How well does a Sonos Play:3 fill a warehouse?

  • 14 January 2018
  • 2 replies
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Userlevel 4
I work in a warehouse as my job, and as it's a tech shop we use an ex-display Play:3 as the upstairs music driver believe it or not! So, with that nice passive bass radiator and two mid-range and middle tweeter drivers how does it fill the upstairs warehouse?

Speaker placement:
It's on a shelf next to a cage container, and the area behind it is also fenced off (otherwise you fall downstairs).
Basically, the "walls" it's placed next to are acoustically transparent. You could argue it's theoretically placed in the middle of nowhere. No walls to encourage low-range frequencies.

Story:
I will keep it super short, I love my Sonos, so seeing the Play:3 come off of display for the new Sonos ONE I just plugged it in and rigged it up. So on shop floor, we have a Play:1, Play:5, Sonos ONE, Playbar/base and two SUBS on display. So not too shabby!

Trueplay?
No. Haven't managed to do that. The environment is always too loud and I also don't use an iPhone, and one of my colleagues probably won't let me use their iPhone anyway. It's hassle, sadly. I wonder what it would do to the bass if I did it though??

Verdict on sound:
Not my cup of tea. It's got very little bass. It's brilliant at mid-range and high though! The room is simply too spacious, and hasn't enough solid materials to help that sound. The Play:3 is definitely built for mid-sized rooms that are open!

Naturally, I went to the EQ settings and whacked the bass to the top. It still can't produce much low end but the lower tones are more prominent. What I mean is, the bass cuts off at a certain point. It becomes strong, then cuts off and becomes inaudible at a certain frequency. My guess is around 45-70Hz... not sure. I also naturally had to set the Play:3 at very high volumes to fill the upstairs warehouse better, and we even go to 100% a lot, and that introduces bass distortion! When the bassy bumps in songs hit, it distorts and makes a weird noise - and it sometimes happens at normal EQ! Is this because the display unit is old? Has this been revised? I don't know.

Of course being close to the speaker greatly increases bass response, as expected and has that signature Sonos sound which I adore.

Now, if I go BEHIND the unit, downstairs (it's hard to explain the warehouse layout), the bass radiator can actually really push some serious low end! So my guess is that the the low end from the radiator at the back of the unit isn't being reflected by any hard surfaces causing a drop in bass response upstairs. So this Play:3 can fill large rooms, if you place it behind something solid with a recommendation of Trueplay. In our warehouse this isn't the case... Believe it or not, there isn't really any locations in which we can place it to give us the best experience.

Does it sound good still?
Yeah! It's crisp and clear! If it has more bass it could fill the warehouse easily! Unfortunately, we don't have the Sonos SUB at our disposal, otherwise I would have paired that with it LOL!
Also the sound and WiFi convenience was enough for my colleague to almost want a Play:5 for the downstairs to replace the ex-display Samsung K450 S/B. The thing is he just wants to bring his phone anywhere and have his music play regardless of where his phone is - and have it sync up perfectly with the upstairs Play:3.

How do I think a Play:5 would sound upstairs?
Honestly, again, there is so much space it'd be hard to guess. But, all that thumping bass is being pushed at the front of the unit. So I think it would do a much better job and I think that it'll sound really good for that reason. Actually, this theory was sort of tested. A customer returned a Sonos ONE (can't remember why) but we actually used it for display at the cash desk. But due to the small mid-woofer on the ONE it sounded great up close but a little worse further away - and that ambient noise made some bass inaudible or very quiet at +3 meters distance due to the open space. But I think it sounded a little better than the Play:3 in our warehouse... when I think of a Play:5 with over three times the driver power I think it's VERY possible to fill the warehouse!

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2 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I think the Play:5 does have a good bit more low end. But in a large warehouse area not sure if that would even help a lot.

I find they get a lot more low end in a corner (drywalled corner at least - not sure about if cement).

Sonos subs are good but if huge area probably would need 2.

If you had some giant sub you could hook to a Connect:Amp.

Would you be better off with some speakers with large woofers that would radiate further. Hooked to a couple Connect:Amps?
Userlevel 4
I think the Play:5 does have a good bit more low end. But in a large warehouse area not sure if that would even help a lot.

I find they get a lot more low end in a corner (drywalled corner at least - not sure about if cement).

Sonos subs are good but if huge area probably would need 2.

If you had some giant sub you could hook to a Connect:Amp.

Would you be better off with some speakers with large woofers that would radiate further. Hooked to a couple Connect:Amps?


Whoa, whoa, whoa we're only a warehouse. To use sound products in the warehouse we either buy the products (which never happens) or wait for them to get written off for an official reason. :'D Multiple CONNECT:AMPs and multiple SUBs is wayyyyyy beyond comprehension ahaha! But thinking of it, in a dream world, I am not really sure. The bass coming out of our downstairs S/B setup (w/ dedicated sub) has really good low end from one end of the warehouse to the other - and I think that's because it's in a corner with a low ceiling! If I placed a SUB upstairs where the Play:3 is, I am not sure how much bass performance would get taxed... though I do wonder. Also the warehouse isn't huge just medium/large, possible enough for a single sub to work OK. The ceiling is really high though, which isn't the case downstairs where the S/B is located.

Also yeah, if we do get the Play:5 it'll go in a corner downstairs with a low ceiling. So I think it'll do a great job there. I mean, we're not after an audiophile experience - we just want good sounding music that works with the radio and Spotify. If I am honest, replacing our S/B isn't really needed. It would be nice if we had just one CONNECT to hand to sync up the Samsung S/B with the Play:3 upstairs.

Actually saying that, comparing either setup to the radio speaker we have I shouldn't take it for granted. :'D