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sonos or mini hifi for my conservatory

johnnyboy1950

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May 27, 2013
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Just had the conservatory refurbished so plan to spend more time there. I was thinking about the pioneer XCHM86D which does pretty much all I want and i would connect to a pair or MA bronze BX2s that I have going spare. The speakers mounted high up on the wall in wood veneer aren't going to look that good ( the new conservatory has a white theme going on) so I thought about the Sonos Play 5. Apart from the lack of CD player this also seems like a good option. But I am concerned about the sonos being essentialy a mono unit. Should I go with the conventional stereo set up or go for the sonos. I dont want to buy 2 play 5s.
 

knaithrover

Moderator
Nov 24, 2013
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2 x Play 1s sound great in stereo, or as mentioned earlier sell the BX2's and get some white speakers - MA BX1, Dali Zenor 3 or QA Concept 20 all come in white and are very decent indeed.
 

johnnyboy1950

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May 27, 2013
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Thanks for the replys. I like the simplicity and concept of the play 5. Although it is well reviewed for SQ it is essentially a mono speaker yes? So would just having stereo speakers connected to a mini hifi unit inevitably be better.
 

andyjm

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Jul 20, 2012
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I have 2 x Play:5 gen 1 in a conservatory. There is an active second hand market on Ebay for these, and if you are selective, you can buy mint, boxed Play:5s for around the £250 mark. For whatever reason it seems Sonos owners look after their gear. Perhaps it is they don't need to be touched after they have been put on a shelf.

The acoustics of my (all?) conservatories are dreadful. Highly acoustically reflective walls and ceiling (glass), and in my case a tile floor. The great thing about the Sonos equipment is 'trueplay' which is a pretty decent room correction facility. While it is never going to correct all ills, it certainly moves the sound quality in my conservatory from awful to quite acceptable.

Frankly, for £500 the pair (used), given the convenience of no wires (apart from mains cables) and the advantages of Trueplay in an acoustically challenging room, I wouldn't hesitate to go down the Sonos route again.

Edit: A single Sonos is mono in that it is a single box, but has a go at widening the sound stage by some clever tricks using its multiple amps to play L and R channels separately through aimed tweeters. It isn't quite stereo, but its better than nothing. 2 Play:5s as a stero pair are a significant step up in sound quality which I would recommend.
 

johnnyboy1950

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May 27, 2013
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Thanks Andyjm

I think I would like to go with the new Play5 which should be an improvement on the first Play 5. True play is interesting, I can see how it would be benificial in a conservatory. I have an ipad only for work. Can I use this to tune in using True play and then revert to my android devices to play music? From what you have said 1 play 5 may give me the sound stage i need in the conservatory with trueplay. 2 play 5s is more than i want to spend but 2 play 3s maybe?
 

andyjm

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Jul 20, 2012
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johnnyboy1950 said:
Thanks Andyjm

I think I would like to go with the new Play5 which should be an improvement on the first Play 5. True play is interesting, I can see how it would be benificial in a conservatory. I have an ipad only for work. Can I use this to tune in using True play and then revert to my android devices to play music? From what you have said 1 play 5 may give me the sound stage i need in the conservatory with trueplay. 2 play 5s is more than i want to spend but 2 play 3s maybe?
Although the new Play:5 got glowing reviews in the mags, my limited listening test didn't give me the impression it was much of a step up from the old gen 1. The form factor is also more of a challenge to put on a shelf than the gen 1.

I would steer clear of the Play:3, it is the last of the original range of Sonos products, the tech is old and I would guess due for a redesign sometime soon. I think it is a poor cousin to the play:5 either gen 1 or 2. You would certainly do better with 2 used Play:5 than 2 new Play:3

When trueplay was launched, it only worked on iPhones - apparently something to do with the repeatability of the microphone performance. I dont know if a wider range of devices is supported now. You could always borrow a friends phone to set it up, all the parameters are saved in the Sonos device once the setup is done.
 

Sliced Bread

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2010
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I have a single Play:1 in the kitchen and a single Play:1 in one of the bedrooms and I think it's brilliant for what it is. A single Sonos does a superb job of filling a room with sound.

It has the best interface I've used and sound quality is way better than the price should suggest. The calibration if you use it does a decent job.

Fair enough it's not full "hi-fi" but it has a way of making music very enjoyable and upbeat.

Even though my living room system is technically way better, I still find I listen to music more on the Sonos.
 

johnnyboy1950

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May 27, 2013
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thats good that the sonos will store the trueplay parameters. I can borrow an iphone easy enough. i assume trueplay works on the older play5.

Anyone else compared the play 5 to the new play 5?
 

andyjm

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Jul 20, 2012
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johnnyboy1950 said:
thats good that the sonos will store the trueplay parameters. I can borrow an iphone easy enough. i assume trueplay works on the older play5.

