We can say safely that the Play:5 offers some of the highest quality sound that you will find in this price range. The PLAY:5 has six powerful speakers onboard, delivering the ultimate listening experience with the purest, deepest, most vibrant sound. Enclosed in the cabinet are three tweeters and three dedicated mid-woofers. Additionally, each of the six speakers is powered by dedicated amplifiers, so the sound is so strong some listeners say that they can feel it.
The Play:5 is the Cadillac of the Sonos catalog. It’s both the first standalone wireless speaker released by the company and the most powerful, but that doesn’t mean it’s an outdated piece of machinery. A 2015 hardware update was more than just a simple nip and tuck. Instead, it replaced every single component to make sure that this speaker is relevant for the needs of discerning audiophiles, and it got some aesthetic changes to match. That means that it’s only lacking in the newest features: the virtual assistant technology later implemented in the Beam and One which provide native integration for Alexa and other voice activated virtual assistants. Combined with the upgraded Sonos app, it’s a force to be reckoned with and an impressive piece of work. While it may not be the undisputed champ of the high end speaker market now that the wireless market has grown more crowded, it can still give any one of its rivals a run for their money.
A big reason why Sonos products hold up so well against the competition, even when they don’t have the advantage of a recent update, is due to the quality of the associated software and Sonos’ dedication to making sure that they stay ahead of the curve where new technologies are concerned. While the Play:5 may not come with Alexa speakers built in, it has been upgraded to include AirPlay 2 support to make it work more seamlessly with iOS devices. The app (or desktop software, if you’d prefer to use your computer) that powers the Play:5 has seen some impressive updates over the years, transitioning from a competent if spartan controller interface to a seamless navigation experience. Whether you’re running the Play:5 by itself or in tandem with a range of other devices, you can operate all of your streaming services directly through the speaker without having to tangle with a third party device or mess around at the source itself.
But if you do find yourself having to manipulate the speaker directly, you’ll find a handsome piece of work. The Play:5 is big – at least by Sonos’ standards – but it’s also smartly designed. Smoothed edges evoke minimalist and modern design sensibilities, and it can be mounted both horizontally or vertically depending on the demands of your space.
That said, it’s a move away from the typical design standards of Sonos units. This is a weighty speaker, at least in comparison to most of the components in the company’s catalog, but there are some distinct reasons for that. This added size, comparable to the original version of the Play:5, allows for some pretty powerful bass accompanied by a strong sense of balance regardless of what register your music is hitting. This puts it even a notch above the impressive Playbar soundbar. The three mid-range woofers are an upgrade on those contained in the Play:1, and they come accompanied by three tweeters. This allows for a hefty sound, and the added space of the unit allows it to spread out even in larger rooms. It’s worth noting that the bass has seen a significant upgrade as well, and it can provide practically everyone with the depth they’re looking for even without the addition of a sub-amp.
Ways to Use the Play:5
This is a weighty speaker, and for many users – even those looking for a top shelf speaker system – it can stand on its own even without the implementation of additional speakers. That said, the real fun of a Sonos speaker set is in creating complicated arrays.
If you’re looking for some truly mind-blowing sound, putting two of these speakers together can really amplify your sound, or you can simply pair one up to an existing Sonos amp to really elevate your performance. The room-filling sound means there’s not a lot of need to pair it up with a lot of additional components. It’s a bit of an overkill for matching with one of the Sonos soundbars, and the sound of a Play:1 or One is largely going to be overwhelmed by the strength of this speaker. Where Sonos’ smaller speakers are a great choice if you want to carry your sound with you from room to room, the Play:5 is better suited to staying where it is and operating as a dedicated speaker that stays rooted in place.
Why the Play:5 Beats the Competition
When the Play:5 first came along, the idea of the wireless streaming speaker was something of an anomaly, but competitors have since begun to play catch-up to Sonos. That doesn’t mean they’re at quite the same level yet, however. While there are a few speakers you can find that will provide you with a lower ticket price for comparable or even marginally better sound, what Sonos has managed to deliver with the Play:5 is the total package. The streaming app works exceptionally well, especially now that it’s upgraded with the very cool Trueplay functionality. Then there’s the cosmetic design, making it one of the best looking speakers in its class. Sonos continues to stay at the head of the pack in terms of putting out fully rounded products, and you can expect that to carry on through firmware updates to their integrated control software.
See the Play:5 manual for more info.