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Sonos Beam sound bar: advanced yet affordable

Sonos Beam sound bar


Televisions have increased in size over the years and the pictures have got sharper. But the sound produced by TVs is, in effect, small. That's fine for watching the news but a good drama, movie or concert deserves sound that's at least of the same scale and quality as the visuals.

Home cinema amps and separate speakers deliver the best surround-sound experience but, if space is at a premium, soundbars and soundbases are a great solution. Sonos has already entered this market with the Playbar and Playbase products but there's a new product in town: Sonos Beam. The Beam gives TV sound a boost plus, like all Sonos products, acts as a music streamer. But costs just £399 - as opposed to £699 for Sonos' other TV-related options - and offers AirPlay 2 compatibility with Apple's iOS devices.

The Beam is available in black or white and its compact dimensions should ensure that most customers can place one in front of their TV. However, a custom wall bracket - also available in black or white - is available for mounting the Beam to a wall.

The soundbar includes some useful features, including Speech Enhancement to produce clear dialogue and Night Sound to equalise the frequencies so that late-night viewing doesn't disturb those trying to get some sleep. And TVs connected via the HDMI ARC connection can be voice controlled via the Beam, which has Amazon's Alexa voice control system built in so you can ask it to play a particular song, turn the volume up, set an alarm, turn the TV on.... Of course, the Beam can also be controlled via the free Sonos app or the top panel's touch controls.

The HMDI connection provides greater versatility than the optical connections of the Playbar and Playbase and, as mentioned above, allows a TV to be controlled via the Beam. However, the Beam can also connect to TVs that only have an optical output, using the supplied adapter.

The Beam incorporates one tweeter and four mid/bass drivers to produce a good spread of sound (in terms of both direction and the audio spectrum) that is remarkable for such a compact speaker. However, the sound bar can be partnered with the Sonos Sub and/or Sonos One speakers for a full surround-sound experience.

The Sonos Beam combines great performance with useful features and is now available at Hi-Fi Stereo.

Date of article:22/09/2018

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