Sonos Ray Review: Super Sonics


Good soundbars are hardly reasonably-priced, and neither are Sonos audio system. It doesn’t take a genius to determine that Sonos soundbars have a tendency to set you again a little – no less than till the Ray.

Sonos’s new Ray soundbar isn’t precisely reasonably-priced – it is nonetheless $279/£279/€299 – nevertheless it’s considerably inexpensive than the corporate’s different house theatre audio choices. Sonos sees it as an entry-level possibility for individuals who’ve been making do with their TV’s integrated sound till now, or for any individual in need of to improve the audio on a 2nd TV within the kitchen or bed room.

Still, the fee drop comes with compromises. This is Sonos’s smallest soundbar, and it gained’t fit the audio horsepower of the Beam or Arc. There’s no HDMI Arc enter, so that you’ll have to hook up with your TV by way of optical, and extra frustratingly there’s no microphone for voice controls.

So the query is: is the sound right here excellent sufficient to conquer the ones obstacles and be triumphant at a cheap-ish worth, or will have to Sonos have caught to its strengths on the top class finish of the marketplace?

Design and construct

  • Available in black or white
  • Short however squat
  • Simple design

The Ray suits smartly into Sonos’s design language. Available in both black or white, this can be a easy bar in a matt end with minimum controls and a delicate Sonos emblem.

Sonos Ray front

It’s no longer formed somewhat like both of Sonos’s larger soundbars. Instead it’s rather flared, with the entrance of the speaker longer than the rear aspect – a results of the best way the audio system are angled rather to fireside sound out to fill the room. The sound all fires out forwards although, that means that is well-suited to retaining within a media cupboard, or wall-mounting.

The Ray is a compact soundbar, at simply 55.9cm lengthy, although its top and intensity are very similar to Sonos’s higher choices. At 7.1cm tall it does move proper as much as the ground fringe of my TV, so relying on the way you’ll be positioning it you could need to measure how tall your TV stand is simply to ensure it gained’t be blocking the ground of your display.

On-device controls are easy: 3 touch-sensitive buttons, one for play/pause and the opposite two most commonly used for adjusting quantity up or down. You too can swipe throughout them to skip a monitor or return to the former tune until you might be the use of radio.

Sonos Ray controls

There’s additionally a unmarried standing LED alongside the entrance, although you’ll be able to flip this off if you happen to in finding it distracting.

With the smaller measurement, Sonos says it envisions the Ray running absolute best with TVs which can be 55in or smaller, nevertheless it’s brief sufficient that it will have to take a seat with ease within the edges of virtually any trendy TV.

Connectivity

  • Optical, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi
  • No HDMI Arc
  • No 3.5mm jack or Bluetooth
  • No Dolby Atmos

For higher or worse, connectivity at the Ray is saved easy: past the facility socket, all you get are optical, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi.

Sonos Ray connectivity

For connecting it as much as your TV, you’ll necessarily have to make use of optical. That shouldn’t be an issue, because the port is beautiful usual and can also be discovered on TVs each outdated and new – or even a large number of desktop PCs, with Sonos additionally pitching the Ray as an possibility for a compact gaming PC soundbar. Sonos helpfully features a cable with the speaker too, so don’t fear if you happen to don’t have one already.

What you gained’t get is the choice of the use of HDMI Arc/eArc, the newer usual. This isn’t prone to be a dealbreaker, nevertheless it does imply that you just gained’t get HDMI-CEC advantages like having the ability to energy at the TV by way of switching at the soundbar, and may be why the Ray is the one Sonos soundbar not to reinforce Dolby Atmos – although it might care for Stereo PCM, Dolby Digital, and DTS Digital Surround.

Removing HDMI Arc too can make connecting the Ray for your TV far flung just a little trickier. Sonos doesn’t send the Ray with its personal far flung, so that you’ll need to attach it for your TV’s (or else depend at the app or the buttons at the speaker itself to keep watch over quantity).

Most TV remotes will nonetheless paintings simply over optical, however some newer ones that use Bluetooth or RF could also be a little trickier – it took me a excellent 10 mins of diving thru TV settings menus and scouring Sonos assist pages to get the far flung for the LG TV I’ve been reviewing to paintings properly with the Ray, although it did get there in the end.

Sonos Ray logo

Like all Sonos audio system, the Ray additionally options each Ethernet and Wi-Fi, and that is the way you’ll have to hook up with the speaker if you wish to additionally use it to play song on. Luckily it’ll play properly with Apple AirPlay and Spotify Connect, so relying on the way you concentrate for your song you will have to nonetheless be capable to take merit simply sufficient.

While Sonos can have begrudgingly added Bluetooth reinforce into its moveable Move and Roam audio system, there used to be no such addition right here. There’s additionally no reinforce for three.5mm or different analogue audio inputs, so that you gained’t be capable to bodily attach a phone, computer, or report participant to play from.

