The most interesting trend in audio over the past few years has been the shift to affordable equipment that actually sounds good. Examples include Vizio speakers, Elac amplifiers, and even expensive traditional brands like Sonos. Sonos is located in the category “budget “Through Symfonisk’s excellent collaboration with Ikea, and after announcing the premium single speaker, he used the first to give the audio speaker ” at reasonable prices. And this is the winner.
At first glance, the $279 Sonos Ray may seem modest with its reduced feature set, but it can still rival the more expensive Sonos Beam in some ways. Ray doesn’t have an HDMI port and doesn’t have a built-in voice assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant, but it sounds louder than the Beam. Overall, Ray is better than the blocks in my book. However, it offers all the features you need and great sound at a low price.
If you’re looking to save money, Sonos might not be the first place to look, but with a budget-focused product like Ray, more people can enjoy the multi-room system. If you’re looking for a compact speaker that can be integrated into your entire home’s music system today or in the future, Ray is a great place to start.
Beam can be chosen from white or black.
Simple design, basic function
Sonos Ray follows the tradition of the upper-class brothers Beam and Arc. It’s also a single speaker without a subwoofer, but unlike the other two, the Ray is a stereo only model. There is a pair of amplifiers and subwoofers. There are no Dolby Atmos upload channels here. This amplifier has its own waveguide that focuses the high frequencies outward. They are the main reason Ray looks so much higher than his dimensions suggest.
The beam has a similar aesthetic to the beam and can be white or black, but the beam is slightly smaller, at 22 inches wide. Unlike the beam’s tongue damper shape, the beam is trapezoidal, but offers the same polycarbonate grille and a set of upper touch controls. Looking from above, I immediately realized that Ray had lost the microphone. It also doesn’t have a voice assistant, but you can control it by issuing voice commands to a pair of smart speakers, like other Sonos smart speakers like the Amazon Echo, Google Nest Mini, or Sonos One.
light on beam.
What is Ray missing? HDMI port. Since almost every new soundbar (including the $80) has an HDMI port, this seems like a weird way to save money. However, this is not a huge shortcut, since basically every TV has a digital optical output. So, contacting Ray should be fine. This connection limits the speakers to Dolby Digital, but the soundbar comes with other audio features like night mode, audio optimization, and TruePlay tuning on iOS devices.
Like all Sonos audio devices, the Ray does not have a remote control, but you can use your TV remote to control it after a simple setup process using the Android or iOS app. If you want to be more involved than changing the volume, you can use the Sonos app to activate sound mode and control the music around your home. The Sonos system remains the gold standard for multi-room speakers, with dozens of streaming services as well as connectivity with Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and Tidal Connect.
What does Sonos Ray sound like?
I compared the Sonos Ray to two other speakers, more Sonos Beam and Polk React. The price of this amplifier is almost the same.
CNET Audio Lab is a mid-size 13′ x 16′ room with high ceilings, and Ray can fill it with sound without a problem. Ray may not be as loud as Beam or React, but it can still play music and movies at satisfying volumes and loudly.
Of the three speakers in the company’s lineup, the Ray is the most acoustically similar to the Sonos One. The mid-range is a sound “dark ” or a closed voice, the vocals are very pure, but their voice is treble and the bass is full. Ray supports a wide audio range and doesn’t sound like small speakers.
I started testing with some tight funk from Tom Cardy’s Funk-music “between lines”. The song has an extreme mix of sounds, the bass drum and bass codec moving the song from the middle. Of the two Sonos speakers I tested, the Beam sounded louder, providing more mid-range detail and better bass. In contrast, Ray initially tends to be like one, with a narrow, limited voice that falls short of the dignity of a package.
Next, I tried the soft and sweet Field of Flowers song from Grand Salvo. The song is more familiar to Ray, with guitar poetry and vocals close to Mike. Singer Buddy Man seemed to be with me. When the song goes off in a chorus-led chorus, the radiance provides a greater sense of dynamism, but the speaker also amplifies the hissing on the recording, and the mane’s voice isn’t present in the poem.
I’ve replaced Beam with Polk React and experimented with music that can test each speaker’s ability to make the most of the space. This is Yuluna (Spirit Dance) from Dead Can Dance. At the 3:13 mark on the song, the Sonos Ray with the tweeter angles the left and right rockers about 3 feet apart on each side of the speaker, and the bass drums sound satisfying, too. The boar’s voice wasn’t too deep—there was more ambiance from the hall, but Lisa Gerrard’s voice was also light. The ham showed good stereo separation, but the shakers ended up being confined to the confines of the cabinet.
Comparison between sound and film
The music leans in Ray’s favour, but if you watch a lot of movies, Beam is the best speaker here. Beam provides an effective pseudo Dolby Atmos effect and uses Mad Max: Fury Road to demonstrate the functionality of the All-In-One speaker. At the beginning of the film, a series of novels tell the story of the events of the end of the world, and Bem strikes signs of fate around my listening room. By comparison, Ray and Polk React appears to be relatively stable. At 2 minutes 7 seconds, the car jumps over the listener and the beam provides a thrilling effect, giving you a real sense of movement and height back and forth. It doesn’t provide the same sense of movement, but Ray’s dialogue reproduction is still good, and it feels a little too wide for a small unit.
As I moved from the Matrix to the hallway scene (1 hour, 41 minutes, 4 seconds), Ham’s face was deeper and louder than Ray’s. The high and low frequencies effects don’t sound very loud on the Sonos Ray, but other than that, I wasn’t too tired to hear them.
Finally, I tried to improve Ray’s speech, but it wasn’t noticeable. A bit more definition is given, especially for the hard-to-read dialogue in Batman Begins. It’s easy now to see that the guards sent Bruce Wayne to “lonely “instead of ” cemetery ” . ” Other speakers such as the Polk React and Zvox AV357 provide a higher level of capabilities to speak differently and more effectively when you need to make your voice easier to understand.
Should you buy it?
I have mistakenly compared the SonosRay to the Vizio V21 or other speakers with another branch. This is not what speakers like Ray, Beam, React, etc. are used for. All three are designed for anyone who wants to fit their speakers into one easy-to-manage box. Ray sounds really good in music, and can be upgraded on the back of a Symfonisk or later on a sub.
At a huge discount compared to the Beam, Sonos Ray delivers a great performance. Very close when it comes to movies, and even better when it comes to music. It might not have a blast feature, but I personally wouldn’t want a voice assistant in the speakers. Smart speakers are cheap and often sold out.
Ray is the perfect complement to a bedroom TV and also a great way to upgrade a poorly acoustic TV in a small living room. If you need better control over audio and movies, React is great, but what really stands out from Ray is the multi-room music integration and streaming capabilities. Ray looks great, looks great, and is easy to set up and use.