Play 5 Pair vs...

  • 6 September 2014
  • 24 replies
  • 4360 views

Userlevel 2
I am looking for anyone who has heard a pair of play 5's vs Play play 1's + sub? Performance differences?

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24 replies

Userlevel 3
Badge +2
Play1s with Sub sound better. Newer technology as well.
Userlevel 5
Badge +1
Having both I'd have to say that I would agree that the play:1 pair plus sub would slightly win out but not by much. Also note that the play:5 pair would be about $3-350 cheaper....so it's kind of apples and oranges for price
Userlevel 2
Do you mean the quality of the bass or the quantity between the two options?
Userlevel 5
Badge +8
Or, you could get two Play:5s and the sub.
Userlevel 2
I guess what Im trying to determine if the quality overall is better with play1 pair + sub or just play 5 pair. I'm sure will give alot of bass 😛 but the quality of it is more of a question.
Userlevel 5
Badge +1
Pure quality I say 2 play 5s trumps the play1 + sub (which had better bass). I have tried both btw.

Personally I would get the 2 play5s now and then leave the option open for the SUB added to it down the road-this option is UNREAL
Userlevel 2
I brought home a pair of play 5s to demo against my play 1 pair (no sub).
After careful listening back and forth, the pair of play 5 won. Surprisingly, the play 1 pair seemed like they had more bass. I do believe the play 1 is using eq to boost the bass (which is very good BTW).
The 5s upper mid is cleaner with more details, and overall more air than the 1. Some clever tricks indeed Sonos has implemented on the play one which is just a bit harsh on the trebel but the bass is very deep and detailed with the eq they use..just not as smooth and refined as the 5 IMO..
I brought home a pair of play 5s to demo against my play 1 pair (no sub).
After careful listening back and forth, the pair of play 5 won. Surprisingly, the play 1 pair seemed like they had more bass. I do believe the play 1 is using eq to boost the bass (which is very good BTW).
The 5s upper mid is cleaner with more details, and overall more air than the 1. Some clever tricks indeed Sonos has implemented on the play one which is just a bit harsh on the trebel but the bass is very deep and detailed with the eq they use..just not as smooth and refined as the 5 IMO..


I just read this thread and I'm happy to read that the conclusions you came to are approximately the ones I was gonna post.
The Play:1s are pretty impressive I must say, but the Play:5 sounds much richer, especially in the middles (well, at least, it's my opinion). A Sub won't replace that, despite the fact that a pair of Play:1s with a Sub is indeed a good setup.
Of course, a pair of Play:5s, without the Sub, won't give you the rich and full bass of the Sub!... So it's all about trade-offs.

To conclude, I would second Chirosino and say get a pair of Play:5s and wait to have the budget to buy the Sub! :-p
But other aspects come into consideration of course: looks, form-factor (both in favor of Play:1 I think) and functionality (in favor of Play:5 with the Line-In in particular).
This is really helpful. Thank you.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I'm hearing 2 Play:5's have no need for a sub.
At this time, the best sound quality for audio via Sonos play units is obtained from any play unit pair + Sub. Since the play 1 is the cheapest of the three, the highest value for money is therefore the 1 pair + Sub.

What isn't known at this time is whether the new 5 pair will be better that this, without a Sub. Until this is known, it makes the choosing of a solution a little tricky.

This should become clear soon after the late November launch after some comparisons are posted somewhere.
Depends on your space. I am in a medium space (30 square metres) and two play 1s are perfect. Don’t even need a sub in this space unless you really want to shake the windows IMO.

I did have two play 5s but they are too much speaker and you lose loads of detail at low (eg 30%) volume. Sold them and much prefer the detail of the play 1 and regular volume.
Userlevel 7
Badge +19
"Holy thread resurrection Batman". I had 2xPlay 1s in a small garden room. I added a Sub on the basis that it would be going back within the 100 day trial period as it is expensive and i could not imagine it being worth the cash.

Well a year later it is still there! It took all of 62 seconds of AC DC Hells Bells to bring a big grin to my face and realise it was for keeps. It makes a massive difference, not just for hard rock but all music types at all volume levels.
I bow in respect to any ack dack fans so will consider adding a sub.

