The all-new Sonos Play:five is the organisation‘s first most important hardware revision; a fresh flagship for its fleet of WiFi-enabled audio system. Sonos’ products have always been praised for his or her designand capability, however now not necessarily their sound high-quality or value. the brand new Play:fivein reality is not cheap: At $499, it’s surely $a hundred extra than the original. however the antiquePlay:five changed into the employer‘s first try at constructing a speaker, and even though it sounds k, Sonos has come a protracted way within the six years considering the fact that its launch. This timearound, Sonos in the end created a product that appears and sounds as good as its rate tag. but it isnonetheless no longer for everyone.
The Play:5 is the high-quality speaker Sonos has ever made. Its reliance on a single app for controlling all your audio services means the software enjoy isn’t quite as slick as it could be, however it is clean toinstallation and sounds as precise as its $499 fee tag suggests.
The Sonos proposition
Sonos circle of relatives
From left to proper: the Play:1, Play:5 and Play:three.
if you‘re new to Sonos, it is a multi-room speaker device that helps you to circulation audio from some ofinternet resources or from neighborhood garage. The listing of offerings is complete, but notexhaustive. Subscription-based totally streaming groups like Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, and Tidal are all there, as are track lockers and one-off buy stores like Amazon music or 7Digital. In-between options like Google Play music and Groove are gift, and opportunity or radio services like Bandcamp, 22tracks, SoundCloud, TuneIn and Radionomy are also supported. For the Play:five specially, you can additionally hook uppretty lots some thing with a headphone port to the gadget.
All this guide comes via one location: the Sonos controller app for computer, Mac, iOS and Android, which does its first-rate to position whatever services you want into a single, coherent interface. From the app,you could seek all your offerings, browse and create playlists and select wherein your track will play. Forhardware control the app is extraordinary — it’s easy to navigate, and you may find it easy to add newaudio system, and create speaker zones and groups, as well as tweak volume and EQ settings. Forsimply gambling music, even though, it is a combined bag.
normally matters paintings well sufficient, but the enjoy of dealing with song through Sonos’ utility isconstantly 2d–satisfactory to simply going at once thru your streaming carrier‘s app. while playlists anddifferent organizational tools port over properly, searching for new tracks is a hassle. there may be justno intelligence to it. Say i am searching out the tune “Undercover” from the Solos-Duos album via Pierre Van Dormael and Hervé Samb. Spotify’s app is wise sufficient to read me typing “samb undercover” andadvocate the perfect track earlier than i am carried out writing the second one word. Sonos, on the other hand, most effective lets you search with the aid of artist, tune or album, and could fail tounderstand any aggregate of those. in case you‘re looking for a song with an vague call, you’ll have adifficult time locating it without digging thru album after album. The track I simply referenced is the forty first search result for the word “undercover,” in case you were wondering.
Sonos has its troubles, however does a superb task of pulling more than one services into a unmarriedapp.
no matter its imperfections, the Sonos controller does a commendable task of pulling a couple of offeringsright into a unmarried location. the hunt problems are a actual shame, as the app is remarkable forblending and matching more than one services. Being able to construct a playlist that resultseasily pulls from, for instance, Spotify, SoundCloud, Deezer and my computer is a fairly specific selling point, mainlyas SoundCloud is home to a whole lot of exclusives and eclectic stuff that does not normally make its wayto other streaming offerings.
the opposite gain of Sonos’ gadget is that there may be no restrict at the quantity of customers that could manipulate it. every body related to the same WiFi network can get concerned by way ofdownloading the app, making it a awesome machine for parties and get-togethers. you can additionallyconnect a couple of debts from the equal carrier, so when you have a big circle of relatives you caneach, as an example, have your own Spotify playlists and favorites syncing.
The Sonos emblem is surrounded by way of precision-drilled holes that forestall it blocking off sound from the tweeter in the back of it.
i’ve already touched on the Play:five‘s lofty position in Sonos’ broader lineup, however it’s worthsearching at the whole selection in a piece extra element. At the lowest of the variety is the Play:1 at $199. The mid-variety choice is the Play:3 at $299, at the same time as the Play:5 is extensively extra at $499. The Play:1 is a tiny element, presenting a unmarried tweeter and mid-woofer, each with its personalamplifier. The Play:3 continues the unmarried tweeter, however replaces the mid-woofer with a pair of mid-range drivers (all independently amplified) and a passive bass radiator. For the Play:five, Sonos goes all out, with 3 tweeters (one valuable and two aspect-firing), three devoted mid-woofers and, if you didn’tobserve the sample, an amplifier for each.
