Today Sonos have formally announced their latest addition to their speaker range. Named the PLAYBASE, this speaker was created based on market insights. Sonos discovered that 70% of TVs are not wall mounted, they sit on top of entertainment units. The Sonos Play: Bar is mostly designed to suit wall mounting and as such was not performing, or fitting in very well when rested on top of your entertainment unit.

The PLAYBASE will sit on your entertainment unit and the TV on top of it. The PLAYBASE is a decent size and to accomodate various TV base sizes however the gear inside the PLAYBASE is what is most remarkable.

Exploded white and black PLAYBASE

Inside the 58mm tall PLAYBASE are 10 custom-designed drivers with dedicated amplifiers including six mid-range, three tweeters, and one woofer and are powered by software to precisely control the sound coming from each transducer. That’s a lot of gear in one thin box. The sound is blown out of the front and corners through a really well designed grill with 43,000 holes, all of varying sizes to ensure that your sound is delivered beautifully.

Black PLAYBASE resting on legs so we could see underneath

The fact that the PLAYBASE contains a woofer is most interesting, on the inside the design for the woofer is genius. The woofer is thin and will need to work hard, so to enhance the bass and make it travel, Sonos added some S piping to help the air travel and reverberate properly. The airflow from the woofer will also keep the electrical components in the PLAYBASE running cool.

White PLAYBASE exposed. Note the piping and speaker arrays.

We’ve heard the PLAYBASE perform and we were very impressed, compared to just the Play: Bar our initial impressions were that the PLAYBASE was a better all round speaker producing better levels of bass. This means that a woofer aka the Play: Sub may not be required, whereas with the Bar is it recommended – in our opinion.

Black PLAYBASE in a typical home setup

We spent a great deal of time with Sonos earlier in the year looking at the design, testing, manufacturing, packaging etc of the PLAYBASE and we’ve grown a new appreciation for the effort that goes into producing this speaker, it is simply not someone deciding to make a product and doing it.

White PLAYBASE in the audio engineering labs at Sonos

The PLAYBASE was three years in development and the iterations around design and engineering were immense. Here is a quick look at the Sonos “making of” for the PLAYBASE.

The Sonos PLAYBASE works just like a normal Sonos speaker over for Wifi music streaming via the Sonos app or with Spotify Connect. The PLAYBASE also has an optical audio input for your TV audio. This input can then play through the PLAYBASE and your other Sonos speakers in the house.

The rear of a white PLAYBASE

Adding two PLAY: 1 speakers to the setup could give you a home theatre feel as they’re configured as rear speakers. The Sonos experience can be as small or large as you like. Fortunately however many speakers are in the room, Sonos enables TruePlay which configures your speaker(s) for that room so it sounds as best as possible.

We spoke on Talking Lifestyle about the Sonos PLAYBASE, here is the full interview with more details.

Global availability of the Sonos PLAYBASE in black and white will be April 4th 2017, existing Sonos owners will be able to preorder from today for an RRP $999.