With Sonos Play:5, Get Bigger Sound; Bigger Experience

Casey Nolan

by - | 4 years ago
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13 Jun

Infinarium Rating

$372 to $399

Review Date : 07/14/13

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Since 2009, I have had the pleasure of using Sonos products. Needless to say, I have always been relieved in the fact that I can depend on whatever the company had to release. Sonos Play 5; the one speaker wireless media streaming system has been in the market for a long time now. The first time it was introduced at Amazon, it was June 2, 2010. Ever since then, the Sonos 5 has been a roaring success.

Sonos Play 5 Connected with Mobile Phone

Which “R” I am Filled With Right Now?

Is it regret or remorse, which I feel towards Sonos products in general? Actually, it is regret, but not the kind that originates from negative customer experience. In fact, my experience, as I stated earlier, has been sublime. I have had no complaints whatsoever with anything that Sonos had or has to offer.

However, there was a time when I was contacted by Sonos at my email: techguy@infinarium.com. It was just a few days after the release of Sonos Playbar, their latest invention. The Sonos rep offered me a review unit at that time, but I missed that email by a few days. I regretted the incident very much. I’d have loved to review the unit, had I read the email in time. Anyhow, I am hoping to contact Sonos soon for another sample.

Behind the Non-Removable Grille, there are 5 Speaker Units!

5 Driver Units with Two Dedicated Tweeter Amplifiers

It is always a pleasure to inform Sonos users through my first-hand experience with the company’s product line. Today, I am gonna be reviewing the Sonos Play 5 – Wireless Speaker system, which they claim to be downright awesome. Whether I was satisfied or disappointed in Sonos, it will be made clear by the end of this Sonos Play 5 Review.

Sonos Play 5 Review For First Time Buyers:

The Sonos 5, otherwise known as: Sonos Play:5 was released back in 2010. Since then, a lot of people have had the pleasure of using it. However, I still see some individuals who have little or no information about how this thing works, what’s it made for, how to set up the Sonos 5 – so on and so forth.

Unboxing Video of the Sonos Play:5 Wireless Unit | YouTube Videos

The Good Stuff about Play 5:

  • Single Streaming System: Words as advertised. You can synch and control all your Android, iPhone, iPod or iPad playlist with the touch of a few on screen buttons.
  • Internet Radio Streaming is as easy as 1 – 2 – 3
  • NAS Drive, PC, Mac Wireless Streaming with easy Wi-Fi router setup
  • Expansion possible to 31 rooms wherever you have installed compatible Sonos products or Sonos players.

The Sonos Play 5 is better than Bose SoundDock:

I have heard it before and I have experienced it myself; the Play 5 Sonos is way better than Bose SoundDock. Not that the SoundDock was of inferior quality, or its performance was shabby, it is just that Sonos did a better job. You take a look at the following advantages if you don’t believe me:

–          Long Distance Control: Yep, it is wireless, therefore you can connect with and control the Sonos Play 5 from anywhere in the house. I have noticed that even while I have the iPod or the iPhone in my pocket, the signals are transmitted seamlessly. I don’t have to stand up to switch playlists or genres while the music is playing.

The media streaming process is basically performed via connection between the Sonos Play:5 main unit and the base unit that you already have. For instance, if you are using your Mac, your iPhone will act as a remote control because most of the media is being streamed directly from your main hard drive, or through internet access.

It also means that you are not wasting your iPhone battery. Most of the Wi-Fi sound systems require for the iPhone or the Android device to have the media stored in it. It causes battery life to drain rather quickly as compared to a situation where the phone is supposedly in an idle state. During play time, you can receive phone calls on your phone without any disturbance or whatsoever.

–          Internet Radio Streaming: If it comes to internet radio, such as Pandora, Rhapsody or GrooveShark, Sonos has the best performance. The remote control interface for these platforms is impeccable because all the radio stations, your channels and genres are segmented into independent and easily understandable menu items.

–          Limitless Upgrade Options for Sonos Play 5: Multizone expansion system comes without any hassle. You can set different zones without overwriting previous zone settings.

 Rear View of the Play 5 Sonos Wireless Speaker System

–          Cost Factor: Since the Sonos Play 5 is a single speaker wireless streaming system, the cost factor is extremely convenient. Without spending much, you can hope for an overall better sound quality. The single speaker is capable of rocking a medium to small sized apartment easily. Also, you can take this sound system anywhere because of its easy connectivity, compact model and low profile.

Setbacks to the Sonos Play 5 Sound System?

  • There is not a lot of stereo separation
  • For wired connection, extra pair of connection bridge or Sonos expansion wire needs to be purchased.

Other than the above two points, I did not notice any major “disadvantages”. Besides, I wouldn’t attribute the wired connection issue as a setback. Considering the fact that you are purchasing a $400 product, you should at least expect to spend $49 on some high quality connection cables. I don’t understand why people suddenly think of “saving money” after they have invested so much in a piece of art.

Issues with Sonos Play 5 and iTunes Tracks:

By the way, if you have been trying to run any iTunes soundtracks from 2008 or before and they haven’t been running properly, it is because of copyright protection. Protected iTunes tracks do not work well with Sonos Play 5 Sound system. Apple will upgrade your previous collection of protected soundtracks to an “unprotected” status.

Sonos System Installed at a Customer's Place

However, Apple will be charging you a minimum of $25 for status change. This money will not be refunded even if you have decided to convert half of your iTunes library to unprotected format. My recommendation is to get all kinds of iTunes tracks dating earlier than 2008. Borrow a couple of them from friends and then have them all converted to end up with a nice fat collection.

Verdict on the Sound Quality?

It all breaks down to sound quality in the end. The Sonos Play 5 has one main unit that appears to be like a speaker. However, Sonos claims that there are 5 small drivers behind the non removable grille. There is a single subwoofer, and two mid range drivers alongside a pair of tweeters.

Together, the 5 components produce results that are essential to delivering a truly rich sound experience. The tweeters are powered by dedicated digital amplifiers so that they can individually focus on creating quality results. Now if you remember correctly, I said that there is not a lot of stereo separation between in Sonos Play:5 system.

By that, I meant that the drivers are closely knitted together. There is not a lot of space between them, which causes the sound to be a little bit dysfunctional at times. The system sounds best when you are in the same room or at a maximum distance of 5 – 9 Ft. I tested Rihanna, Elvis Costello and a few Bach tracks to check for any discrimination in sound levels. All of the soundtracks were smooth and the transition was not noticeable that much.

Final Verdict on the Sonos Play 5:

If you have another $500 to spend, purchase an extra unit of Sonos Play:5. You can pair both units and set up the speakers in left/ Right surround sound configuration. Of course, this setup will be taking your expense to $800, which is not highly recommended to everyone out there.

For $800 or less, you can purchase a dedicated surround sound system. For existing Sonos loyalists, the Play 5 is an enthusiastic addition to their collection without any doubt.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2013 at 2:10 PM and is filed under Home Audio, Home Slider, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Casey Nolan

About Casey Nolan

Hello everyone, I am Bilal Malik AKA 'Casey Nolan'; Head Editor and owner of 'Infinarium.Com'. For product reviews, article requests, recommendations, or if you just want to get something off your chest, send me an email at techguy@infinarium.com.

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