Sonos and Blue Note Records team up for a limited edition Play:1 (update)

Sonos released its $199 Play:1 speaker well over a year ago, and in that time, the company has been keen on improving the software experience for its audio gadgets. Tweaking that Controller app isn't all it was working on, though, and it turns out, a limited edition release was getting its fresh coat of paint... literally. More on that in a bit, but for now, meet the Sonos Blue Note Play:1: a collaboration with Blue Note Records that celebrates the heritage of the label's jazz roots alongside the audio company's focus on quality sound across genres. New colors are something we see from speaker and headphone brands on the regular, and until now, Sonos kept things black and white. Why, you ask? Well, the company viewed its line of wireless-audio tech as accent pieces as well as devices for listening to tunes all over your home. This meant neutral colors that blend in rather than stand out were a must.

At first glance, a blue-hued speaker for a collaboration with Blue Note Records may seem like too obvious a choice. But when you recall some of the artwork from Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter releases, the color scheme makes sense. On the covers of those albums, a monochromatic blue image served as the main visual, and one that I will always associate with the jazz greats. Getting this limited edition Play:1 to look the way it does took a great deal of effort, and in the end, Sonos employed robots to spray the speakers' shells in order to achieve the perfect fade from navy to cerulean. In fact, that painting process means each of these new speakers will be slightly different -- kind of like an artist recording several versions of a song before going with the best take. Similar to the music that the label has published during its 75 years, that gradient is also meant to signify the deep bass and clear treble that the device uses to wrangle tunes.

The focus on software from the past few months was carried over here too, and folks who splurge for the blue device will notice an extra station in their Sonos Controller app. In addition to the Born in Blue and Blue Note 101 stations that debuted a while back, the folks at Blue Note Records will curate an Artists Selects station for the next year. That repository will be constantly updated with new tracks over the next 12 months, and it's exclusive to Blue Note Play:1 owners. Again, the project is as much about an ongoing experience as it is a single speaker.

More often than not, when we see a limited edition of an existing product, it comes at a hefty premium price. That's not the case here. This blue-hued Play:1 is priced at $250 -- just $50 more than the original. If the blue already caught your eye, you'll want to act fast when these go on sale, as only around 4,100 exist and they're sure to go fast.

Update: The Blue Note Play1 will go on sale March 5th at 10 AM PST/1 PM EST.

[Image credits: Blue Note Records (album covers), Sonos (factory)]