Play:3 adequate for TSF, or Play:5?


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Already have Play:3 within the space in question, just curious if Play:5 would be justifiable. In short, TSF is about 450 for the room, which is more a rectangle than a square. Dilemma (if you want to call it that) is I'd like to own the flagship Play:5 if for no other reason than to have the best technology available from Sonos, but not sure the room will be sufficient enough space for it. It's a lower level Michigan basement, where a Play:3 is presently on its own "room" assignment as a stand alone option. Currently, the sound is quite awesome but it does take the 3 being a little bit on the louder side to fill the space acoustically. I know a 5 would do that at low volume, but feel it's unlikely the 5 would ever be used in this space at anything beyond 1/3 its maximum output. As such, does it even make sense to entertain the 5? Does the lowest 1/3 of its capacity produce a different enough image than the 3 at moderate to mid-range? Would it make more sense to leave well enough alone, or potentially add a second 3 for a stereo pair?

A lot to discuss here, in terms of all available options. Please leave your opinion when time permits. Thanks, folks!

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36 replies

Userlevel 7
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TSF = Total Square Feet?

Assuming that's the case, yes, I think upgrading to a play:5 is justifiable. Peronally, I'm a fan of stereo over a single mono speaker, so I'd probably look to get a used play:3 to pair with my current play:3 to fill the space.
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Yes, Total Square Feet. Sorry if that led to any confusion. I'm in a builder arena and sometimes forget others may not use the same vernacular.
Userlevel 7
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Hi spydrwebb

The Play 5 IMO will definitely fill the space however, you would get better stereo separation if you can locate another Play 3 (as suggested by melvimbe) and set them as a stereo pair. Of course two Play 5's would be the ultimate.

Another reason to consider upgrading to a single or dual Play 5's is that they are Airplay2 compatible. They are also moisture resistant. Having lived in Michigan myself I know how basements can get a bit humid in the summer unless properly ventilated. The Play 5 also has a Line-in to accommodate other stand-alone sources.

Feel free to post back with additional questions. Cheers!
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I fear two 5's would overtake that space, and I'm not sure I can justify the cost. That is, of course, unless there's a significant difference in sound at the lower volume register of a 5 versus the mid-volume of a 3 (or 3 stereo pair).

To be honest, I'm probably just salivating over the 5 because they sound great in a much bigger space. It's one of those "not sure I need it, but it sure would be nice to have" scenarios in which we often find ourselves, you know. 🆒

Been leaning toward the 3 stereo pair, and I'm sure I can find one reasonably priced online. But it's still not a final conclusion at this point. Anyone else have an opinion?

Thanks for the feedback, guys!
Well, if the choice was between a single PLAY:5, and a pair of PLAY:3s, I'd do the PLAY:3s for sure....if you could get a second PLAY:3. I much prefer separation on the stereo. I've got both speakers, and I do like the extra bass provided by the PLAY:5, but the PLAY:3s as a stereo pair in my bedroom get daily use, and I've got no complaints.

It really breaks down as to what's important to you. If you prefer more bass, then the PLAY:5 will give you that. If you prefer more separation in your stereo field, then the pair of PLAY:3s gives you that.

And of course, as several of us have mentioned, it's not as easy to get a second PLAY:3 these days, so that may ultimately be the deciding factor.
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Makes sense, would likely check the used local marketplace if I opted for another 3. Not one for extremely low end, so if that's the selling point (mainly) of the 5, acquiring another 3 for a stereo pair might have more merit.
Userlevel 5
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And of course, as several of us have mentioned, it's not as easy to get a second PLAY:3 these days, so that may ultimately be the deciding factor.


If you have access to the military exchanges, I still see them in the store and online at aafes.com, priced at $229
Unfortunately, it's been 40 or so years since I had access... and we never lived on base, as my father was a contractor.

That's an impressive price, though. I wonder how many they have in stock. I bet I could sell them at higher prices on ebay 🙂
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Was medically discharged from basic in '96, so no AAFES privileges for me. That's a great price, though. There's no shortage of used listings online since the discontinuation notice, so maybe I'll be fortunate enough in that marketplace.

Play:3 stereo pair seems to be the route I'll most likely go here.
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Wanted to circle back with an update. Found a 3 in the used/like-new marketplace, should be delivered later this week.

