If you’re looking for a budget bookshelf speaker, skip this post because the one I’m writing about isn’t cheap. It’s Sonos Play 5, it’s expensive and addictive. Maybe you can find many speakers which sound better than this one but I can affirm that this is the best bookshelf speaker I ever tried.
No matter how large your rooms are, the Play:5 absolutely has the ability to fill them with sound. Not only that, but it also shines at any corners you want to put it on with its simple but not cheap appearance. One more thing, the audio streaming function of Play:5 is amazing with many popular services. Sonos PLAY 5 really did a great job with it.
In case you want to build a Sonos system but you don’t have enough money yet, it’s not a problem because the Play:5 is upgradable. You just need to buy one first and another one later to get a stereo pair.
Sonos PLAY 5 Design
The design of Play:5 is fascinating. Maybe you can complain that it looks too simple for $400 but when you get closer, you’ll find out that it is more complex than you think.
Just like Play:1 and Play:3, it has two color versions: black and white. On the front, there is one non-removable speaker grille to protect it. At the top, we have a volume control, mute button, and status LED. At the back, it has an auto-detecting 3.5 mm headphone socket, line-in, and two Ethernet sockets. It looks simple without being cheap.
Sonos PLAY 5: Features
Now, let’s take a look inside and see how amazed you can be. It’s totally a beast with a five driver speaker system – two tweeters, two 3″ mid-range drivers, and one 3.5″ woofer. Each driver of the product is individually powered by a dedicated amplifier.
This means you don’t have to connect Play:5 to external speakers or an amp. Let’s put three bookshelf speakers of Sonos together to compare. Play:1 has two drivers and it sounds good in small rooms. Play:3 can use its three drivers to fill large rooms with sound. Guess what Play:5 can do with five drivers inside. Yeah, it will rock any room in any size you put it in.
Its dimensions are 8.50 x 14.40 x 4.80 inches and it weighs 9.15 pounds. It’s not small and not convenient to carry along.
How to use? Sonos PLAY 5
When the Play:5 came out, if you want to control it, you must have a Sonos-branded remote (very expensive) or iOS device. And now, that’s the problem is gone because you can control the Sonos PLAY 5 system with its app (available on Android, Windows, iOS).
The installation is easy now. After turning the Play:5 on, you just need to connect it to your Wi-Fi network through the Sonos app. But if your Wi-Fi network’s signal is weak or your home doesn’t have any Wi-Fi network, you can use Ethernet cable instead. In case your house is large and you want to have Sonos’ components in each room, you may need a Bridge (costs $49 on Amazon) to strengthen the wireless performance of the Sonos PLAY 5 system.
True Stereo Separation
You can create a true stereo separation by pairing two Play:5s together and they sound amazing. The only thing you should consider is their price because of a pair of two Play:5s quite expensive. But I can make sure that this pair will bring a great listening experience which you never had before. You can use them not only at the home but also in outdoor parties, they will amaze people with their sound.
If you have many Sonos’ components in different rooms, you can easily control all the speakers through the app. Change the song, adjust the speaker volume, or mute it. You can do many things with different Sonos speakers in different rooms at the same time or separately while sitting at one place.
Audio Streaming Services
The Play:5 has many online audio streaming services for you to try. There are many popular names like Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Last.fm,… and also plenty of niche services such as Wolfgang’s Vault, Songza, 7Digital, 8tracks, Murfie,
But if you don’t want to stream music from these services, you can point it to your own music collection in PC, Mac, or NAS (Network-Attached Storage) and play. One more point, the Play:5 supports lossless audio formats, including Apple Lossless and FLAC as well as uncompressed WAV and AIFF files.
The sound quality of the Play:5 is great and we have nothing to complain about it. With help from the subwoofer, it handled low frequencies smoothly and made a good amount of bass. It also makes clear and crisp mid and treble. To be honest, when it comes to sound quality, this is not the best bookshelf speaker at this price point. But we all know that this price comes from how it sounds, but also from many different features.
And the sound from the headphone jack is good but there will be a low-level hiss when no music is playing. It’s just a detail and doesn’t affect the perceived quality of the speaker.
It doesn’t matter where you put it in: living room, bedroom or kitchen, the Play:5 will fill it with clear sound at any volume levels and you can listen to it whole day without being fatigue. Thanks to Sonos’ app and wireless system, there’s no drop-out when playing music in different zones. It helped me have a great listening experience.
The Bottom-line: Both software and hardware of Play:5 are great, the only problem is money. If you’re serious in building an audio theater for your home, you should pick it..
Although the Play:5 is quite expensive, it’s the best bookshelf speaker that I ever tried. I know that a speaker manufacturer should focus on sound quality but Play:5 is an exception. With ease of use, superb online audio streaming feature and classic looking, it is still the best one while not having the best sound quality at this price point. Believe me, the pleasure that the Play:5 brings to you is worth the money you pay for it.