Sub with Play 3 or Play 5?

  • 17 January 2013
  • 33 replies
  • 28012 views

Userlevel 2
Hi, and I apologize if this question has been already addressed somewhere in the forums. I will soon be moving into a two bedroom condo, square footage of about 1100 sq. ft. I am thinking about making the jump to Sonos. I definitely want the Sub, but would it be overkill to get two Play 5's or would it be better to save some money and get two Play 3's? I plan to set up the speakers in stereo mode and put them in my living room.

Any advice will be much appreciated.

Thanks.

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33 replies

I would say play 3, based on a review I have read, which said that the difference between a Sub with a play 3 pair and play 5 pair was too subtle to be easily noticed.

It makes sense that this would be so - the main difference between the 5 and the 3 is that the former has a subwoofer. And when the Sonos Sub is on, these subwoofers are taken out of the audio loop. So, in effect, you would be paying for subwoofers that would not be used.
...when the Sonos Sub is on, these subwoofers are taken out of the audio loop...

Do we know this as fact? I'd be surprised if the crossover from the woofer to the mid-drivers in the Play:5 is anywhere near as low as a sub crossover point would be.
Do we know this as fact? I'd be surprised if the crossover from the woofer to the mid-drivers in the Play:5 is anywhere near as low as a sub crossover point would be.
Good point.

I read this in a review, perhaps two, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is true.

Perhaps some here knows, I am sure Sonos will be silent on this.
Userlevel 2
My opinion is....it really depends on how seriously you listen to your music. Are you a "audiophile"? Serious about stereo separation, depth of sound fields, etc...everything that goes with serious listening to stereo music or just a "casual" music listener.
If serious maybe you can get a very nice component system or high end AVR system that you can use a sub woofer with and just use a SONOS connect. A pair of Play 5's are not cheap but are more "mobile" and easier to set up (wire speaker cables) but do not have a output for a sub woofer.
I would say (and just my opinion here) that one can get a very nice used high end audio system for around a $1000 if one is patient and look around on Craig's lists, check out the high end audio shops in your area, they usually sell used gear. Check them all out, give a listen then make an educated choice.

Good luck
Userlevel 2
Thanks soundhd, but maybe you are not aware of the relatively new Sonos Sub? Anyway, if anyone else has an opinion on this I would appreciate it. I will either get the Sub with the Play 5 or Play 3.
If money is really tight then I'd go for the Play:3 option with sub otherwise, for me, the Play:5s every time for flexibility and future proofing. My thinking is that your needs may change and you'd appreciate having the Play:5s better sound qualities over the 3s if you want to use them in other situations/move to other rooms.

However, if you only see yourself having a one room set-up (which would be a shame with Sonos), then have you thought about getting a Sonos Connect and pairing with a decent amp and speakers? For the same sort of money you're considering (those subs are pricey!) you could get a very decent sounding system with the best of both worlds - Sonos streaming and a quality "regular" audio set-up.

I have a mix of Play:5 and Connect. The Connect feeds my living room audio components and the Play:5 is in the kitchen but being portable can be moved as needed to other rooms or outside. I anticipate adding another Connect for my office and not another Play:5 as I prefer the choices that gives me.
Userlevel 1
Thanks soundhd, but maybe you are not aware of the relatively new Sonos Sub?

At this point in time soundhd has never owned any Sonos devices.

Presented without further comment.
Userlevel 4
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I initially bought 2 Play:3 and a Sub - they were installed in my living room - 23x18 feet.
I then wanted to add a couple of zones. I bought 2 x Play:5 devices, intending to install one in each zone. I then thought that as we listen to most music in the living room, I'd move the Play:3 to the new zones. When I did that, I found the sound very thin. I experimented a lot and I decided that the Sub with the Play:5 was not quite wasted but not as pronounced. I moved the Play:5 to the new zones and we're very happy with the set up now. The biggest problem is the dining room, but that's because we've not created a zone in there yet.
I initially bought 2 Play:3 and a Sub - they were installed in my living room - 23x18 feet.
I then wanted to add a couple of zones. I bought 2 x Play:5 devices, intending to install one in each zone. I then thought that as we listen to most music in the living room, I'd move the Play:3 to the new zones. When I did that, I found the sound very thin. I experimented a lot and I decided that the Sub with the Play:5 was not quite wasted but not as pronounced. I moved the Play:5 to the new zones and we're very happy with the set up now. The biggest problem is the dining room, but that's because we've not created a zone in there yet.