The Play:five‘s six speakers are all well enclosed in a subdued, however nonetheless stunning enclosure.it’s a much sleeker object than the Play:three and the previous–technology Play:5, with a mild curve to itsfront and a combination of rounded and sharp edges forming desirable, easy lines when viewed from anyangle. there is barely anything to catch the eye, nothing to distract from its overall form. Even the bodilybuttons had been changed in want of capacitive keys that also receive swipes for things like skipping tracks. What won’t be perceivable in the pictures accompanying this evaluate is the precision of the engineering here. reputedly no element is left out. working example: Sonos is one in every of very fewagencies that designs totally custom energy plugs at each ends for no motive apart from it wishes them to look and feel true.
If you want colorful audio system, then look some other place. Sonos has however alternatives: gray-on-black or black-on-white, both finished in a matte polycarbonate. i’m a huge fan of the latter, howeverunluckily I did not get to pick out my evaluate units. even though it‘s still a stunning item, the gray-on-black model simply fades away into the historical past. most people might likely respect that, however Idesired the audio system to be a assertion, a communication piece, and the black-on-white model issincerely hanging.
when you first plug in a Sonos, you could use a telephone, tablet, pc or Mac to get began. Setup is simple regardless of the tool, but it really works best with iOS. when the use of an iPhone, iPad or iPodcontact, after pairing — which involves urgent a sync button on the speaker and no longer plenty else —you’ll be invited to apply a new Sonos characteristic referred to as Trueplay to tune the Play:5. we havewritten about this iOS-only function in element, but to trap you up, it essentially plays a apparentlyrandom selection of sounds and makes use of your telephone‘s or tablet‘s microphone to test your room’s acoustics and your speaker positioning. it’ll then alter the speaker output to excellent fit its environment. The idea is not to create a unmarried candy spot, but to song your speaker for the complete room.
So here‘s the issue about Trueplay. it is a easy procedure to go through, however it calls for somenotion. The app shows a bit video guiding you on how to wave your device in the appropriate way andpresentations a female wandering all around a room. In exercise, this can no longer be the excellentmanner to go about things. i’ve examined the speaker in multiple rooms of my house, and in maximumplaces the general wandering-and-waving method labored properly, but there have been multiplesituations in which it did now not.
In my bedroom/workplace wherein I do most of my tune listening, i have the speaker on a bedside table, angled to fireplace over my mattress immediately at my table on the opposite aspect of my room. With this setup, following Sonos’ instructions and wandering the entire room left the Play:five tuned completelywrong, with very vulnerable bass notes and overly loud trebles. the second one time I ran the tuning, I stayed around my table and bed, ignoring the rest of the room, and become rewarded with a close to–flawlessly tuned speaker.
Trueplay does upload a actual clarity to song by doing away with or reducing frequencies — speciallylow notes — that reverberate oddly because of obstructions or room acoustics. but it’s not ideal. Tuningtroubles aside, it’s a chunk overzealous with bass discount, which could damage the stability of tracks with a robust consciousness at the low end. universal it’s well worth the change-off, but i would like anless difficult manner to show it on or off within the app. proper now you need to dig through the settings menu to find the proper checkbox, but i would like to see a button on the playback screen rather. Sonos already has audio-putting shortcuts like this for its Playbar, so there’s no purpose it couldn’t do the samehere.
The bass trouble brought via Trueplay has genuinely been a long–term complaint about Sonos. The Play:5, just like the Play:1 and Play:three, has a sealed speaker system without a port to attract or releaseair. This commonly effects in bass this is crisper, however less boomy than ported structures. The effectis not important whilst you‘re blasting track out at, say, 70 percent of max extent, but concentrate atlower degrees and things are a little bass-shy. To fight this, there’s a “loudness” placing in the EQ thatenables track sound greater bass-heavy at lower volumes. I automatically have this switched on, as I do not tend to blast tune ridiculously loud.
these are pretty small issues, and although i am no audiophile I do be given i am extra uppity aboutsound pleasant than most. The Play:5, despite its niggles, sounds first rate across a vast range of track. An hour-lengthy choice of tracks I used to test the speakers is embedded at the right — I genuinely used Deezer Elite for the audio checking out, but Spotify is there on your convenience. anyway, this is easilythe exceptional speaker that Sonos has ever made. It blows each clever speaker i have ever used out of the water, and it absolutely competes with non-smart options within the same charge range.
