• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Sonos Five Smart Speaker Review

Rate this smart speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 12 3.8%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 44 14.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 170 54.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 88 28.0%

  • Total voters
    314

Head_Unit

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 27, 2018
Messages
1,382
Likes
737
At moderate volume, sub-bass reproduction was excellent, way beyond any bookshelf speaker. At max level though, it got distorted.
More so than a "real" speaker of similar size and price?
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,867
Likes
243,659
Location
Seattle Area
More so than a "real" speaker of similar size and price?
No. Bookshelves don't even play that region and those that do, produce a faint and distorted one.
 

geox

Member
Joined
May 30, 2022
Messages
42
Likes
59
Sonos and Sony HTA9 are like smartphone camera equivalents as compared to the DSLR - hifi speakers. These can only get better.

I suspect in a few years from now, we'll be referring to traditional speakers as dumb speakers.
 

Haskil

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 29, 2019
Messages
341
Likes
600
Location
Gisors, Normandie, France
A question relative to the basic architecture... MTM center channel speakers have been regularly tested at ASR and it looks that it is considered as "less than ideal" or flat out "bad" architecture for center channel speakers. Is the Sonos Five configuration with its 3x woofers + 3x tweeters arranged in two rows fundamentally better? And if yes, why other manufacturers have not adopted a similar configuration for their center channel speakers... Or is it a case of careful design from Sonos, ironing out all the details & pitfalls, to make the speaker work? In other words no real benefit to this particular [3W+3T / 2R] architecture...
An MTM center speaker is monophonic and its particular performance means that in reality it works much better in a vertical position...

The Sonos 5 speaker can also operate horizontally and vertically...
- Horizontally it has a wide dispersion... and is sufficient in itself ;
- Vertically, its side tweeters disconnect automatically and you then have to pair it with another to listen in stereo...

They are still quite clever and competent at Sonos...
 

CedarX

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
551
Likes
928
Location
USA
An MTM center speaker is monophonic and its particular performance means that in reality it works much better in a vertical position...

The Sonos 5 speaker can also operate horizontally and vertically...
- Horizontally it has a wide dispersion... and is sufficient in itself ;
- Vertically, its side tweeters disconnect automatically and you then have to pair it with another to listen in stereo...

They are still quite clever and competent at Sonos...
Thanks! My question was really about the Sonos Five drivers arrangement. Based on the good measured performances, would a center channel speaker benefit from using a similar arrangement—3x medium/woofers + 3x tweeters in 2 rows—as opposed to the “usual” MTM arrangement.
 
Last edited:

D700

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
311
Likes
370
- Vertically, its side tweeters disconnect automatically and you then have to pair it with another to listen in stereo...
@Haskil I am curious about this, where have you seen this "tweeter disconnect" documented? I'm unable to find that info on SONOS

One would assume all drivers firing and differences in sound arise from 90 degree orientation, which I think @amirm touches on with note "Vertically it looks more typical although we have tall excursions vertically"...that suggests to me the tweeters do not disconnect when vertical.
 

JSmith

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 8, 2021
Messages
5,303
Likes
13,757
Location
Algol Perseus
"tweeter disconnect"


JSmith
 

D700

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
311
Likes
370


JSmith
I appreciate the response...yet, that's still anecdotal. I don't see an official response from SONOS on that forum thread. And @amirm 's review would seem to suggest tweeters are still firing which extend the vertical dispersion. I don't see it as a negative either ways, just curious.
 

A Surfer

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1,160
Likes
1,272
I appreciate the response...yet, that's still anecdotal. I don't see an official response from SONOS on that forum thread. And @amirm 's review would seem to suggest tweeters are still firing which extend the vertical dispersion. I don't see it as a negative either ways, just curious.
It is a fact. Before I purchased my Fives I was in direct conversation with a friend of mine who is an engineer at Sonos and she told me that this is how it works.
 

nick-v

Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
195
Likes
290
I appreciate the response...yet, that's still anecdotal. I don't see an official response from SONOS on that forum thread. And @amirm 's review would seem to suggest tweeters are still firing which extend the vertical dispersion. I don't see it as a negative either ways, just curious.
Unfortunately, he didn't test it in it's vertical orientation.
 

FrantzM

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 12, 2016
Messages
4,397
Likes
7,934
I appreciate the response...yet, that's still anecdotal. I don't see an official response from SONOS on that forum thread. And @amirm 's review would seem to suggest tweeters are still firing which extend the vertical dispersion. I don't see it as a negative either ways, just curious.
To be fair, I don't think @amirm was even aware of this tidbit.. true or not.

I, am, also curious...