I assume you paired the Play 5's in stereo with the sub?
Userlevel 4
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I assume you paired the Play 5's in stereo with the sub?

Yes, sorry, I should have said that. Used stereo pairs (of Play:3 or Play:5) when testing with the Sub. I did use just one speaker with the sub at one point but knew I wasn't going to ever stay with a single speaker and the sub so didn't bother listening to it too much in that config.
Userlevel 2
Hello,

I am new in SONOS universe and just ordered 2x PLAY:3 + SUB.

I wonder if I have made a mistake in not choosing 2x PLAY:5 + SUB.

As money is not an issue and sound my main concerns, I would like to have more feedback from people who tested both configurations because I can still change my order.

Does anyone else made comparison between both configurations? When I ordered, I just thought SUB will do job of PLAY:5's boomers so no need for them.

I will use my system as single room (for now) in my living room + kitchen that is about 50m2.

I also think PLAY:3 are easier to place and hide as I hate to see any electronic equipment.

Thank you for you comments.

Does anyone else made comparison between both configurations? When I ordered, I just thought SUB will do job of PLAY:5's boomers so no need for them.



Read this:

http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/music-streamers/sonos-sub-review-50008318/

As stated earlier in this thread, with the play 5s, the differences are subtle, so you will need to see if they are value for the extra cash. It would seem that with the 3s, it is a day/night difference.

The review doesn't comment on the difference between a 3 pair and a 5 pair, when reinforced by a Sub. Maybe Amadeus can offer his views on a side by side comparison.
Userlevel 1
I would love to hear the difference also. Currently I have two paired play 5's and a sub in my bedroom, another play 5 in another room and a connect working with a bose in living room.

I do plan to add some more Play 5's at some point, but if Play 3's paired with the Sub sound about the same as the Play 5's paired with the Sub then it would make more sense for me to by two Play 3's, pair those with the sub, then move the existing Play 5's elsewhere.

If Play 5's sounds better with the Sub (even if just a little), then I would prefer to just keep those and add more Play 5's down the road.

I would think they would sound better seeing that when paired, even if the Play 5 Bass Driver is turned off, then the Play 5 has 4 speakers working (two mids and two tweeters), and the Play 3 would have 3 speakers working (two mids and one tweeter) - or am I missing something (maybe that extra tweeter on each Play 5 just wouldn't really make any difference)?
Userlevel 2
Thank you for your comments. I finally changed my mind and ordered 2x play 5 with my sub instead of the 2x play3 initialy planed.

2 reasons :
- The line in plug that will allow play CD + TV and all extra mp3 players.
- I expect the 5 to be better because of its bigger size and additional speakers (heaven if woofers are shut down when used with sub).

I will get my system tomorrow at my local shop ... lets give a try ...
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Thank you for your comments. I finally changed my mind and ordered 2x play 5 with my sub instead of the 2x play3 initialy planed.

2 reasons :
- The line in plug that will allow play CD + TV and all extra mp3 players.
- I expect the 5 to be better because of its bigger size and additional speakers (heaven if woofers are shut down when used with sub).

I will get my system tomorrow at my local shop ... lets give a try ...


Hi, did you eventually get to try this? Currently in the same predicament...!
Userlevel 2
2xplay5 + sub sounds great and I'm very happy for not getting the play3 instead.

After few days of listening, I would say that the addition of the sub is a little more subtle as it does not makes a big difference. It's simply make the sound widder (instead of having 2 speakers source, you will feel that the sound come from anywere in the room - my system is in 50 square meter room). That what I was looking for.

