Is the Play:1 overkill as rear effects speakers?

  • 10 January 2019
  • 5 replies
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Userlevel 2
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The recommendation in the Home Theatre Megathread is that "depending upon size of room" you can use Play:1 and even Play 5 for rear effects. But considering what they do as rear effect speakers, and where they are typically placed (behind you when watching the movie), is there a need for a more "basic" and (dare I say it) lower-cost speaker to meet this need?

I know they can be set to "full range" so they also play music, but the placement of the speaker for rear effects is probably wrong when listening to stereo music.

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5 replies

Userlevel 1
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All speculation on my part, but

-theres no pricing pressure (competition, desperation, compelling potential, etc) for them to make such a thing

-each speaker can function as independent unit - has wifi/mesh module, etc; the cost in a speaker is not just a driver and housing
Badge +1
No, they work well as surround speakers with a beam. They cost less ( they are the cheapest Sonos speaker) and IMO, they are better than buying a sub with your Beam
If you don't like them, you can always use them in other rooms , singly or as a stereo set
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If money and/or neighbors werent a consideration, between surrounds and sub to accompany a Beam, it would be a sub for me. The depth and impact add more to a movie experience, compared to the extra special effects from surrounds.

Back to topic, to make a cheap, basic surround, you'd have to design and manufacture a new body. Or do you keep the existing body as the P:1/One to leverage scale? Then you could lower cost with cheaper drivers, magnets, etc. But (assuming you want to maintain same margin as today) how much would that lower retail price? And do you break the current lineup and gimp the connectivity to make it a surround-only speaker, or risk offering a speaker that, used in isolation, does not perform up to the brand standard?
Userlevel 7
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I think a lower-cost SUB would be a preferable product for Sonos to work on -- something that would partner a BEAM or a stereo pair of PLAY:1 or One speakers at a comparable cost. Target $1000 for a full 5.1, BEAM-based system.
Userlevel 7
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I agree with Kampffechten on this. You could probably have enough with a smaller speaker, but there's not enough interest and revenue to be generated to spend the money to develop the thing. That said though, there have been requests for a speaker smaller than a play:1 for use in bathrooms and hallways. And there have also been requests for battery powered speakers. Perhaps there's enough market for a speaker that meets all these needs.

If you mean in terms that the play:1 is too much and therefore gives you a worse experience than a smaller speaker would...I can't agree with that.