Anyone else compared the play 5 to the new play 5?
Only briefly, and in a poor listening environment. Didn't seem that much of a step up to be honest.

The mags raved over it, but as Sonos is a big advertising buyer, I am not show how much credence I would give the reviews.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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As others have mentioned it might be worth looking at some speakers that come in a white finish if you are worried about the issue of a Mono sound. Monitor Audio, Dali, Q Acoustics and Mission all have some very good options!
 

johnnyboy1950

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May 27, 2013
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Got to my local currys to listen to the play 5. not a great listening environment. It was the best of the bunch there SQ wise but it clicked for the first time that is is just a speaker, no display etc. Also a closed operating system. No USB input, no spotify connect, you have to rely on the Sonos app. Also dispite it sounding impressive and bags of bass, it still sounded like it was coming out of a box! I'm going to look at the conventional Hifi options for now.
 

bigboss

Moderator
It depends on what you really want from the system.

1) Sonos supports Spotify Connect. You can directly play on Sonos via Spotify app, apart from Sonos app itself.

2) I don't know what you mean by "closed operating system". It does not have bluetooth or USB input, because it serves a different purpose (multiroom audio).

3) Currys is the worst place possible to demo a system. A pair of Play:5s in stereo mode will compete with similarly priced Hi Fi systems for SQ if you're not going to play Hi Res audio.
 

bigboss

Moderator
I have a Sonos Connect in my living room connected to my AV receiver, Sonos Playbar in the family area, Play:5 in the master bedroom, Sonos One in the children's bedroom, Sonos Connect with Audioengine 2 speakers in the guest bedroom and a pair of Play:1s in stereo mode in the other guest bedroom. SQ of every Sonos setup is excellent. The pair of Play:1s in stereo mode amazed me in sound quality. It beats a lot of similarly sized and priced speakers.
 

johnnyboy1950

Well-known member
May 27, 2013
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Still pondering the options. My partner wants something "simple" which will sit on a shelf in the middle of one of the conservatory walls. The shelf will be about 1 metre long. Fair enough, my main hifi is in the lounge so this will have to be a compromise. 1 metre isn't much seperation between speakers. I'm still reticent about the sonos/bluesound route. Sticking with the pioneer all in one I'm thinking about Q acoustics bookshelf speakers. Would the 1 metre seperation still be a better soundstage than a single play 5 or similar. The Q acoustics 3020 appeals but the gloss white is £60 more than the standard black at £140, a 40% increase! For £290 I can have the concept 20s which are same price for black or white. I.e the extra cost is all about a superior product rather than colour and finish. So the pioneer XCHM86D and the concept 20s is my thinking right now. Any comments please.

PS I found out by coincidence that the sonos play 5 will not work with a homeplug device for internet. This could be a deal breaker for me and others. With Hifi now being so much more than your simple source, amp, and speakers. WHF should really include in their reviews this type of info. SQ is irrelevent if you cant get your kit to work!
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
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johnnyboy1950 said:
PS I found out by coincidence that the sonos play 5 will not work with a homeplug device for internet. This could be a deal breaker for me and others. With Hifi now being so much more than your simple source, amp, and speakers. WHF should really include in their reviews this type of info. SQ is irrelevent if you cant get your kit to work!
It should work fine with a mains based ethernet extender. Why do you think it won't work?
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
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bigboss said:
Sonosnet is far more robust than WiFi. Connect a Sonos Boost to your router.
Well yes, and no. Sonos uses a Mesh network, with each Sonos box forming a node in a net. Each box then tries to find the most robust route back to the source, either directly, or indirectly using other Sonos boxes as relays. For a multi box system, this results in a more stable implementation with the boxes chatting amongst themselves.

For a one box setup as the OP proposes, the Sonos Mesh network can't form. As the Mesh network is really just a protocol sitting on top of standard Wifi cards at standard power, for a single hop, the Sonos Mesh has no more range than standard Wifi.
 

bigboss

Moderator
andyjm said:
bigboss said:
Sonosnet is far more robust than WiFi. Connect a Sonos Boost to your router.
Well yes, and no.  Sonos uses a Mesh network, with each Sonos box forming a node in a net.  Each box then tries to find the most robust route back to the source, either directly, or indirectly using other Sonos boxes as relays.  For a multi box system, this results in a more stable implementation with the boxes chatting amongst themselves.

For a one box setup as the OP proposes, the Sonos Mesh network can't form. As the Mesh network is really just a protocol sitting on top of standard Wifi cards at standard power, for a single hop, the Sonos Mesh has no more range than standard Wifi.   
That's why I've suggested Sonos Boost to be connected to the router to create the mesh.
 

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