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What is the best Sonos speaker setup? Play:1 vs Play:3 vs Play:5 vs Playbar and Sub

Which is the best Sonos speaker setup for the ultimate multi-room home audio? We compare the Sonos Play:1, Play:3 and Play:5 speakers as well as the Sonos Playbar and Sub, to see what the difference is and which combination is best for you.

If you’ve considered getting your own multi-room speaker setup for your homestead, chances are you immediately thought of Sonos. That’s because Sonos was one of the first audio experts to master the platform before everyone started offering speakers that do the same thing.

As such it’s still one of the most comprehensive combination offerings, with impressive compatibility for music services like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and more.

That experience in the field also means that Sonos has had plenty of time to develop and refine its speakers. Now there are four Sonos speakers and a sub to pick from when it comes to multi-room solutions.

So which Sonos speaker, or which combination of speakers is best for your home? Since they mix and match, all working together, you may want to get a selection to suit your own room layout. Read on to find out all you need to know about Sonos speakers.

Sonos Play:1

The Sonos Play:1 is the baby speaker of the family. It’s smaller in size than some of the offerings and so offers a bit less audio punch and sound quality – but it’s also available at a more affordable price here in the UK.

We’ve probably undersold the Play:1 a bit, to be honest. This speaker is still impressive, with two amps, one tweeter and one mid-range woofer to offer a well-balanced sound output. But it’s the smarts that’ll really impress.

Even though this speaker is smaller than the rest of the range, it’ll still offer the fully intelligent Sonos multi-room integration. That means you’ll be able to stream music from your phone, tablet or computer using the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and other services and subscriptions – all controlled from within the player’s app.

You can also use the Sonos app for even more depth of controls. Want to listen to different things in different rooms, or have a house-wide party and play the same thing on all of your speakers? These are all simple to execute, thanks to the smart and intuitive Sonos app.

Top tip: if you get two of the Play:1 speakers, you can always pair them with a Sonos Playbar and Sub for a surround sound cinema experience.

The Sonos Play:1 is out now for £150.

Sonos Play:3

The Sonos Play:3 offers a step up from the Play:1 in terms of size as well as audio oomph. This device has three amps, a tweeter, two midrange drivers and a bass sub.

The Play:3 uses Wi-Fi for quick and simple setup anywhere in your home and offers dual play modes. Stand it vertically for mono playback or place it horizontally for stereo sound – useful if you’re using two together for a system setup.

You get greater bass compared with the Play:1, so two of these speakers could be used as a decent 2.1 sound system, or paired with the PlayBar and Sub for an even greater surround sound system.

The Sonos Play:3 is available now for £230.

Sonos Play:5

This is the daddy of the Sonos speaker line-up. The Play:5 features a whopping six amps, three tweeters and three midrange woofers, for the most balanced and accurate sound reproduction possible.

Like the Play:3 this can be positioned vertically or horizontally for mono or stereo modes. You also get capacitive touch controls, for ease of use when not controlling the speaker from an app. Trueplay is another awesome feature that makes sure the sound output is perfectly suited to the size of room, so you get a great audio experience no matter where you place the speaker.

Of course the Play:5 speaker also works with the Sonos app and is compatible with over 30 streaming services, for instant music playback.

The Sonos Play:5 is out now for £400.

Sonos Playbar

As the name gives away, this is a soundbar speaker setup from Sonos. While that’s great in itself, the Playbar can also be paired with other speakers for a real surround system setup. Great news for movie buffs.

The Sonos Playbar features nine amplifiers, six midrange woofers and three tweeters. There is also a Sonos Sub which can be paired up, but this needs to be bought separately. If the Playbar is paired with two Play speakers it’ll work as a 5.1 surround sound system.

The Playbar also reads infrared remotes, so you should be able to control it from the comfort of your sofa on movie night without having to yank out your phone and browse to the app.

The Sonos Playbar is available now for £570.

Sonos Sub

More bass is always a winner, whether it be for music or a home cinema experience. The Sonos Sub adds a heary helping of bass thanks to its hefty sound power.

The Sonos Sub packs in two amplifiers paired with two force cancelling speakers for the best final output, good for as low as 25Hz. Attach other Sonos speakers and the audio settings of the sub will automatically adjust to offer the ideal sound output.

Add two Play:1, Play:3 or Play:5 speakers for a complete 5.1 surround sound system.

The Sonos Sub is out now for £570.


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