer, a DVD player, and a Verizon FIOS STB. The receiver itself also has a radio tuner.

We don't want to spend tons, which is why I'm hesitant with the Sonos and was thinking the Samsung-type set-up might be good for us.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 
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Old 06-14-16, 06:37 PM
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Hi, I take it you have been listening to everything from only one speaker from the Marantz. Well I'm older and can longer hear the great highs and lows anymore. Therefore I'm not much into the surround sound thing anymore.I did a Google search and there are a lot of options to do what you want. Like normal prices range from dirt cheap to high dollar. Personally I would pick out a stereo set up you like. Then look at the different streaming options.
Maybe someone will chime in who is really into sound and be able to give some advice from experience.
 
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Old 06-14-16, 06:44 PM
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From one speaker for music from CD/Radio, yes. For the TV, I just resort to using the TV's internal speakers.

Also, thanks for Googling. I've done that a bit, and I'm unclear as to the real difference between streaming from our android/iPhone to a soundbar vs. having a Sonos which will do the work itself and leave our phones out of it.

Also - anyone have any idea what can go wrong with a subwoofer, and/or how to figure out what may be wrong with the speaker connections in the receiver? I'm generally somewhat handy, so if its simply a matter of replacing the plugs in the back of the receiver, I think I can handle that.

Any advice (from Craftsman_50 or other) is much appreciated.

Thanks again!
 
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Old 06-14-16, 09:32 PM
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You can verify the speakers by replacing the working one with one you think may be bad. If its good you will get sound if not bad or no sound. Same with the outputs . hook up a known good speaker to them.
 
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Old 06-14-16, 09:45 PM
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Yep, did that awhile ago. All the speakers work (except the subwoofer, which won't turn on at all). It's definitely the front-left and center channels on the receiver. I just don't know if it's the output plugs themselves or something internal in the receiver that's the problem.

Thanks for the idea, though.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 04:33 AM
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I've had a Sonos 3 for a few years now that I got as a Christmas gift. I really enjoy the portability of the unit around the house...it typically sits on the kitchen counter and I'll fire it up while cooking, eating, or cleaning up. But I've also been able to take it outside in the backyard while having a cookout. Just plug it into power and stream whatever music service (or your own stuff) you desire...even FM radio, if you get the right app for your phone (I use TuneIn Radio for that). Sonos utilizes your wifi network, so you also need to initially purchase their bridge, and it can use and device on the network that you install their software on...laptop, desktop, phone, tablet. It can access whatever music is on each individual device as well, in addition to playing most any streaming service you're subscribed to.

But yes, the downside to Sonos is the price. The least expensive unit, the Sonos 1, is $200 (it does provide very good sound for a single-speaker unit though). And, as I mentioned, you also need a bridge, so there's another $50. They also make a soundbar but that's in the range of $800! I would love to get their soundbar, but it would have to be an extremely good deal...or I'd have to hit the lottery.

If ultimately you want better sound from the TV but don't want to break the bank, it's probably better to go with a Bluetooth-enabled soundbar.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 07:42 AM
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Thanks for the advice!

Would there be any realistic difference in streaming from our phones to a sound bar vs. having the Sonos speaker do its streaming by itself?

Also, it looks like some of the Samsung 4.1 soundbars can be controlled by an Android app - does anyone know if an iPhone / iOS can also controll such a soundbar?

Last question - anyone know of a soundbar that has only a center speaker and will drive a front left and front right speaker? (although I guess that's technically a receiver then?) So, any advice maybe on a cheap receiver that can power center, front right, front left (and hopefully two rear speakers) with at least the rear ones being wireless?

(I think I am morphing this thread a bit, but I'm also still interested in any thoughts anyone has on my original post.)

Thanks again!
 
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Old 06-15-16, 08:09 AM
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Would there be any realistic difference in streaming from our phones to a sound bar vs. having the Sonos speaker do its streaming by itself?
As far as I can see it based on what you're wanting out of it, the advantage the soundbar would have is you could hook that to other devices, such as a CD player, the TV, etc.

The "disadvantage" to the soundbar would be that you'd have to open each individual app on your phone/tablet to play it through the soundbar. With Sonos, all the music apps/libraries are accessible via the Sonos app so it's a bit more centralized...but that's not really *that* big of a deal.

