The Sonos Play:1 is a $149 amplified speaker that connects to your home network, and plays music from all of the popular streaming services. For $199 Sonos offers the One with support for Amazon Alexa and Apple AirPlay. The goal for this project was to add background music to the family room, kitchen and living-dining room combo that comprise the ground floor of the house, for parties.
The Play:1 speaker comes with a quick start guide, 6-foot power cable and some Ethernet cable. The speaker is 6.36 inches tall and 4.69 inches square, so it tucks away nicely on just about any open shelf space. Sonos offers various wall mounts and speaker stands, if you are shelf-constrained. Speaking of constraints, the Play:1 is a self-contained, amplified speaker so it requires AC power which may limit its placement in older homes with fewer outlets.
Setup is as easy as downloading the app, which will guide you through getting the speakers setup on the network and then assigning a room to each one. The speakers can also be setup in left-right stereo pairs, for rooms where the audience is in one location. For most situations, though, a single speaker in each room will be more than sufficient. Once all the speakers have been added, the app will upgrade the firmware in the speakers and then walk you through a tuning procedure, for each room.
The volume is adjustable for the group as a whole, or each individual speaker. Volume can also be adjusted without the app, via a keypad on top of the speaker.
The system integrates nicely with my Amazon Prime account, where I can select my own playlist or, like I did this Christmas season, one of the canned Amazon Music playlists. The sound itself is quite good for such a small speaker, and one speaker easily supports our 350 sq. ft. living room / dining room space (from a central location in the room). If you’re going for the background music vibe, speaker placement will largely dictate the number of speakers required, since you are going to for a constant, relatively low volume throughout the space. It doesn’t do any good to cover 350 sq. ft. with one speaker, if the volume near the speaker is too high for conversation.