Sonos Introduces New Flagship PLAY:5 Smart Speaker and Trueplay Tuning Software

October 11 2015, 03:10

The pioneer and market leader in whole-home audio connected solutions announced the all-new flagship Sonos PLAY:5 smart speaker and a new speaker-tuning software called Trueplay. The announcements signal a new series of innovations in hardware and software from Sonos with which the company intends to respond to increasing competition, while leveraging the latest technology advancements.

The California-based company is determined to defend its market position in connected sound for the home. With the introduction of its Trueplay speaker-tuning software and a new flagship PLAY:5 speaker, Sonos is simultaneously trying to innovate in one of the most criticized areas affecting this type of products, which is speaker performance (or the perception of poor speaker performance in comparison with traditional high-fidelity systems) - even though Sonos has always been one of the best sounding solutions in this market segment.

Redesigning the original Play:5 speaker meant improving one of the brand’s mot popular products. Since Sonos always advertised that its products are meant to last and does not renew hardware in fast cycles like many other brands, the new Sonos PLAY:5 speaker signals the start of a new product cycle. With the Trueplay software, Sonos is able to simultaneously improve all its speaker range, allowing listeners to easily tune their existing systems to optimize the sound no matter where the speaker is placed. This is again a smart solution to customize speaker sound without requiring complex and expensive professional calibration.

Trueplay stems from the insight that few homes are acoustically perfect. The placement of the speaker and the room it’s in impacts the way it sounds. With Trueplay, users can tune speakers with the press of a button. Using the Sonos app, the microphone on an iPhone or iPad, and a special tone emitted by the Sonos speaker, the system analyzes how sound reflects off walls, furnishings, glass and other surfaces in any given room. Sonos then smartly tunes that speaker so the music sounds its very best.

“Trueplay is a revolutionary system that gives music lovers confidence that they’re hearing what their favorite artists labored to produce, independent of the room’s acoustics and speaker location,” says CEO John MacFarlane. “Finally there’s a simple, reliable process that delivers studio-quality listening experiences in each room of the home.” Initially, Trueplay will be available on all Sonos PLAY:1,  PLAY:3, and PLAY:5 products and iOS controllers, and will continue to be added to the Sonos lineup over time.

The new Sonos PLAY:5
The new Sonos PLAY:5 flagship smart speaker features six synchronized, custom-designed drivers. The speaker’s three mid-woofers create smooth mids and deep, powerful lows, and three tweeters deliver crystal clear highs at any volume. The array produces a soundstage that is much wider than expected in a single speaker, creating room-filling sound with precise separation of vocals and instruments.

The PLAY:5 uses six Class D amplifiers individually coupled with the six speakers. All filter settings, active equalization, and time-alignment are done in the digital domain through state-of-the-art DSP circuitry. Individual speaker controls include basic bass, treble, balance, and loudness controls.

For the first time, Sonos PLAY:5 has three orientations. This flexibility, combined with Trueplay tuning, enables best-in-class sound for any placement, in any room. In addition to horizontal orientation as a standalone speaker, two Sonos PLAY:5s can be paired together vertically to deliver stereo playback with a focused and intense sweet spot. Paired horizontally, they create a larger stereo image for a room-filling listening experience.

The new Sonos PLAY:5 also incorporates an innovative design that allows for the most effective wireless performance, with six antennas to ensure the music remains in perfect sync without dropouts. The aesthetic of the new Sonos PLAY:5 carves away complexity to focus on the simple essence of a speaker: From the placement of the nearly 60,000 individually drilled holes in the grill and carefully selected materials, to new intuitive touch controls. Smart sensors also make the capacitive touch controls responsive to all orientations, so the volume-up is always facing up.

Just like its predecessor, the new Sonos PLAY:5 works seamlessly with all Sonos smart speakers and adds even greater modularity with the ability to act as rear speakers in home theater setups with Sonos PLAYBAR and Sonos SUB. The single easy-to-use app allows control of whole-home systems and unifies access to music services such as Pandora, Spotify, TIDAL, Google Play Music, and Groove. Sonos also works seamlessly with Deezer, TuneIn, SiriusXM, SoundCloud, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Rhapsody, Rdio, Qobuz, and downloads from any service offering DRM-free tracks, depending on the region.

Available in a custom matte black and matte white finish, the all-new Sonos PLAY:5 will retail for $499 USD, $549 CAD, €579 and £429. Both Trueplay and the new Sonos PLAY:5 will be available later this year.
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