Sonos is a wireless HiFi audio equipment producer founded in Santa Barbara, California. Sonos speakers work by creating their own wireless network. This allows you to place Sonos speakers anywhere in your home and fill every room with music. Sonos speakers are resistant to humidity, which means you can even place a Sonos speaker in your bathroom without worry. There are currently three speakers (PLAY:1, PLAY:3, PLAY:5,) a sound bar, and a subwoofer to choose from. Today we will be taking a firsthand look at the PLAY:1.
The PLAY:1 is Sonos’ entry level HiFi speaker retailing for $199. The packaging is beautiful and opening it makes you feel like you’re getting something truly special. The first thing you will notice is that the speaker is pretty small for what you’d expect in a home stereo system. Conversely, it’s a lot heavier than what you’d expect from such a small device. It looks great with its minimalistic design, but the most important factor is what the speaker sounds like, so let’s find out.
App and Speaker Installation
The installation manual consists of only two simple steps. The first step asks you to plug your speaker into a power outlet. The second step asks you to download the Sonos Controller App from the App Store. The Sonos Controller App is going to be your Sonos experience headquarters and all Sonos system functionality will be transpired through this app.
After downloading the Sonos Controller App, you will find this is where the process becomes a little more complicated. The Sonos Controller App guides you through the setup method step by step. It will ask you to press a series of buttons on the speaker for some sort of activation. After you successfully do this, your Sonos controller app will begin to configure your speaker. After the speaker is configured you will then have to connect your iPhone or iPad to a temporary wireless network created by the Sonos speaker. You will then select your home Wi-Fi network and enter your password.
You’ll get a confirmation message saying that you have successfully added a PLAY:1 speaker. You’ll then choose the room your PLAY:1 will be used in. Choosing the room will allow you to group speakers together to play the same tunes. You can then add another Sonos speaker to your wireless network. We only have one Sonos speaker for review so we will be skipping this step.
After we were connected to the wireless network, the Sonos controller app mentioned we needed to update the speaker’s firmware before we could continue to the next step. This update required us to register an e-mail address and location information with Sonos. After they collected location information and an e-mail address, we were successfully registered, and now the firmware could be updated. The update took about 5 minutes. The controller app gave us the thumbs-up and the Sonos system was finally ready to use.
If you subscribe to music services you can now set them up. If you don’t subscribe to any music services you can start playing music directly from your iPhone or iPad.
If you choose to connect multiple Sonos speakers, you can play different music in selected rooms (i.e. country music in the living room and pop music in the bathroom) or you can group multiple rooms together (i.e. play rap music in the living room and the dining room.) You can even group all of your speakers together to play the same music all throughout your home. The music app is robust allowing you to search through artists, playlists, genres, albums, tracks, compilations, podcasts, and even composers. Music services that can be added to the Sonos Controller App are listed below.
fm Record Radio
Google PLAY Music
Hearts of Space
Com Gameday Audio
The Hype Machine
Tribe of Noise
As you can see, no matter what music service you choose to stream from, chances are it is compatible with Sonos. Remember that the Sonos Music Controller App can be updated by Sonos at any time, so expect more features to rollout in time.
Now that you have an idea of what you can do with your Sonos speaker system, let’s see move on to what it sounds like.
I mentioned earlier that the PLAY:1 is small and heavy. Sonos must have jam-packed a lot of musical goodness in this tiny speaker because it sounds phenomenal.
Sonos writes on their website “PLAY:1’s custom-designed 3.5” mid-woofer and tweeter, each with a dedicated amplifier, deliver rich, powerful sound, with crystal clear highs and deep, rolling lows for pitch-perfect HiFi music.”
We can agree with Sonos when we noticed the treble is crystal clear and bass is surprisingly deep. The midrange can be overshadowed by the highs and the lows, but it’s still there.
The Sonos Music Controller App allows you to adjust an equalizer. The equalizer is simple, only providing options to change bass and treble levels. There is also a “loudness” switch which seems to give the speaker a little bit more oomph. It doesn’t make a huge difference but we prefer to leave it on.
The PLAY:1 is also incredibly loud. Testing the speaker out in a condominium was challenging due to the fact that we were not able to turn the volume up all the way. This single speaker was produced so much volume that we were nervous neighbors might be upset with how loud our music was. We can honestly say adding two or three of these bad boys to the wireless system will take your surround sound music to the next level.
While the Sonos system setup can be a little time consuming, it’s at least simple. Sonos guides you through each step so you’ll never question what to do next. The PLAY:1 is a great quality speaker that we would recommend to anyone with a smaller home. If you like your music to blast you away, we would recommend getting two of them and pairing them at opposite sides of each room. If you live in a bigger home, you might want to upgrade to the larger PLAY:3 or PLAY:5.
Sonos set out to create a powerful, wireless, and easy to use HiFi speaker system for the entire home and they most definitely achieved their goal.