Audio best is constantly a tough issue to decide. there is a person to every pair of headphones andspeakers that cannot be seen on a spec sheet or a frequency-response graph. beyond the quantifiable, you just have flavor, that is why there are $1,000 headphones that I dislike, and $35 pairs that i like. I do not clearly love the Sonos equipment I presently very own (two Play:1s, Play:3s and a Playbar). I invested in Sonos for the multi-room revel in, and the two Play:3s that i exploit each day deliver an adequatesound, but always feel a touch limp and dead. the use of even a unmarried Play:five of their stead has been a distinctly first-class enjoy. it is higher balanced, clearer and a ways punchier toward the low stop. Stereo separation is not best, however you can’t anticipate a single–box setup to completely isolate the left and proper channel with out it sounding unnatural. typical, it is a stellar speaker, and one i suspect will win over many naysayers.
The Play:five surely competes with non-smart options inside the identical rate range.
i can concentrate to the same music on distinctive headphones, and it’ll sound wonderful on every. Inote a specific mid-variety notice in a single pair of cans — a totally “balanced” pair of AKGs — that’ll betotally lacking in my each day “out-and-about” headphones, which in flip will spotlight a few virtual noiseintroduced to a bass note. nor is necessarily higher or worse; they may be just… one of a kind. i havethese little revelations daily with my admittedly highly-priced headphones, but by no means with my Play:3s, which, all instructed, set me again $600. The Play:5, however, joins the verbal exchange. i’mnoticing new matters approximately tracks on a day by day foundation, and it feels notable. To be clean,that is some thing i’d anticipate from a $499 speaker. but it is no longer some thing I necessarilyanticipated from a $499 Sonos.
Sonos Play:five stereo pair
the ones are the broad strokes; now the details. i’ve specially focused at the enjoy provided through asingle Play:5, but a pair of the audio system can, just like the Play:3 and Play:1, be installation topaintings as a left- or right-channel speaker. Pairing is easy: add the second one speaker via the app; letSonos recognise if it’s the proper or left channel; after which go through the Trueplay process. once you have got paired, the experience is surely impressive.
Even after a short hour-long demo closing month, i used to be already bought on just how good the Play:5s sound when stereo paired. within the week or so i have spent with them in my home, i’ve been able to pay attention to a vast variety of tracks I realize properly, and i am even more convinced in theirmerits. There are absolutely setup configurations a good way to strive out so that it will bring about aawesome sound. there may be an orientation sensor internal each, and the software will electricitydifferent drivers relying on which positioning you choose. if you location the speakers vertically, you willget quite severe separation, however more targeted at a “sweet spot” for your room. turn them horizontal, and the side-firing tweeters provide nicely separated stereo sound to a fantastically extensive place. and i suggest “sudden” — I can be sitting at once in front of the left-channel speaker and nonetheless pay attention the character channels.
due to the fact I commonly listen to track on my own, the vertical association makes the most sense for me. however it is in reality useful to have the choice to just flip the Play:5s on their aspects, have theaudio system detect that and allow them to adjust their output to play music to a bigger institution ofhuman beings.
Line-in and future-proofing
The Play:five additionally has an alternative specific inside the Sonos lineup: a line-in port. With a 3.5mm cable, you could play tune from anything with a line-out or headphone port. Sonos appears almostbegrudged to hold this port over from the final era, but it provides a variety of capability to the generalexperience, as you may move the line-in audio to any speaker for your network with little or no latency.
Sonos Play:five ports
throughout part of my testing, I had the Play:five on my table and used it as a computer speaker. Beingable to play my pc‘s audio wholesale for the duration of the house is beneficial, particularly if i’m being attentive to a video podcast or watching a football sport in my browser and want to move to the kitchen to grab a few meals. there is a tiny bit of lag, which it seems is a necessity to sync the audio across theentire house. it is not enough to make lip syncing a huge hassle for films, and video games laborednicely sufficient also. So, even though Sonos probably would not need you to use its flagship speaker to blast out YouTube clips, the Play:5 is greater than succesful.
software updates are frequent and often very beneficial.
One aspect i have not stated but is something it is now not surely possible to study, but is in realityworth understanding. Sonos regularly updates its audio system and software with new capabilities andcapability. This covers now not best simple stuff like including new streaming offerings — for the record, Apple song support is coming quickly — however additionally such things as Trueplay tuning, whichchanged into introduced along the Play:5, however additionally works with the Play:3, Play:1 and theprevious-gen Play:five. perhaps the most extraordinary update in current memory meant that Sonos now not had to be plugged into your network to function nicely. prior to the update, at least one piece ofsystem required an Ethernet connection for your router.
