Play:5 - gen 1 vs. gen 2

  • 5 November 2016
  • 10 replies

I know, this has been asked before I just can't find the answers. What are the technical differences and how is the listening experience between the two?

Best answer by ratty 5 November 2016, 23:46

View original

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

10 replies

The gen 2 sounds like a completely different speaker, it's much better and louder. It also has the 5ghz wireless radio so can be used as surrounds for the Playbar but loses the gen 1s headphone socket.
Listen and ye shall find.
Listen and ye shall find.

Listen and ye shall find.


Yes, really.

And you can find out about the models at
I do appreciate you folks replies to my original question. But you may be making incorrect assumptions regarding that question.

1. I have throughly perused the SONOS website product info. You will note there really isn't much info about Play:5 gen 1.
2. I live in New Mexico, USA and there are few if any places to listen to the Play:5 gen 1 vs. gen 2 in a controlled A/B environment.

Thus my original question. I'm asking for YOUR OPINION if you have experienced both versions.
There isn't much detail on PLAY:5 Gen1 as it's no longer sold. What you see on the site is support information. Anything you are potentially offered by a retailer is old stock.

On the physical differences:

PLAY:5 Gen1: 5 drivers (1 woofers, 2 mid, 2 tweeters), in a rear-ported reflex configuration. It can only be oriented horizontally. Line-In and headphones jacks.

PLAY:5 Gen2: 6 drivers (3 mid/woofers, 3 tweeters in an array), in a sealed enclosure. Touchpad controls. Can be oriented horizontally or vertically. Line-In jack only.

As already noted the Gen2 is also dual-band, so can be used as surrounds with a PLAYBAR.

Acoustically they're quite different, even allowing for Trueplay room correction. The Gen2 is much more accurate, with more extended bass. It can benefit from a SUB, but does very well on its own.
Userlevel 7
Thus my original question. I'm asking for YOUR OPINION if you have experienced both versions.

Hi Chimaera

To your question as quoted above...I have experienced both Play 5 Gen1 and Gen2. I sold my Gen1's and bought the Gen2's. IMO the sound stage (as I had and have now stereo pairs) is much improved. Full disclosure... I fortunately had the benefit of conducting an A/B comparison in my home. So what have I told you...other than from my personal SUBJECTIVE listening experience the Play 5 Gen2's are a much better speaker than the Gen1's.

That being you have an avenue to purchase a Gen1? Unless it's a really cheap buy I don't see the point of investing in outdated technology (or however anyone wants to phrase it). Furthermore the only way YOU can be sure if you are making the right decision is to be able to do as you said an A/B comparison.

Even after the A/B comparison you may or may not agree with my accessment of an improved sound stage with the Play 5 Gen2. As I said (and will always say)....Listening is a SUBJECTIVE experience all other things being equal. It all comes down to what you can or cannot hear.

Good Luck in New Mexico 🆒

Cheers! more question...Do you actually have a mailing address in Georgetown, New Mexico? LOL

Last I read/heard Georgetown, NM was an abandoned silver mining town in the late 1800's. No wonder you're having trouble finding Sonos speakers.
Thanks for the thoughtful description of your experience, much appreciated. Gen 1 new old stock comes up on eBay on occasion. I have heard the gen 2 and really liked the listening experience. I feel that the gen 2 will be my choice, but wanted to learn about the previous iteration as they can be had at a significant savings.

Must have screwed up my profile! I'm transitioning from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Georgetown, Texas, but don't know how I crossed those up. 😉
Listen and ye shall find.


For two reasons, really:
1. Sound quality is so subjective
2. Even where, as is likely, you will perceive the new one to be superior, the decision of whether that difference is worth the extra price over the old one is equally subjective.

In the absence of opportunity to hear the old one, decide based just on whether you think the new one is worth the price in your opinion. While doing so, bear in mind that best results are obtained from a stereo pair; I can't say this from personal tests, but I suspect a gen1 5 pair may be better than a gen 2 single unit, and may therefore be the better buy. It will also afford you the flexibility of music in two zones when needed.
And to muddy the waters a little: a new 1 pair may also sound better than a single gen 2 5 unit, for about the same price, and will come with the same flexibility of using in two zones at times, and have a warranty.