Sonos Beam takes on ‘Big Tech’ sprawling stronghold
Sonos is a small, somewhat exclusive company. It makes things because it likes to be the best. Sonos Beam is a voice assistant, petite soundbar that supports 80+ music services, multiple voice assistants and Apple AirPlay 2.
“In a smart speaker category, increasingly filled with tech clutter, poor audio quality and ulterior motives, Beam is the best example yet of what makes Sonos different,” said Sonos CEO Patrick Spence. “Our open approach, obsession with design, meticulous focus on quality and commitment to building a system that’s easy to use and gets better over time, are the heart of everything we do. We believe we’ve created the best, most versatile, smart speaker in the world.”
That is a direct swipe at ‘not-so-smart-speakers’ that may do voice and music adequately. This video sums it up beautifully
Sonos Beam (Australian website here) is
- Both a streaming centre (supports 80+ services globally and 51 in Australia – not just one!)
- Supports Amazon Alexa (out of the box with Google Assistant and Siri coming)
- A svelte 65cm (25.6”) long
- A respectable TV soundbar with clear speech enhancement
- Five linear far-field microphone array for advanced noise suppression and multi-channel echo cancellation.
- Has HDMI ARC so your TV remote will power it on/off and adjust the volume (optical adaptor supplied)
- Ethernet Wired
- AirPlay and AirPlay 2 for Siri can play any track, album, or playlist on Apple Music by using an iOS device to start playing on Sonos
- And is fully compatible with other Sonos multi-room speaker systems and uses the standard Sonos app
It comes in Sonos black or white at $599. Pre-order guarantees delivery by 17 June.
GadgetGuy has not heard Sonos Beam yet
Soundbars can be great – and vice versa. I have yet to hear anything other than great Sonos sound.
But Sonos don’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 (handles bass and mid-range), three passive radiators, and one tweeter (for speech enhancement). It is a 3.0 (Right/Centre/Left) setup.
That means while it will have reasonable bass, you would strongly benefit from adding a Sonos Sub at $999 to make it 3.1 or even a couple of Sonos Play for 5.1. It plays audio from PCM stereo, Dolby Digital and up to Dolby Digital 5.1 sources.
Sonos also has Playbar and Playbase soundbars. It says Beam is a more compact speaker and can fit almost anywhere. Playbar and Playbase have more speakers, so they produce a louder sound with more width and bass. Sonos Beam is perfect for small to mid-sized rooms, whereas Playbar and Playbase are capable of filling large spaces.
Sonos uses its own Wi-Fi streaming, and you cannot stream from a smartphone via Bluetooth. You can stream audio from TV, movies, video on demand, music, radio, video games, audiobooks and podcasts.