I’m a little hesitant to share these observations, given that my previous contributions to this community consisted mainly of flip-flopping on the issue of a single Play 5 gen. 2 vs a stereo pair of Play 1s, but I thought this might be interesting to some here:
Whilst there’s lots of discussion here regarding a stereo pair of gen. 2 Play 5s vs a pair of Play 1s with a sub, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a comparison between the Play 5 pair and a Play 1 pair without the assistance of the sub. Whilst I realise not many will be choosing between these two options, given the cost difference, I did happen to get the chance to compare these two set-ups directly yesterday: Set up as stereo pairs in the same room/location, both with Trueplay tuning applied.
The main take-away from the comparison? To be honest, it was quite how amazingly good the Play 1s are relative to their tiny size and price. Of course, on the whole, the Play 5 pair was significantly better but the difference was smaller than I would have supposed and with some music (where the extra power, weight and bass of the Play 5 were not relevant) there was no discernable improvement at all: Bach’s cello suites sounded every bit as lovely on the Play 1s as on the Play 5s. Similarly, tracks with a single vocalist and sparse background instrumentation sounded just as good on the little Play 1s as on their big brothers. Whilst I’m still very happy that the pair of Play 5s are the ones staying resident in my living room, given that a pair of Play 1s costs barely more than a third of the cost of the Play 5s, I think this is a spectacular achievement for the smallest and cheapest Sonos speaker.