Sonos Playbase Launch in Singapore

March 27, 2017

24 Mar - Sonos announced the launch of the Playbase, their first soundbase product that is meant to sit nicely under your TV. We were invited to a private session by Sonos and TC Acoustic, their South East Asian distributors, to experience the Playbase firsthand in a cozy setting in River Valley, Singapore.
Sonos Playbase

What's The Big Deal?
Sonos product launches are quite a rarity. To prove the point, we'd have to go back one and a half years back to October 2015 when the Play:5 hit the shops. This is their first foray into soundbases and is comparable to their soundbar (Playbar) in terms of specs and sound.

1. Design and Build
The Sonos Playbase is really thin at 5.8cm tall coming with a sufficiently wide base of 72 x 38cm and weighing 8.6kg. It packs 3 tweeters, 6 midrange drivers and 1 woofer within. As soundbases are parked directly under TVs, one big challenge for audio manufacturers is to try to keep the vibrations from the lower frequencies down since the entire TV is placed on the soundbase. From what we hear, Sonos built the Playbase from scratch and included a custom-designed glass filled polycarbonate exterior both to reduce the vibrations and to support the weight of a TV (up to 75lbs / 54 inch screen).
Sonos Playbase

2. Playbar Alternative
Sonos already has a soundbar product called the Playbar, also priced at SGD 1,299, that can be wall mounted under your TV. According to Sonos' research, 70% of TVs actually sit on furniture which inspired them to come out with the Playbase. Basically, these two products serve to give a choice to consumers based on their living room configuration.
Sonos Playbase - Black

3. App Support
The Sonos Controller app (iOS, Android ready) already supports the Sonos ecosystem of speakers and it now adds the Playbase. You can play music from streaming platforms like Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music. There's a Trueplay calibration (only for iOS users) which even allows tuning of your speakers based on your room setup.

4. Connectivity
The ports at the rear are minimal - a digital optical out, LAN and power point. This is actually sparse. One would imagine the inclusion of an HDMI (with Audio Return Channel) or even Bluetooth but on the other hand, Sonos has already designed the rest of its product range to connect to each other through Wifi. 
Sonos Playbase - Back

First Impressions - Sound
Seated in a living room with a sofa at the front and high chairs at the back, the media folks were given a taste of the Playbase. We were played samples such as Dolby "Spheres" that showcased the surround sound capability and then Radiohead's atmospheric Everything In Its Right Place illustrated the clear stereo separation. And then the Playbase was paired with two Play:1 speakers propped on stands at the back and the Sub for a full 5.1 experience, set up nicely for a climactic battle scene from The Force Awakens with X-Wings and TIE fighters zooming around. Just based on those few minutes, it's a undoubtedly a good first impression. There's quite a bit of power that bassheads can relate with instantly and environmental sounds are crisp though it remains to be seen how The Force Awakens fares if we just listen from the Playbase solely.

Pricing and Availability

The Sonos Playbase goes for USD 699 / GBP 699 / SGD 1,299 and comes in black and white variants. It is available as of April 2017.

Sonos Playbase

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