The Play:five honestly has some extra hardware it truly is not active at release: a microphone. it is able to be used for automatically tuning the speaker in the future, or perhaps for voice controls. it’s not possible to know what is across the corner for this unique speaker — Sonos says it is actively exploring the opportunities — but you could at least know that the company will aid the Play:five for a long time to come back.
far flung constraints
back to the existing, and Sonos’ imaginative and prescient for its products is that they’re entirelycontrolled thru its apps. whilst I don’t suppose the controller app is awful, I do discover it a bit restrictingat instances. If all I want to do is skip a track, and the speaker is on the alternative facet of the room, Ihaven’t any alternatives but to both stroll over to the speaker or pull out my telephone. Neither of these is the most laborious venture, I know, however that is a $499 product. there’s a $10 invention that Sonoscould very easily percent in with it: a faraway control.
i am primed and ready for Sonos enthusiasts to inform me that i’m missing the point, however the truthstays that a far off might be tremendous useful. The company used to promote a complicated controller replete with a touchscreen, which was superseded through its personal app. when I talk approximatelyremotes, even though, I mean some thing similar to an Apple faraway that might provide a simplemanner to manipulate extent and track choice without the need to tug out your telephone and open an app.
It have to be clean by now that i am a company believer in Sonos as a platform, or even extra so within the Play:five as a standalone product. As someone who’s already invested nearly $2,000 in Sonos tools, Iobviously do not represent the typical client. have to you get a Play:5? I can not certainly provide you with a one-phrase answer. if you‘ve got a non-smart domestic audio setup which you‘re trying toreplace, one or two Play:5s may be perfect for you, assuming the asking price works with your finances.
if you‘re new to Sonos and to the concept of spending plenty of cash on domestic audio tools, the $499/$998 price tag might be sufficient to scare you away. i have pals and co-workers who are satisfiedwith more than one Play:1s dotted round their residences, and also you might be the identical. you could even purchase both a Play:1 and a Play:three and still save a dollar over the asking fee of the newPlay:five, so that you actually need to care about the variations among Sonos’ services.
changing old hardware with Sonos speakers might be overkill, though, specifically if you‘re happy with the sound excellent. you could add a few primary casting functionality to everyday speakers for $35 with Chromecast Audio, or in case you want the total variety of Sonos capability, you can stump up $349 for the corporation‘s connect add-on. connect plugs into your amplifier or hello-fi through RCA cables, and also you constantly have the choice to feature a few Sonos audio system some other place in your private home to start building out a multi-room device at a later date.
The Chromecast Audio makes normal speakers clever for $35.
There are a developing variety of competing multi-room structures to don’t forget from the likes of LG, Samsung, Bose and others. many of those guide Google solid, which matches similarly to Chromecast to your television and helps you to send song out of your smartphone to the audio system. i’veattempted all of the above companies‘ gear, and regret to record that none of them get close to Sonos’previous–generation audio system, let alone the new Play:5, for sound excellent.
Rival WiFi audio system can’t come near Sonos, but Chromecast offers lots for a fragment of the fee.
With Chromecast capable of add smart functionality to any pair of audio system — and multi-room helpcoming soon — shopping for right into a business enterprise–specific machine that is not Sonos would not make quite a few sense right now. the ones on a superb-tight finances are better off locating a non-clever speaker they are satisfied with and including the $35 Chromecast Audio dongle.
in case you‘ve got your heart set on a Sonos, but are not sure approximately which to get, i wouldrecommend finding a stop along the Play:five demo tour, a brick-and-mortar keep, or an internet storewith a bulletproof returns coverage; honestly just any manner you could find to spend a while with theunique alternatives. simply endure in mind that the Play:3 is probably due for an overhaul someday soon— it’s now ancient compared to the rest of the lineup.
As for me? i’ll without a doubt (after an unspecified period of counting coins) be selecting up a couple of Play:5s to spherical off my home audio setup. i used to be very pleased to peer Sonos create a (comparably) price range speaker inside the form of the Play:1, but it is brilliant to see the corporationseeking to push the envelope on sound exceptional instead of just reducing the rate of access. The Play:5 is a massive leap forward for Sonos, eventually putting in the company not simply as a disruptive tech startup, but additionally as a bona fide author of high-quality speakers. allow‘s desire theimprovements it is made here trickle all the way down to the second one–generation Play:3.