Sonos Ray review: What more could you want from your $300 soundbar?

Sonos launches a new speaker, dubbed Ray. What is its main origin? Flexible price not to exceed 300 euros.

For many, Sonos is seen as a high-end brand with pricey products, even too much for some. This fact is less and less true as the company is adding more affordable speakers to its catalog. In 2022, Sonos launches Ray, for example, speakers placed under 300 euros. It is three times cheaper than the Arc, its prime location at €999.

The Rai comes under the Beam (2nd generation) in the soundbar range. In this way, Sonos offers three products with different performance, which are aimed at people with different requirements. With Ray, the idea is to put an end to the mediocre speakers in your TV and replace them with a more useful solution – without breaking the bank too much. If Ray isn’t designed for the big show, he’ll easily fit those who want more.

Sonos Ray Speakers in White // Source: Sonos

discreet and compact

Sonos isn’t known for the design I’ve seen. Their audio accessories shine at their discretion. Rai is no exception to the rule. Even better, it adds to the sobriety of approving compactness. With its width of exactly 55.9 cm, it can fit anywhere, including a piece of furniture (speakers facing forward). It is also not very high (7.1 cm), which allows it to be placed in front of the TV without obstructing the bottom of the screen. It’s convenient, and Ray will never be that bulky sound that requires a redesigned setup.

Dimensions of different Sonos speakers :

Beam packet Arch
to rise Beam7.1 cm packet6.9 cm Arch8.7 cm
height Beam22 inches packet65.1 cm Arch45 inches
Depth Beam9.5 cm packet10 cm Arch11.6 cm
weight Beam1.95 kg packet2.8 kg Arch6.25 kg

Available in white or black (a matte finish either way), the Ray allows—a little bit—exotic in its look. It actually looks like a trapezoid lying on one side. Other than that, we find Sonos icons: impeccable finishes, an acoustic metal grille with a well-hidden logo, a small indicator lamp and a touch surface on top (for managing volume and playback). Ray is the perfect little sister to rays and bows.

Sonos Ray speakers
All speakers marketed by Sonos // Source: Sonos

With childlike simplicity

At Sonos, simplicity is everything. But, as always, you must agree to enter into the closed ecosystem, which is centered around an application that acts as the control center for all the products of the multinational (the philosophy of like an apple). Once you accept these prerequisites (spoiler: you have to create an account), simply follow the installation steps to configure the beam in less than ten minutes – time to connect it to your Wi-Fi and update it.

In terms of ergonomics, you can hardly do a better job

Since they are speakers, the Ray is supposed to be connected to the TV. Once again, the app takes care of everything once the two devices are connected via their optical port. Thus, Ray discards the HDMI connection and ARC (Audio Return Channel) technology to make the process as easy as possible—and avoid confusing the minds of more novices. Incidentally, this allows the amplifier to be compatible with very, very old PCs and TVs that have an optical port.

Concretely, the app will ask you to deactivate the TV speakers (if this is not done automatically), it will configure the remote control so that you can manage the volume more easily (Ray does not have a dedicated remote, but you can manage the volume from the app ). In terms of ergonomics, you can hardly do a better job. Ray is really defined as a technical product designed for the general public.

Prepared by Sonos Ray
Sonos Ray configuration // Source: screenshot

Like the ray and the bow, the ray is seen as a Trojan horse for Sonos. A way to settle into your living room, never leave it and then evolve over time. So we can later hook it up to a pair of satellite speakers in the back (the Sonos One) and/or a subwoofer (be careful, it’s expensive). This unit can be suitable for those who want to buy a home cinema without spending a lot of money (calculate 700 euros for a beam and two) or bothering with many cables (the system works wirelessly).

For more

Sonos Arc subwoofer in black (with subwoofer) // Source: Sonos

Please note that contrary to what a rumor from The Verge has suggested, Ray cannot replace a satellite speaker in a home cinema configuration. It should always be the bar – that is, the main element.

Sonos Ray speakers
Sonos Ray speakers in black // Source: Sonos

Enough sound for the least demanding

The Sonos Ray is compatible with PCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS Digital Surround, making it very versatile. On the other hand, unlike Beam and the Arc, it will be necessary to make a crossover on Dolby Atmos, which provides a display with 3D effects. To offer a bar under 300 euros, Sonos had to make some concessions. The absence of Dolby Atmos is one of them, but it is not necessarily a flaw: those who care about Ray are not looking for the best at all. With its four tweeters (2 tweeters, two mid-woofers), a more expensive bar can’t do as well as the Beam (5 tweeters) and the Arc (11 tweeters).

Good presence in a small living room

First listeners are somewhat encouraging: we feel the engineers have perfected their topic. The Ray is amazing in its ability to deliver enough power in such a small size. Of course when you strain your ears the flaws appear, you start with the slightly shattered dynamics, because they are so straight (lack of openness). The seat in the bass could also be more pronounced. Otherwise, we’re surprisingly tapping into many details, neatly and precisely distilled (including video games, with soundtracks very rich in effects). The Rai ensures a good presence in a small living room, by appropriately allocating the sound stage.

Attention, to make the most of the beam’s advantages, feel free to push the size a bit (much more than using a bow, by comparison). Also, be sure to activate the mode to improve the clarity of the dialogues, which tend to be overwritten by the rest. It is closely related to his way of separating the sounds from the rest, so that they are better cast. Once you taste it, you no longer want to do without it.

Even for a purely musical experience, the Sonos Ray is very convincing – despite the lack of Bluetooth (playback over Wi-Fi only) and Chromecast Audio (while there is AirPlay 2 for Apple users). From the Sonos S2 app, you can link various streaming services to easily find your favorite music tracks.

judgment

Sonos Ray speakers // Source: Sonos

With Ray, Sonos breaks up its expensive brand image a bit. Launched at €299, this amplifier has many advantages that other products in the catalog have, starting with ease of use. Above all, at a low price, it already improves the installation, which would be quite modest.
Because Sonos Ray aims first to replace the very modest soundbar for TV, with a simple connection (optical port), in a highly compressed and discreet format. For less than 300 euros, the gain is very interesting and will easily suit the least demanding audience. If you are looking for the absolute best, you will have to set your sights on other very expensive speakers.

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