Best surround option: Play 5 or One SL?

  • 17 October 2020
  • 2 replies

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Am I better to have 2 Sonos One SLs in proper position for surrounds, or to use 2 Play 5s as surrounds but improperly placed left and right of an Arc?


As per picture, I have an Arc + Sub and 2 Play 5s setup as surrounds.  However, due to aesthetics the only place I can put the surrounds is left and right of Arc.  

However, I could get two Sonos One SLs and place them in more proper surround positions.


I know I’ll likely get better imaging via surround sound with the Sonos One SLs even though the Play 5s are much better speakers.

I’ve had this setup for a while mainly because when I play music, I can leverage the stereo of the Play 5s + Arc up front, but only play music 5% of the time.  Just wondering if I’m much better served removing the play 5s; position 2 Sonos One SLs properly, and then for music playback just playing out of that setup rather than the 2 Play 5s?

2 replies

Userlevel 5
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Hi @joefig44, thanks for reaching out to the Sonos Community! I appreciate your interest in the Sonos products and I’m happy to help. 

We recommend to place your surround speakers behind and to the left and right of your usual listening position and ensure both speakers are in the same orientation: vertical or horizontal to get the most out of the surround set up. Sonos One is also a great pair for a surround set up. For me, it is still based on your preference and applicable set up at home. We can also wait for others’ opinions. Hope this helps. We and the community are always here to help.

With that setup, I wouldn’t bother to set up the PLAY:5s as surrounds. I would just use them for music purposes. 

If surrounds are not physically behind you, to either side of your head, they’ll sound odd. The purpose of ‘surround’ is surround you, not come from the front of you. 

Get the Sonos Ones (SL’s would be my recommendation), and place them in traditional positions, and your ears will thank you. Then use those PLAY:5s for music (as I do with a similar setup).