Amazon, Sonos.com and elsewhere have had all manner of deals on over the last month or so but Amazon has found time to slip in one last one before Christmas, and it's. A. Beauty! What a beauty! It's a big £50 off the black, T3 Award-scooping Sonos Beam, with Alexa built in. Or a not-quite-so-big £39.90 off the white one.
However at John Lewis you'll have to Click and Collect tomorrow if you want it for Christmas Day.
Another deal on a T3 Award-winning speaker – the Sonos One, also with Alexa – is still ongoing, with £20 off if you buy one, or a £50 price cut if you buy two for use as a stereo pair, multi-room or as part of a 5.1 system.
Bought in conjunction with the cut-price Beam this would net you a total saving of £100 on a 5.1 system (or 5.0 if you forgo the Sonos Sub bass speaker)
Should you want a more powerful home cinema speaker, the £150 price cut on the Sonos Playbase (a sound base, as opposed to a sound bar) is also back after vanishing for a while.
There's also money off to be had on the older, but still excellent Sonos Play 5. This may lack Sonos One's built-in Alexa but it's considerably more powerful.
Sonos.com is also still doing a deal on its Connect Amp – a 55 Watts per channel, Class D hi-fi amp that can turn your record player into a multi-room device, and give a new lease of life to your old hi-fi speakers…
This is actually a great-sounding device; we recommend it for old-school heads.
Sonos Beam £50 off | Was £399 now £349 at John Lewis
The Beam won a T3 Award for best home cinema audio product and to be honest could easily have been gadget of the year, as it's a better product than the Sonos One in many ways, just not as versatile in terms of where you can place it.
It is however a very compact soundbar that puts out a big sound, especially when teamed with a pair of Sonos Ones as rear surround speakers. Add an always excellent performance with music, multi-room abilities and arguably the best implementation of Alexa on any device – yes, including Amazon's own speakers – and you have a sure-fire hit.
John Lewis can't deliver this to your door in time for Christmas but if you want it for the your new year TV viewing, that should be doable. However, if you DO want it as a Christmas present, you can 'Click + Collect' it from your local John Lewis or Waitrose tomorrow (Christmas Eve)
This offer is also at Amazon (see above) but you only get £40 off the white one for some reason. Amazon swears it can deliver to you by Christmas Eve, and who are we to doubt them?View Deal
What is the Playbase?
We suspect the Playbase might be the least popular of the Sonos line-up because punters are much more keen on soundbars than soundbases. However, it's actually one of our favourite Sonos products.
Once correctly placed on a sturdy TV unit or shelf, it delivers very powerful audio with blockbuster cinema soundtracks, but also a very musical performance with, er, music. It's a fully-functioning multi-room Sonos speaker as well as doing home cinema duties.
Sonos for home cinema
As noted, Amazon has trimmed £150 off the cost of Sonos' home cinema big hitter, the Playbase. This doesn't have Alexa built in, although as with practically all Sonos speakers, if you buy any Echo device (the always-affordable Dot, or the currently heavily discounted Echo (2nd generation) for instance).
Sonos has delved heavily into the world of home cinema in recent years, and you can combine various of its speakers to make surround systems.
As well as the Playbase, Sonos makes the Playbar which, as you may have guessed, is a soundbar and the Sub, which is powerful subwoofer, for those who are totally addicted to bass (we mean the low notes, not the fish).
You can wirelessly combine a Playbase or Playbar with a pair of Sonos One of Play 5 speakers, with the additional speakers doing duty as rear surround speakers.
Any of these combinations muster up a very convincing degree of bottom end but if you want real mega bass, the Sub can supply it.
Sonos only supports Dolby Digital 5.1 – not Atmos or DTS – but it does a very good job with compatible soundtracks. Dolby Digital is still the standard for most broadcast and streamed TV in the UK, although Atmos is creeping on to some platforms and DTS remains popular on Blu-rays.
If a different surround codec is used, or the broadcast is in stereo only, the Sonos system will apply a fairly decent simulated surround effect, but it definitely sounds best with Dolby Digital material. The other thing to note here is that if you use an external box to watch movies and shows, your TV will need to support Dolby Digital passthrough if you want to plug your Sonos in to your telly via optical digital or HDMI.
There's no way we can give a comprehensive guide to which TVs do or do not support passthrough but on the whole, older TVs and cheaper TVs do not, while newer, more premium TVs do. Get your manual out, or search online.