60,000 holes makes the new Sonos Play 5 A Standout Speaker, Calibration Software Pure Fluff

Written by David Richards     11/11/2015 | 13:44 | Category name i.e.SOUND

If there is one Company in the world of sound that is under threat it is Sonos.

60,000 holes makes the new Sonos Play 5 A Standout Speaker, Calibration Software Pure Fluff
This US Company pioneered the advent of wireless audio with their early speaker range and unique software, now they are having to compete up against Hi Fi heavyweights, who are still struggling to marry IP and networking technology with the finest in small speaker Hi Fi technology. 

Then there are the likes of Samsung who are tipping millions into a new audio technology lab in Silicon Valley in an effort to gain traction in the new world of wireless sound where software and streaming is as important as the physical speaker output.

Recently the Company launched their new Play 5 speaker and while it is more Apple friendly than Android it is a massive improvement on the Companies early Play 5 speaker.

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In fact, it would not surprise me if we wake up one morning to discover that Sonos which is still a private Company has been sold. 

For the simple reason that they are still the best company in the world at producing wireless audio technology and the software that pulls the whole wireless streaming of content together. 

While the Play 5 is a single speaker that has been five years in the making and fifteen months since the last Sonos speaker release, I strongly recommend that you consider buying a pair of these new speakers as the output when paired is exceptional taking into account the size of the speakers.
 
The sound is fresh, clean and crystal clear.
 
This speaker has been redesigned from the ground up. There are new touch sensors running along the top of the speaker.
  
While the old Play 5 model had five speakers-two tweeters, two mid-range drivers, and one woofer. The Play 5 has six speakers and three tweeters and three drivers that each handle both mids and lows.

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When I was first shown the new Play 5 it appeared that the brief was all about software calibration which at the end of the day is isolated to only people who own an iPad or iPhone and have purchased the new Play 5 that comes with a new speaker calibration tool called Trueplay. 

Using the built-in mic on your iPhone or iPad, intelligent algorithms, and a bouncy sci-fi tone, Trueplay enables Sonos speaker owners excluding the millions of people who own an Android device, to enhance their speakers to deliver enhanced sound in the home regardless of speaker placement.

With the new software Sonos recommends that you stand in the room with the speaker on fire up the app, and press the Trueplay button.
 
The speaker emits a tone, and the microphone on your handset picks it up. The app is able to determine the acoustic properties of the room, how different frequencies are represented, and what the reverberations are like. The speaker then adjusts its output.

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The Trueplay software is found inside the Sonos app and limited to iOS. Sonos claim that the microphone on the new Apple IPhone is superior to any Android smartphone. 

Personally I think this is a load of bollocks, as the new Galaxy Edge, Galaxy Note 5 and the new Sony Android smartphones have high res microphones that I personally believe are superior to the Apple iPhone. 

I say this because every day I use a smartphone to record interviews and the microphones on Android devices including the new HTC One M9 are good enough to record audio feedback in a room.
 
By refusing to develop the app for Android which I think is all about cost and support for multiple Android devices Sonos is isolating themselves from a massive audience.

I also think that room calibration which has been around for years is more fad than practical app especially with a speaker the size of the Sonos Play 5 offering.
 
What you are getting with the Play 5 is excellent sound quality, brilliant wireless technology and software and a sleek new understated visual design that really makes this speaker stand out. 

Another big improvement is the touch controls for playing, pausing, switching tracks, and changing volume. 

The improvements to both the physical enclosure and the audio quality are enough that I'd highly recommend that current owners of a Play 5 seriously consider upgrading to the new speaker. 

The Play 5 has three distinct orientations: By itself, either horizontal or vertical; paired with another speaker vertically to provide a tight stereo image; or paired with both speakers sitting horizontally, to provide a wider, more room-filling stereo image.

The build quality is excellent; this is no more evident than with the black speaker grill that has over 60,000 individual holes drilled into the polycarbonate. 

Sonos builds each component from the ground up. Aside from its own engineers, Sonos has audio experts like Giles Martin provide input on a speaker's tuning and overall sound. All of this results in a product that Sonos claims is "several generations ahead of where we've been in the past." And to my ears, it sounds pretty amazing especially as we get to play with a lot of wireless audio speakers. 

The Sonos controller software that has been going through a lot of updates lately runs on any phone or computer including Android devices and it lets you stream different audio sources to multiple locations around your home all at once.  

You can play a Spotify playlist in one room, NPR in another, and tracks from your iTunes library in a third, surprisingly Sonos's love for all things Apple has not extended to Apple music.

 Apple who acquired Beats last year is believed to be working on an Apple wireless speaker of their own, maybe they should simply buy Sonos.

Alternatively, you can sync all the speakers in your house and play the same music in every room. 

All of the nodes stay in contact with one another via a discrete wireless mesh network that piggy-backs on top of your home Wi-Fi network. It's a solution that's unique in both its versatility and solidity in the wireless audio market.

Conclusion
FOR: As far as the Play 5 speaker goes this is the best there is, the combination of software, mesh networking, sound output and premium design mixed with top end materials makes this a must have speaker.
 
AGAINST: 
Their calibration software is a gimmick that does nothing to add to the quality that Sonos delivers with their speakers. 

Ranking:5/5



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Pros & Cons

Pros:

FOR: As far as the Play 5 speaker goes this is the best there is, the combination of software, mesh networking, sound output and premium design mixed with top end materials makes this a must have speaker.
 

Cons:

AGAINST: Their calibration software is a gimmick that does nothing to add to the quality that Sonos delivers with their speakers.