Just curious. What's the general audiophile of Sonos speakers?

  • 20 December 2018
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Is Sonos “Class A Stereophile Recommended?” Maybe not. But compared with the majority of high end set ups, is it possible to get near-audiophile sound quality (imaging, dynamics, transients, etc) from a Sonos set up? I’d say yes.

I have a Connect driving a B&W reference system, and the sound is fantastic. And I have a set of Sonos 3s with a Sub in another, larger room, and I’d argue it is extremely close in quality.

Stereophile has a very hard time putting something of the Sonos price point in the Class A category; if they did, their audiophile readers would be very annoyed with that. Better to read their measurement/comments after testing Sonos ZonePlayers back in the day when that is what Connect/Connect Amp were called.

I would argue that your Connect driven system is as good as it would be with any other audiophile source and the sound would entirely depend on the downstream kit and speaker placement. If the latter was reference quality, that would not change.

The other system you refer to would still be in audiophile leagues - extremely close to reference is good enough for it to qualify. That said, a certain member here would want to jump in to denounce me for saying this as he is habituated to do, but that is just how he is, and is of no consequence.
Had I had the money necessary, I would have certainly flirted with the audiophile market in my youth,
Few have the money in their youth for this hobby; it takes a combination of disposable income and mid life crises to get into this toys for boys thing. You may have missed the fun bits, but you also were able to not descend into the rabbit hole of that Alice in Wonderland world. And most boys outgrow the hobby.

There is a reason why so many great cartoons on audiophile foolishness are out there.
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Have had, and listened to a lot of expensive equipment over a long time. Sonos is far better quality for money than most. Really astonishing quality and value esp Play 5. Especially noticeable with better source quality. (everything sounds average on average/poor source material)  The new Amp is really good. Would agree w dfgiles there are some exceptions - Quad and other electrostats sound quite different, but most people have not got the room to set up electrostats properly, and they sound very different from conventional speakers anyway. Even the 1s are pretty good for size and $.

Sonos has been a game changer for me. You would have to spend a LOT to get something significantly better. 

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Once upon a time, I owned a pair of $10K speakers (Meridian DSP5200). Then I owned a pair of $5K speakers (Devialet Phantom Gold).

Then I bought a Beam. And two One SLs. And a Sub. And a Move. And a bunch of IKEA Symfonisk for lesser rooms.

Then finally I broke down and bought a pair of Play:5s.

Today I bought a second Sub.

I hope I’m done.

I’m happy.

:-)

Quad and other electrostats sound quite different, but most people have not got the room to set up electrostats properly, and they sound very different from conventional speakers anyway.

Not being able to ever own/listen to a well set up pair of electrostatic panels for lack of space and money is the only thing I regret after spending a decade in the audiophile hobby. 

But that has nothing to do with Sonos sound quality per se, and I have no regrets in abandoning the hobby and using kit - Sonos and others - that is now excellent value thanks to modern tech/large scale manufacturing. Where audio at home is concerned, there have never been times that are as good, notwithstanding the complaints from nostalgia buffs. 

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Once upon a time, I owned a pair of $10K speakers (Meridian DSP5200). Then I owned a pair of $5K speakers (Devialet Phantom Gold).

Then I bought a Beam. And two One SLs. And a Sub. And a Move. And a bunch of IKEA Symfonisk for lesser rooms.

Then finally I broke down and bought a pair of Play:5s.

Today I bought a second Sub.

I hope I’m done.

I’m happy.

:-)

I am very interested to know how Play 5’s compare to the much more expensive Devialet. 

Once upon a time, I owned a pair of $10K speakers (Meridian DSP5200). Then I owned a pair of $5K speakers (Devialet Phantom Gold).

Then I bought a Beam. And two One SLs. And a Sub. And a Move. And a bunch of IKEA Symfonisk for lesser rooms.

Then finally I broke down and bought a pair of Play:5s.

Today I bought a second Sub.

I hope I’m done.

I’m happy.

:-)

I am very interested to know how Play 5’s compare to the much more expensive Devialet. 

The Devialet Phantoms…. unreal deep base, bowl dislodging, goes to stupid volume levels, no distortion… the software sucks!

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Sorry to come so late to this interesting thread.I have just purchased 2 Gen.-2 Play 5’s and the Sub,though they are not set up quite yet.

I have recently heard 2 new Play 5’s at a friend’s home.,,,,,Here is my unbiased opinion…..

I was into high end audio for decades and had friends who reviewed for the mainstream mags(Absolute Sound and Stereophile)…..

I had a dedicated audio room and a plethora of extremely pricey equip….from top tier Audio Res/Jeff Rowland/Infinity/Avalon Conrad Johnson etc…...Every time I had a personal listening session,as well as the listening sessions at my friend’s homes it would turn into a tweak/sound effects session.

“you have to hear this,but tweak the cartridge’s tracking force,or VTA,or speaker’s placement,or change tubes”...Etc…...”Can you hear that triangle in the back ground?”

