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The $279 Sonos Ray is Sonos’ cheapest soundbar yet — and we went hands-on | CNN Underscored


Sonos makes among the best soundbars you should buy — its $899 Sonos Arc is our present luxurious decide — however they don’t come low-cost. To repair that, the audio big introduced the brand new $279 Sonos Ray. By providing its most inexpensive and compact Sonos soundbar but, the corporate sees the Sonos Ray as an excellent, and inexpensive, solution to begin constructing your individual Sonos sound system. It’s launching June 7 in white and black, and you may pre-order it now.

In addition to the Ray, Sonos is launching new shade choices for its wonderful Sonos Roam Bluetooth speaker, and is getting set to debut a brand new voice assistant that can make it simple to manage your whole Sonos gadgets hands-free. After a behind-the-scenes take a look at all of Sonos’s new {hardware} and software program, listed below are some early impressions.

Sonos Ray: The most inexpensive Sonos soundbar

Mike Andronico/CNN

The Sonos Ray isn’t simply the corporate’s most attainable soundbar — it’s additionally the smallest. It borrows a lot of its glossy, understated aesthetic from different Sonos audio system, however inside a simplified design purpose-built for smaller front room setups. At 22 inches broad, it’s a bit smaller than the 25-inch Sonos Beam, and a fraction of the scale of the premium, 45-inch Sonos Arc.

Whereas the Beam and Arc hearth sound out from a number of instructions, the Ray has all of its acoustics up entrance. As such, you may comfortably tuck it inside an leisure heart with out worrying about any echo or distorted sound, as I noticed throughout a short demo session with the soundbar.

Sonos performed various music tracks and film clips, all of which revealed some spectacular acoustic chops for a $279 soundbar. The clean vocals of “For Anyone” by H.E.R. got here by means of loud and clear, and it was simple to pinpoint the delicate background chimes of Charli XCX’s “Twice.” I used to be significantly impressed by simply how a lot bass was generated by such a small speaker, and that it by no means overwhelmed the remainder of every tune.

Watching films on the Ray was equally gratifying. During a hilarious argument in “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” the soundbar’s clear dialogue made it simple to observe each the neurotic timbre of Eddie Brock and the menacing, bassy growl of Venom. When we switched to a chaotic battle between Dr. Strange and Spider-Man in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” it was simple to listen to delicate sounds (such because the thwip of Spidey’s web-blasters) amid the chaos of a collapsing New York City.

Mike Andronico/CNN

Despite its cheaper value, the Ray will work like several Sonos soundbar — that means you may pair it to some other Sonos merchandise to create your individual home entertainment system or take pleasure in multi-room audio all all through your house. You’ll additionally get normal Sonos options like Trueplay, which permits the soundbar to optimize itself to no matter room it’s in; Speech Enhancement for enhancing spoken phrase and Night Sound, which lowers the quantity of louder noises whereas maintaining dialogue audible.

So what are you giving up at $279? Aside from the truth that the Ray is smaller, it additionally lacks voice management for hands-free streaming. There’s no Dolby Atmos assist, neither is there an HDMI eARC port for streamlining the quantity of wires in your TV house. Still, the Ray’s characteristic set is fairly spectacular for the value, and we’re desperate to see the way it compares to its greater siblings in the true world.

Sonos Roam will get new colours in time for Summer

Mike Andronico/CNN

The Sonos Roam is Sonos’s most travel-friendly speaker, and we adore it — in truth, it’s our present high-end decide for best portable speaker. So, it made me comfortable to see that it’s getting three new colors in time for summer time enjoyable, together with olive, Wave (blue) and Sunset (crimson) variations that each one seemed nice in individual (I’m particularly keen on the blue).

If you’re available in the market for a Roam and wish one thing that’ll actually stand out throughout your heat climate travels, the brand new colours can be found now on the speaker’s typical $179 value level. Just word that these new hues can be found solely for the usual Roam, and never the cheaper $159 Roam SL that forgoes the interior microphone.

Sonos Voice Control

Sonos

Perhaps the largest new addition to Sonos’s lineup is Sonos Voice Control, a brand new first-party system for controlling the overwhelming majority of Sonos audio system along with your voice alone. While Sonos audio system already assist widespread voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, the corporate is positioning Voice Control as a sooner, less complicated and safer choice for many who need true hands-free management over their Sonos sound system.

We noticed Sonos Voice Control in motion throughout a short demo, and the characteristic appears to work fairly snappily. When a Sonos rep stated “Hey Sonos, play ‘One More Time,’” the speaker shortly pulled up the tune from the consumer’s default music service (on this case, Apple Music). They went on to regulate the quantity utilizing very pure language resembling “turn it up” or “quieter.” And after they requested what tune was enjoying, they had been greeted by the voice of none aside from Giancarlo Esposito (of “Breaking Bad” and “The Mandalorian”), who would be the major voice of Sonos Voice Control for US customers. Sonos famous that Voice Control is designed particularly to be one of the best hands-free solution to management music in your Sonos audio system, citing suggestions from clients that third-party choices can generally be sluggish or inaccurate when pulling up particular songs.

Sonos Voice Control launches on June 1, and can work with all voice-enabled Sonos audio system. That contains every part from the staple Sonos One to transportable Bluetooth choices just like the Sonos Move, however not the brand new Sonos Ray or the Sonos Roam SL. The firm says every part is processed on-device, and that your voice requests won’t ever be saved, transcribed or despatched to the cloud in any method. The voice assistant will work with Sonos Radio, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer and Pandora upon launch, with assist for extra companies to observe.

The takeaway

Mike Andronico/CNN

Sonos soundbars have lengthy been a few of our favorites, and we’re comfortable to see the corporate carry a extra inexpensive choice into its lineup for these not prepared to spend $500 to $800 to improve their TV sound. The Sonos Roam’s new colours add some good persona to what was already an excellent Bluetooth speaker, and we’re desperate to see how Sonos Voice Control stacks as much as the likes of Alexa and Google Assistant.

We’ll be placing the Sonos Ray by means of its paces to see the way it holds as much as the best Sonos speakers, so keep tuned for extra.



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