Pair of Ones vs. Playbase vs. Play 5


I currently live in a pretty small (540 sq ft) studio apartment and am going to make the leap into the Sonos world. I'm currently torn between getting a single Play 5, two Sonos Ones, or a Playbase.

It seems like the consensus is that two Ones in stereo will sound better than a Play 5, especially since I can't crank the bass too much with the neighbors. However, I am curious how two Ones in stereo stack up to a Playbase? I am about 90/10 as far as music listening vs. tv watching but I like the idea that I'd be able to improve both experiences with a Playbase. The only thing is that I don't want to sacrifice my music listening experience if the Sonos Ones are THAT much better sounding than a Playbase for music.

So what do you guys think for a single room apartment... 2 Ones or a Playbase (or a Play 5)? I'm sure I'll end up buying all of them and more at some point 🙂 but for the near term I just want to buy one thing. Also, the Alexa functionality doesn't really matter to me. Thanks!

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21 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +22
If I were buying today ... I would still start out with a Single Play:5. To me its the best starter speaker as you get an audio input for flexibility and it is an overall killer speaker.

I would use that as building block and expand from there.

2 Play:1s give you better stereo separation but you won't be able to get TV sound or anything into them (where with Play:5 you can hook analog into it for if you want better TV sound at certain times with people over or something).

I wouldn't start with Playbar/playbase right now with a new one coming it sounds like by the fall. I would expand with one later this year with the new HDMI version rumored.

I would get a Play:5 and a Sonos One. Put the Sonos One in kitchen or bedroom and utilize the Play:5 in main room. The Sonos One can always give you a little extra grouped with the Play:5 if you ever need it (and will give you built in voice control).
Userlevel 7
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And if you just get one of the speakers - - give it about 10 days and you'll be out buying a second. They become addictive real quick!
Userlevel 2
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If youre not into alexa, you could consider 2x play1’s
They are much cheaper now and sound the same as 2x play one’s But are also missing apple airplay2 in near future.
Userlevel 2
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And if you just get one of the speakers - - give it about 10 days and you'll be out buying a second. They become addictive real quick!

I did exactly this....lol
Userlevel 7
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Yea reinier666 - standard Sonos addiction 101. Happens every time.

My addiction started with a Play:3 and moved quickly into a Play:5 .... then I hit rock bottom I think.
Userlevel 5
Badge +12
Since music is 90, I would agree to hold off on the home theater speaker. With the play 5 v. 2 ones.

It comes down to what you listen to. One play 5 has more bass then 2 ones. It also has a bit better mids and highs response. But you lose the stereo effect. So you need to decide which trade off is more important. For me stereo is my thing. So I would always go with a pair.

Also price may be a factor. 2 play 5 will cost 900 vs 400 for 2 ones.

airplay 2 not an issue both will support. Smart assistance, it is really not going to be a big issue. Both assistant will be supported. You just need to add a dot or google home mini. And you will have that ability. And you will get the full assistant functionality. Which the sonos alexa do not support.

lastly, if you know you will get addicted. Just live without stereo for a few weeks or month then add a second play 5.
Userlevel 7
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shoturtle - we haven't heard any addiction from you .... come on lets hear what you got... its the first road to recovery.
Userlevel 5
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My addiction over 10 years

First home, main entertainment room, sonos connect to a yamaha 200w dolby DTS receiver with the main tv running some canton main speaker, canton center channel and jbl surround and yamaha self power sub with a 75 inch uhd.

bedroom 2 play 5 gen 1

kitchen play 3


Second home, onkyo 3.1 system with a 65 inch uhd. 2 sonos play 3 with sub for music

bedroom 2 sonos one

kitchen sonos one

I have swap out some play 1 for play 3 over the years.
Jeez, I just bought a pair of ones and a 5 (going to take one back) and talk about a tough choice! I like the sound of the ones better but they do seem to lack in the oomph that the 5 has... Flash forward to me buying the sub tomorrow.
Userlevel 3
Badge +4
I`m with Chris on this one; start with a Play 5 and decide from there on how to move on. It gives you a perfect basic start that will fill your room with great music. I love the delicate sound and basses of the Play 5 when not played too loud. For me that was the ultimate way to get introduced to Sonos. And then....compare it with marriage, you start with a wife and end up with a complete family, kids & pets. :D:D
Next question... (just asking for a friend *cough*) If you could choose between a pair of 5s or a pair of Ones with a sub, what would it be? I love the stereo but it really bothers me not having any bass behind the Ones.

