Big difference between Play:1 and Play:3

  • 30 December 2013
  • 24 replies
  • 82502 views

Userlevel 2
Hello all,

I am thinking about buying a Sonos Play:1.
Now I just I would order one and start listening....but they're sold out everywhere (in Holland that is).

So now I am reading countless reviews just because I have some extra time ( 😉 )....and thinking what would be the best thing to do.

Is there a big difference between a Sonos Play:1 and the bigger Play:3 ? Main usage would be in my living room (30m2) streaming from my Synology NAS and Internet Radio. I've got an Ultimate Ears Boombox as well, but don't like the size and the Bluetooth dropouts. Also I think i'll love the connectivity from Sonos.

What do you guys think?

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24 replies

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I live in the Netherlands too, and last Friday I ordered a white Play1 from Sonos. The next day it arrived.
I might have had the last one, but yould could give it a try and order.
And as you might know, ordering from Sonos gives you 60 days of returning time.
So you could even order both and after that take a decision.
Userlevel 2
Tx for the suggestion, will consider it!
(en leuk om meteen van een nederlander reactie te krijgen 😉 )

But for now I would like to make the best decision. I've got an order for the Play:1 (with an free bridge) , but should the Play:3 have a (far!) better sound, than I will invest the extra €100,- ....

The Play:1 should come available somewhere in the next 2 weeks they told me. Play:3 is in stock.

So if someone has an opinion about both sound quality and volume I would like to hear it!
Userlevel 6
Badge +16
So if someone has an opinion about both sound quality and volume I would like to hear it!

Of course we all have opinions on sound and/or quality of Play:1 vs. Play:3. But if I were you, I wouldn't expect those opinions to be of any help while deciding what to purchase. It's all very subjective and personal and the only thing that really helps is listening for yourself, in your own environment.
Userlevel 2
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Well, I'll have a go.

I really do like my Play 1. It has clarity and definition. However, on its own, I really am starting to fall out of love with it. I have played with the EQ etc., but it just lacks roundness in comparison with the P3 I have in my office.

I am sure that I would feel differently if only had a P1, but the fact is I hear as much difference between the P1 and P3 as between the P3 and P5.

No surprise. I suspect this is just as it is supposed to be. The P1 is an entry level product in Sonos terms.

Others have stated that a stereo pair of P1's sounds good and I may try that. Alternatively, I may sell the P1, juggle other devices downwards and get a Connect AMP to go with my new SUB I got for Christmas !!
Userlevel 2
Hi,

I have a 20 sq. m living room and I would say a standalone Play:1 is not enough. As stated previously, this is an entry-level product and while it does perform really good in its range of speakers, I think it's more adequate for a bathroom, kitchen, small bedroom.

Also, I do confirm that 2 Play:1's sounds definitely better. You could say "Obviousy, it's bound to be" but it does sound better in a way it surprises you compared over a unique Play:1.
Last week, I had a friend at my place and I demoed my Playbar, SUB, 2*Play:1 and while he had owned a Play:5 and turned to Libratone for full AirPlay support, he recently turned to Android and now reconsidering back SONOS products.
He was obviously not impressed with a unique Play:1 (because he were comprising it to its former Play:5 and Libratone equivalent) but he definitely looked surprised and pleased by the addition of another Play:1 in stereo. Adding a SUB to this and he was pretty convinced.

Now, owning a Play:5 and having it previously in my living room prior to my Playbar purchase, my recommendation, in a 30 sq. m living room, would be to either go for a Play:5 or maybe 2*Play:3s.
Now, my Play:5 is in my bedroom (12 sq. m) and while it still sounds really good, it is an overkill in that situation.
As for the 2*Play:3s, I do not own any, just making an educated guess. 2*Play:3s would also give you a stereo feel that is very enjoyable.

Having my Playbar and 2*Play:1s in my living room, I do enjoy more the sound coming out of my Play:1s in stereo while listening to music that coming out from my Playbar because you don't have that feeling of being surrounded by sound although I don't use them very often for that purpose because of the lack of flexibility from SONOS to switch from one configuration to another. But, it's on their roadmap.
Userlevel 4
Badge +11
I have just bought a play:3 as part of my initial sonos set up. I listened to he play:3 and play:1 in the hifi shop I bought the items from. In my opinion the 3 has a more dynamic sound and better bass response that made it worth spending the extra on. I can't comment on your room size - I have the 3 in my kitchen which is about 15m2.
Badge
I have to agree. The Play:3 has a much fuller sound than the Play:1 (same for Play:5 to Play:3). And a pair of Play:3s sounds great (and really great with a Sub).
Userlevel 2
Went for a listening session yesterday, and noticed immediately that the sound of the Play:1 was both missing and adding something to the music that I didn't like. Felt it was missing a bit dept in the high tones (if that makes sense) and added a echo/surround that I dislike.

The Play:3 sounded very well (for my budget). Good base, nice middle an high. Sounds very well balanced, not as balanced as the Play:5 though but than one is just to expensive and big for my needs.

So I went for the Play:3!!
@home it wasn't immediately a WOW , but when I was listening a bit longer .... it became a WOW most definitely!

Probably will add an Play:1 in the (near) future for smaller rooms.

Tx for all you're input!
Userlevel 6
Badge +16
Thanks for the feedback, enjoy your Sonos!
JMHO:

2 play5 > 2 play3 > play5 > 2 play1 > play3 > play1

I don't know where the playbar would fit in here though. 🙂
Userlevel 1
JMHO:

2 play5 > 2 play3 > play5 > 2 play1 > play3 > play1

I don't know where the playbar would fit in here though. :)


I think it would be fair to put the Playbar above a single Play5. I'm curious if it would beat a 2x Play 3, possibly someone could tell us when they're not using their setup in 5.1?
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I would put Playbar under two Play:3s and above 1 Play:5, even though PB is still lacking in low range without a Sub.

