Play1 vs Play3

  • 9 November 2017
  • 4 replies

Currently have the Sonos one and the mic sensitivity is lacking so I'm thinking to upgrade to echo dot + (2) play 1 or (1) play3.


are the drivers in the play1 and play3 the same?

I'm trying to fill the sound in a large kitchen, could someone that owns that play1 and play3 provide feedback? I don't need it to be super loud and would rather have clarity throughout the room than all the music coming from one side but I do love my bass.

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4 replies

By all accounts a 1 pair trumps a single 3 on all counts except footprint, obviously. And some even prefer the sound of the single 1 to the 3, though there are probably more in the other camp.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I have a stereo pair of Play 3s for my "serious" music listening in my Dining Room. I also have a stereo pair of Play 1s in my Kitchen. It was a single Play 1 for a couple of years until Sonos tempted me with an offer!.

For a Kitchen I would definitely go for a pair of Play 1s not only for sound quality which is fantastic but they are much more suited to a Kitchen space due to the size. I'd say a stereo pair of Play 3s is a step up for music enjoyment but a stereo pair of Play 1s would beat a single Play 3.

Go for the pair of Play or Sonos 1s in stereo.
Userlevel 4
Badge +3
I've only ever had a pair of Play 1s in my dining room and as others have said, a stereo pair of Play 1s sound fantastic.

I also have an Echo Dot linked to them for Alexa control.
Userlevel 7
Before I offer my opinion on a Play 1 vs Play 3 I want to address your comment about the mic sensitivity on the Sonos One. The One has a six (6) microphone array which in most environments should be more than enough under normal conditions. Introducing an Echo Dot into the mix will cause some confusion as I had one in close proximity to a One and found that I had to change the wake command on the Dot to "Amazon". I have retired the Dot as I was only using it to see what the issues might be (if any) having a Dot and a One in close proximity to each other.

All this said....if you don't mind elaborating (as your info will be valuable to others in a similar situation) what were/are the conditions under which the the One was being used that has prompted you to feel that a Dot would be an upgrade for sensitivity? Placement is the only thing that comes to mind; but even that in my use of the One hasn't been an insurmountable problem. Please know that I am aware that the Dot has more Alexa skills vs the One.

Now to your question regarding the Play 1 vs the Play 3.

As has been said two Play 1's will trump a single Play 3. The footprint of the Play 1 is another advantage vs the Play 3; as has been mentioned. Also, the Play 1 is moisture resistant which can occur in a kitchen via steam from a pot. However since you say your kitchen is quite large moisture probably dissipates quickly; unless speaker placement is within very close proximity to the cooking area.

Head-to-Head a single Play 3 may have a slight sound advantage over a single Play 1 when the Play 3 is mounted in a horizontal position as it does simulation Stereo playback. However, after a few feet of distance the Stereo effect fades to Mono to the ear. By way of explanation the Play 3 in vertical position changes to a mono output. Vertical position is commonly used to create a stereo pair with two Play 3's which to some creates a better sound stage than two Play 1's. I personally use two (2) Play 3's as my surrounds with Play Bar and Sub.

So IMO, if footprint and moisture resistance are of no concern and you want a slightly better stereo effect go with two Play 3's. If the choice is a single Play 3 vs two Play 1's ...go with the Play 1's.

All of this is opinion (mine and others) but none-the-less I'd say on point...however, your ears are the final arbitrators. Sonos has a 45 day return policy and most (brick'n mortar) retailers offer at least 15 days. So if your wallet can stand the strain :8 for a few days, buy two of each (Play 1 and Play 3) and do your own in-house (kitchen) audition. Good luck.