Peace.
 

razvanm3

New Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2022
Messages
2
Likes
1
I’ve got one of this speakers one week ago. Although the low end reproduction its impressive for its size, I've found myself irritated by the vocals reproduction at higher volume levels.
Reading the review and seeing the measurements it seems that this could be due to high distorsions in the midrange area from 1kHz to 3kHz.
@amirm may confirm that at volume levels above 40-50% from the sonos app, the vocals come up a little bit harsh.
I've found that by lowering the base at -3 from the app EQ, the midrange becomes more bearable, but the low end losses all of its magic.
 

GXAlan

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
3,988
Likes
6,149
I’ve got one of this speakers one week ago. Although the low end reproduction its impressive for its size, I've found myself irritated by the vocals reproduction at higher volume levels.
Reading the review and seeing the measurements it seems that this could be due to high distorsions in the midrange area from 1kHz to 3kHz.
@amirm may confirm that at volume levels above 40-50% from the sonos app, the vocals come up a little bit harsh.
I've found that by lowering the base at -3 from the app EQ, the midrange becomes more bearable, but the low end losses all of its magic.

Adding the subwoofer helps a lot because it then applies a crossover so the Sonos Five isn’t working as hard to reproduce the bass.
 

jeffme

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 18, 2021
Messages
96
Likes
73
Location
SF, CA, USA
I’ve got one of this speakers one week ago. Although the low end reproduction its impressive for its size, I've found myself irritated by the vocals reproduction at higher volume levels.
Reading the review and seeing the measurements it seems that this could be due to high distorsions in the midrange area from 1kHz to 3kHz.
@amirm may confirm that at volume levels above 40-50% from the sonos app, the vocals come up a little bit harsh.
I've found that by lowering the base at -3 from the app EQ, the midrange becomes more bearable, but the low end losses all of its magic.
Is that with or without a sub?
 

A Surfer

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1,160
Likes
1,272
I imagine that as others have suggested, the addition of a sub is likely to be helpful. I also believe that by default loudness is enabled and I defeated it. I can't say that I have noticed any issues with the midrange, certainly nothing obvious. I do think that being realistic is required, these speakers can do quite well, but they probably do get compressed (deliberate management) as the volume goes higher. I have still been very impressed with the fidelity at higher levels, but I am sure if I was to compare it to my former full sized stereo rig that I would be able to spot some compromises. Saying that, they would be modest at worst and absolutely not enough to outweigh the benefits that my Sonos installation has brought. For me anyway, YRMV.
 

williamr

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2020
Messages
23
Likes
22
I’ve got one of this speakers one week ago. Although the low end reproduction its impressive for its size, I've found myself irritated by the vocals reproduction at higher volume levels.
Reading the review and seeing the measurements it seems that this could be due to high distorsions in the midrange area from 1kHz to 3kHz.
@amirm may confirm that at volume levels above 40-50% from the sonos app, the vocals come up a little bit harsh.
I've found that by lowering the base at -3 from the app EQ, the midrange becomes more bearable, but the low end losses all of its magic.

I have SONOS 5 in stereo with their sub. I also find that they do not sound very good when playing "loud." I don't have measurements, but the sound to me becomes "congested." Could this be due to some type of DSP limiting or dynamically compressing the sound? If so, is this something that can be seen from Amir's measurements?
 

cbracer

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 13, 2021
Messages
60
Likes
45
Location
California
I’ve got one of this speakers one week ago. Although the low end reproduction its impressive for its size, I've found myself irritated by the vocals reproduction at higher volume levels.
Reading the review and seeing the measurements it seems that this could be due to high distorsions in the midrange area from 1kHz to 3kHz.
@amirm may confirm that at volume levels above 40-50% from the sonos app, the vocals come up a little bit harsh.
I've found that by lowering the base at -3 from the app EQ, the midrange becomes more bearable, but the low end losses all of its magic.
I find lowering bass -1 is ideal, -2 max. -3 is too far. Honestly if you aren't happy with the mid then why did you turn down the bass only to complain of no bass? I get it you want less mid range but that's your preference. The data does not suggest it needs less mid range. I would guess the low portions overcome what you want in the mid range as most speakers can't reproduce the bass like this speaker can. If you want increased low end bass then as others suggested a sub is what you want. Then you can turn down the low range to clear up your mid range to your preference.
 

A Surfer

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1,160
Likes
1,272
By this weekend I'll be able to hear what 4 x Fives sounds like with 2 x Sub 3 and an Arc. I will certainly test at loud, but not intensely loud.

Truthfully I like that Sonos sounds best just shy of very loud. As I age I'm trying to preserve my hearing as much as possible so I have to avoid listening very loud. For me, when I had full size speakers and lots of power, I was always blasting my poor ears.

It is actually a treat to start getting used to music at 70 decibels rather than at 85. Takes some adjustment, but once made, it is just as engaging for me.
 
Top Bottom