Single Play:5 vs non-Sonos 2.1 system?

  • 6 January 2018
  • 3 replies


I have a budget of about $500 for speaker(s) for medium sized, irregularly shaped living room. I will mostly be playing music through spotify, edm, classical, rnb, indie. I'm wondering if a single Play:5 would work better than a 2.1 system from another company, possibly something like a Kanto Yu4 with a Kanto Sub6 or Sub8 with aptx bluetooth or chromecast audio.

I do like the sound of a clean sub, but I don't like boomy, over-emphasized bass. I've heard the Play:5 in a big box store and it did sound great, though the conditions are not ideal of course. I currently have an old 2.1 Cambridge soundworks Microworks II system that I love the sound of but has issues like drawing 20 watts all the time with no auto power off, has no volume control, and the input is getting loose.

I understand that given where we are that there will be a lot of support for the Play:5, but I'm curious to hear from anyone who might have experience with both sorts of setups.


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3 replies

Userlevel 7

While it’s great that you are considering Sonos it may not be the speaker for you. Sonos is a wireless system that is expandable to allow whole-house (i.e. room to room) full integration.

They are a far cry from what you are accustomed to in terms of what you can integrate with them and how you interact with them operationally. Your current Cambridge Soundworks Microworks II is better compared to the Kanto Yu4 you are considering than the Play 5 or any Sonos speaker from an operational aspect. Think driving a car versus an 18 wheeler. They will both take you from Point A to Point B but operationally they are very different.

As I always tell people asking how a speaker sounds is very subjective only they can make a decision as to which speaker sounds better. My advice is to always audition speakers in your home.

Having said all the above if you are really interested in Sonos (which given your budget would be two Play 1’s or two Sonos Ones’ with Alexa or a single Play 5) I suggest you do more research to get a clear understanding of what Sonos is and how it may impact your listening experience. Good Luck!
Thanks very much for the response. So are you saying that if I don't plan to utilize the Sonos "connected, whole-home" sound experience (which I don't) then the Play:5 has no advantages in terms of audio quality of similarly priced systems that lack that feature?

I'm mostly interested in audio quality and simplicity for a single room. My old Micrworks II does sound great, but it's not simple to use due to the lack of a volume control, the huge standby power consumption, and the fact that it's wearing out. The Play:5 seemed like it might work because of the all the glowing reviews about the audio quality, the relatively low standby power consumption, that it's a single unit with only one power cord and no other wires, and that it's easy and fast to have it start playing music. I'm trying to choose between all of that and a modern version of the 2.1 system I currently have.
Userlevel 7
Thanks for the response to provide a bit more insight into your needs. No..I'm not saying that although you may not use the Sonos whole-house integration features that everything else Sonos is irrelevant. The Play 5 as you said (based upon your brief audition in the big box store) is an excellent sounding speaker.

When I went with Sonos my main objective was to eliminate speakers wires for a Home Theather 5.1 system (i.e. mainly for surrounds). The whole-house integration was a bonus.

In your case let me suggest this which in part prompted my initial response. Go to the Kanto website: and view the rear of the Kanto Yu4; and then view the rear of the Sonos Play 5. I think you'll see straight away that the connection input/output options (i.e. operation integration) are vastly different between the Kanto Yu4 and Sonos play 5 (line-in only). Also, the Play 5 does not support BlueTooth.

Outside of why I like Sonos the other advantages that may interest you (from what I can surmise) is that the Kanto line of products for streaming are dependent upon a line-in from a computer; Sonos is not (unless you can stream over bluetooth). The Kanto product also requires a physical remote to control it's functions from across a room versus a software based Controller App for Sonos that can be used via a compatible cell phone or tablet as well as a computer over wi-fi or the Sonos net (none of which are hardwired to Sonos).

All said...again I'm not trying to sway you to Sonos. You need to feel comfortable making the switch. One nice thing about Sonos direct is that you can audition any of their speakers for 45 days without obligation. Most reputable on-line and big box retailers offer at least 15 days.

I hope this helps and once again Good Luck and Cheers!

If using a Sonos speaker to create what is called a Boost Setup to make it independent of your home wi-fi (or for a stronger signal) the speaker will be wired by ethernet. However, you can purchase a separate dedicated Sonos Boost Component ($99) to serve as the ethernet link and free-up the Sonos speaker for better placement versatility.