Sonos is one of the best audio component manufacturers. Their speakers have a great sound quality and simple but absolutely nice design which makes them fit any room you want to put them in. But when it comes to the price of Sonos speakers, Sonos Play: 1 not as cheap as many people can pay for a speaker.
The price has been the biggest fence between customers and Sonos’s products. They also realized this problem and that is the reason why they decided to make Sonos Play: 1. you have a bookshelf speaker which has a good sound quality, nice design and includes many audio streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, or Rdio. Amazing huh?
Sonos Play: 1 Design
Just like other speakers made by Sonos, Play:1 has a simple and nice design. It is a cylindrical block with 4.7 inches in width and depth 6.4 inches in height. Inside of it, there are two custom-designed drivers, 3.5 inches mid-woofer and tweeter, each with a dedicated amplifier. Its weight is only 4.1 pounds and it doesn’t have battery built-in, so you have to put it in one place and leave it there.
There are two color versions of Play:1 are black and white. Although the cabinet is essentially all plastic, it never feels cheap with that modern, nifty design. They also did a nice job with the power cord on the bottom of the speaker which is tucked into the bottom to look like seamless. One more interesting point is that Play:1 is humidity-resistant which means you can put it everywhere, even in the bathroom. You can also mount it on the wall with the hole behind it.
Sonos also made a change to its standard controls on the top. The Mute button that both Play:3 and Sonos Play:5 have has been replaced with the Play/Pause button. It’s a smart move because it still has the ability to quiet the speaker immediately and continue listening without skipping any part of the song. Here is the bonus, with other Sonos speakers, you can change the functionality of the Mute button to Play/Pause by installing their firmware upgrade.
Sonos Play: 1 Mono Speaker
Sonos Play: 1 is the first mono speaker of Sonos. If you want stereo separation, you can think about Play:3 or pairing two Play:1 together. The price of Play:3 is equal to two Play:1s’s, so you should consider it. Plus, this is a powered speaker, so you don’t have to connect it with separate amp which makes setup and installation process become easier.
- Micca MB42X Affordable Stylish Bookshelf Speakers
- Sonos PLAY 5 Wireless Bookshelf Speaker Review
- Polk TSi100 – The Best Bookshelf Speakers
How to use Sonos Play: 1
Since Sonos released app for speakers, installation has become easier than ever. In case you’ve already got a Sonos, you just have to add Play:1 to the system through the app, then press the volume-up and Play buttons when prompted, done. The app is available on iOS, Android and PC.
Before September 2014 software upgrade, if Sonos Play: 1 is your first Sonos component, you must have an Ethernet cable to plug into the speaker’s backside or it will never be setup. But now, you have a second choice: connect it to your Wi-Fi network. If your Wi-Fi signal is weak or you have more than three Sonos units on your network, a wired connection is highly recommended or you can buy a Sonos Bridge (costs $50).
You may think that it seems redundant to have a wireless network dedicated to stream music, but its reliability is really amazing. If your home is big and you want each room to have at least one Sonos component, you’ll see how good that mesh network can be.
Stream With Sonos Play: 1
The Sonos Play: 1 is able to stream music from your personal music collection on PC, Android, or iOS components and NAS (Network Attached Storage). With NAS, you have to let the speaker know the network address of your NAS. It supports large audio file formats (FLAC and Apple Lossless are also included) but high-resolution audio isn’t supported.
Another Great Point
A large amount of streaming service that the Sonos Play: 1 supports. There are Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Cloud Player, Rdio, SiriusXM, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Rhapsody, MOG, Slacker, Last.fm and also plenty of niche services such as Wolfgang’s Vault, Songza, 7Digital, 8tracks, Murfie, batanga and aupeo!, Dar.FM and Hearts of Space.
However, one big disadvantage of Sonos’s speakers, including Play:1, is that it doesn’t support simpler wireless audio solutions like Bluetooth and AirPlay. It makes many people consider buying their products. The reason for AirPlay isn’t that they don’t want Apple to be their partner, I think they have a problem with the license.
The Sonos Play: 1 has a similar sonic signature to Sonos’ other speakers. It produces a good amount of bass. When I played “Godzilla” (by Blue Oyster Cult) with Play:1, the bass and drum intro sounded great and gave the song a dramatic beat. And “Stonecutter” (by Flying Lotus) sounded big, meaning that it can handle bass heavy-tracks.
However, every small speaker usually has trouble with some specific tracks. With Play:1, Neil Young’s “Alabama” is the one. The sound was muffled, dull and it was disappointing. You can try adjusting the EQ to raise the treble to save its sound quality on that track because it worked for me. Play:1 did a great job with every corner in my house but when it came to a large room, it didn’t have the ability to fill the whole room. Be easy, it’s not an important mistake with small size bookshelf speakers.
Now, we come to the most interesting part (I think): coupling two Play:1s to make a stereo pair. Although “Alabama” sounded better, it looked like Play:1s still had a problem with the track. But the rest of the test was great. It brought more details, spaces when I played “Always Crashing In The Same Car” (by David Bowe).
The true stereo separation created a huge difference to sound quality and it amazed me. This makes you consider between a pair of two Play:1s ($400) and Play:3 ($300). In my opinion, although a single Play:3 also has stereo separation, it sounds worse than that pair. So my choice is spending money on two Play:1s.
The Bottom-line: To picky audiophiles, this may not the best bookshelf speaker at this price point. However, if you’re looking for an audio component to put in your secondary rooms like kitchen, office or even bathroom, Play:1 is highly recommended.
The Play:1 is a great bookshelf speaker. I like to listen to it while doing other activities. The sound quality is good enough, the design is nice and intelligent. It may not bring the best sound to your home we can’t deny that Sonos has done a nice job.
And one another point which got me is the price. I used to complain that although Sonos’ products are good, they’re too expensive for any person to afford one. But now that problem is gone and I think Sonos will get more first-time customers with the Play:1.
If you are an audiophile, Play:1 may have many disadvantages (most about sound quality) when being compared with other bookshelf speakers at this price point. But if you’re just looking for a bookshelf speaker to listen while cooking, reading, or having dinner, it is good enough to be your best choice.