Question

Sonos Play 5 1st gen: should I get a second one or upgrade to two Sons One one and a Sub?


Hello everyone, I'm new to the community, even though I've been using a Sonos Play 5 1st generation since 2014. I would love to consider upgrading the system, and of course, money is often one of the main factors involved in taking decisions.

I've never listened to a pair of Sonos 5 (1st or 2nd generation), neither a pair of Sonos one, with or without a Sub, so I have no empiric experience on my side.

My question would be, is it better to by another second-hand Play 5 1st gen to pair with mine, or to sell my own one and buy two Play One and may be one day add a Sub?

I wasn't able to find a similar thread on the community, but I hope not to be redundant.

11 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Hi Alessio Italy

If you can find a second Play 5 (Gen 1) for about $75-$100_USD then go for it. Anything more than that I'd go with two Sonos One's or two Play 1's which IMO will be better than your current Play 5 (Gen 1). Adding a sub will definitely bring more dimension to your music.

Edit: You cannot mix/combine Sono One's with Play 1's to create a stereo pair.

Below are two links to charts detailing Sonos speakers.

All Sonos Speakers
https://en.community.sonos.com/what-to-get-228989/sonos-speaker-comparison-charts-6821929

Sonos One vs Play:1
https://en.community.sonos.com/what-to-get-228989/sonos-one-gen2-gen1-and-play-1-product-comparison-chart-6821684

Cheers!
...
Hi Alessio Italy

If you can find a second Play 5 (Gen 1) for about $75-$100_USD then go for it. Anything more than that I'd go with two Sonos One's or two Play 1's which IMO will be better than your current Play 5 (Gen 1). Adding a sub will definitely bring more dimension to your music.

Edit: You cannot mix/combine Sono One's with Play 1's to create a stereo pair.

Below are two links to charts detailing Sonos speakers.

All Sonos Speakers
https://en.community.sonos.com/what-to-get-228989/sonos-speaker-comparison-charts-6821929
Sonos One vs Play:1
https://en.community.sonos.com/what-to-get-228989/sonos-one-gen2-gen1-and-play-1-product-comparison-chart-6821684
Cheers!

Thank you for your feedback. Actually, it is almost impossible to find a second hand 1st gen Play 5 for less than 240 euros in Italy (270 US). I though that two play 5 1st gen would have been better than two play one. Would adding a sub make a pair of play 5 1st gen better than two play one plus a sub?
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Hi

Yes, adding a sub to two Play 5's (Gen 1) would sound better than two Play 1's with a sub. However, since you have no empiric listening experience with two Play 5's w/sub versus two Play:1's with sub your cost difference is $28_USD up-cost for the latter configuration.

Bottom-line Play 5's (Gen1) x 2 with sub is a decent setup offering a vastly improved listening experience versus what you have today.

Note: Speaker longevity depends upon the speaker itself and how one uses them. Your current Play 5 (gen1) is approaching 6 years in age. Given that the Play 5 is not just a speaker but also a wireless component; network cards can and do fail. A replacement from Sonos would still be at a cost most likely for a speaker that may or may not be a Play 5 (Gen 1). The Play 5 (Gen 2's) are not compatible with the Gen 1 model to create a stereo pair. Buying a used Play 5 (Gen1) is still an unknown regarding longevity.🤔

Here's a link to help you better understand the differences between a Sonos One and Play 1 as it appears you are using the terms interchangeably:

https://en.community.sonos.com/what-to-get-228989/sonos-one-gen2-gen1-and-play-1-product-comparison-chart-6821684

I hope I haven't muddied the waters too much. Best wishes...whatever your decision.

Cheers!
Hi

Yes, adding a sub to two Play 5's (Gen 1) would sound better than two Play 1's with a sub. However, since you have no empiric listening experience with two Play 5's w/sub versus two Play:1's with sub your cost difference is $28_USD up-cost for the latter configuration.

Bottom-line Play 5's (Gen1) x 2 with sub is a decent setup offering a vastly improved listening experience versus what you have today.

Note: Speaker longevity depends upon the speaker itself and how one uses them. Your current Play 5 (gen1) is approaching 6 years in age. Given that the Play 5 is not just a speaker but also a wireless component; network cards can and do fail. A replacement from Sonos would still be at a cost most likely for a speaker that may or may not be a Play 5 (Gen 1). The Play 5 (Gen 2's) are not compatible with the Gen 1 model to create a stereo pair. Buying a used Play 5 (Gen1) is still an unknown regarding longevity.🤔


Here's a link to help you better understand the differences between a Sonos One and Play 1:ehttps://en.community.sonos.com/what-to-get-228989/sonos-one-gen2-gen1-and-play-1-product-comparison-chart-6821684

I hope I haven't muddied the waters too much. Best wishes...whatever your decision.