Something that really influences my choice is not blowing out my neighbors below or to the side of me (keep in mind I'm in a studio with no separate rooms/etc.). Would a pair of 5s be more friendly to their glassware since it's a little more dispersed? 🙂
Userlevel 5
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Next question... (just asking for a friend *cough*) If you could choose between a pair of 5s or a pair of Ones with a sub, what would it be? I love the stereo but it really bothers me not having any bass behind the Ones.

Something that really influences my choice is not blowing out my neighbors below or to the side of me (keep in mind I'm in a studio with no separate rooms/etc.). Would a pair of 5s be more friendly to their glassware since it's a little more dispersed? :)


If you want good bass, that does not get noise complaints, go with 2 play5 over the 2 play 1 and sub. While the sub will give you more boom, it will also get more complaints. The play 5's might not have the same boom of the sub. It does have decent bass.
Userlevel 5
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Jeez, I just bought a pair of ones and a 5 (going to take one back) and talk about a tough choice! I like the sound of the ones better but they do seem to lack in the oomph that the 5 has... Flash forward to me buying the sub tomorrow.

The 2 ones has a stereo effect. That is why you might like it better. If you like the oomph of the 5, return the ones, and get another 5. It will have oomph, and it will give you the stereo and much better mid and highs vs 2 ones. And save you some money. The sub is nice, I have. But it is expensive.
Userlevel 3
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For sure the 2 fives, more subtle sound in all ranges. The sub is ok for multichannel dolby movies but when it comes to music, it would not add any value for me.
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I have play 5 and one.
I just bought my first Sonos- a Play 5. I love it! I am thinking already about getting a second Play 5. However, I'm first trying to figure out how to rip CDs into FLAC on my MacBook Pro. That CD drive probably sucks but I have no other way. Anyway, the Play 5 is fantastic. It sounds better than my $500 Yamaha receiver plus Sony sub and two floor standing Sony speakers. It is not as loud but I actually prefer the sound most of the time.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
The quality of the CD drive usually doesn't matter for ripping so I wouldn't worry unless it has been showing signs of failure.

I can't advise on Mac ripping software or tagging software but it has been discussed here if you search for it.

Formats: https://support.sonos.com/s/article/79?language=en_US

Ripping posts: https://support.sonos.com/s/global-search/ripping?language=en_US
Userlevel 7
Hi Colorado

IMHO...Unless you have a specific need for FLAC I think you'll find that AAC 256 kbps will sound great on the Play 5 and any other device. Here's a link on the subject of codecs: https://www.quora.com/Which-is-higher-quality-256kbps-AAC-or-320kbps-MP3

Cheers!
Interesting! I read the descriptions. Is it easier to convert from CD to AAC/M4A? I'll research that. I do not want to buy a CD player just yet so a conversion is the way to go.
Userlevel 7
@Colorado

It's not so much about the ease...but more so about what your Mac will do natively just by importing CD into iTunes. You can always purchase an outboard CD drive/burner; as that's what I use. Also, you'll capture all the metadata. You'll still be able to export from iTunes to a CD (with or without metadata).

Cheers!
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
I recommend initially ripping to FLAC as it is a lossless format.

From FLAC you can do what you want with it but getting the full CD quality down on disk initially is a good thing. I have my Sonos library in FLAC and have copied it into multiple other formats for use by other devices.