Product launches from the Sonos brand are rare to listen to very carefully. With the new “Ray” soundbar, the American audio brand is creating a double phenomenon these days. After the Playbar, Playbase, Arc and Beam (Gen 2), the Sonos Ray is only the fourth soundbar from the manufacturer to launch in 9 years. And it costs “only” 299 euros, a surprisingly tight price for a manufacturer with a habit of selling its devices relatively expensively.
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. This is a mini. Dedicated to all types of television, it can be placed in front of the screen or hung on the wall with an optional fixing kit (sold at 49 euros). Placing it under the screen seems even more complicated: too low at its feet, our Samsung Frame TV didn’t allow it in our tests. Remember to check this point if you want to equip yourself.
In the sales pitch praising its Ray merits, Sonos mentioned a “simple installation”. He really is. If already plugged into the mains and connected to the television using the provided optical cable, the soundbarr only needs to be connected via Wifi. Passage through the Sonos application is required. This is what will be used to drive the Ray, but also to integrate it into the speaker ecosystem. lots of room of the brand, such as the Sonos One or Five, or even the portable Roam speaker.
Be careful here, there is no HDMI Arc socket, but just an optical socket to connect the soundbar to your television. No HDMI Arc means no Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD or DTS HD. There is still Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS and PCM stereo and for less than 300 euros, we are satisfied with it. Let’s also add that Ray is compatible with Spotify Connect and AirPlay 2. So, you no longer have to go through the Sonos application to control your Spotify or Apple Music music.
However, there is a question of remote control (not provided). Without HDMI Arc, there is no automatic control, though, from your TV remote control (unless you pair this “old fashioned” with infrared codes for IR remote control). That leaves the touch buttons at the top of the soundbar and, of course, the Sonos app.
Loud voice but lacking in flesh
We tested Ray a few episodes in the new season Stranger Things on Netflix, but also on music and in particular listening to C’Mon You Know, Liam Gallagher’s new album. The sound of the broadcast is pleasing, detailed, powerful, with a fairly comfortable bass despite the absence of subwoofer. In the state, we can be completely satisfied with Ray for a custom home theater installation that allows you to amplify the sound of your series, video games and playlists.
But Ray’s voice still lacks flesh, consistency, twist. Owners of very large screens (55 inches and more), and the toughest ears, can resort to the more efficient Sonos Beam (Gen 2) or Arc soundbars, which take more of the some space. duel. However, it is possible to develop Ray. First by recounting it to the speakers roundlike the Sonos One, or even the American brand’s subwoofer.
To younger audiences
By selling its new soundbar for 299 euros, Sonos is growing its land holdings. The brand, which has a strong reputation in the audio world, will thus be able to reach a less affluent clientele, certainly younger, but who will be able to gradually improve their performance. install a complete run-in ecosystem of products. A strong ecosystem, sure, but also closed, reminiscent of another big American brand, Apple.