The Sonos Play:5 shows just how far Sonos has come. Back in 2004, Sonos appeared with a multi-zone music system that anyone could buy and set up in minutes. It was perfectly pitched, stylistically and technologically – a premium-feeling proposition that we described as being 'as close to hi-fi as wi-fi gets'.
Sonos has slowly but surely evolved the range, making the individual ZonePlayers more compact, adding music services and introducing a touchscreen controller, iPhone App and most recently the Playbar soundbar and £169 Play:1.
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Scalability has always been key, with users able to add extra zones at will. Perhaps the one problem with this was that the cheapest and simplest way to add a complete zone was to buy the amplified ZP120 for £399, and add a pair of affordable speakers, like the £120 Q Acoustics 2010s.
Although this partnership results in great sound, some would see it as excessively pricey and large for a bedroom, kitchen or study.
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That's where the Play:5 comes in. This all-in-one box functions in the same way as the ZP120 and ZP90, but has five digital amps, each powering an individual, built-in driver.
That's right, this stylish unit contains two tweeters, two midrange drivers, and a single subwoofer. In unison they sound superb for a product of this type.
Wirelessly fed a Lossless rip of Mumford and Sons' The Cave, the S5 responds with a delivery far bigger than any room it's likely to be placed in. Vocals are focused, but the overall soundstage is wide, deep and three-dimensional.
Dynamics and rhythm are equally impressive, with the dramatic second verse kicking in with real scale and drive. The banjo is twinkly and detailed, vocals are full-bodied, while the track is underpinned by deep bass.
Like other ZonePlayers, the Play:5 can access internet radio, Last.fm and Napster. And there's a 3.5mm input and headphone socket.
It's worth remembering that Sonos's wireless mesh technology results in fine wireless range and impressive robustness and speed.
This means there's no drop-out when playing different content in different zones, and total synchronisation when playing the same track in all zones at once.
The Play:5 is the perfect way to begin or extend your Sonos system.
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