Sonos announced yesterday, July 15, that it will be offering a second limited-edition model of its stellar Play:1 speaker. The Play:1 Tone will feature a monochromatic soft-touch finish in your choice of black-on-black or white-on-white, and buyers will be limited to purchasing up to two.
Being a private company, Sonos has always been tight-lipped when it comes to revealing the size of its installed base, but the fact that a production run of 5000 units in each color qualifies as a limited edition speaks volumes about how successful the company has been in the multi-room audio space.
As with its first limited-edition speaker series, the Blue Note Play:1, the Play:1 Tone is internally identical to the ordinary Play:1--all three speakers use the same drivers, the same amplifier, and the same DAC. The only differences between the three are the exterior finishes. The Blue Note Play:1 had a distinctively different finish and a great tie-in with Blue Note Records; plus, Sonos offered a limited-time Blue Note radio station that let buyers listen to artist-curated selections from such jazz greats as Robert Glasper, Terence Blanchard, and Blue Note president Don Was. The two-tone Play:1 is $200 and delivers the exact same performance as the monochromatic Play:1 Tone, but Sonos is nonetheless charging more for the Play:1 Tone--$250, to be exact.
The company says its Blue Note edition speakers sold out within hours, and it expects demand for the Play:1 Tone to be equally high when it goes on sale at 10:00 a.m. PDT on July 21.
The impact on you at home: Sonos is the gold standard in affordable multi-room audio systems. Even high-end custom installers are gravitating toward these relatively affordable speakers. But I'd like to see the company dedicate more effort to building new products that deliver even higher performance, and spend less time thinking of ways it can wrap fancy new clothes around its existing and least-expensive speakers. (To its credit, Sonos continuously improves its client apps, and it rewrote the code for its proprietary mesh network in 2014 to eliminate the need for its wireless bridge.)
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.