Sonos Ray is a great offering product!
The buzzing bass limits Sonos Ray’s ability to produce crisp speech and room-filling sound on a budget.
Finding luxury goods on a tight budget is difficult even under the best of circumstances
Whether you’re looking for designer clothing, lifestyle technology, or custom furnishings.
And when does it matter most? Even a TK Maxx search will only turn up some fake AirPods.
And a damaged Le Creuset ramekin.
Sonos Ray: Holistic Reviews
When we first heard rumours that high-end electronics manufacturer Sonos was producing its first cheap soundbar.
We couldn’t help but think, what’s the catch?
We’re so used to seeing costs for high-end goods climb while quality frequently declines.
The cachet of Sonos has always been aspirational.
It is designed to be used in groups, integrating to give you a wide-ranging.
Seamless audio accompaniment in every area of your home as well as immersive cinema sound in your living room.
Its nicely manufactured but pricey speakers are made to be used in groups.
Can the reasonably priced Sonos Ray still provide an experience that comes close to this?
Sonos Ray: Price
With a price of £279, $279, or $399 in Australia.
The Sonos Ray is the company’s most cheap soundbar to date.
It is below the Beam Gen 2, which debuted last year for £449/ $449/ AU$699.
And offers virtual Dolby Atmos.
Although many soundbars cost similar amounts to the Ray.
Such as the recently reviewed Majority Sierra Plus, which costs £270/300 (about AU$470).
Feature HDMI connections and even Dolby Atmos support.
Streaming is often only allowed over Bluetooth, which Ray, ironically, lacks.
Ray can handle Stereo PCM, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS Digital Surround.
With the confirmation of the codec type provided on the app’s ‘Now Playing’ page.
It may not be able to decode Dolby Atmos, but it can support those formats as well.
Sonos Ray: Build
The Ray represents a change of direction for Sonos.
With the ability to integrate with a wireless multi-room system via Apple AirPlay 2.
Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, and/or the Sonos S2 app.
It still upholds the company’s primary brand of interoperability.
But this speaker is intended for people who have probably never thought about the brand before.
It is a suitable option for tiny rooms or shared spaces because of its extremely small dimensions.
The taperedered design, and forward-facing speakers, take up little space.
And eliminate the necessity for a clean line of sight for upward- and side-firing drivers.
Ray’s smooth curves, capacitive touch buttons, and monochrome finishes.
And perforated polycarbonate grille all belong in the exclusive Sonos gene pool.
Although it’s rare for a firm as normally meticulous as Sonos.
The grille’s edge doesn’t lay flat with the main body in either of the production samples sent for testing.
However, this is a small complaint in what is otherwise a highly stylish speaker at this price point.
Four class D amplifiers are housed inside, driving Ray’s array of four forward-facing drivers:
Two elliptical mid-woofers in the centre, two tweeters firing into split waveguides on either side.
Ray’s audio processing, along with the waveguides’ separation.
And dispersion of high frequencies for a sense of spaciousness, according to Sonos.
Will produce a broad soundstage and aid in precisely locating effects within your environment.
Although Sonos has claimed that the Ray might be considered a 3.0 system.
There isn’t a separate driver for the centre channel; rather, all the drivers share the responsibility for dialogue.
By regulating the airflow speed within to avoid drug-induced turbulence.
Sonos’ low-velocity curved bass reflex ports, handle low frequencies.
Are claimed to offer a substantially low end without distortion.
We’ve always been amazed by how effectively Sonos can produce a meaty sound despite scale constraints.
So we’re curious to hear what the small Ray can dish up in this regard.
The Ray lacks the simulated Dolby Atmos decoding of Sonos’ more expensive soundbars.
The Beam Gen 2 and Arc, because it was designed to fit neatly into cabinets without affecting its audio dispersion.
Sonos has opted to forego the HDMI eARC connections of its more expensive products.
In favour of a traditional optical input.
Claiming that since this speaker isn’t designed to play high bandwidth immersive codecs.
It doesn’t need the necessary port. This decision is pretty pragmatic on Sonos’ part.
The Sonos Ray performs admirably in many areas.
In chapter 2 of Blade Runner 2049, K makes his way to his baseline test.
The clanging soundscape and snippets of dialogue are crisp and direct.
Mostly avoiding the boxiness commonly heard with other low-cost soundbars.
Though voices lack a little bit of the warmth and sincerity that the Beam Gen 2 can provide.
The conversation is pleasantly crisp without being harsh.
As well as the relative placement of the interviewer’s disembodied voice.
This means that while Spinners fly by, the soundstage doesn’t have the same sweep.
And the sensation of motion that we might anticipate from more expensive items.