Looking for Best wireless speaker?

  • 26 June 2019
  • 7 replies
  • 616 views

Hi, im looking for a good sounding, small-ish size, do it all type of speaker. A few I was looking at were the sonos play 5, bluesound pulse 2i, denon heos 7, Naim mu-so Qb.
Does anyone have any experience with any of these, or other suggestions that I should look at? I'll be using the speaker mainly for music and movies, with heavy metal and edm being my go to genres. My budget is around $800, but I can spend a bit more if something has killer sound.

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7 replies

Not sure you are going to get any unbiased reviews here, for or against Sonos (there are those who hang here just to bash the brand). However, the Sonos One has been rated the best wireless smart speaker in dozens of reviews, both commercial and non-profit publications (Consumer Reports). At that price point, I would go a little higher and get a pair of Ones and a Sonos Sub. Either that or a pair of Play:5s.
It also depends what source(s) you want to play. Sonos make multiroom, multi-source, multi-controller networked home music systems. Yes, you can buy just one speaker, and it may serve you very well, but it may not be best if (say) portability is a big priority, or you just want to play from your phone.

A pair of Play:5s, as @jgatie suggests, gives a lot of bang for the bucks. It is designed for music, though, not movies.
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Be sure to consider how you will be playing music, and movies.

For music: do you have a large local music library? Check on compatibility with the various music players re size of library, connectivity (SMBv1 issue comes to mind), audio file formats, etc.

Which eco-system are you in: Android or iPhone/iTunes? If you are thinking of streaming from your phone make sure you understand the features and limitations of how you can play music, whether streamed from the device, or using the device as a controller. (The Sonos architecture is sometimes different than what people assume). On Android you can use the "On This Device" feature of the controller app to play music stored on the phone - as long as it's a supported format. The controller may or may not be as good as your favorite music player app. And there's no Bluetooth receiver support, so you can't use that as a connection method to get audio from any app you might source music from (unless you add an external Bluetooth receiver to a Sonos device that has line-in capability).

On an iOS device you can use Airplay (assuming you get a Sonos model that supports it) to get audio from any app / music player into your Sonos. The controller app on iOS is losing the feature that lets you play music "On This Device" due to API issues with Apple. (Not a dig, just a heads up).

If you listen to online streaming services then the controller will probably work well for you on either platform.

For movies and video you need to take into consideration audio delay issues. On Sonos products designed specifically for use with video you should have a minimum of lip sync issues. Other products have an inbuilt delay to support multi-room networking in some configurations.

For movies, what are the audio codecs you need to support, and what sort of speaker arrangement are you planning? I would confirm by reading the manual for the device(s) you are considering that what you want to do is feasible. You can ask about specific configurations on the forum and get help as well.

If you browse the forums you will see many users who have issues with their Sonos products because of expectations that weren't met. Do your best to understand the pros and cons of the Sonos speakers in the ways you intend to use them. Don't assume that because they are expensive they will do everything you might want ("do it all"). Sonos devices work well and sound good - you just need to be sure the product you are selecting fits your use case.

Happy listening,

-Scott
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And to get the most from Sonos speakers, it’s best to run Trueplay, which analyses a room’s acoustics and tunes the speaker(s) for best effect.

Trueplay requires an iphone.
You should also consider the size of the room you want to use this in. If we are talking about a bedroom, a pair of Play:5s is probably overkill.

And to make it clear, the reason why people are saying the play:5 isn't great for movies is because Sonos add a buffer to anything coming in through the line in port. This is so that it can properly have it play in sync with other Sonos speakers in a multi room environment. So when hooked to a TV, you'll likely see the video and audio out of sync. For some it's not a problem, for others it's a deal breaker. And of course, you're limited to stereo.

One other option to consider is getting a Beam + 2 Play:1s for surround sound, going under your budget by $100. For a medium room, this will be great for TV sound (no sync issue), and good for audio. By 'good', I mean that it won't sound as good as a pair of play:5s but will still be very impressive. You can also add a sub to that setup. This is what I have in a couple rooms, and absolutely no regrets. If bass is more important, you could start with a Beam + sub as well.
Be sure to consider how you will be playing music, and movies.

For music: do you have a large local music library? Check on compatibility with the various music players re size of library, connectivity (SMBv1 issue comes to mind), audio file formats, etc.


If you browse the forums you will see many users who have issues with their Sonos products because of expectations that weren't met. Do your best to understand the pros and cons of the Sonos speakers in the ways you intend to use them.

The entire post, with selected bits quoted above for emphasis, is excellent advice.
There is no such thing as a "do it all" speaker at any price point.