Play 5 vs. Beam

  • 4 September 2018
  • 14 replies

In my living room, I now have 2nd gen play 5 connected to TV line-in, and a pair of play 1's bounded with a SUB. They are grouped together for watching movies and listening to music. I know it does not provide surround sound and cause slight delay of lip sync when watching TV.
I am thinking about getting a beam to replace the play 5. Can anyone adives what the gain and loss would be in terms of sound experience? I heard play 5 beats beam in sound quality.

Thanks in advance!

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14 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Good question I will compare the 2 right now and give you impression.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
ok - I played a few songs on each. Play:5 kills the stand alone Beam with music. I hadn't tried the Beam for music stand alone … and it doesn't particularly impress. I do love it for my TV though and the integration via HDMI arc.

Play:5 has much better soundstage and low end … night and day difference on music. Beam would need a sub paired to compare.

Note: I also pulled up my playbar - which gives the Play:5 a much closer run for its money.

I agree the play 5 does have a deeper bass response but for its size the beam is impressive. I currently have the beam two play1s and the sub in 5.1 and it sounds brilliant on both movies and music. The beam did sound lacking before the sub but now the low end is ported off to the sub and therefore allows the beam to sound clearer/sharper as its not having to reproduce the low end too. The sound through arc hdmi is better over the line in and also no delay. Its just if you can justify £400 for those slight improvements. I got the sub and beam together in a deal and got £100 off.
Thanks Chris! Good to know that Play:5 outperforms Beam when standing alone.
Besides that, I would be also interested in the comparison of grouped sound experience - Play:5 & SUB & 2 Play"1's VS. Bean & SUB & 2 Play:1's.
I've not experienced SONOS surround sound so not sure how much better it can be.
If I have to sacrifice decent sound quality in music for surround sound from TV, then I probably don't want to replace the line-in play:5 with Beam. However, the slightly lip sync delay did become more noticeable now once you realized.
Userlevel 2
Badge +4
I thought I would throw mine into the mix. I started with a playbar. And 2x play 1s for tv and music. I loved it I then did a lot of research about the sub as it costs a lot. I finally took the plunge and purchased a sub. Wow what a difference so I was then running a playbar sub and 2 play1s. I then started thinking about play5s anyway long story short I now run playbar sub and 2 x play 5s in a 5.1 setup for tv and set to full for music on the rears. And wow yes wow wow Wow complete overkill and I mean complete overkill but saying that would I change it hell no I couldn’t go back to play 1s as rears. I challenge anyone to play bob Dylan man in the long black coat or the weekend you earned it and tell me play 5s are not worth every single penny especially when set with a sub
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
My thought would be Beam + sub + Play:1s will sound very similar to play:5 in that same mix. With the sub taking over low end duties and play:1's in full mode for music your going to get some really good sound

+ with Beam get 5.1 …. where with Play:5 grouped in that setup your just getting stereo.

If your going 5.1 go with Beam …. or wait and get new Sonos Amp with 2 passive speakers (4.1 simulated 5.1) to go with the rest of the surround setup.
I’m very interested in this thread. Glad I searched before posting!
I’m new to Sonos. I have a 5.1 setup like lots of people here. Beam, sub and 2xplay 1’s for rears. I love this setup for TV, movies and mostly Netflix. My concern is I’m missing out on having better sound for music. I listen to lots of music and have put my hi-fi system into storage after learning about Sonos.
I’m thinking of adding two Play 5’s in the front on each side of the Beam for music listening only?? Has anybody else done this??

Userlevel 7
Hi Iwillwalkagain

I don't have a Beam but a Playbar w/Sub and surrounds. I also have two Play 5's as you suggested dedicated for music with a sub.

However, B4 you rush out and buy the Play 5's I have a suggestion (or two).

Move the sub to the floor as any sub is made for a solid surface. You might also consider moving it to a corner as sound from a sub is non-directional meaning placement is not as critical as are main speakers. Also in the Sonos app make sure your surrounds are set to Full for music playback.

Doing what I have suggested may surprise you when listening to music and moving the sub will improve the low end for movies as well. After that if you still want to audtion Play 5's then go for it. Just make sure you can return them if you find they're not what you expected or you decide your present setup will suffice.

Thanks AJtrek1. Removed sub from table and placed it on the floor! Sounds great. Way too much for my small living room.
May start with one Play 5 on a stand to left of TV. See how that sounds for music. Not complaining about current music setup, just looking for ultimate Sonos setup.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Give your current system a TruePlay tuneup, see if that evens out the sound. You need an Apple device to do that but folks seem to think it worth the hassle.
Userlevel 7
Hi again

Great that the sound is to your liking. If the sub is overpowering you can adjust its level in the Sonos app. Better still... if you have the Sonos app on an iPhone, iPad or iPod you can use True Play in the Sonos app to adjust the sound of all your Sonos speakers in the room. If you don’t own one of the devices I mentioned maybe you might use a friends, place it on your network and load the Sonos App on theirs temporarily. True Play does not work with Android devices.

If you try the Play 5...just know that you cannot bond the sub to it and your Beam simultaneously. Although you may find the Play 5 has enough low end without the sub. Good luck and enjoy your Sonos!

Thanks AJtrek1. Removed sub from table and placed it on the floor! Sounds great. Way too much for my small living room.
May start with one Play 5 on a stand to left of TV. See how that sounds for music. Not complaining about current music setup, just looking for ultimate Sonos setup.

Did you choose to set your rear speakers to play 'Full’ music audio? If not, then goto 'Settings/Room Settings' and select the 'Room’ for your Beam and choose 'Advanced Audio/Surround Settings' and switch the 'Music Playback' from 'Ambient' to 'Full'... then try your music playback again.

Hope that helps.