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Sonos Play:5 review

Wireless multi-room music system that just works

Our Verdict

For

  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to use
  • iPhone app is great
  • Sound quality is good
  • Robust networking
  • Depth of content is fantastic

Against

  • It's very expensive
  • No desktop playback

zoneplayer

Despite the moderate size of the Sonos Play:5, the quality of the sound is fantastic.

Inside the unit sits a total of five drivers which include two tweeters for the high end, two mid-range drivers and a single, meaty subwoofer which pumps out bass with such clarity as to rival some compact hi-fi systems.

The five drivers deliver a felty smooth sound which is both creamy and vibrant in equal measure. Compared to a full hi-fi system with full-size speakers, it's no match. But we're talking about a system the size of a shoebox.

Equalisation

Depending on what kind of rooms you put the Play:5 units in, you will want to change the music equalisation settings.

sonos iphone app

For the Play:5 in the TechRadar kitchen, we had to turn the bass down a bit, as the hard surfaces were causing some distortion.

Luckily, changing these settings is very easy, and it made a big difference to the over all sound.

Playing Sonos music on your PC

Incidentally, each Play:5 unit has both a line-in and line-out plug on the back. This gives you the option of hooking up to a bigger speaker system for a bigger sound, or alternatively to plug in an MP3 player and play music from that over the Sonos system - if you plug it into one, it'll play on all the systems in the whole house if you want it to.

sonos desktop app

It's here that we get to one of the only slight flaws with the system. Let's say you've got your computer in your living room, and a Play:5 in the bedroom and in the kitchen. What we really wanted was to play music on both the players, but also through the speakers connected to our PC – effectively adding another room, or zone, to the system.

Slight hiccups

However, it's not possible to do this. The Sonos help forum (which is excellent, by the way) does address this issue, and suggests that the way to fix this would be to trail an audio cable from the line-out port in your Play:5 to the line-in port in your computer's soundcard.

This option, however, completely misses the point as it requires you to have a ZonePlayer in the same room as your computer.

We spoke to Sonos about this, and the reason it gave for the absence of this feature is that your PC cannot be hooked up to the SonosNet wireless network, therefore it can't sync with the system.

That's understandable, but if the music is being streamed from the PC in the first place, we can't see a big reason why the music couldn't be played there too.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNetwork Audio Player
EthernetYes
Internet StreamingYes
Brand NameSONOS
Audio FormatsWMA, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, Apple Lossless, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, MP3
Ethernet TechnologyFast Ethernet
Height217 mm
Width365 mm
Depth123 mm
Image FormatsBMP, PNG, GIF, JPEG
ManufacturerSonos, Inc
Product ModelS5
Product NameZonePlayer S5 Network Media Player
Product LineZonePlayer
Manufacturer Part NumberZONE PLAYER S5
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sonos.com
Marketing Information

The S5 is a high-performance, all-in-one wireless music system that delivers crystal-clear, room-filling sound. Simply plug it in wherever you want music and enjoy. The 5-driver speaker system is individually powered by 5 dedicated digital amplifiers and includes 2 tweeters, 2 mid-range drivers and 1 subwoofer for high-quality sound that rivals much larger, more complicated audio equipment. To start playing music, one ZonePlayer or ZoneBridge must be connected to the router, then all the rest work wirelessly.

SpeakersYes
Weight (Approximate)4.15 kg