The wait is over as Sonos has revealed the specs, price and expected release date of their newest family member, the Sonos Playbase. This latest speaker is expected to carry an MSRP of $699 when it hits store shelves April 4th.

 

So, what exactly is the Playbase? Well, according to Sonos, only 30% of HDTV owners slap their TVs on the wall. The rest of us have the flat screen resting on some sort of stand. This is where the Playbase comes in. The Playbase is designed to sit underneath your TV. In fact, the base will support the weight of a 55″ TV up to 75lbs.

Sonos Playbase Preview

 

And don’t worry if your TV has feet on its outer edges instead of a centrally located pedestal. The Playbase only measures 2.28″ high so it should slide effortlessly between the legs of your TV.

 

The amount of engineering behind such a slender speaker is borderline remarkable. The body of the speaker is comprised of glass-filled polycarbonate and at first glance appears to be seamless. When it launches, like most Sonos speakers, it will be available in black and white. To achieve ideal sound dispersion, Sonos drilled 43,000 holes thru the grille of the Playbase with the holes getting larger as they proceed from the center of the base to the outer edge.

 

Hiding inside the Sonos Playbase are 10 Class-D digital amplifiers each powering its own driver. In all, the speaker has 3 tweeters, 6 mid-range drivers and a single subwoofer. To produce low frequencies, subwoofers typically need to move huge amounts of air. With the Playbase being a mere 2.28″ high you have to wonder how Sonos managed to solve this problem. If you dissect the speaker you’ll see that Sonos engineers used a custom designed “S-port” which snakes through the speaker. This port helps improve the volume of air moved by the subwoofer and also has some beneficial cooling effects. Similar to the Playbar, if you have the extra cash you can combine the Playbase with a set of Sonos Play:1 speakers and a Sonos sub to achieve a 5.1 setup.

 

And now, for the downside. Unlike most soundbars which are loaded with a varying array inputs, the Playbase only gives you one digital optical input. Yes, just one. That’s all you get. No HDMI ARC and no CEC. Also, the Playbase only supports Dolby Digital for surround, no DTS. On the surface, these appear to be huge omissions by Sonos, especially since competitors like Yamaha offer more inputs and audio decoding.  We’ll have to wait and see if these oversights are a detriment to the Playbase when it’s released globally April 4th. Pre-existing owners can get a jump on everyone else and pre-order the Playbase directly from Sonos.

 

 

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