I love my Sonos system. I have speakers in my living room, my bedroom and even the bathroom. Now Sonos is announcing a new PLAY:5. Pre-orders start Thursday, Oct. 29 and the new speaker will be available in US stores November 20. Available in a matte black and matte white, the new Sonos PLAY:5 will retail for $499 USD.
The Sonos PLAY:5 is a great new speaker in its own right but that is just the beginning. You see, with this newest addition to the Sonos lineup the company is introducing its Trueplay Tuning Software. This software makes it simple to get the best sound possible in the easiest way possible.
In this review we’ll look at both the Sonos PLAY:5 speaker and Trueplay.
Like its predecessor, the new SONOS PLAY:5 is designed to be part of the larger Sonos ecosystem. It however, has the ability to act as rear speakers in home theater setup that includes a SONOS PLAYBAR and SONOS SUB. (My current home theater is a Sonos SUB, PLAYBAR and two PLAY:1 speakers.)
The new PLAY:5 is, however, a reimagined flagship for the Sonos lineup. It has six synchronized, custom-designed drivers: three mid-woofers to create smooth mids and deep, powerful lows, and three tweeters to deliver clear highs at any volume. This array is built in such a manner that it produces a wider soundstage than you might expect in a single speaker. It really fills the room with its sound. But there’s more. You see, the new SONOS PLAY:5 now has three orientations. As Sonos explains,
In addition to horizontal orientation as a standalone speaker, two SONOS PLAY:5s paired together vertically deliver top-of-the-line stereo sound with a focused and intense sweet spot. Paired horizontally, they create a larger stereo image for an immersive, room-filling listening experience.
The new SONOS PLAY:5 incorporates an innovative design that allows for the most effective wireless performance, without compromises, to ensure the music remains in perfect sync without dropouts.
The design is amazing. The grill has nearly 60,000 individually drilled holes and the materials used in construction were carefully selected for durability and sound quality. In addition, the speaker has new touch controls that offer “an intuitive, easy way to play, pause, adjust volume and change the track.” And if that wasn’t enough, smart sensors in the speaker make these touch controls responsive to all orientations. The result is that, for example, the volume-up is always facing up.
I thought the original PLAY:5 was a powerful great-sounding speaker. It was and is but the new PLAY:5 takes things to an entirely new level. It completely fills my living room with sound and, even at the loudest setting, sounds great. It gets so loud though that I can’t play at that volume for fear of either losing my hearing or getting kicked out of my building. Yes, the sound is that big and that good!!
The introduction of new speaker-tuning software called Trueplay is a big deal. The new PLAY:5 is the first speaker Sonos is releasing with it but the functionality is rolling out to a number of their current speakers and their iOS app. The software is a bit of a deal-changer. Simply put, Trueplay lets Sonos system owners quickly and easily tune their existing Sonos speakers to optimize the sound no matter where the speaker is placed.
As Sonos explains it:
Trueplay stems from the insight that few homes are acoustically perfect. The placement of the speaker and the room it’s in impacts the way it sounds. In the past, customizing speakers has required complex and expensive professional calibration. Now with Trueplay, anyone can tune speakers with the press of a button. The result? Music is liberated so that it sounds great in every room, in every home.
Perhaps the best thing about Trueplay, other than the fact that it can significantly improve the sound coming from your Sonos system, is that the software walks you through the process step by step without your needing to understand anything or even think for that matter. Using Trueplay is as simple as downloading and launching the Sonos app. The Trueplay functionality then uses the microphone on an iPhone or iPad. A special tone is emitted by the Sonos speaker and the system analyzes the way in which the sound is reflected off walls, furnishings, glass and other surfaces in the room. The Sonos speaker then tunes itself so it will offer the best sound possible.
As record producer, composer, and Sonos sound experience leader Giles Martin puts it,
Our remit at Sonos has evolved from constantly working to improve the general sound of all of our speakers to customizing them: first by room, and in the future, by person, activity and content. We are obsessed with improving the home music experience, which must take into account acoustically unfriendly rooms. Tuning a room is the first of many software enhancements that make the experience richer and more personal for listeners whilst giving artists a whole new creative arena.
Trueplay is initially being offered on all SONOS PLAY:1, SONOS PLAY:3, SONOS PLAY:5 speakers and iOS controllers. It will be added to the rest of the Sonos lineup over time.
As Sonos puts it, With Trueplay you’ll get, “purer sound through smarter speakers.”
In all I’m pretty excited about what Sonos has revealed today. The new PLAY:5 speaker takes the company’s premium speaker to a new level of sound and functionality. Add in the new Trueplay tuning software, a free added feature and function and you’ll get better sound than you ever imagined from one or a house-full of Sonos speakers. The new PLAY:5 is available for pre-order now and will be available November 20th. You can learn more here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the new Sonos PLAY:5 speaker
What I Like: Huge, amazing sound; Works with the entire Sonos ecosystem; Can be placed in three different orientations; Can be controls from almost all phones, tablets and computers; Puts a world of music in your domicile
What Needs Improvement: Price of entry can quickly add up if you become a Sonos fan… and you will.