Cheers!

Thanks, I really appreciate your help. Longevity is another potential issue and unpredictable variable, so I agree with you that buying new devices would always be a better choice. I'm dying to listen to the new play 5 2nd gen to experience the difference versus the 1st gen. I've seen many threads about what is best between two play one plus sub or two play 5 2nd gen without sub, and it seems there's no a definite answer, as it is very subjective at the end. In the end, I may keep my 1st gen play 5 for another room, and invest some money on new SONOS devices, right now, my blind preference would go for two play one and a sub, also because I would set them in a room that is not that large.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Hi

I can definitely tell you that the listening experience of a single Play 5 (gen 2) is much better than that of the Play 5 (Gen 1). That's an objective assessment based upon the improved design and tech of the Play 5 (Gen 2).

Rules of Thumb (IMO)
  1. Single Play 5 (Gen1 or 2) trumps a single Sonos One or Play1
  2. Sonos One's or Play 1's in stereo pair (with or w/o sub) trumps a single Play 5 (Gen 1 and 2)
  3. Play 5 (Gen2) in stereo pair trumps Sonos One's or Play 1's in stereo pair with or w/o sub
  4. Close call for Play 5 (Gen1) in stereo pair vs Sonos One's or Play 1's in stereo pair w/sub
Cheers!
Hi

I can definitely tell you that the listening experience of a single Play 5 (gen 2) is much better than that of the Play 5 (Gen 1). That's an objective assessment based upon the improved design and tech of the Play 5 (Gen 2).

Rules of Thumb (IMO)
  1. Single Play 5 (Gen1 or 2) trumps a single Sonos One or Play1
  2. Sonos One's or Play 1's in stereo pair (with or w/o sub) trumps a single Play 5 (Gen 1 and 2)
  3. Play 5 (Gen2) in stereo pair trumps Sonos One's or Play 1's in stereo pair with or w/o sub
  4. Close call for Play 5 (Gen1) in stereo pair vs Sonos One's or Play 1's in stereo pair w/sub
Cheers!

Thanks again.
So, for about the same price, in your opinion, it is better to have two Sonos Play 5 2nd gene without sub than two play one plus a sub?
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Two Play 5’s (gen2) in stereo pair have decent low-end. Using a sub with Play 1’s just brings in the low-end they lack vs that on the Play 5’s (
gen2). However the sound stage produced by the Play 5’s IMO make choosing them over Play 1’s with sub a no-brainer.

Even though a sub can go lower than two Play 5’s when listening to music it’s a moot point. Going too low with music only serves to weaken or distort the sound produced by other instruments in the recording. Here again JMO.
Even though a sub can go lower than two Play 5’s when listening to music it’s a moot point. Going too low with music only serves to weaken or distort the sound produced by other instruments in the recording.
If that's the case IMO the Sub is not adjusted correctly. Ideally it should be Trueplay tuned along with the P5/2s. Room resonances can otherwise intrude.

Surely there's no "too low" with music, unless it's sub-10Hz and causing undesirable physiological effects. After all, they went to the trouble of building 64' pipes into the largest organs. In fact the displacement of the lowest bass into the Sub allows the P5/2s to breathe more in the mid range.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22

Even though a sub can go lower than two Play 5’s when listening to music it’s a moot point. Going too low with music only serves to weaken or distort the sound produced by other instruments in the recording.If that's the case IMO the Sub is not adjusted correctly. Ideally it should be Trueplay tuned along with the P5/2s. Room resonances can otherwise intrude.

Surely there's no "too low" with music, unless it's sub-10Hz and causing undesirable physiological effects. After all, they went to the trouble of building 64' pipes into the largest organs. In fact the displacement of the lowest bass into the Sub allows the P5/2s to breathe more in the mid range.


Using the phrase "going too low" was an incorrect usage on what I was trying to convey. The sub can't go any lower than the signal it's being sent or reproducing. What I meant was that manually adjusting the curve on the low-end making it more pronounced on a sub or any speaker can and will distort (change) the overall intended sound characteristics of a recording. As the Play 5's already have a sufficient frequency range adding a sub to Play1's merely brings out the low-end they could not produce on their own.
I agree that ineptly glued-on subwoofers can colour the sound. But the Sub is not just tacked on the bottom end. The Play:5s apply a high-pass filter in order to cross over to it, relieving themselves of mid- and lower-bass frequencies. Trueplay smooths out the overall response and sets the Sub's phase correctly.

Although the P:5s do very well on their own, in my experience their frequency range is not sufficient to get down to the 30-40Hz region with ample power delivery. I guess in the end it depends on one's taste in music.

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