(Pocket-lint) – Sonos already has two soundbars in its portfolio including the top-of-the-range Sonos Arc and the cheaper, but still very capable, Sonos Beam. Rumors are swirling about a new budget Sonos soundbar though, which will apparently sit beneath the Sonos Beam.
Referred to in leaks as the Sonos Ray, here is everything we have heard so far about the cheaper soundbar from Sonos.
Sonos Ray release date and price
- 7 June 2022
- Around £250/$250
The Sonos Ray is claimed to be launching on 7 June 2022 and while there has yet to be any confirmation from the company itself, this would tie in with the company’s usual strategy.
Sonos has previously committed to introducing at least two new products every calendar year. So far in 2022, the company has announced the Sonos Roam SL – which is a Sonos Roam without microphones – so some more major products are still expected, including the long-rumoured Sonos headphones.
Along with the rumored launch date, we also have a rumored price. It’s claimed the Sonos Ray will cost around $250 in the US, which would be around £200 – though it’s more likely to be around £250 too as Sonos usually prices its products the same in the US and UK. By comparison, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is £449/$449 and the Sonos Arc is £899/$899 so the Ray would be quite a bit cheaper than the current offerings.
Sonos Ray design
- White and black colors
- Angled rear
- Capacitive controls
- Speaker grille on front only
Design is one area we know plenty about for the Sonos Ray thanks to a plenthora of leaked images. Marketing images of the soundbar first appeared accidentally on retailer Ktronix before being removed, though higher res images also later appeared on Twitter.
The images show a design that follows in the footsteps of other Sonos speakers, especially in the case of the Beam Gen 2. It looks like the Ray will look very similar to Beam but be angled at the rear and only feature a speaker grille at the front. The Beam Gen 2 has a speaker grille that wraps around to the back of the soundbar, suggesting the speaker array inside will differ in the Ray.
A Sonos logo looks like it will be centralized at the front of the speaker grille like Arc and Beam, and the Ray also looks like it will have small feet underneath, like the Sonos Arc offers. Color options appear to be Black and White, which is standard for Sonos devices.
In terms of controls, the Sonos Ray looks like it will have controls similar to the Sonos Beam Gen 2, which are capactive. The images show a play/pause button and a button either side, which will likely allow for volume controls and the ability to skip track and go back to the previous track when you swipe, as offered on Beam Gen 2 and Arc. There doesn’t appear to be a microphone button.
The images also show the rear of the Ray, where a pairing button is present, along with an ethernet port, power port and optical port. There are also mounting holes on the rear and it’s been claimed the Ray can be mounted horizontally or vertically.
Sonos Ray specs and hardware
- Two tweeters
- Two woofers
There isn’t a huge amount of information about the acoustic make up of the Sonos Ray currently, other than that it is claimed to have a pair of tweeters and a pair of woofers.
We know from the images that HDMI or HDMI eARC doesn’t appear to be supported, with optically seemingly the only connection option. The older Sonos Playbar used optical only and while it’s not the most desired connection these days, it does allow for a wider compatibility with older TVs.
As previously mentioned, there is a pairing button, which is how you’ll connect the Sonos Ray to your Sonos system, and there is an ethernet port too, though you should be able to use the Ray wirelessly as Sonos creates a mesh network between the speakers.
We’d expect the Sonos Ray to sound good, as all Sonos speakers do but for now, this is the one area we are waiting for the rumors to offer a little more information on.
Sonos Ray features
- Typical Sonos feature
- Ability to use pair of Ray soundbars as surrounds
The Sonos Ray will likely offer many of the same features you’d find on existing Sonos speakers, including compatibility with more than 100 music streaming services, Sonos Radio and of course the ability to work either independently or within a group of existing Sonos speakers.
The beauty of Sonos soundbars is that they enhance your TV audio, but when you aren’t using them for that, they make for an excellent addition to a Sonos system as a standalone speaker. You can also send TV audio to all the other Sonos speakers in your home when you are using the soundbar for TV.
According to rumours, you’ll also be able to use two Sonos Ray soundbars as surround speakers to another Sonos soundbar though, like the Sono Beam Gen 2 or the Sonos Arc. It’s claimed the pair of Sonos Ray soundbars would be able to receive and play Dolby Atmos surround audio when used in this configuration, but when used as a soundbar on its own, it only supports Dolby Digital, differentiating it from the Beam Gen 2 and Arc .
Other features are rumored to include Trueplay – which would make sense – as well as something called “crystal-clear dialogue” for TV show and movies. There is a Speech Enhancement feature on the Sonos Beam Gen 1 and Gen 2, and Sonos Arc so we’d expect this what that feature is referring to.
While the Ray is not expected to have Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa built in like the Beam Gen 1, Beam Gen 2 and Arc, it is expected to support being controlled by another smart speaker, whether Sonos like the Sonos One, or a third party like the Echo.
Sonos Ray rumours: What’s happened so far?
Here is everything we have heard so far about Sonos Ray.
5 May 2022: Images of Sonos Ray leak, showing soundbar in full
@SnoopyTech published a number of images of the Sonos Ray soundbar, showing off the device in full.
— SnoopyTech (@_snoopytech_) May 5, 2022
5 May 2022: Sonos’ budget soundbar might be called the Sonos Ray and look like this
The Sonos Ray appeared on Colombian retailer KTronix. It has since been removed but a number of details were revealed.
21 April 2022: Exclusive: this is the new budget soundbar from Sonos
The Verge published a report confirming the existence of a budget soundbar from Sonos, including price and release date.
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Writing by Britta O’Boyle.