Sonos announces entry-level Ray soundbar for $279, coming June 7

This afternoon, Sonos officially announced its Sonos Ray soundbar. Matching the specifications and design that The edge First reported last month, the company’s new entry-level soundbar will cost $279 slightly higher than originally expected when it goes on sale June 7. (Hey, maybe Sonos is feeling inflation like the rest of us.)

The Ray positions itself as ideal for first-time soundbar buyers who want to upgrade their TV’s lackluster built-in speakers. It’s capable of outputting Dolby Digital audio – there’s no Atmos – and connects to TVs via an optical cable. Sonos is moving away from HDMI and eARC for its more expensive Beam and Arc products. Gamers should note that soundbars that rely on an optical connection can sometimes experience a slight audio delay. But I think Sonos thinks anyone with an Xbox Series X or PS5 plugged into their TV is likely to opt for the Beam or Arc instead.

The Ray has two tweeters that handle high frequencies. And as seen in our original render, the soundbar has split waveguides on the left and right sides to route sound “wall to wall”. In the center are two midwoofers that “provide faithful midrange playback and solid bass.” Sonos says that because its acoustic elements are all forward-facing, the Ray is designed to perform sonically well no matter where it’s placed, including when stored in a media stand.

The Ray is the most affordable Sonos soundbar yet.

Despite the lack of HDMI connectivity and therefore a lack of HDMI-CEC, Sonos thinks the Ray stands out from similarly priced rivals, thanks to its full integration with the company’s multiroom audio platform. Talk to The edge, product manager Scott Fink also called other features like TruePlay tuning as differentiators for the Ray. The Ray lacks built-in mics though, so you can only optimize its sound using TruePlay with supported phones. The new soundbar shares software features like speech enhancement and night mode with Sonos’ other home theater products.

Like the Beam and Arc, the Ray can be expanded into a more complete surround system by using pairs of Sonos speakers like the Sonos One SL for the rears. It can also be combined with the Sonos Sub, although I don’t see many people spending $749 on a sub for a $279 soundbar. Unfortunately, the rumored, more affordable Sub Mini isn’t part of today’s announcements from Sonos.

The Sonos Ray connects to televisions with an optical cable.

The edge originally reported that the Sonos Ray could be mounted vertically and act as a rear speaker for other Sonos soundbars. However, the company made no mention of this feature during its media briefings. When asked if the feature was still in progress, Fink replied that he had nothing to share regarding the rumors. (The edge revealed internal Sonos materials that were found to be accurate in regards to the Ray’s design, features, and release date, so the vertical mounting capability may have been dropped at the last minute.)

The Sonos Ray goes on sale June 7 in the United States, Canada, and many other countries.

The Roam portable speaker from Sonos is now available in new colors.

Along with the new soundbar, Sonos is also introducing new colors of its Sonos Roam portable Bluetooth speaker. Red, Green, and Blue versions of the Roam are available starting today for the same $179 price as before.

Photograph by Chris Welch/The Verge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.