Sonos announces the Play:1

by Volker Weber


It's always a difficult situation for me when there is a very public Sonos leak. Generally I don't comment on it, even if the leak is misleading. This was the case with the Play:1 that Sonos announced today. It's not a one driver speaker. People were extrapolating from Play:5 (5 drivers) and the Play:3 (3 drivers) to the Play:1 (2 drivers, oops). Anyway, the news is out today. The Play:1 becomes available at the end of the month, in black or white.


For those of you already running Sonos 4.2 on your existing players, this may not come as a surprise, but for the first time ever Sonos has revised a decision, which they made many years ago. You get a new button: pause/play instead of mute. We have been pushing hard for this. For the Play:1, the button has been changed, but your mute button on the existing hardware does the same. Push it once for pause, push it again for play. Double push to skip forward.


This is the kitchen radio I have been waiting for. It's tiny compared to the Play:3, it's surprisingly heavy, but it sounds the same, if not better, if you put the Play:3 in mono mode by using it vertically. In a horizontal setup, the Play:3 is a stereo speaker, but not with much of a stereo effect. The Play:1 is a mono speaker to begin with, and quite a powerful one. It sounds way larger than it is. And if you buy two, you can run them as a wireless stereo pair.


It's also a little bit easier to mount, since (a) it is much smaller and (b) the mount is dead center. Power goes in through the bottom, or if you mount it upside down, the top. Since the Sonos logo works upside down, overhead mount looks just right. You just have to have power from the ceiling. The Play:1 looks nice from all directions, and the surprising thing is that it also sounds nice from all directions. If you place a stereo pair on a countertop, you get an incredible wide area where you enjoy stereo sound.

Sonos gear is getting better. Not only the stuff you already own, through software updates. With each new hardware (Sub, Playbar, Play:1) it's also the hardware that keeps improving. Speaking of the Playbar and Sub combination, these are the back channels I was waiting for. They were the reason I recommended to stay with 3.1. Now you can get your credit card humming.

I suggest you put a couple of them on your Xmas wish list. ;-)

More >


"ince the Sonos logo works upside down, overhead mount looks just right." never noticed, but true. I am from the 22nd to 26th October in the US, curious to see if I can get one there.

Felix Binsack, 2013-10-14

I saw the email from sonos today and when I read about the software update (change of function of the buttons) I thought 'hey that's the vowe update' :-)

peter de haas, 2013-10-14

Peter, I got an email from Sonos, when they made the software change. Just could not tell you about it. :-)

Volker Weber, 2013-10-14

The vowe button works like a charme. No long press or some secret handshake, just pressing the mute button. Brilliant.

Mariano Kamp, 2013-10-14

Great news, though I was hoping that the price would be a little bit lower.
Still, I seriously consider buying two for my Playbar. When I think about it, one would probably also fit quite nicely in my bathroom...

Daniel Haferkorn, 2013-10-14

Sonos is pressing very hard to get to this price point. It's a great deal. And yes, you will soon run out of places to put them. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2013-10-14

If buying for a 5.1 setup, remember that only Dolby Digital (AC3) sources are supported. Sonos still cannot handle a DTS source.

Ben Rose, 2013-10-14

Have not come across any DTS sources since getting the Playbar.

Volker Weber, 2013-10-14

Vowe is a good mother :)

Hauke Fink, 2013-10-14

Vowe is a good mother indeed! :-)

Markus Dierker, 2013-10-14

Now tell us, Volker: What other suggestions have you made to Sonos that are awaiting implementation? I guess just a plain list without a state (confirmed/denied) should be fine :)

Jochen Schug, 2013-10-14

I have been pressing for better Windows support for quite some time. Metro and Phone. And of course Xbox Music.

Volker Weber, 2013-10-14

I once asked Stephen Elop for Nokia Music plus to become a Sonos Music partner. Got a nice answer but nothing happened since then. Of course such things take time. I wonder...

Hubert Stettner, 2013-10-14

The new button works well.
For Playbar users, an enhancement could be that Sonos remembers the last source that had been played before Playbar didn't receive any more signal via Toslink so that pressing the Play button would start the last source.
Use Case: 1-Morning, listening to the radio. 2-Evening: Watch TV, Switch TV off. 3-Next morning: press Play button, invoke radio.
Would be helpful for These who use Playbar as a radio substitute as well as a TV speaker.

Play:1 is on my wishlist...

Sven Bühler, 2013-10-14

I imagine the power cord is at the bottom. I saw the displayed back and thought 'great! batteries! I can move this baby out into the garden!

But no bananas. In retrospect, the battery would probably run out pretty fast.

Andrew Magerman, 2013-10-14

I imagine the power cord is at the bottom. I saw the displayed back and thought 'great! batteries! I can move this baby out into the garden!

But no bananas. In retrospect, the battery would probably run out pretty fast.

Andrew Magerman, 2013-10-14

Indeed, it would. And let's not forget, Sonos needs infrastructure. SonosNet, Internet connection. You can't just take it with you to a picnic.

Volker Weber, 2013-10-15

These look great and will fit nicely in my bathrooms.
I bought the playbar+sub+2xPlay3 but decided to take down the play3's and use them as seperate players for my kids. I play most of my movies from AppleTV and the optical goes from my TV to the playbar. Do you have an optical switchbox or does your tv output 5.1 on the optical? I wasn't too impressed with the emulated surround, or perhaps I'm doing something wrong in the setup. I'm guessing the same problem will be there with the 1's.

Hans Bornich, 2013-10-15

Nice addition to the lineup but there's still a Playbar und a Sub on my wishlist. About the DTS issue, is this a hardware or a software / license problem? If the Playbar theoretically is capable to playback DTS then Sonos might add it later.

Joachim Bode, 2013-10-15

does the non-wireless trick that Volker recently published also work for the Play:1 ?

Kristian Raue, 2013-10-16

It should. All players share the same code.

Volker Weber, 2013-10-16

At ¢169 for a Sonos 1 compared to ¢259 for a Sonos 3 - my money would be on spending just that little extra to get better stereo separation from two speakers.

That's fine. But I know how it'll work in my house. Daughter #1 and Daughter #2 will borrow one each!

Ian Bradbury, 2013-10-17

I can tell you how this normally works out. You continue to buy more players until you run out of power outlets.

Volker Weber, 2013-10-17

Exactly. I need deeper pockets.

Ian Bradbury, 2013-10-17

Da die Auswahl immer größer wird, wäre eine neue Version
der Sonos Entscheidungshilfe super!

Christian Hirth, 2013-10-18

Mit welcher Kamera hast Du diese Bilder gemacht, Volker?

Markus Dierker, 2013-10-18

Ich mache alle diese Bilder zu Hause mit der Fuji X10. Und davor mit der Canon G11. Warum?

Volker Weber, 2013-10-18

Beim dritten Bild ist mir die starke Verzerrung aufgefallen. Regaloberfläche und insbesondere Play:1 sehen ganz krum aus ;-)

Markus Dierker, 2013-10-20

Weitwinkel. Und der Play:3 ist tatsächlich gebogen.

Volker Weber, 2013-10-20

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe