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Affordable alternatives to the Sonos Playbase

Sonos is a widely known for their smart, high fidelity speakers. Their speakers are some of the best you can buy on the market, compare them to Bose and you’d be blown away. The only downside to the premium quality speakers is the premium price tag. The cheapest speaker is the Play:1 coming in at $199. To outfit a full home speaker system with 5.1 surround sound, you’ll need to spend $1,700. Sonos introduced a new speaker meant to upgrade your TV’s shitty speakers to something an audiophile would use. The Sonos Playbase sits under your TV’s stand, so it’s not meant for wall mounted TVs. The sound base isn’t a new concept, with hundreds of other companies making a similar premium sound base for TVs. The Playbase is one of the more expensive options, costing a cool $699. If you’re already invested in the Sonos system than the Playbase is a must buy, but if you’re like me and haven’t invested in their smart speaker system, you’ll want a more affordable option.

Luckily for you, Sony, Vizio, ZVox, and other speaker companies make a sound base that can reveal the Playbase in price, sound quality, and features. Some of the options range from $400 to as little as $99. The list is all more affordable options to the Playbase which doesn’t support a lot of future surround sound standards that have emerged, i.e., Dolby Atmos. You’ll get more bang for your buck if you buy one of these:

Sony HT-XT100 Sound Base

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Sony is known for their cameras, music players, and for their headphones and other audio devices. The refurbished model is sold through Amazon and comes with Prime, so you’ll have the peace of mind you aren’t getting ripped off. While the sound quality isn’t the highest, you can get you’ll still have premium sounding base plus crystal clear sound. There is an HDMI output plus the sound base supports HDMI ARC which lets you carry audio back to a base speaker. There is also cinema quality surround sound with virtual sound processing.

If you want to use the sound base for music, there is Bluetooth with simple one-touch NFC support from Android phones. You can also plug in an MP3 player, phone or another device through the USB port. All in all, $124 is a solid value for the Sony HT-XT100.


ZVOX 570 SoundBase

ZVOX 570 SoundBase

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ZVOX isn’t a household name, but they’re known for their great speakers. The ZVOX 570 is one of their middle of the pack speakers. The sound base cost $299 and can fit a 55-inch TV. If you have a bigger TV than you can check out the ZVOX 770 below. You’ll get audiophile quality sound from the multiple speakers inside the sound base. There’s even a built-in subwoofer for when you’re watching an action flick. ZVOX also offers a few special features including Phasecue virtual surround sound, AccuVoice vocal enhancements, and output leveling to tame loud commercials.

The sound base will blend in with your flat screen TV; you’ll not even notice the base until you hear the sound. There’s Bluetooth for audio streaming which will allow you to play music when you’re not listening to TV shows.


Vizio Sound Stand

Vizio Sound Stand

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You may already own a Vizio TV, but if you don’t the Vizio sound base will work with any TV model. In the slim sound base, you’ll find Dolby Digital technology, DTS TruSurround, and DTS TruVolume. The technology will give you a mix of cinema quality sound, some of the best virtual surround sound, and a solution to keep volumes at a level and comfortable volume. There’s an integrated subwoofer, with two speakers to provide the best TV or Movie experiences.

This sound base is an older model, but the speaker still sounds as good as when it first launched. There is Bluetooth in the speaker to allow for music streaming, plus you have a remote to control the speakers. Overall, it’s a great value plus you’re getting a sleek designed speaker.

Pyle Sound Base

Pyle Sound Base

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Pyle is the cheapest sound base on this list, and it’s the best option if you’re on a budget. While it’s not going to blow away an audiophile; it’ll get the job done in providing better audio than a flat screen TV. There’s a portable subwoofer with a slotted spot in the speaker. The base can support TVs from 32-inches to 50-inches, but you can squeeze a little more out of larger TVs. You won’t find the advanced technologies that create virtual surround sound or clean level volumes during shows and TV commercials. You will have crystal clear sound for less than $100, which is extremely hard to find.

You’ll also have Bluetooth to stretch the value out of the speaker even more. The base isn’t the most elegant looking, but for the price, it’s well worth the extra bulk.

ZVOX Soundbase 770

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The 770 ZVOX sound base is the best competitor to the Sonos Playbase. This sound base is the bigger brother of the ZVOX 570 sound base so that you can fit an 85-inch TV on the 770. There is a left, right, and center speaker to provide super clear voice reproduction. This is important as more shows mix their shows like a movie, with louder music and background noise. You’ll also have the same audio technology as the smaller sound base which includes the Phasecue virtual surround sound, AccuVoice vocal enhancements, and output leveling to tame loud commercials. There is also three built-in subwoofers to provide the best sound around. The speaker is also made from real wood, not plastic!

All total, it’s the best sound base you can buy compared to the Playbase. Yes, there are better options with better sound, but the 770 is the best when you factor price, sound quality and build quality.

TL;DR

If you’re eying the Sonos Playbase, but you’re also looking at a budget, this list hopefully helped. If you ever have trouble hearing speech from your TV, you’ll need one of these sound bases. There’s one for every budget, even if you only have a $100 to spend. Once you get a sound base, soundbar, or another speaker for your Tv you’ll realize how much you’ve been missing out on.

In the comments below – tell us which sound base you ended up buying or maybe you’re opting for one that’s not on the list? Either way, tell us what you have or what you’re buying!

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