Is it worth upgrading to play 5 Gen 2 low volume

  • 17 October 2019
  • 5 replies

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I have a 16 by 18 living room with 2 play 3 and a sub. I don't normally blast my music I need to be able to hold a conversation in my house. Volume normally between 40 and 60%. It does seem like the room is not as filled as it should be. How is the play 5 Gen 2 at lower volumes? Like the sound is a little thin in the room.

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5 replies

It’s hard to tell. A lot depends on the room itself, and your ears, as well as the music being played. However, if you were to purchase from Sonos directly, you’d have the benefit of a ‘trial’ period, and could return them if you didn’t like them.

To me, the PLAY:5 gen 2 does sound better than a gen 1. But I don’t have your ears.

Userlevel 7
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I think the 5 sounds ok at low and medium volume. You have the sub to fill out the sound too. 



Are you using the Loudness setting? Humans don’t hear bass as well as the midrange when the level is low. The Loudness compensation attempts to deal with this.(it’s an approximation and in, my opinion, the optimum compensation varies from individual to individual) In terms of bass response, PLAY:5 has more bass then PLAY:3, but with a SUB in the system, it will be doing the low frequency heavy work.


You can adjust the overall balance with the bass and treble controls and separately adjust the SUB level.


As a quick trial, rotate the PLAY:3’s into their vertical position and see if you like the results better.


Another quick trial: If you have another set of SONOS speakers, bring them into the room and Group them with the current Living Room speakers. Not everyone will enjoy this arrangement, but it is a quick and easy trial.

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I have a traumatic brain injury so I have to be really careful with too much Bass. It was really frustrating having turn down both subs in different rooms. Are the Play 3 usable in a vertical orientation? And what advantage would that have?

I’m not sure what “not filled” means to you. Bring more speakers into the room and see if this helps.

PLAY:3 in the vertical position changes the stereo imaging. You may or may not prefer this orientation -- it’s personal taste.

Given your brain injury, a lot of traditional audio reasoning will not be appropriate. I think that you would benefit if you could create a peak in the system response at about 120Hz. This is a trick used by a lot of small, low end units to make the listener think that there is a lot of bass, but there is not actually much low frequency energy in the room. In some respects SUB is exactly [u]not[/u] what you want in the room because it puts out quite a lot of low frequency energy.

Try this: Raise the bass, but reduce SUB’s output or raise the bass and remove SUB. I’m attempting to create a rise at 120Hz without introducing a lot of low frequency energy. I wish that we could insert an equalizer into the system and create that 120Hz peak because I think that this would be very helpful for you.

With respect to PLAY:5, they do provide more bass than PLAY:3. With your injury in mind, it might be more appropriate to use PLAY:5 without SUB.

I hope that your injury will heal and that this is a temporary situation. And I hope that you can avoid the impatient temptation to push the bass too soon.