2xPlay:3+Sub is far superior to Playbar+Sub in my opinion as well.

I still really like the Playbar for simplicty and for TV, but don't think it is AS great for music.
Userlevel 2
I have listened to all these devices. Ultimately I decided to buy a pair of Play 1's for my smallish bedroom. They work great in tandem and sound much better than a single Play 1.

In a bigger room I would have gotten a pair of Play 3s.

At some point, I will probably add a sub to my Play 1s. Not sure how that will affect/improve the sound.
Userlevel 2
Badge +2
And same for playbar to play 5!

A range of speakers for different situations - they are all very good in their class IMO.

I have a playbar, 5, and 2x3. My kids have a 1 each (but are away most of time). It was interesting to compare at xmas. The play 1 is very impressive for it's size, but the play3 gives a richer sound, the play 5 more so, and the playbar is exquisite...

but they're all good...
Userlevel 2

So I went for the Play:3!!
@home it wasn't immediately a WOW , but when I was listening a bit longer .... it became a WOW most definitely!


No surprise there! Speakers normally take a fair few hours of use to break in properly and reach their optimum sound.

Enjoy your Sonos - now you have one unit you will soon want to acquire more!
Userlevel 2

Enjoy your Sonos - now you have one unit you will soon want to acquire more!


That won't take long indeed......I think in about 3 months there will be another Play:3 in my house...
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JMHO:

2 play5 > 2 play3 > play5 > 2 play1 > play3 > play1

I don't know where the playbar would fit in here though. :)


How would this go if each of your combinations were paired with a Sub? I'm trying to work out if 2 Play:1s and Sub would be as good as 2 Play:3's and Sub in a medium sized room...
Userlevel 1
No surprise there! Speakers normally take a fair few hours of use to break in properly and reach their optimum sound.

Enjoy your Sonos - now you have one unit you will soon want to acquire more!


I can definately confirm this!

When the Playbar arrived and my old system was still installed, I wasn't directly blown away. The system was just as good as my cheap 5.1, which is already great for a soundbar. However, that's not why I bought it. The tones were clearer, but I wasn't totally blown away.

How different is that after a month of use! It took a few days for the Playbar to stretch and warm up I think, because the bass got a lot louder and I had to turn down my volume. I like my music kinda loud but barely go over 1/2. You can hear the bass is coming a bit short at the top 1/4 of the volume, but I rarely found myself in this situation.

My roommates and I started to love it, despite it's downsides (no youtoube, line-in or multiple toslink ports).

That won't take long indeed......I think in about 3 months there will be another Play:3 in my house...

And I have to show my cards here as well. The Sub is soon to be ordered. Most people could do without the Sub I believe. However I do like electronic music and then it's a great extra.
Userlevel 2
I would put Playbar under two Play:3s and above 1 Play:5, even though PB is still lacking in low range without a Sub.

2xPlay:3+Sub is far superior to Playbar+Sub in my opinion as well.

I still really like the Playbar for simplicty and for TV, but don't think it is AS great for music.


d´accord!
Userlevel 5
Badge +12
No surprise there! Speakers normally take a fair few hours of use to break in properly and reach their optimum sound.

Enjoy your Sonos - now you have one unit you will soon want to acquire more!


I can definately confirm this!

When the Playbar arrived and my old system was still installed, I wasn't directly blown away. The system was just as good as my cheap 5.1, which is already great for a soundbar. However, that's not why I bought it. The tones were clearer, but I wasn't totally blown away.

How different is that after a month of use! It took a few days for the Playbar to stretch and warm up I think, because the bass got a lot louder and I had to turn down my volume. I like my music kinda loud but barely go over 1/2. You can hear the bass is coming a bit short at the top 1/4 of the volume, but I rarely found myself in this situation.

My roommates and I started to love it, despite it's downsides (no youtoube, line-in or multiple toslink ports).

That won't take long indeed......I think in about 3 months there will be another Play:3 in my house...

And I have to show my cards here as well. The Sub is soon to be ordered. Most people could do without the Sub I believe. However I do like electronic music and then it's a great extra.


The Sub is an excellent addition to the Playbar!.

I ended up with the full 5.1 setup (Play1's as surrounds) and it's great for TV but to be honest I use it more for music now and it's excellent.

The hardware really is top notch.
Recently purchased a Sonos Play:3 and two Sonos Play:1's. For me, I am tempted to take the 3 back. I dont think it presents the same impact as the pair of 1's. They fill the room with a quality that the 3 doesn't have. The three is lacking bass and just sounds like a cheap speaker.

I was interested to read pairing 3's. As this might be a better option and may make the 3 sound so much better.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Comparing to 2 Play:1s but I think compared to 1 Play:1 the 3 is better (as it should be). I have a pair of Play:3 in my garage and pair of Play:3 sound to me much butter then pair of Play:1

I do think the Play:3s still exibit a better low end then the Play:1 (especially if near wall or corner where it radiates more)
JMHO:

2 play5 > 2 play3 > play5 > 2 play1 > play3 > play1

I don't know where the playbar would fit in here though. :)


I disagree. 2 x Play 1s are substantially better than 1 x Play 5. I have both set-ups in different rooms in my house. Firstly, the sheer bigness of the soundstage and stereo separation you can achieve with 2 x Play 1s is astonishing and unparalleled. It also creates a wonderfully balanced reproduction. Secondly, I find the Play 5 only starts to shine at medium/high volumes. It sounds very scooped and bass-heavy at low volumes, whereas the stereo-pair of Play 1s sounds balanced at all volumes.