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Sonos buying guide

Want more music in your life? Sonos makes it easy

Hanging out with friends, relaxing after work, house parties — all things that are better with music. One of the easiest ways to add music to lots of rooms in your house (and one of our favorites) is with Sonos. It's easy to set up and control wirelessly with your smartphone, and it's cost-effective compared to hiring a custom intstaller. We can help you get started. Read on for advice on what you need to add wireless audio (and much more music) to your life. 

Want tunes? Here's what you need

Choosing the right powered speakers for music (and talk radio, sports, and more)

If you want to add music to a room without an existing speaker system, Sonos offers three different all-in-one speakers (each is available in black or white):

Sonos PLAY:1

The compact PLAY:1 is great for smaller rooms.

Sonos PLAY:1

Great for: smaller rooms like a bedroom or a dining room

Built-in speakers: 2 full-range drivers

Placement: vertical; wall- or stand-mountable

Play/Pause button: yes

Line in: no

Headphone jack: no

Weight: 4.08 lbs.

Sound: Very well balanced with tight bass and clear detail. Impressive output for such a compact wireless speaker.

Sonos PLAY:3

The PLAY:3 is great for medium-sized rooms.

Sonos PLAY:3

Great for: medium-sized rooms like an office or a kitchen

Built-in speakers: 2 midrange drivers and 1 tweeter

Placement: vertical or horizontal; wall- or stand-mountable

Play/Pause button: yes (with "mute" button)

Line in: no

Headphone jack: no

Weight: 5.71 lbs.

Sound: Quite smooth, especially for a wireless speaker, with nice midrange warmth and decent bass response.

Sonos PLAY:5

The PLAY:5 is ideal for larger rooms.

Sonos PLAY:5

Great for: large rooms like a living room, master suite, large kitchen, or open floor plans

Built-in speakers: 6 balanced drivers

Placement: horizontal or vertical

Play/Pause button: yes

Line in: yes (3.5mm)

Headphone jack: yes.

Sound: Full-bodied, clean and clear, with impressive bass and a wide soundstage that makes this speaker sound huge.

Use two PLAY wireless speakers in the same room for bigger sound

All models of PLAY speakers can be set to function in stereo pairs, for a wide stereo image and left/right separation. It’s a great option for large rooms where a single speaker may not be enough.

Get more bass with a SUB

If you’re really serious about excellent sound with plenty of deep bass, we recommend adding a Sonos SUB to a pair of PLAY speakers. The SUB features dual woofers and acoustic ports, so it will fill out the low frequencies. It's great for a system that will rival some pretty nice receiver-and-speaker setups (it's also a great for movies and TV — keep reading). You can also pair the SUB with a single Sonos PLAY speaker, though we recommend using it with stereo pairs.

Add Sonos to your current stereo

The CONNECT allows you to enjoy all the wireless music benefits of Sonos wireless speakers through your stereo system. It offers digital and analog audio outputs, so you can connect it to an integrated amplifier, preamp, stereo receiver, home theater receiver, or powered speakers.

Sonos CONNECT

The CONNECT lets you enjoy Sonos with your existing stereo or home theater system.

Multi-room installations with in-wall or in-ceiling speakers

If you’re looking to put together a large multi-room system with in-wall, in-ceiling, or outdoor speakers, the CONNECT is the perfect music source. You can use multiple CONNECT devices along with multi-room amplifiers to power in-wall or in-ceiling speakers in several rooms. It’s a great way to enjoy music throughout your home while all the gear remains out of sight. To learn more about this, read our article Sonos and a multi-room amplifier, or call our A/V Design group at 1.800.555.9407.

Already have speakers? Get the amplified Sonos player

The CONNECT:AMP is an amplified player for use with any pair of stereo speakers. Just connect your speakers to the terminals and start streaming tunes wirelessly. It's a great option for powering outdoor speakers on a porch or deck. The CONNECT:AMP also offers analog inputs for connecting a source component like a CD player, as well as a preamp output for a powered subwoofer.

