Sonos Ray – smaller and still high quality

Sonos Ray – smaller and still high quality

Sonos has begun to expand its product offering in recent years and has even chosen to make its products accessible to a wider audience with speakers that come at lower prices than before. Such is the Sonos Ray, a sound projector that replaces the Beam as the entry-level model and comes at a price of 1,100 NIS – still not the cheapest on the market, but far from the price of the Beam Gen 2 sold in Israel for about 1,700 NIS.

Although smaller, the Sonos combines a square audio array with four Class-D amplifiers, which operate a pair of tweets and an intermediate pair of woofers located at the front, and use them to continue producing high-quality sounds even on a lower-priced speaker. Does it work for them? We checked.

Sonos Ray – The design

Those who have already gotten to know the design of the Sonos speakers will not be particularly surprised by the design of the Ray. It is even smaller and more compact than the Beam and offers dimensions of 71x559x95 mm, while in the front you will find a black mesh that covers the speakers hidden underneath, while also in this version it is a mesh made of plastic and not fabric that appeared in the first generation of the Beam.

Sonos Ray Sound Projector (Photo: Ronen Mendzicki)

The connections can be found on the back of the speaker, and here comes one of the big differences compared to the company’s previous sound projectors. Among the connections on the Sonos Ray you can find only an optical audio connection, and without the HDMI connection that exists in the Arc and Beam models, a slightly puzzling choice that led to some related problems (about those below). In addition, you can also find behind a wired connection to the home Internet network (RJ-45) and the connection to electricity.

Sonos Ray Sound Projector (Photo: Ronen Mendzicki)
Sonos Ray Sound Projector (Photo: Ronen Mendzicki)

At the top of the speaker you can still find the captive buttons for volume control and more, but the bulk of the speaker control, like the other speakers of the company, is done through the app, and of course in accordance with the TV remote control, although here too some problems were found due to connection selection The optical of the TV speaker.

Sonos Ray Sound Projector (Photo: Ronen Mendzicki)
Sonos Ray Sound Projector (Photo: Ronen Mendzicki)

Initial operation and regular use

Like other Sonos speakers, the Ray case also has a simple connection via the home WiFi network. After connecting the sound projector to the TV via an optical connection, you can quickly set it up through a very convenient process that the company makes accessible in the app, and then you can start using the speaker.

The main disadvantage here is the optical connection instead of the use of HDMI that supports the existing ARC / eARC in other speakers of the company. It is not clear to us the reason for using this particular connection, since ARMI-supported HDMI connections are probably more common than it anyway, and if we add the difficulty of connecting some TVs remotely so that it can easily control the volume, we get a particularly bad experience.

The TV with which I did most of the review was that of LG (an OLED C2 model that has just come out in the country) and I quickly learned that the Sonos Ray does not built-in support of the available RF RF remote along with LG TVs.

And it turns out that this is not the only unsupported remote, as on the Sonos website you will find manuals for pairing speakers for speakers to the speaker, for manual setup, instead of the almost completely automatic available on the other Sonos speakers that come with an HDMI ARC connection.

I had to transfer control of the speaker to the app, a particularly inconvenient step when you want to turn up and down the speaker when listening to music or watching TV.

Apart from this problem, the Sonos Ray speaker, like the company’s other speakers, enjoys the benefits offered by the app, which comes with support for a wide range of radio and music services, including Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music and others, as well as the radio Sonos built into the app. Offering a very large variety of free music content. In addition, you will also find support for Apple’s AirPlay 2.

Speaker structure and audio quality

The Sonos Ray’s speaker structure is interesting, as it offers 4 Class-D amplifiers, through which it operates a pair of tweets and a pair of intermediate woofers located at the front. While these are fewer amplifiers compared to the more expensive Sonos Beam Gen 2 (which offers 5), but more than the 3 amplifiers that exist in the Beam Gen 1 sound projector.

Ray Sound Projector (Photo: Sonos)
Ray Sound Projector (Photo: Sonos)

Despite its size, the Sonos Ray offers very high volume and accurate sounds. It does not fall short of the Beam Gen 1 that I have been using regularly for several years, and even surpasses it in some places in watching movies, where I have found that speech segments are much clearer compared to what I get from the TV speaker (and in your life Skyler White, my words are louder).

The basses are impressive for a small speaker, but this is not about the power and accuracy with which I noticed the Beam Gen 2 model and it is possible that the addition of a mini subwoofer at a lower price will add quite a bit to the experience here.

Bottom line – what we thought of the Sonos Ray

Sonos knows how to do two things well – provide an excellent audio experience and a good user experience as well. The Sonos Ray provides only half of this equation here, as it manages to maintain high sound quality even on a smaller and cheaper speaker, but on the other hand spoils the atmosphere due to the company’s choice to use only an optical connection, while abandoning the HDMI (and the The voice activation, which is less relevant to us in Israel).

At 1,099 NIS, this is not the cheapest speaker, but it provides the audio experience I expected from a company like Sonos, just a pity that the user experience does not match expectations.

Price: 1,099 NIS (warranty: one year, bug)

What did we like?

  • Compact structure and nice design
  • Volume
  • Sound quality, clarity in speech segments
  • Extensive control via app, captivating buttons
  • Fast connection via WiFi

And what not?

  • Optical connection only, without HDMI / ARC
  • Improper TV remote support
  • Basses slightly flat

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