As for the thread; might be old but still a relevant topic.
Userlevel 7
Badge +19
It's worth giving it a try in your home. I think Sonos still offer a return policy so if your experience is not the same as mine you can send it back. My bet is that it will stay 😃
Userlevel 4
Badge +10
I’ve just acquired another play 5. Not decided whether i’ll keep them as a pair, but decided to try it to see if all thr hype was justified. I’ve got to say I’m very impressed. The soundtage is so much wider and fuller. For ‘concentrated’ listening the setup is imho in a different league to a single unit. Before I decide on finalnplacement I’m going to experiment with a pair of play 1s that are (currently) in the same room as surrounds, might also borrow the Sub to add to the the play 5 pair and see if that makes the ‘ultimate’ setup. There’s so much bass coming from the pair already I expect it will be overkill, but interested to see if asding the sub will tighten up the mids and highs as some have suggested. The store screwed up and gave me a white one even though I asked for black to match the existing. But I’ve unwrapped it now so can decide which colour sounds best before buying another to make a mwtxhing pair. At least that’s the man-logic I’m telling the Mrs 😃
Badge +12
Play 5 pair v. Play 1 pair the play 5 wins hands down.

Play 5 pair v. Play 1 pair + sub. Overall sound play 5. Better mids and highs. The play1 + sub out does the play 5 pair bass response. But that is expected.

Play 5 + sub v. Play 1 + sub. No question play 5 wins.

Especially if you start driving the speakers at over 70% power.

But the pair of play 5 might be overpowering in small rooms.
Userlevel 4
Badge +10
I noticed that beyond approx 60% that there was a dramatic drop off in clarity, could just be the size of the room, the 5g2 pair were in a room of approx 3.5m x 6m so not a big space. But after 60% i dialled back as regardless of perceived volume the sound was simply degrading perceptibaly to my ears. Sweet spot seems to be 40 to 50%.
Userlevel 4
Badge +10
Not 100% convinced that the 2x5 beat the 2x1+Sub groupings.l ‘hands down’ - might depend on the type of muwic and listening preferences. Only started on the multi config comparison. Currently still got the 5pair and 5.1 grouped. Have moved the sub next to the surrounds and the surrounds are set to full. Playing in a group and fading the levels in an out between the two groiped rooms and there are certainly different characteristics. Play 1s seem to be brighter. I realise not a real test, ao these are just mpo as early impressions. Given the relative sizea and associated stand footprints, and given that the sub can be partially hidden away, I think the 2xP1 combo with the sub provides greater flexibility. The weak link in the family seems to be the Playbar. It sounds SO weak compared to the rest. Tiny highs and lacks depth. Hoping that the new device provides option to replace it with 5s as front speakers. Other than providing the brains behind the grouping, it really is useless speaker wise. I respect it is a bit unfair on the playbar as it is alone on one side of the room and is not designed for music so teating is skewed. But three things I’ve come to appreciate.... the 1s are a fantastic bit of kit given the price and really shine when driven (but not too hard), placement is key as 1s being placed higher than the 5s nenefitted from being more at ear level. And the Sub is a monster!!!! Goes way way deeper and fuller than the 5s.have to dial down the level in that to stop the room shaking at times. Sonos... happier and happier with my investment each day. Wish I’d taken the plunge long ago.
Badge +12
never said play 5 pair will beat play 1 pair + sub. The bass response of the sub out does the 2 play 5. But 4 tweeter and 6 woofer of the pair of play 5 out does the 2 woofer and 2 tweeter form the 2 play ones. The mids and highs on 2 play 5 are just that much better and room filling.

The problem with the play 1's pass say 60 or 70 precent volume, as they distort. The sonos distortion algorithm kicks in and constantly adjust the volumes. You can get the same level of volume from 2 play 5 at only 50% power. I like my two sonos ones paired, but they are no match for my pair of play3 pairs. Or even my play 5 gen 1 paired. The math just does not add up for 2 play 1 pair to out do 2 play 5 pair. And from personal experience they can not.
Userlevel 4
Badge +10
Playbar, 2xP1, 2xP5 and a sub all playing perfectly in sync in the same room certainly fills the space with a very pleasant sound 😃
Badge +12
oh yeah it will. But beware, noise complaint if you live in dense urban area. 🆒
Userlevel 4
Badge +10
Indeed lol. Neighbours either side have my number and can call anytime to ask it to be turned down.i explained in advance there might be some boise in cming days. . Won't be a long term placement arrangement. Just messing about to help me decide on longer term config. I’m figuring out how many pairs/subs i need to get to fill the house so experimenting whilst all in same room. Going to hang out until after 6/6 before making final choices. Even at 30% level that lot in same room is bordering on overkill!!! Luckily have very thick walls 😃