- Assorted Reviews
- Industry News
- Tech PR
Since I started covering Sonos products in 2007 their product selection and features have grown exponentially while becoming more affordable. For those people who have been hesitant about adopting a Sonos system now is the time to reconsider that stance. Late in July Sonos released their PLAY:3 speaker system which is a portable stereo system priced at $299 which is less than some high-end iPod speaker system.
For those unfamiliar with the Sonos setup it is a wireless music system that runs off either a Windows or Mac computer which can stream music from your local drive or from one of the numerous online music services that Sonos offers. Some of these services include Pandora, Rhapsody, SiriusXM, Last.fm, MOG, Wolfgang’s Vault and everyone’s new favorite – Spotify.
To get up and running you’ll need one Sonos device hardwired into your network after which the rest of the Sonos peripherals can connect wirelessly via the SonosNet mesh network. Navigating your music library is simple as Sonos offers free downloadable remote apps for the Apple and Android devices.
Besides introducing the PLAY:3 Sonos has also renamed it’s S5 speaker system to PLAY:5, released a new android app along with changing their logo and website. Think of this as the dawning of the Sonos 2.0 era.
Product Name: PLAY:3
Author: Tom Ratas
Stream your entire music library, music services, and radio stations
Control wirelessly, easy to set up
Start with one, expand everywhere
Versatile enough to put anywhere — horizontal or vertical
3 driver HiFi speaker system
Sonos HiFi sound: 3 integrated speakers and 3 dedicated digital amplifiers provide crystal-clear, wall-to-wall sound.
Innovative, smart-directional design: Internal sensor detects if the speaker is positioned vertically or horizontally and modifies the speaker’s output to ensure clean, balanced, room-filing sound in any position.
Multi-room: Put several PLAY:3s around your home and enjoy perfectly synchronized all-over-your-home music.
Stereo pairing: Add two PLAY:3s to the same room and enjoy even bigger sound with each playing a dedicated Left or Right channel.
Boston Acoustics has also been thought of for having the best home theater system.
The Sonos PLAY:3 comes in a black cardboard box with a picture of the PLAY:3 on the front. The back lists features of the speaker system along with a sample setup showing a Sonos Bridge, PLAY:3, PLAY:5 and an iPhone.
Inside the box we find the PLAY:3, a quick start guide, installation CD, AC adapter, and network LAN cable. The play free is available in two colors white or black. For today’s review we will be looking at the black version.
In terms of size to PLAY:3 is comparable to an average size surround sound speaker and is smaller and harder than it’s PLAY:5 brother. It measures 5.2 x 10.6 x 6.3 in. (132 x 268 x 160 mm) and weighs 5.71 lb (2.6 kg). The speaker is primarily black with a grey rubber cap on the front and back of the speaker system.
The front has a metallic grill with the Sonos logo at the bottom center. Behind this grill we find one tweeter, two midrange drivers and one bass radiator which are controlled by three class D digital amplifiers.
On the top are three buttons; one for mute and the other two for volume. Between the mute and volume controls is an LED indicator light. These buttons are also used to connect the PLAY:3 to the Sonos controller running on a PC or Mac.
On the back we find a single Ethernet port, AC connector and mounting socket. Missing from the PLAY:3 system are the line in and headphone jacks found on the PLAY:5.
A cool feature of the PLAY:3 is when two PLAY:3s are in the same room, turning both vertically will make one function as a left channel while the other becomes the right channel. That is a nice feature but $600 is a lot for a pair of speakers that are already playing in stereo by themselves.
For more details on the software setup of the Sonos check out my review of the Sonos S5 now known as the PLAY:5 found here. Once the setup is complete you will be able to stream your local music library either directly through the Sonos Desktop software or via your iTunes library. There is no power switch on the PLAY:3 or any controls other than volume and mute. It is all controlled via a remote app or PC/Mac Desktop Controller.
If you prefer to listen to online sources there are both free and paid options available. My personal favorites are streaming SiriusXM, Pandora and my new favorite – Spotify.
One caveat is with the recent release of OS X Lion the Sonos Desktop is currently unable to play the local iTunes library. But I have been told by my contact that they are working on a solution as we speak.
Acoustically the PLAY:3 has quite a punch for a unit its size. It can get very LOUD without distortion, which is great for those outdoor parties. The PLAY:3 is a stereo system in a very confined cabinet so it does not project a wide sound stage thus offering the option of using tow PLAY:3s as left and right channels.
Despite this issue the PLAY:3 sounds pretty darn good. I listened to the gamut from classical to heavy metal and found the PLAY:3 very capable of producing rich full sound.
Since I already have the ZonePlayer 90 I was able to test out the Party Mode feature where multiple Zones can be linked providing continuous music throughout the home. This feature is terrific for entertaining as you can listen to the same music inside and outside the home if you place the PLAY:3 in the yard.
Originally the Sonos music system was out of the price range of most consumers with more affordable alternatives available. Sonos has been addressing this fact by reducing the prices of its original ZonePlayers while adding standalone portable speaker systems.
The PLAY:3 is their lowest price wireless stereo system making the entry cost into the world of Sonos less than a Bose Sound Dock speaker dock; plus the PLAY:3 does have highs and lows along with the mids.
The PLAY:3 is a great way to start ones Sonos system or a terrific addition to an already existing one. Ideally the PLAY:3 is great for a room that you don’t have or want to worry about speaker wires such as a kitchen or bedroom. Plus it’s portability makes it ideal for switching room or even bring it outside. Of course you’ll need a Sonos Bridge or other Sonos device attached to your network for this portability.
I have been using my Sonos system for the past four years and it gets better with age. If you haven’t experienced the world of Sonos then the PLAY:3 is a great entry point device.
|+Works with MotionPlus
+Lots of uses for the accessories
+Quality made products, they should last quite a while with care
+Covers can be left on for use with any games
|-You’ll need more than one set really
-Personally I think the price is a bit high
9 out of 10
|Value / Price:|
Disclosure:This product was given to Review the Tech for review by the company for review purposes only, and is not considered by us as payment for the review, we do not, and never will, accept payment from companies to review their products. This product may have also been bought by us for review purposes and does not influence the review.