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Sonos Ray evaluate

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The Sonos Ray was introduced in early 2022 and is the multi-room audio big’s most reasonably priced soundbar up to now.

In simply a few well-considered strikes, Sonos has reworked its quite desultory vary of soundbars and soundbases (keep in mind once they had been a factor?) into arguably probably the most profitable merchandise in its complete line-up.

Definitely the Sonos Arc and the Beam v2 are there-or-thereabouts every time speak turns to the best-performing, best-value soundbars at their respective price-points.

And now, to finish a three-strong soundbar line-up, is the Sonos Ray. It’s priced to fit in beneath the 2nd-gen Beam, and it’s specified to mirror its place as probably the most reasonably priced Sonos soundbar you should buy.

The Ray prices ‘simply’ $279 / £279.

I put the ‘simply’ in quotes there because it’s hardly a price range soundbar to rival the likes of the $130 Roku Streambar, however it’s Sonos’ most reasonably priced TV speaker so far.

It is a soundbar of the old-fashioned – however though its membership of the Planet’s Main Multi-Room Ecosystem will make it a no brainer for some clients, the remainder of us realise the Ray is way from in need of competitors.

So the query is: does it compete?

Sonos Ray review

Sonos Ray: Design and {hardware}

In the identical method that even small automobiles are fairly huge nowadays, soundbar inflation implies that those that personal smaller TVs (and by ‘smaller’, we imply ‘sub-48-inch’) aren’t precisely spoiled for alternative.

The Ray, although, is a mere 71 x 559 x 95mm – and this implies it won’t look overgrown sitting beneath a 40-inch TV display screen.

And it seems to be fairly good as soon as it’s there, too. The Ray is offered within the long-established Sonos finishes of matte black or matte white, and its rounded-off ends and non-parallel sides make it look fairly subtle in an understated kind of method.

Or nameless, if you’re not into the entire ‘minimalism’ factor. Construct high quality is normal Sonos, too – which implies it’s expertly constructed and correctly completed.

The Ray is a stereo speaker – none of your fancy-pants multiple-drivers-firing-in-all-directions Dolby Atmos compatibility right here.

Extra: Sonos ideas and methods

The audio enterprise is finished by two tweeters and two mid/bass drivers (‘midwoofers’ is the borderline-meaningless descriptions Sonos insists on), supported by a pair of bass reflex ports.

All the things faces dead-ahead, which makes the Ray helpfully relaxed about positioning – it’ll even sit fortunately on a center shelf with surfaces each above and alongside it. Sonos will even promote you a wall-bracket if that’s extra use.

It’s value making an allowance for that at over 7cm, the Ray is a comparatively tall soundbar – so if it’s happening the identical shelf as your TV, ensure it doesn’t impression on the underside of the display screen.

As a result of that is Sonos we’re coping with, particulars of the scale and composition of the drivers themselves are extraordinarily skinny on the bottom.

Equally, we’ve no thought how a lot energy is delivered by the 4 blocks of Class D amplification on board the Ray. This kind of inexplicable secrecy is normal Sonos follow, nevertheless it by no means fails to baffle.

Sonos Ray ports

Bodily connectivity extends to an Ethernet socket, a digital optical enter and a figure-of-eight mains socket.

Not like the Beam 2 and the Arc, which provides superb Dolby Atmos by means of HDMI (supplied your TV has an eARC port), there’s simply optical audio on the Ray, there is not any HDMI in sight.

Which means it is ‘restricted’ to only Stereo PCM, Dolby Digital and DTS Digital Encompass.

It is possible for you to to make use of the Ray as the middle channel of a {surround} system – paired with a few rear Sonos Ones, for instance… though I would query the sanity of anybody including a $749 Sub to a $249 soundbar.

The was attention-grabbing hypothesis that the Sonos Ray would have the ability to be used as a part of a 5.1 TV {surround} sound system, on the rear – however that is not the case (at the least, not but).

You may argue a case for HDMI being pointless for a product that doesn’t take care of any notably sophisticated digital audio info, but when for no different motive than comfort it might be good to have the choice.

Sonos Ray review

Sonos Ray: Set-up and wi-fi choices

The simplicity of the Ray’s configuration means it’s one of many best merchandise to arrange you’re ever prone to encounter.

As soon as you’ve determined the place you wish to place it, connect the Ray to the mains and to your TV utilizing the digital optical cable supplied.

