A step up from the earlier mannequin, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) provides an additional dimension to sound, actually, with its intelligent digital Dolby Atmos assist. Loud, properly balanced and able to bringing a cinematic expertise, this soundbar is a good addition to a smaller or secondary TV. The only HDMI eARC enter could also be limiting for some, although, and DTS assist is lacking, though due later within the 12 months.
- Clear and balanced sound
- Glorious dimension
- Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant assist
- HDMI eARC enter solely
- Restricted DTS assist
TruePlaySonos TruePlay balances the sound routinely each for movies and music.
Voice assistantsYou possibly can add Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to this soundbar.
ImproveAdd rear audio system or a Sonos Sub for additional bass.
The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is the center baby of the model’s soundbar vary.
Because the costlier sibling, the Sonos Arc (£899/$899) supplies a extra completed audio efficiency, whereas the extra inexpensive Sonos Ray (£279/$279) loses out on a couple of options however continues to be a compentent soundbar to pair along with your TV.
Sandwiched between its siblings with a value of £499/$499, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is a perfect alternative for individuals who need an amazing soundbar for music and films, however aren’t to fussed in regards to the enhanced Dolby Atmos room-filling expertise of the Arc – at the least not sufficient to pay the £400/$400 distinction.
The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) at the moment occupies a spot in our Greatest Soundbar checklist as the most effective ‘small soundbar’ choice. Rival soundbars will be fairly cumbersome, which not solely dangers demanding an excessive amount of consideration in your lounge, but additionally blocking a poriton of your TV.
Because of this, it’s straightforward to see why the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is such a preferred soundbar. Carry on studying for a full breakdown of its design, options and sound high quality.
- Barely shorter than the unique
- Smooth rounded corners
- Simply the one enter
The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) launched in October 2021, whereas the unique Beam hit shops way back to 2018.
Sonos hasn’t deviated a lot from the unique Beam’s design, with a couple of tweaks together with a brand new entrance grille that appears just like the one on the Arc. Not massively altering the design isn’t an enormous downside: the Beam hadn’t aged a lot from a appears perspective, and the design nonetheless suits in Sonos’ different newer audio system. Once more, this mannequin is on the market in black or white.
The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is a couple of millimetres wider than the unique, so there’s virtually no distinction right here, both. At this type of dimension, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is healthier paired with a smaller TV, say something as much as 49-inches max; go bigger than this and the Sonos Arc is a extra appropriate companion.
With this mannequin, you should use the official Beam wall mount to place the soundbar on the wall, though it’s low sufficient to position on a TV cupboard with out blocking the view of the TV display screen.
On prime, you get the usual Sonos contact controls, which you should use to play/pause, skip tracks (in music playback) and regulate the quantity.
Across the again, it’s an analogous story to different Sonos soundbars, with only a single HDMI enter. Moderately than the HDMI ARC enter the older Beam used, this mannequin makes use of HDMI eARC, which has increased bandwidth and helps lossless audio codecs resembling Dolby Atmos delivered over Dolby TrueHD.
HDMI eARC is backwards appropriate with HDMI ARC, though in case your TV has this type of output solely you’ll have a extra restricted alternative of sound codecs (extra of that later).
Must you not have eARC or ARC in your TV, then there’s an optical adaptor within the field in an effort to use your TV’s optical S/PDif output as an alternative. This additional reduces your choices and guidelines out Dolby Atmos, so use provided that it’s important to.
Lastly, there’s an Ethernet port for hooking the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) as much as a wired community, though most individuals will discover it simpler to attach the soundbar to their wi-fi community.
- HDMI CEC enables you to management the soundbar via the TV
- TruePlay appropriate
- 4 mid-woofers, one tweeter and three passive radiators
The Beam (Gen 2) is barely appropriate with Sonos S2. Setup is tremendous straightforward: simply place your telephone close to the speaker, faucet the be part of button, scan the NFC chip and the Beam joins your present system. From begin to end, together with a firmware replace, my Bean (Gen 2) was put in and able to go in a couple of minutes.