Sonos CONNECT:AMP

Use the CONNECT:AMP to enjoy Sonos with a pair of stereo speakers.

Sonos for TV and movies

If you want to put together a system for your TV room or home theater, Sonos offers some cool options that offer great sound and wireless music capability.

PLAYBAR is a three-channel sound bar (left, right, and center channels) with nine built-in speakers. It delivers detailed, powerful sound with clear dialogue for movies and TV. It connects to your TV with a single optical cable. Like all Sonos speakers, it can play wireless music from the same sources as all other Sonos components.

Sonos PLAYBAR

PLAYBAR and SUB — the Sonos sound bar and subwoofer offer dynamic, impactful sound for movies and TV.

The SUB can be paired with the PLAYBAR for 3.1-channel sound in your home theater — left and right channels, plus a center channel for dialogue and the SUB (.1) for deep bass. Or, you can pair it with other Sonos speaker or stereo pair for deeper, richer bass response with your music.

The PLAYBAR can rest on a TV stand or be mounted on the wall above or below your TV with the Sonos wall-mount kit.

Wireless surround sound for home theaters

You can use two PLAY:1 or PLAY:3 speakers as surround speakers with the three-channel PLAYBAR. Along with the SUB, this gives you a 5.1-channel surround sound system, for immersive sound in your home theater.

Wireless surround sound with Sonos

Getting your Sonos system set up

Do I need to connect anything to my network router?

All Sonos devices now work with your existing Wi-Fi® network, without any hard-wired connection to your router. The only exception is a home theater installation using PLAYBAR and one or more other speakers — this requires a hard-wired Ethernet connection. This can be accomplished by connecting one of the devices to your router via Ethernet cable, or with the Sonos BOOST.

Sonos BOOST

The BOOST is a compact device that connects to your router via Ethernet cable. Once connected, it creates its own dedicated wireless network for Sonos. This allows all the rest of your Sonos devices to operate wirelessly without being affected by traffic on your existing Wi-Fi network. The BOOST also offers expanded range compared to many wireless routers, so you can extend your Sonos network to more rooms.

If you plan on purchasing three or more Sonos devices or wish to place a speaker in a room where your Wi-Fi signal is weak or non-existent, we recommend that you use the BOOST to ensure reliable wireless performance.

Enjoying your Sonos system

If you're concerned that setting up and using a Sonos system is complicated, let me alleviate your concerns. Few products that we sell are as easy and enjoyable to use as Sonos gear. That's why it's been among a customer favorite for years, and why so many of us at Crutchfield use Sonos in our own homes.

The key to setting up and enjoying Sonos is the free app for your smartphone or tablet (Apple® and Android™ devices). When you first plug in your Sonos speaker, just download the app, follow the simple on-screen instructions, and you'll be listening to music in minutes. Once you've set up one Sonos component, it's even easier to add more.

The free Sonos app

The free Sonos app for Apple and Android tablets (also available for smartphones).

Once you're set up, you can customize the app to show the various music services you would like use. You can even add multiple accounts for the same service, so your wife doesn't have to be subjected to your Pandora® stations. Remember: some services require subscriptions.

With your music options in place, you can search across all of them simultaneously. Want to listen to B.B. King but aren't sure which album or what's available to you? Just enter the artist name in the search field, and you'll get results from all your music services as well as music stored on your device or networked computers.

You can also queue up tunes and create playlists from different listening options. Want to play a new song from Spotify®, followed by an old favorite song stored on your iPhone? No problem. It's another feature that makes the Sonos app such a pleasure for music lovers who are always in search of the right song for the right time.

The app also makes it easy to group rooms together for playing back the same song through multiple speakers, or queue up different songs in different rooms. You can easily see what's playing where at any given time.

