Now the Californian company is launching an interesting product with an impressive degree of versatility: At just 65cm long, the Sonos Beam is very compact for a soundbar, weighing 2.8kg.
Its body, available in white and black, houses eight loudspeakers: A central tweeter and two full-range woofers on each side are mainly used for movie dialogues and vocals. Two of them are angled and two others are front-facing, creating a stereo effect. Three passive radiators give the bass an extra oomph.
The result is pretty impressive. Even in a larger living room. And when dinosaurs stomp across the screen like Jurassic Park, the Sonos Beam can deliver a full sound without an external subwoofer.
Installing the device is very easy, especially if your TV supports HDMI ARC. ARC stands for “Audio Return Channel” and synchronises image and sound. And here's what's great about it: You do not need a second remote control for the soundbar. You can adjust the volume using the TV remote control.
The television must also support cross-device control via CEC, which should be now in the case with all reasonably recent models from major manufacturers. Unfortunately, Sonos does not support every popular audio codec. You can take your pick from PCM stereo, Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital 5.1, but will have to do without Dolby Vision, DTS and lossless audio formats. According to Sonos, the most content is available in the format supported by the device.
The Sonos Beam contains six built-in microphones that can be used to interact with Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa. The Sonos wants to integrate with different assistant systems in a more consistent manner than any other manufacturer.
The Sonos Beam contains six built-in microphones that can be used to interact with Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa. Sonos. – dpa
The Beam already understands commands like “Alexa, turn on the TV” or “Alexa, turn off the TV” when using an Amazon Fire TV box and a compatible TV. It's also responds to commands like “Alexa, turn up the volume” or “Alexa, mute”.
In the future, Sonos wants to offer access to all major systems, CEO Patrick Spence says. This will also include Google Assistant. “We are working hard with the people at Google to make this possible,” he said. However, Apple users will still have to wait for Siri support.
Like other newer Sonos models, the Beam is compatible with Apple's new AirPlay 2 audio streaming technology, which lets you transmit sound from an iPhone or iPad to Sonos speakers. You could start listening to an Apple music stream on an iPhone and later ask Alexa what the song is currently playing is called.
Sonos has set up the Beam as a competitor to Apple's Homepod and Bang & Olufsen's networked speakers. Unlike other soundbars, which are completely focused on playing movies and TV shows, the Sonos Beam.
When playing Leon Bridges' You Do not Know, for example, the Beam succeeds in acoustically conjuring up an expressive drum set in the living room. But the Beam sounds (Play: 1 or Sonos One) to the mix.
The new Sonos Beam costs US $ 399 (RM1,614) and will be available from July 17. – dpa