N. IngrahamMay 31st, 2022In this report: news, equipment, soundbar, ray, home theater, sonos, sonos ray
- Components and setup
- How do videos seem?
- What about songs?
- Wrap up
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With the $279 Ray soundbar, Sonos is likely immediately after a new sector. The company’s previous household theater goods have all been $400 or a lot more and have generally been geared toward persons intent on getting the ideal seem feasible. The Ray, in the meantime, is a lot more obtainable for men and women who want much better audio than their Television set speakers can present, but really do not necessarily care about things like Dolby Atmos aid or home-shaking bass. The Ray isn’t precisely a spending plan speaker, nevertheless, so I established out to find out if Sonos built the proper compromises in this article in its effort to make a a lot more mainstream soundbar.
Hardware and setup
Physically, the Ray is lesser than the already-compact Beam, with a tapered style which is wider in the front than it is in the again. Unlike other Sonos soundbars, though, the Ray’s speakers are all forward-experiencing in this way, it reminds me a bit of a wider and flatter model of the Sonos Five speaker. This style and design indicates you can tuck the Ray into a media stand and not have to fear about the sound bouncing off of close by surfaces. Considering the fact that the Ray doesn’t have a mic for voice assistants, you do not want to stress about no matter whether it can listen to you if you location it in a media stand, both.
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- Incredibly great audio quality for each Tv and music
- Compact and unobtrusive style and design
- Uncomplicated set up
- Very good bass efficiency for such a smaller speaker
- Sensible value
- Seem is not as immersive as you get from larger speakers
- People with huge residing rooms could possibly want a louder speaker
- No voice controls
As with just about every single other Sonos product or service, the Ray has touch-delicate buttons on top rated to start out and pause audio and alter the volume. There’s also an LED status gentle on the front, alternatively than on the major as it is on most Sonos speakers. Again, this is in case you put it on a shelf that would or else cover the light-weight if it was on the best. On the again, there’s a power jack, set up button, ethernet port and optical audio jack Sonos still left out HDMI guidance to slice fees, and given that the Ray doesn’t support much more advanced audio formats like Dolby Atmos, the more bandwidth HDMI enables was not desired listed here.
The Sonos Beam (in black) pictured in front of the new Sonos Ray (in white).
Nathan Ingraham / Engadget
The setup procedure was easy: I just plugged the Ray into the wall and connected it to my Tv set with the integrated optical audio cable. From there, I completed environment it up in the Sonos application on my phone. The method will take a little bit lengthier if you’ve by no means established up a Sonos speaker in your household before, simply because you will will need to do matters like authorize the several streaming tunes companies you want to use. But I basically needed to wait for the application to realize there was a new speaker to established up, inform it which area the Ray was in and then hold out for it to get linked to my wi-fi network.
Once that is accomplished, you have the choice of tuning the Ray utilizing what Sonos phone calls Trueplay. This utilizes the microphone on an iPhone or iPad to balance the speaker’s audio based on how your place sounds. It is a bit of a bizarre procedure, walking all-around your place slowly but surely raising and reducing your phone, but I have observed it always would make my Sonos speakers seem far better, so it truly is really worth the 5 minutes it usually takes to set it up if you have a suitable system on hand.
How do films sound?
Nathan Ingraham / Engadget
I have used the past week or so viewing movies and demonstrates with the Ray and it’s an obvious enhancement above my TV’s created-in speakers. Sonos claimed it concentrated on dialogue high quality, bass reaction and a wide soundstage, and it absolutely succeeded on two of people fronts. Dialogue appears very distinct, whether or not I was looking at a drama like HBO’s The Staircase or experiencing Galadriel’s narration at the commencing of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The latter also provided a excellent opportunity to listen to how the Ray performed in far more extreme, motion-loaded sequences. As the prologue of Fellowship ongoing to its huge struggle in opposition to the forces of Sauron, swordplay and arrows flying crammed the area close to the narration in a properly-well balanced blend. And the rumbling explosion and substantial thud of Sauron’s helmet hitting the ground right after his defeat were a superior prospect to listen to the Ray flex its bass muscles.
