I wanted to offer my opinion on these two speakers. I've spend the better half of three day comparing one of my play 1's to my new second gen play 5. Rules were simple, flat EQ and both tuned in the same location. I put right next to each other and ran numerous tests. I tested with loudness on and off. Tuning on and off and have come to some conclusions that were pretty unexpected. I reran tuning multiple times to try and improve sound from both.
- Play 1 clarity, voice accuracy and instrument separation sound much better under 50%
- Play 1 bass is very impressive under 50%, without a noticeable improvement using the play 5, in fact its more pronounced than the play 5's bass under 50%.
- Play 1 voices and instruments are far more pronounced at lower levels. I can hear the rasp of someone's voice and the strum of a guitar much better.
- Play 5 sound is more 'soft' and set back.
- Above 50%, the play 1 begins to sounds like a tiny speaker
- Above 50%, the play 5 comes to life and displays its capability of low lows and accurate full sound.
- Above 50% the play 5 is easily the better speaker
- Under 50% I've concluded I like the sound of the play 1 more.
I asked about 5 people to listen to both speakers, switching back and forth without giving them knowledge of which speaker was playing (they were right next to each other in a large room) and in every test, they all thought the play 1 sounded better below 50%. Above 50%, they all felt the play 5 did with ease.
My problem? I listen to under 50% volume 90% of the time. I really hope Sonos pushes an update to fix the overly subdued voices at low volume. Hard to justify inferior sound under 50% for $300 extra to have superior sound above 50%.