So I would recommand to get 2xplay5 and try it at home. You should already be very happy with this. Then if you miss something else, then go for the sub, but I would not say it is worth the money. For the same price, you could also go for 4xplay5, it might be better and more flexible.
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2xplay5 + sub sounds great and I'm very happy for not getting the play3 instead.

After few days of listening, I would say that the addition of the sub is a little more subtle as it does not makes a big difference. It's simply make the sound widder (instead of having 2 speakers source, you will feel that the sound come from anywere in the room - my system is in 50 square meter room). That what I was looking for.

So I would recommand to get 2xplay5 and try it at home. You should already be very happy with this. Then if you miss something else, then go for the sub, but I would not say it is worth the money. For the same price, you could also go for 4xplay5, it might be better and more flexible.


Great, thanks for the info. Appreciate the information on size as well. Did you ever notice if the sub turns off the bass unit on the play 5's? Would seem an odd thing to do and not use it for mid-range.
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I run x2 play3's as a stereo pair with the sonos sub. The sound is fantastically blended. I have a single play5 so cannot do a proper comparison. An advantage to consider with the 3's over the 5's is placement. You can mount the 3's pretty much any which way (vertical or horizontal) including using dedicated threaded speaker wall mounts. The fives are a one way fit only.
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Good point regarding placement. And I also note that the Play 3's are the only ones mentioned to partner with the playbar which seems interesting on the longevity of the 5's...?
Good point regarding placement. And I also note that the Play 3's are the only ones mentioned to partner with the playbar which seems interesting on the longevity of the 5's...?

Sonos has stated the reason only Play:3s are able to be partnered with the Playbar (quoted from ask.sonos below):

Gordon M (Official Rep) a minute ago


SONOS PLAY:5s cannot serve as rears because the PLAY:5 only contains a 2.4 GHz card and the PLAYBAR Audio wireless transmission between the SUB and the rears uses 5 GHz.


I don't see this as foreshadowing the imminent death of the Play:5.
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Sonos has stated the reason only Play:3s are able to be partnered with the Playbar (quoted from ask.sonos below):



I don't see this as foreshadowing the imminent death of the Play:5.


Ah, makes perfect sense. Never realised the 3's had 5ghz wireless. Appreciate the input, I'm new to this whole Sonos thing but slowly learning...

So they all have 5ghz wireless now except the 5's? Even the bridge?
Ah, makes perfect sense. Never realised the 3's had 5ghz wireless. Appreciate the input, I'm new to this whole Sonos thing but slowly learning...

So they all have 5ghz wireless now except the 5's? Even the bridge?


It appears the only units that have a 5GHz card are the Play:3, the Playbar, and the SUB. The rest precede the availability of 5GHz cards.

And as far as not realizing the Play:3 had 5GHz, it's news to me too (and I've been here almost 5 years. 😃 )
Userlevel 2
Did you ever notice if the sub turns off the bass unit on the play 5's? Would seem an odd thing to do and not use it for mid-range.

That very hard to say.
Even when I go close from my play5 speakers, I ear sounds comming from everywhere in the room. So I don't know if it is turning off play5 bass. At the end, I don't care because it is perfect as it is.
Userlevel 2
It appears the only units that have a 5GHz card are the Play:3, the Playbar, and the SUB. The rest precede the availability of 5GHz cards.

And as far as not realizing the Play:3 had 5GHz, it's news to me too (and I've been here almost 5 years. 😃 )


Excuse me but I am a little lost there.
What means 2,4ghz and 5ghz card ?
What about a set up using both cards as mine (sub that is 5ghz and play5 that are 2,4) ? Will the Sub convert 5 to 2,4ghs signal ?
amarvitus,

2.4GHz and 5.8GHz are frequency bands. Each end of the communication channel must use the same frequency.

For technical reasons SONOS has decided that PLAYBAR will use (only) the 5.8GHz band to communicate with SUB and the PLAY:3's when in surround mode. Since PLAY:5 does not include a 5.8GHz radio, it cannot be bonded to PLAYBAR in surround mode. Stereo mode uses 2.4GHz.