The Sonos Beam is its $599 entry-level soundbar offering HDMI ARC sound input, Amazon Alexa integration, Airplay 2 and eventually Google Home.
OK, let’s get the Sonos adoration over early. Everyone, especially Apple users love Sonos for its excellent wireless, multi-room speakers and amazing 50+ supported music services. You can trust Sonos to be one of the best in the niches it serves.
The Sonos Beam is a niche speaker. It is a compact, competent 3.0 (left/centre/right) soundbar that provides quality sound for replacing crappy TV speakers. It suits a small sized room – great for apartments and townhouses.
If you want more, you can add a pair of Sonos One ($598 for the pair or a cheaper set of Play 1 for $458) to add 5.0 sound (Front left/centre/right and rear left/right). Then if you want room shaking 5.1 sound the $999 sub fits the bill.
Hold on that is $2,196 for something to replace crappy TV speakers!
Readers, the only way you should consider this excellent little sound bar is on its merits as a single unit. If you need to buy more speakers or a sub, then there are excellent alternatives to pushing this compact soundbar beyond its limits.
Review: Sonos Beam
Australian Website here.
A$599 in Black or White.
It is small fabric covered soundbar at 651 (L) x 68.5 (H) x 100 (D) mm x 2.8kg. It will fit in front of most TVs or use the optional wall mount ($89).
Sonos doesn’t publish specifications so we cannot give you WATTS RMS, THD, Frequency response etc.
What we know is that it has four full-range drivers (Left/Right to handle bass and mid-range), three passive radiators (to reinforce bass), and one tweeter (centre channel for speech enhancement). Two of the drivers are positioned at the ends, angled out at about 45° degrees for wider spatial dispersion.
It uses a Class-D amp for each speaker. These are small, power efficient and generate less heat. They are for economical home theatre sound systems – not high fidelity. I am guessing it has about 100W total output.
That means that the full-range drivers handle everything – bass, mids and treble. Not an audiophile’s delight as something has to give!
It plays audio from PCM stereo, Dolby Digital and up to Dolby Digital 5.1 sources (e.g. you can turn it into that by adding two extra speakers). There is no support for DTS, lossless audio formats or Dolby Atmos – although we don’t expect this on a $599 soundbar.
Sonos can access files shared from Windows, Mac or a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device that supports the Common Internet File System (CIFS).
HDMI ARC means the TV remote should be able to turn Beam on/off or adjust volume. You can also use an optical fibre Toslink cable, but you lose ARC functions.
Touch controls on top can manually adjust volume up/down, previous/next track, play/pause and microphone mute.