Sonos has launched a sound bar for all budgets: Sonos Ray. This small speaker for your television will allow you to enjoy music, movies and series for little moneyand with the quality of Sonos.
In recent years, television manufacturers have been concerned with improving image quality to unsuspected limits, giving them functions that were unimaginable until recently as virtual assistants, and giving them a design that makes them decorative elements in our living room. But in all this process something was forgotten: the sound quality. Flatter TVs mean they sound worse and worseand if the image is important to enjoy a good movie, good sound is just as important.
Sonos offers us solutions to this problem with modular home theater equipment and outstanding results, such as the new Sonos Beam 2, even with honors, such as the fantastic Sonos Arc. But its price puts it out of reach for many who are not looking for such advanced products but simply want good sound in their entertainment center. And precisely for that it has launched the new Sonos Ray, a sound bar with a price of less than €300, design and finishes at the height of Sonosextra features like AirPlay 2 compatibility and app control, and sound that will really make you enjoy what you watch on TV.
This little soundbar packs four class-D amplifiers, two midwoofers, and two tweeters inside. In size it is more similar to the Sonos Beam, although its design is slightly different, as are its specifications, such as the fact that it does not have an HDMI ARC/eARC connection but rather It has a single optical input that will be responsible for carrying the sound of our television.
It will connect via WiFi to our home network, or via ethernet cable if we wish. This WiFi connection will be used not only for firmware updates but also we can also send music from our iPhone, iPad or Mac via AirPlay 2 and we can listen to music directly on it thanks to the Sonos app (later we will expand it). There is no Bluetooth connectivity (what would we want it for?).
By not having HDMI we will not be able to enjoy the most advanced sound like Dolby Atmos, something that we could not do either given the specifications of the Sonos Ray, so this is not a great loss, but there is something important to take into account. When connected via optical cable, the volume control is carried out thanks to the control of the television itself and the infrared receiver that the sound bar has, as long as the remote control of your television is infrared. If your TV is very modern, it may not be, so you won’t be able to control the volume with it. If this is your case, you can always use the physical controls at the top, the Sonos app for iPhone and Android, or the command of your Apple TV, which has an infrared emitter.
If you are used to seeing reviews of Sonos products, you will miss the section on compatible virtual assistants. Nope, this Sonos Ray has no virtual assistant, no microphones or anything like it. For many this will be a relief.
Its 56 centimeters in length makes it a medium-sized soundbar, which is perfect for small TVs or medium-sized rooms. Sonos has removed some “top” features to save costs, but In terms of build quality this soundbar is a real Sonos. Minimalist, discreet and made of good quality plastic, it is perfect for placing it on top of your television cabinet or hanging it on the wall (the support is sold separately).
Its front grille with lots of small holes and the Sonos logo in the center, the matte black color (it is also available in white), the small front LEDs and all the details of this bar are unusual for a product in this price range (positive). It is a quality product on the outside, and it is on the inside.
For its installation we only have to plug it in with the cable that comes in the box. By the way, it is a conventional cable, no “bricks” in the middle of the cable that you have to hide behind the television, another point in its favor. We will also connect the optical cable that is included and that we must connect to the optical output of our television, and we will be able to configure it to start working.
Yes, the use of the Sonos app (link) is essential for the configuration, but the five minutes of time that we will consume will be more than compensated by everything that the application offers. It is also a very well guided procedure by the application itself, anyone (literally anyone) can do it. During the setup process we may be prompted for an available firmware update, and we can also configure the TruePlay function that will allow you to adapt the sound to the size of your room using your iPhone. This is something only available for iPhone users, and it really shows the sound improvement, so I recommend that you spend that couple of minutes doing it.
In my case the detection of the television and the remote control have been automatic, but if this were not the case, you would only have to configure your television so that the sound comes out through the optical output and you can configure the remote from the Sonos app. I have not had to adjust any kind of sound synchronization with the TV, but you also have that option if necessary.
Don’t be fooled by the size of this Sonos Ray, or its price, or the lack of HDMI. The sound is really good, and it is not only for power but also for balance. Bass, midrange and treble combine beautifully to offer a very rewarding experience when viewing any type of content, and all with a volume that in my case has never had to exceed 50%. Unlike other products in this price range, where the bass is extremely powerful and artificial and the rest of the sounds cannot be clearly seen, Sonos has opted for quality sound where the special effects will be striking but the dialogues will be perfectly understandable.
The Sonos application also allows you to modify the sound equalization, in case you want to enhance some range, and also has two functions that are essential for me: night mode, to reduce the bass a little and not wake up those in the next room, and the clarity of dialoguesfor those films in which explosions and special effects are too prominent.
As I was saying before, the power of the Sonos Ray in terms of sound is more than enough despite its size. Any average sized room, even an average living room, will be filled with the sodium emitted by the Sonos bar, and without having to reach high volume levels. Of course you can turn up the volume more if you need to, and there won’t be any type of distortion, although the bass is affected a bit, which seems to lose some presence.
The only not so positive point of this Sonos Ray is inevitable given its size and its internal components: the sound is quite directed. You won’t find any surround effects with this speaker, you will have quality stereo sound, but stereo. You can always add two Sonos Ones as rear satellites, but I think that’s kind of off the mark with this soundbar. Personally, I prefer to make the jump to a Sonos Beam 2 before buying a Sonos Ray and two Sonos Ones. Another thing is that you already have those speakers, then you could really use them.
So far we have talked about a sound bar that may have a competitor for its price, but it is not only that. AirPlay 2 compatibility will allow you to use it as a speaker to listen to music from your iPhone, Mac and iPad, with Multiroom function, combined with other Sonos speakers or any AirPlay 2 compatible speaker, such as HomePod. Its performance as a speaker for music is good, and the qualities that I have mentioned as a speaker for television can be extrapolated to music.
We can also play music directly from the internet thanks to the Sonos application and its integration with Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, etc. You can control playback from the app for iPhone, iPad and Android. What is not possible is to use Bluetooth connection because it does not have it. I know that there are still those who are still anchored in this technology for speakers, but Sonos thinks that it is unnecessary in this type of product, something with which I completely agree.
Sonos has opted to launch a more affordable speaker than the classic Sonos Beam and Sonos Arc, and has done so with a product that is unrivaled in its price range. The Sonos Ray does not intend to compete with other premium sound equipment with Dolby Atmos, its place is in the living rooms of many people who want a quality product with a contained price, and there it not only complies, but also gets a very good grade. Its price is €299 on Amazon (link).
- Publisher Rating
- Rating 4.5 stars
- Sonos Ray
- Review of: louis padilla
- Quality of materials and construction
- Sound app
- Air Play 2
- Quality and balanced sound
- May cause problems with some remote controls
- no surround sound