Prior to its arrival, looking for additional clarification on possible configuration. As you may recall, the original contemplation involved a stereo pair of 3's versus a single 5. Believe (at least for now) I've simmered down on the 5, if for no other reason than the prohibitive cost.

So, I'm definitely looking to a stereo pairing of the 3s. What I'm wondering is whether or not those same 3s can be used as my stereo paired surrounds in the 5 channel (not true, of course because the Beam is only a simulated center) HT setup I have with the Beam, Sub, and stereo paired play 1s.

In other words, could I replace the current play 1s I'm using as surround with the paired 3s? Additionally, could a different group be created whereby the 3s could either by used by themselves for music or as the surround pair in the HT group?

Hopefully this isn't as clear as mud, not thinking very well this morning.

Cheers!
Userlevel 7
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So, I'm definitely looking to a stereo pairing of the 3s. What I'm wondering is whether or not those same 3s can be used as my stereo paired surrounds in the 5 channel (not true, of course because the Beam is only a simulated center) HT setup I have with the Beam, Sub, and stereo paired play 1s.


The bolded statement is incorrect. The beam has a dedicated center channel, same as the playbar and playbase. It's the Sonos amp that has a simulated center channel.

To answer the question though, yes, two play:3s can be used for rear surrounds in place of your current play:1s. (I would not call it a stereo pair though)


In other words, could I replace the current play 1s I'm using as surround with the paired 3s? Additionally, could a different group be created whereby the 3s could either by used by themselves for music or as the surround pair in the HT group?


No, you cannot bond a pair of speakers as surrounds (whether play:1s, play:3s, play:5s, Sonos Ones, or powered by amp) and use them as a stand alone stereo pair room. You can configure them to full stereo, along with the beam/sub for music source, just not by themselves. Of course, you can reconfigure them as a separate room, then back as surrounds as you wish, but this is a 5 minute or so task to perform.
Userlevel 7
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Hi spydrwebb

Thanks for the update.

To your main question "yes" you can use Play 3's as surrounds. I use them as such in the vertical position on Flexson stands.

The Play 3's or any Sonos speakers when used as surrounds cannot be designated as a separate zone or grouped singularly to other Sonos speakers. In short they are Bonded to the Beam (or Playbar/Playbase or Sonos Amp).

The Beam is a full pledged soundbar with Left/Center/Right channels just in a smaller form factor. The center is not a phantom channel. The only Sonos product that produces a phantom center channel when used in a HT setup is the Sonos Amp. Therefore when using the Beam with sub and surrounds you have a DD5.1 capable system.

Here's a link to charts that compare Sonos speakers: https://en.community.sonos.com/what-to-get-228989/sonos-speaker-comparison-charts-6821929
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That makes sense, Thank you for clarifying.

So, the new dilemma becomes whether or not I want to dedicate the paired 3s solely to music, or use those as my surrounds and run the paired play 1s for music.

Theoretically, the 3s are more powerful and should provide a better soundstage when paired for music. But I've heard others say not necessarily, in light of the fact they love their play 1s for the same purpose.

Thoughts?
Userlevel 7
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Hi spydrwebb

Rather than rely on personal opinion regarding the sound of the Play 3's versus the Play 1's for music you have the unique opportunity to do an A/B test by setting both as a stereo pair. Do so in the room where you intend to listen to music. Setup both pairs as a separate room and play the same music on both (alternately) to determine which sound you prefer.

Note: Even though the Play 3's as a single speaker has a stereo (L/R) sound within a few feet that affect is negated when used in stereo pair or surround. In short each speaker becomes a dedicated Left and Right speaker to produce stereo and/or surround.

Cheers!
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Sure, planned to do that. Was just curious to hear more from other trained ears. 😉
Userlevel 7
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Sure, planned to do that. Was just curious to hear more from other trained ears. ;)

I do have an opinion but I've found that psychologically when one is subjected to opinions (about audio) one of two things occur with the person seeking the advice:

1. They are either more confused and can't tell what they are listening for

OR

2. Are steered toward a decision not based upon their own listening experience but by overwhelming outside influence in one direction or the other.