Again, it seems like you'd be best suited with a BT soundbar...unless you can find one heck of a steal on the Sonos Soundbar.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 08:40 AM
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Perfect! That's the exact info I was looking for as to the difference (i.e., apps all centralized with Sonos).

Now, would be great if I can find a bluetooth soundbar that has true wireless rear speakers and has an app for both android AND iOS.

Thanks again!
 
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Old 06-15-16, 09:44 AM
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Now, would be great if I can find a bluetooth soundbar that has true wireless rear speakers and has an app for both android AND iOS.
It's kind of funny...I'm not crazy about Apple, but I find it kind of odd that something doesn't support iOS and is Android only. Typically it's either Apple-only, or dual support...rarely have I seen Android-only support on a device.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 09:53 AM
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I suppose its possible that an iOS device can send the bluetooth signal audio to the soundbar, but I guess Samsung doesn't make an app to control it?
 
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Old 06-15-16, 12:50 PM
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As far as repairing your receiver, It would only be possible if you own a multimeter and a soldering iron and know how to use them. Just let me know.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 01:03 PM
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Own a multimeter: Nope.
Own a soldering iron: Nope.
Know how to use them: Nope.

Thanks though.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 09:14 PM
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I have been using and installing Sonos for about 5 years now. I also install surround sound home theater systems.
Which says that I don't know anything about the Samsung sound bar you mentioned.
Here's what I can tell you about Sonos. The Play bar connects to your TV via a TOSLink digital connector. So if your 6 year old TV doesn't have this kind of out put .... I wouldn't recommend the Sonos play bar. If your TV DOES have this digital output then I know you'll enjoy the sound output as well as the convenience of being able to centrally control all of your music sources via the Sonos App. Most sound bars are not capable of being used as a center speaker but the Sonos play bar can be configured to be used with two surround sound speakers such as the play 1, 3 or 5. If you do opt for this configuration then it would not be worth doing unless you also got the Sonos Subwoofer ... for a complete system. and yes ..... that's an expensive system.

To answer one of your other questions, the Sonos system works via your WiFi network and is therefore controllable from anywhere in your home that you have WiFi connection. Many other sound bars use Blue Tooth which only has a range of about 30 feet or so and sometimes less, due to walls and other objects and is dependent upon the source of the music being in range of the sound bar.

If you have a good strong WiFi network in your home the Sonos Bridge is not necessary. However the best way to connect the Sonos system is a direct connection to your network router if it is possible.

The biggest Sonos speaker, the Play 5 has an input jack that would allow you to plug in .... say .... an IPod or CD player that could be used as a source for the entire Sonos system and be played through any other device like the Play Bar, etc. Unfortunately, only the Play5 has an audio input. I suppose the Play 5 could be hooked to your TV stereo output but I have never tried that. That would be a question to ask Sonos Tech support. (I think it would work) I do know that a stereo hookup is available with two Play 1, 3 or 5 using the Sonos App as a source If the play 5 can use your TV as a source, it would give your TV fabulous stereo sound. The only downside I can think of right now would be that you would have to go to the App to choose the "Line in" as a source when you wanted to watch TV and use the Play 5 as your speakers. If you use the Play bar, once it's set up, every time you turn on the TV it automatically uses the Play bar and not your TV speakers.

The Sonos App gives you access to if not all, almost all the most popular on line music sources and a multitude (hundreds ?) of FM radio stations. But I find that once people finally get their Pandora set up .... they don't need any other source for music. And if you have music stored on IPad/Pod etc, you can always play that.

I know Sonos is expensive but early on, I did some comparison to what was available then and Sonos was my choice. However, now that all the other manufactures have seen the total success of Sonos .... They're all belatedly jumping on the bandwagon. So there are likely some other soundbars out there that have acceptable fidelity and will seem worth the money.

Keep in mind that the reason that sound bars have become popular is because TV's have become so thin that the size of and the location of TV speakers has diminished to a few 50 cent diameter speakers that are either facing towards the wall in back of the TV or downward. Knowing this, you should be looking for a sound bar that has as large a diameter speaker as you can. I see a lot of sound bars that are only a couple of inches high and I'm thinking ..... How is that different than the speakers that are already inside the TV? except that they're facing frontwards? There is no (even expensive) small diameter speaker that is going to sound as good as even a relatively inexpensive larger speaker.

Hope some of this helps.
 
 

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