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Sonos Ray review: This is how the cheapest soundbar from Sonos performs

Sonos Ray featured image
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2022 TechnikNews)

Sonos already offered two soundbars and a few weeks ago a third was added with the Sonos Ray. I could see what this can doprobeer

Sonos prois gradually trying to cover cheaper price ranges for its categories. With the Roam we have an inexpensive alternative to Sonos Move at the mobile Products. To the Sonos Beam can be used if the Arc soundbar is too expensive and the Sonos One is recommended in the field of jukeboxes if you don't want to spend so much money on the Sonos Five.

Ray Sonos has now added a soundbar with an even lower price. It is smaller than the Beam, has fewer speakers and comes with fewer features. The sound quality should still be such that you can enjoy films, series and music well. Let's take a look together at this point to see if that's the case.

Unboxing and initial setup

The Sonos Ray comes again in sustainable cardboard packaging. As with other models, the design was kept very simple. You mainly see some illustrations, logos and an indication of the included color variant. The contents of the packaging can be accessed by removing two seals. It contains the soundbar in a cloth sleeve, a cable with an optical connector to connect to a TV, a power cable and some notes.

Sonos Ray unboxing

The Sonos Ray box contents. (Picture: TechnikNews)

The Sonos app is required for the initial setup. After connecting the Ray to the power supply, a pop-up appears prompting you to connect the Proproducts. The Ray then plays a tone, which is used to identify the two devices. A connection to the WLAN must then be established and a room selected. Finally, some updates will be installed. Optionally, you can immediately connect to a television. To do this, connect the optical cable and mute the volume on the TV. Then you can connect your remote control to control the volume. This should work with any infrared remote control and the remote of an Apple TV is also recognized. It may be that the television has to be restarted once if there is still no sound. Moreover, adjusting the sound with TruePlay is also optional. I already explained how this works here enough.

Design and workmanship

While the Ray looks a little different than other Sonos soundbars, it's definitely still a SonosProproduct recognizable. It's smaller than both the Beam and the Arc, making it easier to place on compact shelves. However, there are also losses in sound due to the size, which I will come to in detail later. The Sonos Ray is available in two colors, black and white.

Sonos Ray Comparison Beam

The Sonos Ray is quite a bit smaller than the Sonos Beam. (Picture: TechnikNews)

There is only one grille to protect the drivers on the front, as they are only front-facing on the Ray. A Sonos logo was placed on it. There is also a status LED above it, which sometimes lights up when the volume is changed.

Sonos Ray design

Picture: TechnikNews

On the top we find the well-known touch control buttons. You can pause and resume the music, change the volume and skip a track forward and back. The Sonos Ray does not have microphones for Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant. You can do this on other Sonos speakers with a microphone Give voice commands to the Ray with Sonos Voice Control. However, it will be a while before the service gets to us.

All important connections are hidden on the back in their own bulge. The power connection, an Ethernet port and the optical connection are installed there and a function key is embedded. HDMI eArc for sound transmission from a TV is missing compared to the Beam. Although the optical finish is intended to replace it, this has two disadvantages. You can then no longer adjust the volume directly via the TV, which is why you can only see the exact level in the app. In addition, the setup is a bit more complicated. Furthermore, the infrared receiver is often not entirely reliable. It needs a clear path to the remote control so that it can receive a signal.

The Sonos Ray uses aluminum as the material, which looks very robust and well made. I couldn't find any deformations, scratches or dents.

sound quality

What sets the Sonos Ray apart from other Sonos soundbars is the orientation of the drivers. As already indicated, these are all directed to the front, which means that the spatial sound is missing. Sonos generates this via a special arrangement of the loudspeakers inside. These include four amplifiers, two tweeters and two mid-range speakers and a bass reflex system.

Dolby Atmos is not part of the game. In principle, this ensures that you dive even deeper into the experience of a film, a series or a piece of music. However, home cinema formats such as Stereo PCM, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS Digital Surround are still supported.

Then the Ray also comes with two smart features, one of which is the night mode. This is intended to increase the intensity of the quieter sounds so that the overall sound is not as loud. The whole thing didn't really appeal to me with the second generation Beam and the effect here isn't earth-shattering either. Then we have the language enhancement, which makes Gesprochenes should sound stronger.

And how is the sound in everyday life? At first you don't hear any differences to other SonosProducts. Everything sounds clear, natural and balanced, although the bass falls a bit short in my opinion. Spatial sound is also noticeable despite the lack of side drivers, so Sonos' efforts with the interior design are clearly evident. Dolby Atmos would have upped the experience, but its lack isn't really a deal breaker. In a direct comparison to the Sonos Beam, however, you notice that the more compact form factor has an impact on the sound. The Ray is not as loud at the same volume, and the sound lacks volume in comparison. But as already said, these are only things that are audible in a direct comparison. If the bass were to hit a bit more in some places, the sound of the Ray is excellent - especially for the price.

Sonos app

For the control of the Ray there are again the ones mentioned in the setup partprochene Sonos app. This is free and available on iOS, Android, Windows and macOS. In this, music services can be added, equalizers can be set and speakers can be managed and grouped. It was also claimed beforehandthat it should be possible to use the Sonos Ray as a surround speaker. However, as it appears, that is not the case.

Sonos Roam app

Screenshots: TechnikNews

The app hasn't changed since my last Sonos review, so I'll skip the details this time.

Prices and availability

You can buy the Sonos Ray from Sonos, Amazon, MediaMarkt and other retailers. The RRP of the soundbar is 299 euros.

Sonos Ray: Conclusion

Sonos gets a big plus from me for covering an even cheaper price segment with the Ray. So there is now a suitable (and also very good) soundbar for every budget. Nevertheless, there are clear demarcations at the beginning of the function, so that you know exactly what you are getting for your money. I just hope the lineup doesn't get too crowded. Sonos should now offer an inexpensive option for the sub and then updates for existing ones Probring out products.

Of course, you have to make some compromises for the relatively low price. Among other things, you don't get Dolby Atmos, the bass could be better and there is no eArc connection either. Perhaps this could be included in the next generation. Such a connection can't be that expensive, can it?

There is a completely new target group for the Sonos Ray. It is perfect as the first soundbar and even if you don't know what to do with terms like Dolby Atmos or can't tell the difference. Nevertheless, the sound is so good that it is a lot of fun with music, films and series.

Thank you for providing the Sonos Ray!

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David Haydl

David lives in Graz and has been there for around half a decade TechnikNews, also editor-in-chief for some time. He regularly provides the site with news, test reports and the like TechnikNews Weekly, which was his idea to launch. He likes to spend his free time outdoors, listening to a lot of music (and clearly too loud) and some podcasts on all kinds of topics, and also likes to go running. He enjoys the time that remains with his charming girlfriend or in front of the TV.

David has already written 1168 articles and left 112 comments.

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