Smart options

  • Sonos app reinforce
  • Trueplay tuning
  • No microphone

In a quirk of Sonos’s advertising and marketing, the corporate introduced its new Sonos Voice Controls – voiced by way of none instead of Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito – on the similar time it introduced the Ray, one in all its few audio system not to come with microphones.

That way the Ray doesn’t reinforce the brand new controls, and similarly can’t run both Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

Sonos Ray angle

What good reinforce there’s comes from the unfastened Sonos app, which is a required a part of the setup procedure anyway. This comprises an EQ to song the speaker’s sound profile, get right of entry to to a couple of song streaming services and products and radio equipment, and settings to workforce the Ray with different Sonos audio system.

The Ray additionally helps Trueplay, a one-time procedure that tunes the speaker for its place within the room. This calls for an iPhone or iPad to hold out, so that you’ll want to both be an Apple consumer your self or know a pal who’ll allow you to borrow their iPhone to set it up.

Sound high quality

  • Clean, balanced sound
  • Decent however restricted bass output
  • Impressive readability and element

So, in spite of everything that, how does the Ray in fact sound?

It’s about what you may be expecting: Sonos’s superb readability and cautious tuning shines thru, however the bodily constraints of the speaker’s measurement hang again the bass from being its absolute best.

There are 4 major drivers right here: two elliptical full-range woofers discovered within the audio system centre, and two tweeters on the ends with cut up waveguides that challenge audio each instantly forward and out at an attitude to assist ship room-filling sound. Those 4 drivers are mixed with a bass reflex device to finish the sonic profile.

Sonos Ray side

The mids and trebles are undeniably spectacular, and assist the Ray excel for taking note of pop and rock song, or using dialogue-heavy TV and picture.

The bass is the place the Ray can’t stay with higher, dearer competitors, and it holds it again just a little for hip hop song or action-heavy scenes. This turns into particularly transparent whilst you crank the amount up: the Ray can get impressively loud, however as the amount will increase the bass will get left at the back of.

Where the Ray makes up for that is the readability of its soundscape. The speaker does an ideal process of setting apart sounds, which can pay off in additional complicated musical preparations or in movie scenes with audio from all over the place. On maximum inexpensive audio system those would all run in combination right into a murky mess, however the Ray helps to keep issues crisp and transparent.

Sonos Ray LED

The Ray’s pricing makes it a gorgeous access level into the Sonos ecosystem, although then the fee rises sharply. You may pair it with a few Sonos One or One SL audio system for a encompass setup for instance, or attach the Sonos Sub for added bass – although this on my own prices greater than double the Ray by itself.

Of path, you’ll be able to additionally attach it to different Sonos audio system round the home for multi-room audio with out spending somewhat such a lot.

Price and availability

At $279/£279/€299 the Sonos Ray isn’t a cut price bucket speaker – it stills prices greater than double the Roku Streambar, for instance – nevertheless it’s indubitably on the inexpensive finish of the soundbar area.

You can grasp it from Sonos itself, or from the likes of Argos or John Lewis in the United Kingdom, or Best Buy and B&H in america. If you need to wall-mount it, the authentic Sonos equipment is an additional $39/£39/€49.

It’s additionally considerably inexpensive than the following Sonos possibility, the $449/£449/€499 Beam Gen 2, so will have to make a Sonos house theatre available to much more folks than prior to.

Sonos Ray TV

The sound high quality here’s most likely higher than maximum different choices on the worth, nevertheless it’s no longer a transparent reduce factor. The Creative Stage 360 and Panasonic SC-HTB490 each price much less and come with a subwoofer, so will outclass the Ray on bass.

Both additionally come with progressed connectivity and niceties like Dolby Atmos reinforce, whilst the Polk React drops the sub however bakes in voice controls with Alexa reinforce.

Check out our rating of the most productive soundbars for extra possible choices, or the most productive Sonos audio system to make a decision if you happen to in reality need to decide to the Sonos ecosystem.

Verdict

The Ray is an outstanding inexpensive soundbar, with a gorgeous and compact design in conjunction with an audio profile that excels in readability and scape.

There are obstacles although. The loss of HDMI Arc – and with it Dolby Atmos – bristles just a little, as does the verdict to overlook microphones and voice controls. And it can be a Sonos staple, however the insistence on leaving out both Bluetooth or analogue audio connections may hang this again from being the guts of your house audio.

Still, if you wish to get started construction a Sonos setup, or need a cost-effective(ish) TV speaker to sign up for your different Sonos tools, then it is nice to peer a extra inexpensive possibility than the Beam and Arc.

Cutting costs calls for compromise, and Sonos has selected to pare off additional options to concentrate on sheer sound. I will be able to’t bring to mind anyplace else I’d reasonably its priorities lay.

Specs

Sonos Ray: Specs

  • 2x full-range woofers
  • 2x tweeters
  • Bass reflex device
  • 4x D-class amplifiers
  • Optical S/PDIF enter
  • Ethernet port
  • 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
  • 71x559x95mm
  • 1.95kg
  • Optional wall mount



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