Budget-Friendly Sonos Ray Soundbar Coming in June

Sonos just introduced its lowest-priced soundbar yet, the Sonos Ray, which will go on sale June 7 for $279. The new model—designed for simple setup and use—is aimed at viewers who are disappointed with the sound quality on their TVs but put off by the expense and complexity of many of the premium soundbars on the market.

The Sonos Ray comes in matte black or matte white and is available for preorder this week. According to Jeff Derderian, the company’s vice president of product program leadership, only 1 out of 10 televisions is hooked up to an external audio device, despite the fact that the low profile of modern TVs often compromises sound quality. “Even though the sound isn’t great, 90 percent of viewers are simply living with it,” he says. Only about a third of the sets in CR’s TV ratings do well in our tests for sound quality. The capsule-shaped Sonos Ray is 24 inches long, a bit smaller than its more expensive smart sibling, the Sonos Beam, and significantly smaller than the top-of-the-line Sonos Arc.

The 4.3-pound Sonos Ray features simple connectivity, with just a single optical input on the back. It doesn’t come with a remote, leaving volume control duties to your television or cable box remote or your smartphone via the Sonos app. The Sonos Ray also offers touch controls for volume and audio track selection for those moments when you need to mute but you’ve misplaced the remote. Unlike the Beam, the Ray isn’t a smart soundbar, so there’s no direct voice control capability.

The Sonos Ray delivers its sound with a new bass reflex system to handle the low frequencies, two tweeters and midrange drivers aimed at the listener, and specially designed waveguides to allow the sound to project beyond the boundaries of the speaker.

All of the Ray’s speaker components face forward, which allows for flexible placement. The model can be wall-mounted or tucked on a shelf on a bookcase or television stand without concern about compromising the sound.

Like other Sonos speakers, the Ray can be customized to suit your listening room with the company’s Trueplay smartphone audio tuning app. And like the company’s other soundbars, it can be incorporated into a multiroom music system with the company’s other wireless and smart speakers, so you can enjoy that Lorde playlist in the family room when you’re not watching television.

The Sonos Ray also offers a Speech Enhancement setting designed to make it easier to hear dialogue, as well as a Night Sound mode that dials back the intensity of sound effects to avoid waking the family when you’re rewatching "Armageddon."

Testing to Come
Sonos soundbars have generally performed well in Consumer Reports’ testing. The Sonos Arc is our top-rated soundbar, while the Sonos Beam slots in third in our ratings. When the Sonos Ray arrives in stores, we’ll purchase one through regular retail channels (as we always do) and our trained testers will put it through its paces in our dedicated listening labs in Yonkers, N.Y.

Sonos also introduced three new colors for the Roam portable Bluetooth smart speaker: olive, an earthy green; wave, a light blue; and sunset, a reddish-orange. All are available now, along with the current white and black options.
Source: https://www.consumerreports.org

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