New Sonos Ray soundbar adds punch to your TV sound for just $279
By Chris Boylan
His bonea leader in whole-home audio systems, has unveiled a new offering in its line of home theater speakers: the Sonos Ray Soundbar ($279). The Ray joins the Beam Gen 2 ($449) and ARC ($899) as the company’s new entry-level soundbar offering. The Ray is designed to enhance the sound of your TV or home projector while integrating with the Sonos whole-home multi-room music platform.
As with other Sonos soundbars, the Ray can be turned into a true surround sound system by adding a pair of rear speakers or a powered subwoofer. For more details on how this works, see our Sonos 5.1 Surround Guide. You can also get an optional wall mount, for a more discreet look with wall-mounted TVs or projection screens.
Similar to the original PlayBar and PlayBase, the Ray connects to any TV or projector via a single optical cable. Some recent TVs have omitted this type of audio output, favoring HDMI ARC instead. So check your TV’s compatibility before buying a Ray. For TVs without fiber optic outputs, you may need a fiber optic switch connected from your cable box and/or streaming box to the Ray in order to get sound from video sources.
The Sonos Ray includes touch controls for music playback and volume adjustment.
The Sonos Ray has touch controls onboard the device, but it can also be controlled in the Sonos app for Android or Apple. This means you can easily play music on the Ray from virtually any music streaming platform (eg Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora) or from your own local digital music library. Simply select your music source in the Sonos app and select the speakers you want to play that music on. You can route your music to the Ray alone or to any or all of the other Sonos speakers in your home. You won’t need a separate hub or bridge as the Ray connects to other Sonos speakers via WiFi. The Ray can also work with your current TV or cable box remote so you can control the volume without searching for another remote or having to load the app on your phone.
The Ray’s Smart Auto-Switching feature senses when your TV or projector is on and automatically switches to that input. If you want to listen to music instead, just open the Sonos app on your phone or tablet and choose your music selection from there. The Ray doesn’t support Bluetooth (nor need it), but it comes with Apple AirPlay 2 support on board.
The Ray is available in black and white finish options. The one in the picture is black. Uh.
In terms of performance and sound technology, the Ray incorporates four Class-D digital amplifiers, driving a pair of tweeters and a pair of midwoofers for true stereo sound. Split waveguides direct high-frequency sounds to the sides of the device for wide stereo separation. The bottom end is complemented by a low-speed port that minimizes distortion while extending low frequencies. The Ray has Sonos Trueplay on board to measure the acoustics of the space it’s in and adjust the sound for your specific room.
The Ray is compact (less than 2 feet wide) measuring 22 x 3.74 x 2.79 inches (559 x 95 x 71 mm) and weighs 4.29 pounds (1.95 kg).
The Sonos Ray can be pre-ordered on the Sonos website and will soon be available from authorized retailers. Shipping is expected to begin June 7, 2022.