Question

Why would anyone buy a 1x Play 5 when 2x Play 1s are cheaper and sound better?


Just trialling a Play 5 and a pair of Play 1s, and as per title I am wondering why anyone would pay £100 more for 1 Play 5 when they could get 2x Play 1s and have, what seems to my battered old ears at any rate, a better sound with greater stereo image?

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13 replies

Everyone has different ears and different tastes in music, which is why it's great to have the choices available!
Oh I agree, and also there is the time when the layout of a room dictates a single speaker.

But it's just I expected to be blown away by the Play 5 seeing as it's Sonos' marquee speaker, and in fact I just found the 2 older, cheaper Play 1s better in all respects. 😃
Userlevel 6
Badge +9
I have a stereo pair of Play 1s in my bedroom, a Connect for the living room stereo system and a single Play 5 for the veranda. There's no way my veranda is suitable for a stereo pair, so I enjoy the good audio quality of the 5 on the veranda. That's my reasoning. I have heard, but do not own, stereo Play 5s. They blow stereo Play 1s away.
Userlevel 7
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Better stereo image from 2 x PLAY:1s, sure. In all other respects a single PLAY:5 is in a different league. Yes, this is subjective, but I've tried quite a few different comparisons with the Sonos equipment I own.

Btw, every Sonos enthusiast should look for an opportunity to audition 2 x PLAY:5s plus a SUB. I think this setup would fool many an audiophile into thinking they were listening to quite expensive separates, given a blind test.
This was what I was wondering about. At the risk of spouting some nonsense, is there a chance the brain just latches onto the better stereo image and automatically assumes that is a better sound?
This was what I was wondering about. At the risk of spouting some nonsense, is there a chance the brain just latches onto the better stereo image and automatically assumes that is a better sound?

Absolutely, and in some ways it is. Some find quality in the 3D sound of true stereo, whereas others are tuned to the fidelity. It's all subjective, and in many ways, subconscious.
Userlevel 6
Badge +9
I prefer stereo because of the sense of "space,'" or soundstage. I do most of my "serious" listening with headphones and DACs, which for me provides the ideal sense of both space and fidelity, albeit a different spatial experience from speakers.

Btw, every Sonos enthusiast should look for an opportunity to audition 2 x PLAY:5s plus a SUB. I think this setup would fool many an audiophile into thinking they were listening to quite expensive separates, given a blind test.

IMO, the 1 pair + Sub does this too, with enough care over placement of the three units. I replaced my expensive separates with this within a few months, and also did a LOT to declutter the space, a most welcome bonus. One just needs to get over accumulated "wisdom".
I can see where someone would get a PLAY:5 with then intention of getting a second PLAY:5 to create the stereo pair later on in the future when the budget allows as well.
Userlevel 3
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I suspect a 5 pair + sub will suffer from diminishing returns what with the 5s already having very decent bass.

While it is probably better than a 1 pair + sub, I don't think the improvement justifies the price difference (~£600)
Just to come back to this, I ended up sticking with one Play 5.
🆒
Userlevel 3
Badge +6
Does that mean the extra £100 was worth it after all?
It means I managed to get a brand new 5 for £400, so the decision was kinda made for me.

.....and now I have been living with just the 5 for the last week, I am happy with my decision.