Trueplay speaker tuning for optimal sound

If you use your Sonos control app on an iPhone®, iPad®, or iPod touch®, you can fine-tune your PLAY:1, PLAY:3, and PLAY:5 wireless speakers with the Trueplay feature. This free software upgrade deepens your listening experience by optimizing your Sonos speaker for the room it's in. Trueplay tuning is applied through the Sonos control app to your Sonos speaker. It uses your Apple® portable to measuring how the sound reflects off your walls and furnishings and adjusting the speaker's settings for the best possible balance. (For iOS devices only.)

Add a universal remote

There is another control option for Sonos: a universal remote. It's particularly usefull if you're using Sonos with your stereo or home theater system. To learn about controlling Sonos along with all your other home theater gear, read our article on using the Harmony Ultimate remote with Sonos.

Is there a way to help Sonos devices fit my décor?

Flexson makes stands and wall-mount brackets for all Sonos speakers and components. Check out our article to learn more.

Flexon stands and brackets


Check out this video to see Sonos in action:

  • lindseyvickers from Mexico

    Posted on 5/30/2015

    I purchased the Playbar and the Sub for TV surround. I have space for the player, inside a TV cabinet...but where does the Sub need to be placed ( can't fit inside cabinet) In other wards, how far can sub be from the TV and player? and should it be front of room, near TV or can it be in rear of room? Does it need to be centered in room? Or can you direct me to helpful placement tips?

  • John from Milwaukee

    Posted on 5/31/2015

    I am thinking I want a wireless Play 5 and subwoofer. But I want to have two sources of music; one through my home WiFi network so I can stream from my XBox Music account off my laptop or smartphone, the other connected to my receiver so i can play radio, CD, or phonegraph powered through/by my receiver. What are my options?

  • David Brown from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/1/2015

    Lindsey, You can place the Sonos SUB anywhere in your room — as long as it's in your Wi-Fi network's range and you've got a nearby outlet for plugging it in. That gives you a lot of flexibility.
    Placing a subwoofer is all about the room. In some rooms, it might sound better toward the front, while in others it may be better on the side. Try setting it up in different locations, then put on a movie or some music and just listen from your primary seating location. When you're getting a healthy dose of bass, you've found your spot!

  • David Brown from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/1/2015

    John, I've forwarded your question to our sales advisors so they can email you about your particular needs. Thanks!

  • Jer from Virginia

    Posted on 6/29/2015

    When is Sonos going to make the Outdoor Speaker version of the 1 or 3? I've been waiting forever and have to keep unplugging one of my 1s and taking them out on the deck. The signal is great out there, come on and just make a battery operated one with plug in option already. :-)

  • Stephen Dubbs from New York

    Posted on 7/17/2015

    Just FYI, If you have a robust network (Cisco, Juniper, Brocade, anything with a smart switch) Sonos uses STP. Just notify your networking team before you plug it up

  • Russell Messer from San Antonio TX

    Posted on 8/5/2015

    If internet goes down, does the system still work?

  • David Brown from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/7/2015

    Russell, that's an interesting question. Certainly you wouldn't be able to play music from online services like Spotify or Pandora. But perhaps if your home network is still available (just not connected to the Internet) you could stream locally stored music to Sonos speakers. We'll try this and let you know what we find out.

  • Michael Harris from Oak Park, CA

    Posted on 9/7/2015

    Can I mount a Sonos 1 or 3 outdoors under a patio cover? It shouldn't get rain, and the minimum temperature shouldn't be below 28 degrees F.

  • David Brown from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/8/2015

    Michael, we don't recommend permanently installing Sonos speakers outside.

  • Andy from Ann Arbor

    Posted on 9/9/2015

    To answer Russell's question, if your internet goes down, you can continue to use the Sonos from local sources. I have Sonos in a work environment that requires music, and we just switch to streaming from iTunes stored locally.

  • David Sorokwasz from Minden, NV

    Posted on 12/3/2015

    CAUTION!!! You will NOT be able to access your music stored on iCloud with this system. Sonos and iCloud are NOT compatible!!!

