Two brands that come to mind when thinking about premium audio home entertainment systems are Sonos and Bose. Whilst they offer many different types of speaker, their standalone units are very popular choices of devices for listening to home audio entertainment such as podcasts, music, and video media.
In this article, we specifically look at their top of the range standalone speakers that perform this task, covering both all in one unit and soundbars that can be accompanied additional units to build a complete surround sound system.
This will show the way with Sonos and Bose and help you find a speaker that meets your home entertainment needs. Models included in this comparison include:
- Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV
- Sonos Play:5
- Bose SoundTouch 30
- Sonos Playbar
- Bose Soundbar 700
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Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV – Option with a CD Player
- Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV – Option with a CD Player
- Sonos Play:5 – Powerful Wireless Audio Streamer
- Bose SoundTouch 30 – Most Powerful Standalone Speaker
- Sonos Playbar – Crisp Mids and Highs With Added Bass Needed
- Bose Soundbar 700 – An Impressive Soundbar That Delivers
- Final Word
If you want a system that fills your whole home with enhanced sound when listening to music then the Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System is your choice. An especially versatile speaker, this Music System supports CDs, MP3s, Bluetooth, and WiFi as well as accessing huge online musical verse. Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, and iTunes to name a few apps.
Basic playback control is carried out with a basic smart remote that accompanies the Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System. We also have to mention the integration of Alexa with this Bose speaker, although it requires you to have an Alexa device. Playback control with basic commands as well as accessing online music apps is a few of the tasks you can control with your voice.
Bose is a leading force in producing high-quality premium speakers with the best sounds, clarity, and balances of frequencies. SoundTouch Music System IV has rich, powerful and vibrant sounds that sweep through your homes airspace. That said, there are other options that may be better quality and some do not consider the speaker good enough for the living room.
An impeccably put together device, the Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV has some many high points:
- High quality powerful and rich sounds
- CD player
- Easy setup
- Access to major music services
- Included remote
- Alexa compatibility
- Attentive customer support
The speaker isn’t perfect with certain issues arising due to lack of clarity with the specs of the device:
- Music from CD can’t be transmitted to synced additional speakers
- CD player delicate and prone to breaking
- Not considered good enough for the living room
- Can’t adjust the equalizer
Sonos Play:5 – Powerful Wireless Audio Streamer
The Sonos Play:5 is a similarly matched speaker to the Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV in terms of price, sound quality, and connectivity options. A few slight differences in regards to the scenarios and people they suit are pretty clear. This speaker, the Sonos Play:5 is more catered for those who source their music from streamed online content, mediated by Wi-Fi. Being a more modern orientated speaker means there is no CD player. An Ethernet port option allows for stronger and more reliable internet connection to support these media-rich audio services.
High powered woofers in the Sonos Play:5 put plenty of oomph in the low ends whilst enhancing the low and mid frequency instrument and vocal elements of the sound. The speaker is built up of Six Class-D amplifiers to accentuate the surround sound effect and richness of the music without causing distortion. A two-room buying option includes two Sonos Play:5 speakers to extend the range of sound significantly around your home.
Alexa compatibility is the same as that is found with the Bose Wave SoundTouch speaker. Unlike the Sonos One which has Alexa actually built into it, the Play:5 requires an external Alexa speaker that is connected wirelessly. Repeated experiences of wireless card failures have been experienced by many and following this, the service from Sonos was not found to be good enough.
The Sonos Play:5 has some notable strong points that make it a solid option of home entertainment speaker:
- Top-notch sound quality
- Strong bass and width
- Easy setup
- Easy interface
- Solid choice for music streamers
- Ethernet port for better connection
- Alexa compatibility
Unfortunately, the Sonos Play:5 does seem to have some substantial issues that crop up commonly:
- Wi-Fi card fails
- Poor customer services
- Poor longevity
- Glitchy software
Bose SoundTouch 30 – Most Powerful Standalone Speaker
If you want the best sound quality and performance from Bose’s one piece range, look no further than the Bose SoundTouch 30. This self-proclaimed speaker from Bose is their powerhouse of sound that is versatile and widely compatible. Just like the Wave SoundTouch Music System, there is a centrally placed display screen that displays playback information.
Without a CD player, the Bose SoundTouch 30 is more orientated for wireless streaming of music, using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There is an ethernet port to support the more reliable and faster-wired option of internet connectivity. Available streaming services are the same as listed above, including Spotify and Amazon Music to name a few. Alexa integration is extended to this Bose speaker although an additionally sold Alexa speaker such as the Echo Dot will be required.
