What is the cheapest soundbar just launched by the American manufacturer worth?

What is the cheapest soundbar just launched by the American manufacturer worth?

Product launches from the Sonos brand are rare enough to be listened to carefully. With its new “Ray” soundbar, the American audio brand is creating a double event these days. After the Playbar, the Playbase, the Arc and the Beam (Gen 2), the Sonos Ray is only the fourth soundbar from the manufacturer launched in 9 years. And it costs “only” 299 euros, a surprisingly tight price for a manufacturer who has a habit of selling its devices quite expensive.

The Sonos Ray soundbar, launched at 299 euros. – HIS BONE

Only one cable (optical) to install it

Once unpacked, the Sonos Ray surprises with its small size: 56 cm long, 10 cm deep and 7 cm thick. It’s a mini. Dedicated to all types of televisions, it can either be placed in front of the screen or hung on the wall with an optional fixing kit (sold for 49 euros). Housing it under the screen seems more complicated: too low on its feet, our Samsung Frame TV did not allow it during our tests. Remember to check this point if you want to equip yourself.

In the sales pitch that praises the merits of its Ray, Sonos speaks of a “simple installation”. She is, indeed. Once plugged into the mains and connected to the television with its supplied optical cable, the soundbarr only has to be connected via Wifi. Passage through the Sonos application required. This is what will be used to drive the Ray, but also to integrate it into the speaker ecosystem. multi-room of the brand, such as the Sonos One or Five, or even the portable Roam speaker.

HDMI, is it over?

Be careful here, no HDMI Arc socket, but simply an optical socket to connect the soundbar to your television. No HDMI Arc means no Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD or DTS HD. There remains Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS and PCM stereo and at less than 300 euros, we are satisfied with it. Let’s also add that the Ray is compatible with Spotify Connect and AirPlay 2. No need, therefore, to go through the Sonos application to control your Spotify or Apple Music music.

However, there is the question of the remote control (not supplied). Without HDMI Arc, no automated control, either, from your TV remote control (unless you pair it “old fashioned” with infrared codes for IR remote controls). That leaves the touch buttons on top of the soundbar and, of course, the Sonos app.

A powerful sound but lacking flesh

We tested the Ray with a few episodes of the new season of Stranger Things on Netflix, but also with music and in particular listening to C’Mon You Know, Liam Gallagher’s new album. The broadcast sound is pleasant, detailed, powerful, with fairly comfortable bass despite the absence of subwoofer. In the state, we can fully be satisfied with the Ray for a conventional home cinema installation which allows you to boost the sound of your series, video games and playlists.

The Sonos Ray soundbar is only 56cm long.
The Sonos Ray soundbar is only 56cm long. – HIS BONE

But the sound of the Ray still lacks flesh, consistency, roundness. Owners of very large screens (55 inches and more), and the most demanding ears, can turn to the more efficient Sonos Beam (Gen 2) or Arc soundbars, which take up much more of their space. game. Still, it is possible to develop the Ray. First by associating it with speakers surroundlike the Sonos One, or even the American brand’s Sub subwoofer.

To a younger audience

By selling its new soundbar for 299 euros, Sonos is advancing on conquered ground. The brand, which enjoys a solid reputation in the world of audio, will thus be able to reach a less wealthy clientele, certainly younger, but who will be able to gradually develop their installation with a perfectly run-in ecosystem of products. A powerful ecosystem, certainly, but also closed, which is reminiscent of that of another major American brand, Apple.

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