Sonos Ray budget soundbar launches for $279

After it was leaked in April, Sonos has officially launched its new soundbar. The Ray comes as the most affordable home theater speaker priced at $279 and is more compact than the Ray or big bow† Sonos has also announced its own “Voice Control” service that will launch next month, allowing users to control Apple Music directly from Sonos speakers with built-in microphones.

The edge leaked the Sonos Ray in late April, revealing the speaker’s features, specs and launch date. Then followed by leak the marketing name last week. Now the most affordable Sonos soundbar is official.

Coming in $170 under the $449 Beam soundbar, Ray makes some concessions, of course, but Sonos says it “enables clearer, more powerful sound than ever before from a small standalone speaker.”

Sonos Ray Features

Ray uses four Class-D amplifiers that are fine-tuned to work with two tweeters and two midwoofers. And Sonos uses what it calls its “Bass Reflex System” to minimize distortion and balance out low frequencies.

You get features like AirPlay 2 and Apple Music support (including all other major streaming services), and the Trueplay auto EQ feature to adapt audio to your space.

There are touch controls on top of the soundbar and you can also use the Sonos app. More useful features include a speech enhancement mode that clarifies speech and a night sound mode that reduces loud noises and enhances soft sounds.

Sonos Ray 2

A Sonos Ray wall mount is available and you can connect the budget soundbar to the Sonos One for a surround setup

Available in black and white, the Sonos Ray measures 2.79 inches (71 mm) high, 22 inches (559 mm) wide and 3.74 inches (95 mm) deep. That’s about two inches shorter than the Beam.

Sonos Ray: What are you giving up

As for what you’re missing compared to the $449 Sonos Beam gen 2

Sonos Ray has:

  • No HDMI or HDMI eARC (optical audio only)
  • No built-in microphone for voice control (can use Sonos app on iPhone etc.)
  • No Dolby Atmos support
  • Not suitable for large rooms

But if those missing features aren’t an issue, the Sonos Ray is an affordable way to bring the connected speakers into your home theater setup.

Sonos Ray is to order now with the first deliveries from 7 June.

Sonos voice control and more

Another new product is Sonos Voice Control, which will launch on June 1. This is how the company describes it:

an all-new voice experience that provides fast, accurate hands-free control of your music and Sonos system without compromising your privacy. Award-winning actor Giancarlo Esposito is the first voice of Sonos Voice Control (you might recognize him from hit shows like Breaking Bad).

The feature works with the key phrase “Hey, Sonos” and uses on-device processing for questions. It works with Apple Music at launch, which is a convenient upgrade for Apple users. Previously, only Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant worked natively with Sonos speakers (apart from a less convenient HomeKit/Siri functionality). Please note that the new Sonos Ray does not have built-in microphones for the new Sonos voice control.

At launch, Sonos Voice Control will work with Sonos Radio, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Deezer and Pandora. If you use other music services, you can’t ask Sonos Voice Control to find and start music or manage your content library. You can still use other Sonos Voice Control features, such as skip, pause, volume, and group.

Sonos also has three new colors of the ultraportable Roam speaker† The new additions are Olive (green), Wave (blue), and Sunset (red-orange). To learn more about the speaker itself, check out our full review.

Finally, the company is collaborating with executive artist Lorde on a hand-curated station on Sonos Radio called SOLARSYSTM.

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