It became very much about materialism/luxury equipment snobbery and I was at fault myself,for years….as well as a bundle of money!

I had been to quite a few reviewer’s homes(famous ones) whose set up was a disappointment to me.The fancy casework and chachkas (audio toys) were almost always at the forefront.Some of the tweak stuff was ridiculous and actually hurt the sound,imo.

Not to mention the space taken up(I had over 3,000 lp’s and 400 CD;s) the cables(my interconnect for the pre/amp was more than my entire Sonos set up) and the frustrating reliability issues that “always” eventually rears it’s head…..Took me 5 months to get my Rowland amp fixed and my turntable(after an expensive update) did not have the motor properly grounded,which subsequently blew up my preamp…...ARGH!

Btw…..sorry for this long winded rant,but I hope to make a point for you Sonos folks.

I sold my stuff to fund my daughter’s wedding and infuse some monies into my small business.Never has a day gone by hat I have not missed my music!

I always though that Sonos was basically for a poolside afternoon,or beach type of thing,because it never sounded very good at Best Buy,so I blew them off…..until………

Three weeks ago a friend got a pair of Play 5’s.He has a nice medium small-ish room.Similar to my new room in a new condo,since I’d sold my old home,having retired.

The sound absolutely blew me away! I am a very serious/critical listener.This was definitely sound at a very high level of reproduction.Since I have not heard much after selling my stuff,I can confidently say that it is about the equal of anything I remember 11 years ago….When I left the hobby.

To me,it sounds just so damn good that I don’t care if it’s not “Ultra High End’…...because it “is” definitely High End!

No cables/no huge expenses/no multi company repair issues/takes up little space/no worries about storing large LP/CD collections/no shelving/no line conditioners…..etc…

A “Smart Audiophiles Smart System”!

Best wishes to all,

  Mark

 

A “Smart Audiophiles Smart System”!

 

  

One could argue that the first two words in the quote can never go together.

Seriously though, I see two reasons why Sonos isn't an audiophile system, and both have nothing to do with sound quality.

The first is that Sonos just does not look the part to be considered audiophile. Where is the necessary eye candy like backlit VU metres, thick cables, heavy cabinets with massive heat sinks, glowing valves etc.?

The second is that Sonos does not lend itself to tinkering in a way to allows it to be appealing to an equipment hobbyist - once bought and set up, there is no scope for doing anything other than listen to music.

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Kumar,you are absolutely correct! My old audio friends(of which I have lost touch with,basically because I’d left the hobby/moved far and they stopped calling) would not even bother to give a Sonos set-up a serious listen.

If I wanted to play a CD for one particular friend  who reviewed LP’s for T.A.S.…..a very nice guy btw,but so unwilling to give anything new a fair shake(he’s the only one I miss,because he was a real gentleman,but lives so far from me now that I’ve moved)….well since it as not analogue,but digital,he’d tell me to take it off.No interest in hearing anything new,no matter how god it may have been,because it was digitally recorded and not an analogue pressing…...my wife and I think about him and laugh every time we go to the movies and the Coke commercial plays.the one where the ice drops into the glass.….So crystal clear….but….obviously not analogue...Ha!

Anyway,I realize high end sound has changed in the last few years,but since I always look at the mainstream audio magazines,I pretty much only see insanely high prices,for “about the same equipment" as I remember having myself…..From what I heard at my Sonos friend’s home,it is a comparison similar to owning a really good TV from Aamsung,that is maybe 3-4 years old,with superb resolution…..but…..the newest TV’s have an even higher degree…..Once you have really good picture quality you just get lost in the viewing of the story,or sporting event…..You don’t think that mabe the picture would be better with the latest stuff,because it’s so good already.

That’s exactly how I felt about the Sonos sound in my pal’s house.It was so damn good already,that I was not too worried about the possibility of any higher end (crazy high priced) equipment bettering it.

I don’t care about specs,or freq extremes,or tweaking(a pain)….I only care about music!

That’s why the hi-fi snobs,who became obsessed with the materialistic aspect of the hobby as time went on, got into it in the first place.

“Music For Music’s Sake”.

If my lovely wife,who was not thrilled about how much money I’d spent on the hobby,told me to jump on a pair of Play 5’s and the Sub,it’s “good stuff”!

One thing I’ve learned after being married for a few decades is…..Women are much smarter than men!

 

One thing I’ve learned after being married for a few decades is…..Women are much smarter than men!

In general, I would agree, but they too have their weak points. Shoes, as one example.

PS: I just noticed - appropriate subject to approach and then reach the 10,000 count for my posts here, starting from back in 2011, which was the time I had my “enough of this audiophile frenzy” moment.

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I am very interested to know how Play 5’s compare to the much more expensive Devialet. 

Belly M above nails it regarding sound signature.

A few weeks in, I am very much at ease with the Play:5’s. That – and the Sub works miracles (as it should). Pretty much done with audiophilia now, but listening joy is through the roof.

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