Very impressive sound quality; stream millions of tracks directly from the device
Limited to Sonos’ wireless network
Sonos is a brand long synonymous with high-end wireless audio, carving out its own comfortable niche in home audio by offering multi-room wireless solutions that are easy to use and available to buy off the shelf.
Sonos is now hitting the mainstream with the retail launch of its entry-level Play:3 all-in-one wireless system. With an entry price of $419, the Sonos system is now competitively priced when compared to buying an Apple Airport Express and speakers of similar quality.
Saying we were impressed with the Play:3 would be an understatement. The level of quality and clarity in this mini system is unparalleled by anything else of the size and price available to the consumer audio market.
Featuring three Class-D digital amplifiers and three drivers – one tweeter and two 3in mid-ranges – the sound quality is very impressive, offering excellent clarity, plenty of low- end and no distortion even when you pump up the sound.
The Play:3 has enough grunt to fill a small- to medium-sized room, plus it’s small enough to be wall mounted. It doesn’t matter if the back is pushed right against a wall – it won’t boom out aggressively, as a dedicated sub might. This is because it’s a passive element and not another full driver.
Even though the drivers are quite close together, the Play:3 is a stereo unit. Sonos also allows two Play:3 units to be placed in a stereo pair mode, so you can separate them as widely as you like.
The speakers can be placed vertically or horizontally – sensors in the enclosure make adjustments to the sound depending on how the speakers are orientated.
Every unit in the Sonos Family works seamlessly. You can add as many playback units as you like, and they can play music in sync all over the hous, or you can have each plau different tracks in different locations. The flexibility is unlimited.
The biggest S5, now renamed the Play 5, was released four years ago and the technology is so advanced it still fits in as if it were released yesterday.
To use the units wirelessly, you can get a $79 Sonos Bridge unit and plug that into your router. Then you can put the Play:3 anywhere in the house. If you prefer a hard connection you can plug an Ethernet cable directly into the back of the unit.
Each Sonos component talks to the others via a Sonos mesh network – meaning all you need to do is plug each speaker into the power. The whole system can be controlled from a Sonos wireless controller, from a Mac/PC or from an iOS or Android touchscreen device.
Using one of these control options you can stream your own digital music library, the output from your AV gear, internet radio services from around the world or tap into music services such as Stitcher, TuneIn, Aupeo and Anubis. FM. It’s also not hard to access foreign services such as Rhapsody.
As an added bonus, every Sonos point features an Ethernet port, so you can connect Ethernet-enabled media players and other gear to your home network.
* anubis.fm now supports 320kb streaming. To enable 320 kbps streaming, log-into your anubis account and change the following setting: My Account > Streaming >Select “320 kbps” >Update
Macworld Australia’s buying advice
If you are looking for state- of-the-art sound quality mixed with the ability to have millions of songs at your fingertips, this is the system for you. The Play:3 is the most seamless wireless networking solution I have ever tried. Sonos does become an addiction and one unit will never be enough!