Recently we wrote about our initial experience with the Sonos Play: 5 during a visit to Sydney. We left impressed and now we have had the opportunity to run not one but TWO of the new Sonos Play: 5 speakers in our house. We’ve also had early access to the new audio tuning feature called TruePlay. So, we’re they any good?
Sonos is not something new in the household. We already use a Playbar/Sub and two Play: 1 speakers. This means that the introduction of these two new units meant that our neighbours loved us! From taking these new speakers out of the box to setting them up it is a premium experience. The packaging, the build quality and the overall presentation of the products spell premium.
Given that we were testing these prior to release we had to join a Beta program (you wouldn’t have to) and unfortunately we hit a snag early on. We were unable to join these unreleased speakers to the Sonos network we were already using and needed help. This was actually an opportunity for us, we had the chance to experience the support that Sonos provides to customers, that premium experience we mentioned earlier carried through. It was a one to one conversation, over the phone and via email. The person we started with was the person we finished with, no passing us around. The follow ups were also appreciated and even when the support persons shift was finishing, they introduced me to the person covering the gap hours incase we had further issues. A breath of fresh air.
Once we had the speakers setup we followed a listening experience guide provided by Sonos to appreciate the speakers how they intended. It was impressive. Big, full bodied, deep sound. It was one of those experiences where you find yourself in a room, listening to music, closing your eyes and just feeling every strum, beat and vocal chord through your body.
Music is art, it is beautiful and it invokes emotions, it captures memories and moves us. The delivery of that music is critical and Sonos continues to portray that art the way the musician intended.
These speakers are powerful, two is a serious punch, for a standard room a single Play: 5 will rock a party, two is serious business. A single speaker can be used horizontal for a wide audio experience or you can put two together as a stereo pair (L & R) in vertical mode for a much more focused audio experience. We tested both, to be sure.
The functionality of the speakers themselves is relatively simple. A pairing button on the back makes the process simple, power and a network port (if required). At the front you’ll find Play/Pause and volume up/down. A swipe across will help you skip songs also. Everything else is controlled via the app. There is access to the majority of popular music services, your phones music, your computers music, your network connected storage and so much more. Once the music has started and the speakers are streaming your sounds, the phone isn’t required to be on or active, it is only required to control the speakers. This is unlike bluetooth speakers where you need to stand close to the speaker, cant take a call etc.
We used the Sonos Play: 5 in multiple rooms to test the new audio tuning software in the app. TruePlay is a really innovative way to tune your speakers and 3D map your room for a better listening experience. It involves you waving your phone around the room while you speaker plays sonar style sounds. It looks like you are trying to expel bad spirits but you’re actually trying to teach your speaker good sound. The fortunate thing here though is that the tuning actually works. In every case that we ran the tuning we ended up with a better listening experience. The fortunate thing for anyone with previous Sonos models – you’ll get this update and you’ll be able to improve your existing Sonos sound. It made my two Play: 1 speakers perform even better.
When you have a bunch of these speakers in multiple rooms there is nothing better than grouping them together. Playing the same song throughout the house is extremely enjoyable. I can listen to music while I get dressed, continue listening while I eat, and so on. When guests are over it allows you to play music everywhere without blaring one stereo hoping it is heard everywhere. Even sound distribution is magical.
So, what should you do? If you are in the market for premium audio in the house then Sonos in itself has always been a great option. From the Play: 1 all the way up to the PlayBar, you’re being well taken care of. The fact that Sonos pushes software updates to previous models is reassuring also, it means that your expensive speakers today won’t be redundant in three years time. They’ll only get better. Whether you need a Play: 5 though is a different story, they retail for over $700 each. For that price you could buy two Play: 1 speakers and put them in a fantastic stereo pair. Think strongly about it, have them demonstrated to you in store and assess your room for yourself. We love them but mostly ran them at 50% volume when we wanted to pump it, they’re really powerful so tread carefully.