What Hi-Fi's questionable review on the Sonos Play:5

  • 29 May 2018
  • 6 replies
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Userlevel 4
I have just seen the review for the Sonos Play 5 on what Hi-Fi, and their credibility is beginning to crumble. Firstly they tout high-res audio as a must have game changer, now they say that the audio quality of the Play 5 has been superseded by a £300 speaker called the Audio Pro C10.

Looking at this objectively, there is more inputs on the C10 but c'mon What Hi-Fi... two tweeters and a woofer? How does that deliver the "impressive scale" of the sound... with two tweeters. Okay. And the design isn't close to what the Play 5 has.

Now I haven't listened to this speaker, but if anyone has let me know what it sounds like. I just can't objectively see how it can deliver superior sound to a Play 5 with the drivers it has. Here's a quote from What Hi-Fi's 4 star review:

"But, viewed as a wireless speaker in its own right, it’s impossible to deny that the Play:5 can now be beaten for sound quality, not just by the more affordable Audio Pro Addon C10, but also by the more expensive Bluesound Pulse 2."
https://www.whathifi.com/sonos/play5-2015/review

I haven't listened to the C10 so I don't have much backup in what I say - but HOW can that speaker sound bigger and better?!
I am looking at the specs on the official website and it is measured down to 45Hz bass response. So the woofer can't even go as deep as the THREE in the Play 5 that has TruePlay and more drivers. And my Play 5 has incredible detail in every song.

I have to give Audio Pro credit... they seem to have a really polished multi-room system and I think Sonos should be looking into this company as I think they might be a very good competitor in the future.

Now this is a Sonos forum. Objective, un-biased replies would be preferred.

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6 replies

The audio press long ago pimped themselves out to the "audiophile" elite. There are hardly any objective reviews anymore, and even then it is always slanted towards the companies that purchase big ads. Ignore them.
Userlevel 4
The audio press long ago pimped themselves out to the "audiophile" elite. There are hardly any objective reviews anymore, and even then it is always slanted towards the companies that purchase big ads. Ignore them.

I think that's a good idea haha. What Hi-Fi is most certainly not the be-all and end-all of sound judgement. I sometimes see their reviews and go "what?" haha
Audio Pro C10 seems to be a single-box solution to cart around and set down. I couldn't see any mention of operation in the vertical orientation, stereo pairing, or digital room correction. No threat to the P:5 IMO.
Userlevel 4
Audio Pro C10 seems to be a single-box solution to cart around and set down. I couldn't see any mention of operation in the vertical orientation, stereo pairing, or digital room correction. No threat to the P:5 IMO.

Their product page says it is possible to use a stereo configuration. Still though, i'd use Sonos over the C10.
Their product page says it is possible to use a stereo configuration.
You're right. I missed that on first glance. But, as with P:5, pairing in the horizontal orientation is not ideal.
Like all HiFi magazines, What HiFi has to pander to the latest kit, as well as keep in mind its advertiser interests. But it does offer a good eye candy embellished view of what is happening in its universe.

That said, it is possible that the speaker they refer to may sound better than the 5, or, more correctly, have a sound signature that some prefer to that of the 5. These are subjective assessments, and will vary from one person to the next, and the only way to know what sounds good to you is to listen to the alternatives. What the magazine can only really do is make the alternatives be known.

It is also possible for a well implemented 2 driver speaker to sound better than a 5 driver speaker; hardware content isn't everything. But a well implemented 5 driver speaker ought to always sound better, though even here, some may prefer the sound from the 2 driver speaker.