Play 1s or Play 3s...

  • 25 October 2016
  • 8 replies


I've been reading the Community and I think I've come to a decision but if I don't ask the question, I might kick myself later.

I currently have Sonos in my living room (Playbar, Sub and 2x Play 1s). I'm moving from a flat to a house and plan to expand. My original thoughts were to replace the 1s in my surround sound setup in the living room with 3s and then put the 1s in the bedroom. However, after reading some threads here, it seems I wouldn't get any benefit from having 3s as rear surround sound speakers.

Then I read somewhere that 1s are as good as 3s and not to bother with 3s at all. So now I'm thinking 1s everywhere.

Then I decided I couldn't possibly have a kitchen without Sonos. SO! I want to have a pair of speakers in there. 1s or 3s, that's again, the question. I don't have space really for a 5. I mean, I don't really have space for much, its a tiny house. I'm totally answering my own question here but if I buy 4 Play 1s, I just want to know I'm not missing out on anything by not getting 3's.

I'm sorry if this is horrendous to read. Any advice / insight would be gratefully received.


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8 replies


You'll find most people torn about this issue as well. There are some who say the Play:3 is a slightly better speaker, where as others claim that Play:1s, especially in pairs, are better. It boils down to placement and your ears. I note that you seem to be from Wales, and I think there's a 30 day return policy, so I'd recommend that you pick which one you think you'd prefer, and try it out. If you don't like it, return it and go the other way.

I have a pair of Play:1s in my kitchen, and a pair of Play:3s in my bedroom. I'm trying to think which is better, and it's really a tossup, probably because of the variation in space, surface, and speaker location.

It would be nice if there was a definitive answer, but I'm afraid there isn't, at least from my perspective. Either way you end up, though, rest assured you'll be happy.
Userlevel 7

The argument regarding the Play 1's vs Play 3's IMO is a subjective issue and will depend upon what you HEAR (or not) if the cost increase over the Play 1 is justified. Here's brief comparison between the Play 1 and Play 3

Play 1 is mono as a single speaker
Play 1 is moisture resistant (not water resistant) suitable for use in a shower room
Play 1 x 2 work great as a surround speakers and can be switched to full on stereo mode for music listening
Play 1 x 2 as stereo pair is excellent and even better when bonded with a sub

Play 3 is Stereo as a single speaker in horizontal position. However the Stereo effect will become less noticeable beyond 6ft
Play 3 is mono as a single speaker in vertical position
Play 3 x 2 is great as a surround speaker and can be switched to full on stereo mode for music listening
Play 3 x 2 as stereo pair (in either horizontal or vertical position) is excellent and even better when bonded with a sub
Play 3 x 2 as stereo pair in horizontal position offer a wider sound stage than when in vertical position

My suggestion is to audition both at home and decide if the cost increase for a Play 3 is worth it vs a Play 1.

FYI, Here's my setup:

Sonos Boost
Play 5 (Gen2) x 2 with Sub for music
Playbar, Sub and Play 3 x 2 as surrounds for HT setup
Play 1 x 2 in stereo pair in bedroom
Play 1 (single) in two other rooms
Connect attached to CD player

Good luck with your decision...Cheers!
Short and simple - the 1 units are the most versatile things in the Sonos line up; buy without fear!

Even more so if you do not feel the need for better sound quality in the primary listening area that presumably has the play bar + Sub + surrounds set up.
Thank you all for your input, I really appreciate it. Buying and trying seems like a good idea, hadn't thought of it myself.

I don't doubt that 1s would suffice but I want to make sure I get the best sound quality throughout the house.

Cheers again
Don’t buy Sonos anything. Much more hassle than it’s worth. I own play 5, play 1 ect and spend more time messing with them than listening to music.
If you could be more specific about the issues you're experiencing, there are a lot of people who frequent these boards who would be happy to help you get to the same point that we are at, a fully functional Sonos system that plays without fault.