Complex music setup: Playbar w Sub vs multiple Play One w Sub(s) vs Play Fives w sub

  • 9 November 2021
  • 1 reply



I’ve been into Sonos for a very long time. I’m reasonably familiar with both the S1 and S2 apps. I’m currently running 2 Sub Gen2, 1 Sub Gen3, an Arc, a Beam Gen1, a Beam Gen2, a Playbar, 2 Play:1, 2 Play:5, 4 Play One SL, and 2 Play One. In an 1100 sqft apartment lol. I only seem to recognize my illness when I type it out. So again, I’m reasonably comfortable with the company’s products.

So I’ve decided that I need to thin out the herd.

My Arc is bonded with the Sub Gen3 and 2 of the Play Ones. Really really nice setup. I love the sound. I’m not messing around with this.


I currently have my Beam Gen2 bonded with 1 Sub Gen2. I have them in my small studio (I’m a painter). I have them for movie / YouTube while working. “Maybe” a 12x12 room. It’s not an Arc, but it’s good. I haven’t decided about the 2 Play One SLs. It’s such a small room. I don’t want to hamper ATMOS.

Finally, I prefer to listen to lossless music.


Now the problem space. I have a something like 13x20 Lounge / Living Room. Right now, I have a Playbar at the center, end of the room with a bonded Sub Gen2. Approximately half way up the access of the room, I have 2 Play:1s also bonded to the Playbar.


The Playbar + bonded speakers is only there for music. There’s no TV attached. I’ve been reading everything. I’ve yet to find a thoughtful review of the Playbar + bonded speakers as a music source. I understand that the 2 Play:1s, set to full, play both channels. There’s no stereo separation (unless you stream 5.1 music audio - which does exist though it’s a niche). Pretty standard Sonos 5.1 from 6 or 7 years ago.


1. Are there any decent reviews of that 5.1 setup as a music speaker system? It doesn’t sound bad per se. Channel separation isn’t great.

2. Previously, I had a pair of Sonos Ones w/ a Sub Gen2 in my Lounge. All at one end spread 13’ apart. That wasn’t a bad setup. Decent highs. Mushy mids. Pretty good sub. Good separation. Anyone else with experience like this? I’ve thought of grouping them vs bonding. Even thought about giving each “room” it’s own sub. I’m suspicious that the Playbar can’t provide the separation I want. I’ve EVEN thought about 2 sets of bonded Play Ones + sub at each end of the room and then grouping the rooms. Finally, yes I’ve considered a set of Play Fives. I’m not against that idea, they’re about the same price as a pair of Ones with a Sub. There are like 25 questions in there. Net, I’d be eager for any responses. 

Thank You.

1 reply

Don’t mean to nit pic, but your post is a little confusing.  First there is no such thing as a ‘Play One’.  There are Play:1, Sonos One, and Sonos One SL.  It gets a little confusing to tell what speakers you have in each room.

Secondly, you listed speakers at the beginning, but I don’t see them used in any of the three rooms you mention after that.  Where are you using the Beam Gen 1 or Play 5s?

And I really only see two questions.  For your studio, I don’t think adding a pair of surround speakers would mess up the atmos effect of the Beam Gen 2.   Since you have them, I would add them.

As far as your problem room that is music only, I think you would definitely hear an improvement you changed it from playbar+sub+play:1s to the play:5s + sub.

Don’t know about your other rooms, but I would look to repurpose your leftover speakers there, or sell them if you have no use for them and don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon.