SONOS PLAY:5 Wireless Speaker for Streaming Music (White) (Gen 1) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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- The original bigger room, bigger sound wireless speaker with five custom drivers for full-bodied sound at any volume
- Connects directly to your home’s Wi-Fi network, no wired connection needed
- Wirelessly streams your music library and favorite online music services like Spotify and Pandora
- Control your music with the free Sonos Controller app on your phone, tablet, or computer
- Start with any Sonos speaker and fill your home with music over time by adding Sonos speakers to other rooms
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The original, bigger room, bigger sound SONOS PLAY:5 Wireless Speaker. With 5 integrated speakers powered by 5 digital amps, the PLAY:5 is a HiFi powerhouse of sound that will astound your ears. Wirelessly stream your entire music library, favorite music services, and thousands of radio stations to any room. Set up is simple, and you can expand until every room in your home is packed with music. Control the SONOS PLAY:5 Wireless with free apps for your phone, tablet, and computer.
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Here is the caveat: First, I highly recommend buying the Bridge (bought mine used/like new on Amazon, and it works fine), so your speaker/s are not tethered to your router. Plus, you can add as many speakers as you please, all wirelessly synched to the Bridge for true stereo. Second, the instructions accompanying the speakers are simple, not necessarily in a good way. By simple, I don't mean easy; I mean they are not very detailed, just relying on some simple pictures, without much explanation. So, here's the rub: If you have different series speakers like I do, such as the 1, 3, and 5, you have to do some extrapolating to figure out how to synch all the speakers to deliver the same sound simultaneously in the same room. The trick is that you don't want to "pair" the speakers as the app suggests. To "pair" the speakers, you must have all the same series, e.g., two Play 1's, two Play 3's, or two Play 5's. Hey, how about pairing one Play 1 with one Play 3, and one Play 5? You'd think that should be possible, and it is, but neither the app nor the instructions address that issue. Frankly, I was about to return the Play 5 (the second speaker I bought), even to the point of contacting the vendor and printing the return label.
Still, it seemed that synching different series speakers to play in the same room should not be insurmountable, so I experimented. Here's what I did. First, I gave each speaker a different name - kitchen, living room, patio - instead of the app suggested kitchen 1 and kitchen 2. Next, and this is the real trick, you don't want to "pair" the speakers as suggested by the app, you want to "group" them. That command is not easily found on the app. What you have to do is tap the name of the speaker in the upper right hand corner of the app and as if by magic, you see a command that says "group," which is what you want to synch different series speakers to play simultaneously in the same room. "Pairing" them won't work. But, "grouping" them delivers perfectly synched stereo sound among different series speakers.
One more issue: Sonos does not play your iTunes library as streaming music in the cloud directly from iTunes (guess Sonos couldn't come to terms with Apple, which typically demands 30% royalties). So, you must first download your iTunes music to your device, like your iPad, iPhone, or computer, then tell Sonos to play from that list. The downside, of course, is that it consumes precious memory on your device. Or, if you have music in the Amazon cloud, you can stream directly from the Amazon cloud to Sonos without having to download and consume memory (guess Sonos was able to come to terms with Amazon).
Once you get past all that, operation is simple. Just select what you want to hear, then play it. Bottom line: Although the learning curve is fairly steep, and the instructions are not much help (in my experience, neither was the Sonos website), if you're willing to overcome the initial road bumps, you're in for a most enjoyable musical experience. Hope this helps someone. :-)
This particular speaker: This speaker sounds fantastic. However, as some online reviews have noted, you don't really get a stereo experience. I'm guessing it would be simply impossible to do, given the size of the contraption. It has two speakers going, one on each side, but they are just too close to hear any difference unless your head is right beside the speaker.
FWIW, we had a PLAY:1 at first, and I thought it sounded just as good as the PLAY:5. And at a quarter of the cost, I would much much much rather have two PLAY:1s, one in each corner of the room, delivering a stereo sound. However, SONOS made a terrible mistake by not including a line-in jack on the PLAY:1 or the PLAY:3, so if you also want to utilize one as your TV speaker (if you live in a small apartment like I do) then you are stuck with the unnecessarily expensive PLAY:5.
The PLAY:5 did work just fine as our TV speaker (you do have to go into your TV menu and put the audio on a delay in order to sync it up with the video, but it's easy). But we never fell in love with the device, and at that price, we couldn't justify keeping it. We sent it back upon receiving a $200 Vizio Soundbar and Subwoofer package, which works much better for TV audio, gives you stereo sound and low bass tones, and can play wireless audio via Bluetooth with the purchase of a $30 device.
Unrelatedly, the PLAY:1 is an amazing device at a decent cost if you can afford that price ($100) for a speaker without a line-in. The sound is almost indistinguishable from the PLAY:5, which makes it a great value, or makes the PLAY:5 extremely overpriced (or both, imo).
Quick update. My original two play 5's and sub still sound incredible. Since then I added 2 play 1's as a stereo pair for my bathroom. Now my bathroom is 10x15 with high ceilings. That being said the play 1's lack a good deal of bass. Turning the bass up on the settings did help a bit. There has been a lot of talk if a single play 5 or a pair of play 1's are a better bargain. For me at least I'd take the play 5. What ever you don't forget the sub. Setup was easy as usual.
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