Best Sonos Home Theater Setup [Case Study]

Some of the best Sonos home theater setup includes a soundbar, rear speakers and a sub. The type of bar or speaker will depend on your audio preference, room and TV size. Choosing the soundbar in a home theater will also depend on the type of connection you need.

Sonos subwoofers are some of the best in the industry. With at least one Gen 3, you are allowed to pair multiple subwoofers. The subwoofers connect to the bar wirelessly so you have to run wires through the room. If you prefer wireless streaming, make sure the bar or speaker supports Bluetooth, otherwise, you can also use Wi-Fi.

Lastly even if you can go for surround speakers due to budget or space limitation, you can pair a bar with a sub. If you go with Sonos Arc, you will easily get a 5.0.2 soundbar. Tweak settings like bass or treble to adjust the sound. Night mode is available and Trueplay gives you the best optimized sound.

Best Sonos home theater setup: Different use case

Let’s have a look at some of the best sonos home cinema setup.

Sono Sub Gen 3

In this case we are considering a simple theater setup with no rear or surround speakers.  Sonos Beam Gen 2 is best for small rooms. In tight spaces we recommend at least pairing the bar with a sub. Sonos Beam Gen 2 is a 5.0 channel soundbar. With the sub you can create a Sonos beam 5.1 home theater set. It supports Sonos multiroom feature, Airplay and work with Alexa and Google Assistant.

This smart soundbar has chip that works 40% faster making it sound larger than its size. It supports Dolby Atmos, DTS Digital Surround and several other audio formats creating a 3D sound space. The bar has one center tweeter, 4 elliptical mid woofers and three passive radiators. Dedicated center speaker with Voice Enhancement feature delivers clear and loud dialogues.

Sonos uses Trueplay software to analyze the room layout and optimize sound. There are different settings that you can tweak. Use Night mode at late night, or adjust bass, treble or loudness through the app. Use the Sonos app or the TV remote for control. With HDMI eARC support, broader soundstage and smart features, this Sonos beam home theater review says it is worth buying it.

If you want to create Sonos Beam surround sound set, you can simply connect two rear speakers along with the bar and sub. For dealing with the low-ends we recommend Sonos Sub Gen 3 or 2. If you already own a Gen 2, it will perform the best. But, if you don’t own one, Gen 3 is the best one for you. Sub Gen 3 will work with Sonos S2 app, it delivers thunderous bass. You have the freedom to adjust the bass level.

Place the subwoofer and pair with the bar. With force cancelling drivers, the low-ends will shake the room but not itself. It is flexible in placement so you can lay it flat horizontally. With two acoustic ports, the low-ends are enhanced. It can get as low as 25Hz. Make sure to set the crossover accurately, you can perform trial and error to find the best sound. This sub will make movie effects enjoyable.

So, we consider this to be one of the best Sonos setups for home theater. In case you have a large room, Sonos Arc is best for you. We will review it later in this article.

 Sonos PlaybarSonos Subtwo One

Sonos Playbar with Sub, a One and a One SL speakers can create a 5.1 home theater system. You can easily place this setup in a large room. Sonos Playbar is a 3.0 channel soundbar that delivers detailed and broad soundstage. It doesn’t support DTS or Atmos. Another thing to note that, it is the best Sonos soundbar with optical port.

So, if your TV doesn’t have HDMI port, this one is best for you. This is same for the Sonos Playbase bar which we will review shortly. You won’t find any voice support, Airplay or Bluetooth in this bar. Rather, the bar depends heavily on Wi-Fi for streaming contents. It shows excellent tonal balance even while other speakers aren’t connected.

With side-firing drivers, you will feel the spreaded sound. And when paired with two Sonos One speaker, the surround sound will become powerful and prominent. You can also use two One spThe bar can get quite loud and we expect the 5.1 system to perform well in large spaces. With independent center channel, dialogues are clearer.

Although EQ options aren’t available, you can adjust bass and treble as per need. Use either TV remote or the Sonos Controller app for the bar. In this setup, you can go with either the Sub Gen 2 or 3. If you go with Sub Gen 2, you can save some cost. Sonically, the Sub Gen 2 and 3 performs the same. Although the gap between drivers is more in Gen 3 than Gen 2, overall features and specs remain same for both models.

