Sonos has all the time gone its personal approach. The speaker producer devoted itself to network-connected audio system earlier than there have been house networks and so they bought a tablet-like distant management earlier than there have been tablets. Their encompass sound methods set up shortly and run seamlessly. You should purchase a number of audio system, faucet a number of buttons and have 5.1 sound in much less time than it takes to drag a standard house audio system out of its delivery field.
This newest mannequin is an addition to the Sonos line and is bought alongside the Playbase — a lumpen soundbar designed to take a seat immediately beneath TVs not hooked up to the wall — and the Playbar, a historically styled soundbar that preceded the Beam. Each merchandise had the entire Sonos highlights — nice sound, wonderful interfaces and simple setup — however the Base had an excessive amount of floor space for extra elegant installations and the Bar was too lengthy whereas nonetheless sporting an aesthetic that harkened again to 2008 Crutchfield catalogs.
The $399 Beam is Sonos’ reply to that, and it’s greater than only a fairly field. The speaker contains Alexa — and guarantees Google Assistant help — and it improves your TV sound immensely. Designed as an add-on to your present TV, it will probably stand alone or join with the Sonos subwoofer and some satellite tv for pc encompass audio system for a real encompass sound expertise. It really shines alone, nevertheless, due to its small dimension and greater than acceptable audio vary.
To make use of the Beam you carry up an iOS or Android app to show your Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and Pandora accounts (it is a small sampling; Sonos helps extra). You choose a tune or playlist and begin listening. Then, once you need to watch TV, the speaker routinely flips to TV mode — together with speech enhancement options that really work — when the TV is turned on. An included tuning system turns your telephone right into a scanner that improves the room audio routinely.
The vary is proscribed by the Beam’s dimension and form and there’s little or no pure bass popping out of this factor. Nonetheless, by way of vary, the Beam is simply fantastic. It might play an motion film with a little bit of thump after which go on to play some gentle jazz or pop. I’ve had some surprisingly revelatory classes with the Beam when listening to basic rock and extra trendy fare and it’s very usable as a house audio middle.
The Beam is 2 toes lengthy and three inches tall. It is available in black or white and may be very unobtrusive in any house theater setup. Curiously, the product helps HDMI-ARC aka HDMI Audio Return Channel. This normal, launched in TVs made previously 5 years, permits the TV to routinely output audio and handle quantity controls by way of a single HDMI cable. What this implies, nevertheless, is you’re going to have a foul time should you don’t have HDMI-ARC.
Sonos contains an adapter that may additionally settle for optical audio output, however setup requires you to show off your TV audio system and route all of the sound to the optical out. It is a little bit of a large number, and should you don’t have both of these outputs — HDMI-ARC or optical — then you definitely’re most likely in want of a brand new TV. That mentioned, HDMI-ARC is a bit jarring for first timers, however Sonos is bound that sufficient TVs help it that they will use it as an alternative of optical-only.
The Beam doesn’t compete immediately with different “sensible” audio system just like the HomePod. It is vitally particularly a shopper electronics system, though it helps AirPlay 2 and Alexa. Sonos makes audio system, and good ones at that, and that objective has all the time been entrance and middle. Whereas different audio system might supply a extra absolutely featured sound in a a lot smaller bundle, the Beam presents each nice TV audio and nice music playback for lower than every other greater finish soundbar. Entire room audio does get costly — about $1,200 for a Sub and two satellites — however you may merely add on items as you go. One factor, nevertheless, is obvious: Sonos has all the time been the most effective wi-fi speaker for the cash and the Beam is one other win for the scrappy and modern speaker firm.