Yet another favourite of mine for screening soundbars is the 15-minute intro of Pacific Rim. The starting of this about-the-top movie has it all – massive battles in between big robots and monsters, metropolitan areas being wrecked as panicked citizens flee and a reliable heroic narration, all of which the Ray faithfully reproduced in a perfectly-balanced mix.
The Ray pulls this off despite having much less difficult acoustics than the Beam: it incorporates two heart midwoofers, two tweeters with split waveguides to broaden the speaker’s soundstage, a bass reflex technique that offers a surprising amount of money of lower-conclusion functionality, and 4 Course-D amplifiers. It’s an efficient method, but my main grievance is that the waveguides and computational audio can only do so substantially to widen the soundstage. Though the Ray plainly has a good stereo existence, it’s not just about as immersive as the very first-technology Sonos Beam that I typically use. Even while my older Beam doesn’t assistance Dolby Atmos, its larger sizing and a lot more complicated speaker array give it a big edge about the Ray.
The Ray is also not the loudest speaker out there. Once more, this isn’t a huge shock, as Sonos is promoting this gadget for use in reasonably lesser space. That does not imply it was as well peaceful for me, but I did usually have its quantity up above 50 per cent for it to be loud plenty of. If I truly wished to kick items up whilst observing a massive film, I may possibly get nearer to 70 percent. If you are the variety of particular person who genuinely would like theater-design audio, you will be greater off with a extra strong gadget.
The good information is that, as with all other Sonos household theater equipment, you can pair the Ray with the Sonos Sub to increase bass general performance. You can also use two Sonos Just one speakers as rear surrounds to make for a much much more immersive experience. The Ray may possibly be an ideal decision for a initial soundbar to upgrade your TV’s audio and then use it to make out a extra advanced setup down the line. That explained, the Sonos Sub charges a whopping $749 it’s really hard to imagine anyone shopping for a Ray and then spending three periods as significantly on a subwoofer.
Nathan Ingraham / Engadget
What about new music?
Whilst the Ray is intended to be hooked up to your Tv, it is also a able music speaker. Sonos says that when it builds its household theater products and solutions, audio high-quality is just as critical as how it performs with movies and reveals. In my testing, the Ray seems wonderful – tunes like Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Cut to the Feeling” have lots of low close and super-distinct vocals. Meanwhile, the challenging left- and suitable-panned guitars in Metallica’s “Wherever I May perhaps Roam” have been quite distinct. Even though it is continue to not the loudest speaker, the Ray is much more than able of filling a medium-sized home with distinct and lively audio.
By natural means, the Ray has all the similar multi-room audio capabilities as other Sonos speakers. This implies you can simultaneously stream the exact audio to many speakers on your WiFi network, or enjoy some thing different on each and every one particular. You can set up tailor made speaker groups (just the speakers on your initial ground, for example) and stream audio immediately to the Ray utilizing AirPlay 2. The only real function it is lacking in comparison to most other Sonos speakers is voice handle. There’s no mic, which means you simply cannot control the speaker specifically with Alexa, Google Assistant or the impending Sonos Voice Command attribute. That explained, if you have other sensible speakers, which include any other Sonos speaker with a mic, you can use them to management the Ray.
Nathan Ingraham / Engadget
There’s no query in my head that the Ray is a really serious enhance more than a TV’s designed-in speakers. What is fewer distinct is how a great deal greater it is as opposed to other modest soundbars, like Roku’s $180 Streambar Pro. Sonos has a extended record of offering excellent audio, and the Ray continues that custom. And just as the transportable $179 Sonos Roam is a good gateway drug into the Sonos ecosystem, the Ray is a fantastic first Sonos for someone who would like to make improvements to their Television set audio. Sure, you can find cheaper soundbars, but Sonos is betting its reputation for great audio quality will make the Ray a good results. Immediately after expending some time with it, I’d have no problem recommending the Ray to any one who needs an straightforward way to enhance their TV’s audio but will not treatment about acquiring the best speaker that supports the most formats. For a ton of people today, specifically people with scaled-down living rooms, the Ray will be just the right soundbar for their house.
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