Sonos Ray – review. The perfect soundbar for the privileged few

Step by step, Sonos is preparing more and more affordable speakers. It comes with a few concessions, but some key features remain in place. Sonos Ray is the cheapest soundbar in the company’s offering – what about?

Looking at the latest Sonos soundbar, one won’t notice how specific this gear is. From the front, we are greeted by a fairly typical speaker finish with the manufacturer’s logo in the middle grillbut on the back we immediately notice something that we were perhaps not expecting. It’s the absenteeism of the HDMI connector that most soundbar users might be looking for. It results, among other things, from the inability to fully render the magnificence of Dolby Atmos audio tracks streaming or from Blu-ray disc, but this is not the problem that will be felt most by users.

Sonos Ray – the cheapest soundbar from the manufacturer

The presence of the HDMI connector also meant something else – HDMI-CEC support, so you can easily control the volume level of the soundbar with your TV remote. The appropriate signals are transferred directly from the device to the device via the cable, which is not provided by the optical connector. Apart from that, Sonos Ray behaves, of course, like a typical speaker from this brand, so it works with AirPlay, and also integrates into a home audio system like any other. Other speakers (Sonos One or Symfonisk) can be connected to Sonos Ray as rear home theater speakers and Sonos Sub as a subwoofer, which will definitely improve the overall sound and make us have surround sound complete. But if we don’t, then Ray won’t be enough for us to enjoy a screening or listen to music?

What does the Sonos Ray look like?

Like other Sonos speakers, the Ray soundbar wasn’t created that way. Having spoken to Paul Peace – a Sonos sound engineer who previously worked at JBL and has numerous patents to his name – I’m confident that everything has been done to make this modest soundbar sound its best. For the end user, it does not matter whether the individual elements are made of one material or another and how certain parts are rounded – he should enjoy loud, clear and loud sound. Sonos Ray performs very well for its size. There’s no denying the depth and power, plus juicy bass (I recommend enabling bass boost and max bass in the EQ).

However, this does not mean that it buzzes or loses detail – in addition to engineering solutions, there are also algorithms that constantly analyze the sound and try to emphasize the dialogues that should be in the foreground. during the screening. The results are surprising as the soundbar lacks a dedicated center channel speaker. Not once did Sonos Ray disappoint me in terms of sound quality, because whether it’s lots of dialogue, loud explosions or a loud soundtrack, everything is always clear. Plus, Sonos also lets you turn it on night modewhich reduces volume spikes (which filmmakers love). The problem arises when you want to change the volume manually…

Consequences of lack of HDMI – difficult control

Sonos Ray, just like other speakers from this manufacturer, does not come with a remote control as a whole. The mobile app is used to configure and change settings, while volume control in other models (Arc and Beam) is done via the aforementioned HDMI-CEC supported by probably all new smart TVs. Ray can work directly with our TV remote control, console or decoder thanks to the current infrared sensor (the two models mentioned above also offer it). In addition, the soundbar is able to memorize the settings of two remote controls simultaneously if we use them alternately. Unfortunately, despite the very simple process of pairing the remote with the soundbar, I was unable to connect all the remotes I had on hand (for testing). The decoder worked as it should, but the TV was constantly misunderstood. No solution is then proposed instead, and one can constantly try to couple them. I noticed that other testers reported the same problem, so before buying, it is better to make sure that your remote will not cause any problems, because then the only solution is to reach for the smartphone every time .

How much does Sonos Ray cost? Is it worth buying it?

Sonos Ray supports stereo PCM, Dolby Digital and DTS, so Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital Plus were missing. Does that make it a good soundbar? Rather not, because compared to TV speakers it would be a big step forward even without the most modern technologies, and some people wouldn’t hear the difference or wouldn’t have the right materials to reproduce it. So why would someone pay 1399 PLN for Sonos Ray? The situation is the same as in the case of other Sonos devices, as they are the only devices on the market that allow you to expand your sound system and home theater as you wish. At the same time, the sound from the TV can be transmitted to other speakers without any obstacles, so we will hear the latest news or a report of a sporting event throughout the house. The same goes for music that will not only come from under the TV, but can be heard throughout the apartment. It is very easy to choose rear speakers (for example, by hanging Symfonisk shelves on the wall), and soon a cheaper subwoofer from Sonos (the current model costs 3899 PLN) should soon appear in the offer (rumors are so far).

For some, Sonos Ray will be the best choice. For others, not necessarily

So there are circumstances in which the lack of HDMI will not be such a big obstacle, because the user can gain something more important to him. It is these preferences and needs that will determine whether Sonos Ray is the right equipment for you. It won’t be a good complement to larger TVs, up to 65 inches, as its capabilities may fall short, but I can easily imagine it in other conditions. For a few days, it served as the main soundbar and even if I encountered some obstacles (volume control), otherwise it met my expectations and integrated into my set. The choice must be made between the HDMI port and the Sonos ecosystem. If you have one or plan to build one, you can start your adventure with Sonos by Ray. Especially since the second generation Beam soundbar in the hierarchy (with HDMI and Dolby Atmos) costs 2199 PLN.

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