‘Premium sound’: Sonos Ray Soundbar review

There’s a new and compact sound bar on the market that’s set to deliver premium sound at a reasonable price point.

Gamers, movie lovers and binge watchers alike — there’s a new and compact sound bar on the market set to deliver premium sound at a reasonable price point. Let’s take a look at the newly launched Sonos Ray Soundbar.

Unboxing

The Sonos Ray comes in some sleek yet simple packaging. Inside the box you’ll find the Ray wrapped in a material sleeve along with an optical cable, power cord and simple instructions on how to set it up. It’s not quite plug and play as you’ll need to download the free Sonos App to get it set up and connected with your TV or display. This might sound convoluted, but even my dad was able to follow along using the app on his nine-year-old iPhone 5S. With our heads together, we were surprised at how quick we were able to sync things up.

App control

In the app you’re prompted to make an account and get the Ray connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network. I assume they’ve made it an app-enabled product so it’s able to be app controlled from your phone, but also so you can sync its playback with other Sonos products in your house — in case you want to play your tunes in multiple places . Yes, it can be used as a speaker for music, not just an amplifier for your TV.

In the app you’re able to link your music streaming accounts to play music, podcasts and radio stations. It also allows you to control the volume of your Ray from your phone, although you can set it up to control it through your TV remote too. There’s also the ability to adjust the soundbar’s EQ.

Sound quality

Out of the box, connected with only an optical cable and to power, the sound quality was definitely more impressive than our TV’s internal speakers. Though heads up, it’s important to check whether your TV has an optical audio port to use this soundbar. Although this is fairly common, a lot of soundbar tech is moving over to HDMI connections due to more compatibility with Dolby Atmos and DTS Master Audio, which optical cables typically do not support.

I tried out the Ray with a couple of Netflix films at first and was immediately shocked by its ability to fill the room with sound.

There was definitely improved bass and nuance in a film’s audio quality, as opposed to a very flat sounding audio profile from the TV’s speakers.

My dad also had a surround sound, multi-speaker set up including a sub which we compared it against. Although, the Ray couldn’t equally compete with a set up with multiple speakers placed around the room it surprisingly did a decent job of emulating a surround sound set up. The current multi-speaker set up also has a spaghetti mess of wires behind the TV that is really letting down the look, so we were liking the alternative of switching to a single soundbar. Side note, the Ray is compatible with a subwoofer and rear surround speakers so this might be the start of a whole new sound system configuration in the family home — hopefully with better cable management.

Compact SoundBar

Best of all, the size of the soundbar is so compact it could fit under the TV easily and even between the rounded stand our particular TV has.

With a size of 559mm wide, 95mm deep and 71mm high, it’s certainly one of the smaller soundbars on the market. I feel like this soundbar is perfect for people who want a simple set up or only have a small space. This would almost certainly fit into anyone’s TV cabinet or on a desk under a monitor for a gaming set up. And if you’re using it at a desk there are capacitive controls (touch controls) on the top that you can use to quickly pause, play or mute content, increase or decrease volume and skip tracks forward and back.

Is it worth it?

Sure, this isn’t the cheapest soundbar I’ve seen and there are even a couple of cheaper options on the market that come with an additional subwoofer. But this is what I’d recommend if, again, you’re lacking space but you want a no-fuss set up to give you louder, clearer and more bassy sound. The audio quality is impressive and it’s a great all-in-one from a reputable brand. Not only that, you can always add and sync more Sonos products with the Ray to extend your set up and sound system throughout your home.

The Sons Ray is out now and available in black and white for $399.

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