Except the fact that the Gen 3 sub has faster CPU, new receiver, more memory and a new Join button, you can easily go with the older model if you have budget limitations. Pair it with the soundbar and enjoy the lower frequencies of any content. Setup of this wireless subwoofer is quite easy.

In terms of Sonos 5.1 speaker placement, it will be same as we do with other speakers. Place the bar beneath the TV, then sub at a corner or front wall, and rear speakers behind you. Sonos One Gen 2 has 1 tweeter and 1 midwoofer. It has Wi-Fi and supports voice assistant but Bluetooth is missing. These speakers will use Trueplay to improve the sound.

Use the app for bass and treble adjustments. Unlike the subwoofer, Sonos One is a wired speaker. Although the One speaker wont sound very loud on its own, it will perform pretty well when paired with the bar. If you are not using it as surround speaker, you can use it as multiroom audio system as well.

If you want to create a 7.1 Sonos setup, Sonos usually doesn’t recommend doing so. It suggests to limit the surround system up to 5.1 so that there isn’t any connectivity problem.

 B01MSEPNIO ,  Sonos Play:1 and Sub Gen 2

If you want the best Sonos setup for living room, you can use a Playbase and a sub. The Playbase has six midrange, three tweeters and one woofer. It has a dimension of 2.20 x 28.35 x 14.96 in. and can withstand up to 75lb. You can’t place TVs that weigh under 5lb on it as well. The speaker only connects to Wi-Fi and will use optical connection for TV instead of HDMI.

Use it as a TV stand by placing it on the tabletop then placing the TV on it. You can also put in between the TV legs or in the TV cabinet. The soundbar has deliver full range sound and works best when music or movies are played through it. It produces room filling sound with precise details. Movies come to life and the dialogues are crystal clear.

The Playbase is powerful enough to fill up the living room. It has decent bass and can get loud. Include a Sonos Sub Gen 2 for impactful bass. In case you prefer more immersive sound, use the Sonos Play 1 as rear or surround speakers. These speakers deliver dynamic sound with minute details.

The speakers have solid build and have average looks. Higher frequencies of Play 1 are detailed and accurate while the bass is tight. Although it is discontinued, you can still find it in stores. However you can always look for latest speakers.

 Sonos ARC sub gen 3two One SL 

Sonos Arc is a powerful soundbar that can deliver room filling audio. It has three angled silk-dome tweeters and eight elliptical woofers. It supports Dolby Atmos and DTS Digital Surround. All latest features are available like support for voice assistant, Wi-Fi, Airplay 2 and HDMI eARC. But it doesn’t support Bluetooth nor does it work with CCFL-backlit TVs.

If you want to build a Sonos Dolby surround set, then pair two Sonos SL and Sub Gen 3 with the Arc. The Arc is a 5.0.2 channel soundbar that uses up-firing drivers making Atmos contents like footsteps and overhead effects jump back to life. It is one of the best Sonos soundbar for movies as the dialogue deliver has outstanding clarity.

For the Sonos Arc to work, it is best if you have the latest TV that support eARC connection. You can pair this 45” soundbar with 55” TV, 65” TV or larger size. The bar emits sound that bounces off from walls creating an enveloping soundfield. Trueplay and several settings are available. With 4 far-field microphones, the voice assistant can pick your voice even when the bar is playing loud.

It is enough if you only pair a sub Gen 3 but you can also connect two One SL as rear speakers. This way the sound in the room will be impactful. Sonos One SL is best for music and can act as a surround speaker. It has one tweeter and one midwoofer. It supports Airplay and Wi-Fi. It can a compact design and sounds larger than its size.

You can also connect the One SL with Playbar, Playbase or Beam soundbars. One SL has a warm sound profile and a decent soundstage. The bass is average but we don’t have to worry as there is dedicated sub. It can deliver sound without distortion. For placing Sonos rear surround placement, you can purchase stands. Check the  Mounting Dream Speaker Stands for (Sonos One, One SL, Play 1)  , or the  HomeMount Wall Mount (Sonos One, One SL).