If this helps...Sonos did discontinue the Play 3 and has since introduced the Sonos One. To date there has been no indication that a replacement for the Play 3 will surface :8

Cheers!
Userlevel 7
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My opinion is that the Beam + sub + play:3s will sound better than a pair of play:1s for music. Therefore, I'd move the pair of play:1s to another location in your home so you can enjoy it there. Using 2 different setups, one for TV and one for music, isn't usually worth the effort.
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Thank you, Danny. Just to clarify, you would stick to Beam/Sub/3s (as stereo pair surrounds) and run them all the time in that configuration, whether listening to music or watching TV/Movies?

And then, the Play:1 set could be used in other rooms?

Is that what you're saying. If so, there's only one caveat -- I'd desire for the P:1s to be Ones instead because of the investment I already have in Google's ecosystem, and how eventually we'll have GA support.
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Sure, planned to do that. Was just curious to hear more from other trained ears. ;)

I do have an opinion but I've found that psychologically when one is subjected to opinions (about audio) one of two things occur with the person seeking the advice:

1. They are either more confused and can't tell what they are listening for

OR

2. Are steered toward a decision not based upon their own listening experience but by overwhelming outside influence in one direction or the other.

Cheers!


I hear what you're saying and know why you hesitate, but I'm one to take the information I receive from others and bank it. I rely initially on my own opinion, after which (if necessary) I consider the difference between my preference and that of others.

In other words, I don't make others a lion and defer myself to the lamb by default.
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Thank you, Danny. Just to clarify, you would stick to Beam/Sub/3s (as stereo pair surrounds) and run them all the time in that configuration, whether listening to music or watching TV/Movies?

yes


And then, the Play:1 set could be used in other rooms?


yes


Is that what you're saying. If so, there's only one caveat -- I'd desire for the P:1s to be Ones instead because of the investment I already have in Google's ecosystem, and how eventually we'll have GA support.


I would be very surprised if you won't be able to speak to a Google home (or other variety) and request music played in any Sonos zone/room. This is how it works with Alexa. Obviously, you can replace the play:1s with Sonos Ones, but that is the more expensive option.
Userlevel 7
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My opinion is that the Beam + sub + play:3s will sound better than a pair of play:1s for music. Therefore, I'd move the pair of play:1s to another location in your home so you can enjoy it there. Using 2 different setups, one for TV and one for music, isn't usually worth the effort.

@spydrwebb

Now that’s funny...I have 3 Sonos systems setup for DD5.1. However, when I want to listen to music l go to my Play 5 x 2 in stereo pair. I also have a pair of Sonos One’s in my office.

This is a prime example of what I meant about opinions. There’s probably no right or wrong way to listen to music. I’m just more inclined to enjoy it in a traditional setting with just two speakers upfront vs in surround when played through a Sonos HT setup :)

By the same token I can’t definitively tell you that you’d enjoy the Play 3’s over the Play I’s or Sonos One’s. If I picked the Play 3 logic would dictate that the latter two are somewhat inferior which IMO they are not.

Furtmore if I were to pick the Play 3 then I’d be lamenting their discontinue (which I am not) as they are no longer available. Maybe it’s because I have my Play 5’s thus making the other Sonos speakers for music irrelevant.

I hope you are satisfied long term with whichever’ direction (speaker) you choose .

Cheers!
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To afford Play:5 x 2 would mean we wouldn't be having this conversation. :D

In light of the budget restriction, I've considered music on the paired 3's. I understand your points, though.
Doesn't change the fact that dialogue can be helpful. Danny might have perfectly good reasons (in his mind) for feeling like separate groups for music and HT are not warranted. My point, I respect each of your opinions and value the discourse.

Cheers!
Userlevel 7
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It's all good. If Sonos ever adoptos a setup where you can have separate L+R+C channels in the front with Sonos speakers (excluding the Amp), then I imagine we'd all agree that it will be the best setup for TV and music in a single room.
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It's all good. If Sonos ever adoptos a setup where you can have separate L+R+C channels in the front with Sonos speakers (excluding the Amp), then I imagine we'd all agree that it will be the best setup for TV and music in a single room.

Yeah...that would be nice. Reminds me of the old days with wires running everywhere and thinking of unique ways to hide them 😉
Userlevel 5
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Ditto on this - really wish you could have a beam and 4 Ones - BAM, instant true surround with stereo separation