Out of the bunch, this Bose speaker is the most powerful and best sounding wireless speaker attributable to the high-performance drivers and proprietary waveguide technology. This is the speaker you want if your set on filling your home complete with sound, perhaps for parties or other gatherings.
Bose wants you to build a home sound system with their products exclusively. They are averse to anyone connecting up other speakers via an aux cable and have even gone to the lengths of creating a sound delay when they are connected. As a standalone, this is a great speaker but as a connected system, an echo effect can ruin your music and video entertainment.
For a standalone speaker, the Bose SoundTouch 30 is one of the best options you can go for, especially if you crave some real audio power. Highlights of the SoundTouch 30 include:
- Most powerful standalone speaker
- Exceptional sound quality
- Top-notch bass
- Good for streaming services
- Ethernet port
- Alexa compatibility
As a standalone speaker this is a solid option, despite there being a few problems when connected up a larger system:
- Aux delay create echo effect when connecting other speakers
- Limited remote functions
- No CD player
Sonos Playbar – Crisp Mids and Highs With Added Bass Needed
Moving towards more video entertainment geared audio, the Sonos Playbar is a cinematic enhancing speaker that can take your experiences to a new level. Sonos, just like Bose, wants the user to build up a collection of their speakers to create a wholesome sound system. You can start out with the Playbar and add Sonos Ones and a Sub to create a true surround sound system.
This is done wirelessly so you have to worry about tangling cables creating an eyesore. Highly customizable too, this sound system has in-depth equalizing controls to perfect sound based on the acoustics of your room. Although the focus here has been placed upon the Sonos Playbar, it is highly recommended to build up the system to achieve a 3.1 or 5.1 surround sound.
Soundwaves from the Sonos Playbar are both loud and clear due to highly specced nine amplified speakers drive. These are three tweeters and six mid-range drivers that sort out the mid to high frequencies in a clarified manner. Subtones are there to a degree but a subwoofer is especially recommended as an added purchase. Alexa works with the both wireless and wired connectable Sonos Playbar.
A crisp and clear soundbar from Sonos is highly equipped to enhance your viewing experiences thanks to these benefits:
- Crisp and clear dialogue audio
- Highs and mids superior quality
- Build up to 3.1 or 5.1 surround system
- Wall-mounted option
- Works with Amazon Music and other streaming services
- Alexa compatibility
There are some negatives apparent with the Sonos Playbar:
- Direct power needed
- Additional subwoofer highly recommended
- Volume consistency issues
Bose Soundbar 700 – An Impressive Soundbar That Delivers
Proclaimed the best Soundbar from Bose, the 700 models is an equitable speaker to the Sonos Playbar. The premise is similar, this soundbar is part of a system that can be built with additional Bose speakers to create a fully fletched 3.1 or 5.1 surround sound setup. This device not only allows you to connect your television, but it can also be used with live streaming devices to get the best sound. Fine tuning of the equalizer is possible with the remote or Bose app.
The first thing you’ll probably notice with this device is that there are several input options for other devices. Its app is also compatible with both Android and iOS devices which increases convenience whilst adding a new and contemporary layer of control. Primary connectivity methods include both Bluetooth and WiFi as well as compatibility with the new Apple Airplay 2.
A distinguishing feature of the Bose Soundbar 700 is the Alexa that is built in the hardware. Compared to the Sonos Play:5 which requires an external Alexa speaker device, the built-in element makes the speaker relatively cheaper for this function.
The glass and metal design are exceptionally classy for a speaker of this kind which turns it into a relished piece of furniture in addition to being electronic. It also has a wide range of sounds which gives you more options and better results.
The best Bose Soundbar available, the 700 series is of consistent and pristine quality thanks to some serious perks:
- Classy design
- Clear mids and highs
- Alexa inbuilt
- Equalizer function
- Wide sound
- App control
- Home movie theatre audio quality
- Light at 10 lbs
There a few issues that are more a small nuisance than a catastrophe:
- Recommended to buy Base module
- Older Bose speakers don’t sync with Soundbar
- Power supply needed
Sonos and Bose offer the best standalone soundbars and home entertainment speakers you can get your hands on. We hope you feel informed and inspired to get your hands on one of the speakers and take you home entertainment to an ascended level.