  • Michael Morgan from Chicago

    Posted on 12/4/2015

    This is a great guide for those considering Sonos! One quick correction for the chart above. The Play:3 - as all Sonos speakers - does have a Play/Pause button. Older models have it marked as a mute, but a software-based update changed the functionality from mute to play/pause. http://blog.sonos.com/products/the-button-formerly-known-as-mute/

  • David Brown from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/11/2015

    Michael, glad you like the article. And thanks very much for that correction! I've updated the article.

  • Tara from Taylor

    Posted on 8/28/2016

    So one of the comments was you can't use icloud music with Sonos? Does the music have to be fully downloaded on your device in itunes before it will play on Sonos? I see it's not rated for outside use. Could you take a connect, attach it to two outdoor rated speakers? Like the Polk audio ones I see are for sale? Just trying to mentally figure out the best way to do this and cheapest. Thanks.

  • David Brown from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/29/2016

    Tara, for songs you've purchased from iTunes that are stored in iCloud, you'll need to either 1) Download the song to your networked computer or portable device; or 2) Subscribe to Apple Music, which is available to stream through Sonos.

    You can use the CONNECT to power a pair of outdoor speakers. Our advisors can recommend some models that are a good match for the CONNECT. Give them a call and they can point you in the right direction.

  • MB from Spokane

    Posted on 11/22/2016

    Hello and thanks for the helpful article. "You can use two PLAY:1 or PLAY:3 speakers as surround speakers with the three-channel PLAYBAR." Can you also use the Play:5 in the same manner?

  • David Brown from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/30/2016

    Hi MB, Yes, you can use two PLAY:5 speakers as rear speakers with the PLAYBAR for surround sound. But this only works with the Gen2 PLAY:5.

  • Ben Ryan from Ridgewood, NJ

    Posted on 1/6/2017

    Can I use the playbar & Sonos Sub to play the audio of movies and other media from an Apple TV that is connected to my TV?

  • David Brown from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/6/2017

    Ben, yes you can. You just need to run an optical cable out of your TV and into the Sonos PLAYBAR. They you'll be able to hear audio from Apple TV, as well as other sources that are connected to your TV, through the PLAYBAR and SUB.

  • Jon Kaplan from Port Townsend

    Posted on 2/4/2017

    In your review you state that any Sonos models can be paired for stereo sound, I added a Play:5 gen2 to my Play:5 gen1 for just that purpose and was surprised to learn from Sonos that only similar generation models can be paired, i.e., you cannot pair a gen1 with a gen2, only two gen1's or two gen2's. Is that your experience? That said, I love my Sonos system, am listening to more music, and like the ease of setup and use. And with two speakers I get a really large sound stage (if I am using that term correctly) in an open plan area in my home.

  • David Brown from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/6/2017

    Jon, that's interesting. We haven't tried to pair a Gen 1 PLAY:5 with a Gen 2 model. But it makes sense that you wouldn't be able to pair them with each other. Given how differently they sound, I think you'd end up with some pretty unbalanced stereo sound if you did. That Gen 2 is powerful!

  • Bonnie from Minnetonka

    Posted on 10/4/2017

    I have a sonos sound bar and sub woofer, can I add two 5 speakers to get 7.1 sound or is that not correct, and would make a great system for music and movies ?

  • David Brown from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/5/2017

    Bonnie, Yes! You can use two of the PLAY:5 speakers as rear surrounds with the Sonos PLAYBAR and SUB. Together, they will form a very nice 5.1-channel surround system. You could even save some money and use the PLAY:3 speakers as surrounds instead of the PLAY:5. That's probably more speaker than you need in this setup.

  • Michael Mosteller from Whitacre, VA

    Posted on 2/12/2018

    I have a Sonos One will it pair with a Sonos Play One since I don't need two with Alexa in the same room?

  • David Brown from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/13/2018

    Michael, you cannot create a stereo pair with a Sonos One and a PLAY:1 speaker.

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