Open the Sonos S2 management app (which continues to be an absolute paradigm of readability, simplicity, stability and customary sense) and comply with the only a few directions, and you’re good to go.

iOS customers can deploy the Sonos ‘Trueplay’ room calibration characteristic on their smartphone, too. Simply tempo round your listening area brandishing your iPhone and the Ray will (rapidly, precisely) set itself as much as your particular surroundings. The app permits adjustment of bass and treble, after all, however ‘Trueplay’ is as efficient right here as it’s ever been.

You get each AirPlay 2 and Spotify Join compatibility and the standard array of Sonos soundbar options resembling IR distant abilities, Trueplay, Evening Sound and Speech Readability.

After all, this being a Sonos speaker, it is usually able to grouping with its stablemates for music playback in a Sonos multi-room setup.

Sonos Ray review

Sonos Ray: Voice-control and multi-room

The Ray itself is just not a wise speaker – however for those who use a Sonos One SL, say, as one of many rear audio system in a surround-sound set-up, voice-control with digital assistants like Google Assistant or Alexa can be found.

And Sonos has its personal bespoke voice-assistant coming ‘soon’. In any other case, management is through the admirable app or the ‘play/pause’ and ‘quantity up/down’ capacitive controls on the soundbar’s prime floor.

The app can be nice for alleviating the Ray into a real surround-sound system (even incorporating a Sonos subwoofer for those who so need), or a wider multi-room set-up.

The convenience, stability and effectiveness of this operation (and its outcomes) is a giant a part of why Sonos is quickly approaching ubiquity.

Sonos Ray: Sound high quality

First issues first: you should handle your expectations. It is a stereo speaker, and stereo sound is what it does.

So if you’re anticipating the kind of sonic fireworks the Beam v2 is able to, it’s very doable you’ll really feel short-changed. If, nonetheless, you’re after nothing greater than a giant enchancment on the (inevitably skinny and wheezy) sound your TV at the moment produces by itself, the Ray is fully match for function.

The tonal steadiness is fairly good. Films are inclined to preserve the majority of their info within the midrange, after all, and right here the Ray is poised, characterful and carries loads of element – and it initiatives the midrange properly, positioning dialogue in direction of the entrance of the stage even when the motion is kicking off throughout. It’s clear and distinct the place voices are involved, and as a consequence motion pictures are at all times simple to comply with.

On the backside finish, there’s significantly extra heft and wallop than your TV has a prayer of producing by itself.

Once more, element ranges are respectably excessive, and once more there’s loads of management. Bass sounds at all times keep of their lane, so even when the going will get rowdy the Ray controls the low-frequency stuff properly sufficient to forestall the midrange getting swamped.

Tonal variation is respectable, too – some ‘affordable’ are inclined to thump alongside on one observe, however the Ray delivers a good bit of sunshine and shade in its low-end exercise.

Up on the prime of the frequency vary, although, the Ray is sort of a bit extra circumspect. There are the identical admirable element ranges as elsewhere, and treble info by no means threatens to get out of hand – however that’s a damaging in addition to a constructive.

The highest finish is rolled off right here, barely however clearly, and in consequence the treble copy doesn’t have fairly the chunk or brilliance it wants.

Dynamically, the Ray is fairly good – it’s definitely in a position to change from ‘close to silence’ to ‘huge Hollywood blockbuster set-piece’ with out sounding confused about it.

Low-level dynamics are obvious too, and given believably context within the general presentation. However there’s no denying the Ray is a reasonably small-scale hear – it creates a plausible soundstage and organises it fairly properly, however it’s not very huge. ‘Far-left’ and ‘far-right’ are fairly shut collectively, and there’s at all times an apparent point-source of sound.

All of those traits, each good and not-so-good, assume you’re listening at life like quantity. Flip the Ray up in direction of its most and its tonal steadiness shifts, with low frequencies making an attempt to dominate. The knock-on impact is that treble sounds turn out to be much more inhibited, and the general steadiness takes a flip for the shouty.


If you’re already a Sonos believer, not one of the Ray’s shortcomings ought to put you off – and anyway, they’re fairly delicate. But when you’re merely after a fairly reasonably priced, fairly compact soundbar to place a rocket up your TV’s sound, the Ray is way from the one sport on the town. Yamaha, particularly, can promote you a better-sounding different for barely much less cash.

  • Neat, tidy, and properly completed
  • Direct, detailed sound
  • Wider system integration
  • Straightforward setup
  • Not a very huge sound
  • Treble is reticent
  • HDMI possibility could be good
  • No Dolby Atmos

 

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