Sonos Beam (Gen 2) – quality Dolby Atmos compatible soundbar (first look)

Sonos Beam (Gen 2)
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The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is its refresh of the popular compact Beam (Gen 1) with full Dolby Atmos (DA) decoding, clear speech enhancement and Trueplay room tuning for the best experience in your home.

It also now plays up to 24-bit/48Hz Ultra HD and DA music (via Amazon Music Unlimited). This and DTS:X decoding is coming soon via an OTA update.

We will be providing a full review of the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) soon, but here are the salient points.

  • 651 x 100 x 69 mm x 2.8kg meant for smaller rooms and TVs
  • 5 x D-Class amps, so it is 5.0
  • Four mid-woofers speakers – left, right front and left, right surround/height
  • Three passive radiators for bass
  • One centre tweeter for high frequency and centre channel clear voice
  • Decodes/downmixes to its 5.0 speakers
    • PCM 2.0 to 5.0
    • Dolby Digital/Plus 5.0
    • Dolby Atmos metadata
  • HDMI 2.1 eARC
  • Wi-Fi AC and Ethernet
  • IR remote capable
  • Wall mountable
  • Uses Sonos S2 app and NFC pairing
  • Far-field mics to support Alexa, Google and Siri (AirPlay 2)
  • $699 in Black or White inc free delivery
  • Shipping 5 October from Sonos AU online and Sonos retailers

But wait – isn’t Dolby Atmos at least 5.1.2

Yes, it is. DA metadata can have up to 128 sound object channels decoded and downmixed to the soundbar’s speaker capability!

Using ‘psychoacoustic trickery’, the soundbar can phase sounds between speakers, bounce sounds off walls or ceiling to give 3D spatial sound. Trueplay tuning becomes a little more critical to ensure the speaker understands your room type and uses it effectively.

We understand (not tested) that you can add two Sonos One SL ($578) as rear speakers and the Sonos Sub Gen 3 ($1099), making this a dedicated 5.1.2.

You can read more at our Dolby Atmos Guide here but remember one simple thing – you need a DA enabled HDMI 2.0/2.1 eARC TV!

One HDMI – what gives?

The prime purpose of HDMI is to pass through DA metadata to the soundbar. If the TV supports Dolby Vision and DA, you can use its HDMI Ports for other devices and pass through the DA metadata (or any other TV sound type) to the Sonos Beam (Gen 2).

GadgetGuy’s take

Sonos is an aspirational brand – a bit like Apple or Dyson. Yes, it is more expensive, but Sonos has a legion of fans that won’t use anything else. Price is what you pay – value is what you get!

This update to the Beam (Gen 1) is welcome and will fit seamlessly with any other Sonos multi-room gear you have.

You can read other GadgetGuy Sonos news and reviews here.