If you pair Sonos ARC with two Sonos Sub Gen 3 and two Sonos Five, you can create the top of the line Sonos home theater system. It will be costly but the performance is worth it. Sonos Fives are larger in size as well as performance when compared to Sonos One SL. They are labelled as ‘most powerful wireless speaker’ by Sonos.

Sonos Five are quite powerful and the One SL might seem ‘weak’ compared to them. This package will give you the best Sonos setup for surround sound. In terms of Sonos 5.1 rear speaker placement, make sure to place them few feet away from the listening position, 2 or 2.5 ft. For larger and open spaces, place the Fives horizontally so that sound spreads to a wider area.

With three tweeters and three woofers, the sound is impressive. However, make sure you are placing it in large space otherwise it may sound overkill. With Line-In port, you can connect turntables, CD players easily to the speakers. Overall, the Fives sound rich, precisely detailed, with a slightly bright sound profile.

How to create the best Sonos home theatre setup?

Sonos has wide range of products making it easier to create your own home theater.

The following speakers can be used as Sonos surround setup:

  • One (all generations) and One SL
  • Play:1
  • Play:3
  • Play:5 (Gen 2)
  • Five
  • All SYMFONISK speakers
  • Amp powering third party speaker
  • Connect:Amp powering third party speaker

Then there are several soundbars:

  • Beam
  • Arc
  • Playbar
  • Playbase

List of subwoofers:

  • Sub Gen 2
  • Sub Gen 3

Things to remember: Limitations

Are all Sonos speakers compatible with each other, or should you learn about any limitations? Well while most of them are, there are few limitations.

  • Sonos Sub Gen 3 will only work with S2 app and system
  • Sub Gen 3 will not work with Sonos new Move
  • Gen 3 sub will not work with Sonos Play 5 Gen 1
  • The following speakers, if use as surround will have these features off: AirPlay, Line-In, Subwoofer output
  • For dual sub setup, at least one of the subs must be a Gen 3 model.

Sonos Home Theater Tips

All of their home theater speakers have features that improve the sound so that you can have a better listening experience. With just a few taps on the app, you can boost the sound or make the conversation louder to feel more connected.

  • Speech Enhancement: Tap the speech bubble icon on the Now Playing screen to make sure you don’t miss a word, even if the action gets crazy.
  • Night Sound: Tap the symbol for the volume control (which looks like a half moon) to change the volume without disturbing anyone else in the house (or your neighbors). It will no longer be necessary to turn up the volume when actors speak quietly and then quickly turn it down when there is an explosion.
  • To activate your TV and tweak your home theater settings without lifting a finger, add Sonos Voice Control to your system via the Sonos app.
  • 3.1 refers to a speaker system that includes both a main speaker and a separate subwoofer. There are three channels in a speaker system—left, right, and center—and the “.1” indicates that a subwoofer is also included.

Parting words

We will recommend Sonos Arc, 2 Sub Gen 3 and 2 Sonos Five as the ultimate Sonos surround setup. This Sonos home theater setup is best for larger rooms. The best Sonos home theater setup will depend on your budget and available space. For tight spaces, Sonos Beam is a good choice. In all cases, we recommend a subwoofer as you can place them horizontally as well.

Sonos One and One SL perform pretty well as surround or rear speaker but Sonos Five is the beast. With dedicated center channel, most of the setup models can be used for watching movies or podcasts. There is also dialogue enhancement feature that you can use. With Sonos you can also install in-ceiling or in-wall speakers.

They also make indoor and outdoor speakers. You can choose between wired and wireless speakers as well. Control is easy with the app but you can also use the TV remote. Most of the soundbars support voice assistants. Setup is quite easy but make sure the soundbar and TV port matches. You don’t need a receiver which makes installation much easier.


This FAQ is here to solve some of your question regarding this matter. let’s find out more!

How to make the Sonos home theater sound good?

Make sure to place the speakers correctly along with choosing the best ones. The theater system must also go with the room size otherwise the sound may be too tinny or too bold.

Is Sonos a good brand?

Sonos is one of the leading brands manufacturing high-end speakers for different use. They aren’t the cheapest ones but are really worth buying.