One of the best things about soundbars as a category is the wide variety of applications for which there are specific products. While today's soundbars now cover everything up to multichannel Dolby Atmos and can cost over a thousand dollars, a lot of soundbar shoppers are looking for simpler and affordable.
The new Sonos Ray soundbar ($279) fits squarely into the latter category, but because it is part of the Sonos ecosystem it has some cool features that you won't find in a run-of-the-mill entry-level model.
In its marketing, Sonos touts sound quality and says it employed award-winning Hollywood sound engineers to ensure this soundbar delivers crisp dialogue. Furthermore, Sonos says the soundbar is tuned to offer a full range, natural, and balanced stereo sound. It is able to further adapt to the acoustics of different rooms using Sonos Trueplay tuning technology.
A combination of physical waveguides and DSP processing combined to create a soundstage that expands beyond the soundbar and possesses the ability to “accurately position elements in the room” says Sonos.
The system includes “proprietary anti-distortion technology” to ensure that bass output is clean and provided in proper proportion.
The waveguides confer the advantage of increased placement flexibility. The company says that the Ray soundbar will retain its acoustic quality even if one were—for example—to place it inside of a TV stand.
Anecdotally speaking, I've been recommending Sonos to friends and family for years and I always hear back that they’ve become huge Sonos fans. One of the reasons I recommend it, and I suspect a reason why it is so loved, is the simplicity, ease, and reliability that the platform provides.
In this case, Sonos's promise is that all you have to do is unpack, plug it into the wall, connect it to a TV with an optical digital cable, and open the Sonos app which will take it from there. The promise of plug-and-play simplicity is part of the Sonos appeal.
While it is a soundbar, it is of course also a Sonos speaker, and that means that it taps into music from sources like Tidal, Spotify, Amazon Music, and more. It also means that the Ray can be part of a multi-room audio system working in concert with other Sonos devices.
Because this is Sonos, you can take the ray soundbar and add a pair of rear wireless speakers (the One SL) and achieve real-deal surround sound in a $677 kit.