As soon as linked, Sonos then takes you thru a configuration part to get your speaker working. I used to be linked by way of HDMI ARC to begin with, which requires the soundbar to detect the incoming sign. This may be exhausting to do, as HDMI CEC (the management protocol that makes it work) is a little bit flaky at instances. My information on fixing HDMI CEC points can assist: I rebooted my TV, biking the ability, after which set the TV’s enter because the HDMI ARC enter, which kickstarted the connection.
As soon as linked, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) can then have its quantity adjusted utilizing your TV’s distant, with the sign despatched down the HDMI cable. In case you desire, you possibly can tune your distant to work by way of IR with the Beam instantly.
Whereas the Sonos Arc has upwards firing audio system for the overhead channels for Dolby Atmos, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) doesn’t. Right here, you’ve one tweeter for high-frequencies, 4 mid-woofers to ship the mid-range and three passive radiators; which is an analogous format to the unique Beam. Atmos is delivered just about with intelligent software program adapting the sound output to trick your ears into listening to the place the sound comes from.
To get the tech to work, you have to run via the Sonos TruePlay routine within the app. This makes use of your telephone’s microphone to take heed to the audio coming from the speaker, fine-tuning it for each the room and your place. As it is a soundbar, there are two steps to undergo.
First, there’s the cinema setup, the place you sit within the place you’re almost certainly to be in when watching TV. Secondly, there’s the room setup, which tunes the speaker for enjoying common music, adjusting the audio for the scale and audio response of your room. It’s each straightforward and fast to run via this course of.
When watching TV, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) routinely switches to its HDMI enter, reducing off different audio in addition to ungrouping itself from different rooms, though you possibly can change that behaviour within the app if you need.
There’s additionally the problem when you don’t have HDMI eARC in your TV. With common HDMI ARC, there’s solely sufficient bandwidth for Dolby Digital Plus or two-channel PCM sound. Use an Extremely HD Blu-ray participant, and you may’t get full Dolby TrueHD audio out. Or attempt to play DTS by way of PCM and also you’ll solely get stereo sound, somewhat than encompass sound.
It’s a difficulty that impacts the ARC, too, however you should use the HDFury Arcana as a workaround. This field takes an HDMI enter, resembling a Blu-ray participant, sends the complete audio to the Beam and the image to your TV. With the Sonos Arc, I felt fairly strongly about getting the best high quality audio into the soundbar; with the Beam, this feels extra like a product for smaller rooms and streaming companies, by which case common HDMI ARC has sufficient bandwidth for the sound codecs in use.
In addition to enjoying out of your TV, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is a fully-fledged multi-room audio participant. Through the Sonos app, you possibly can play music from any of the supported companies: every part main is supported, from Spotify and Apple Music to Tidal and Deezer. In case you don’t need to use the app, there’s AirPlay 2 assist there, too.
Multi-room sensible, nothing comes near Sonos’ energy and degree of management. And, most significantly, with any of the supported companies, you should use one account and play completely different tracks in several rooms on the similar time.
Following on from the unique Beam, this new mannequin may run both Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. You largely get the complete expertise, though Alexa assist is a little bit completely different than if in case you have an Amazon Echo. Right here, you possibly can’t place the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) in a room as an Alexa gadget (it seems as a speaker); with that restriction, it’s important to use the names of units you need to management, resembling, “Alexa, activate kitchen lights.”
With an Echo, it is aware of which room it’s in and which units are in there, too, so you should use the shortcut, “Alexa, activate lights.” Echo-to-echo calling additionally isn’t supported.
Nonetheless, these are minor limitations and the Beam arguably signifies that you don’t must have extra good audio system in the identical room. And, voice provides you a fast option to flip your TV on or off, or to instantly management Sonos and play music.
There may be the chance that watching one thing will by chance set off the good speaker, which dips the audio quantity. If that’s a difficulty, you possibly can faucet the button on prime of the soundbar to disable the microphone whereas watching. It might be good if this have been a software program choice, disabling the microphone whereas your TV is on.
There are a few non-obligatory sound modes that you may regulate, too. Evening mode cuts out loud noises, so that you gained’t disturb the remainder of the home whereas watching at evening. Speech enhancement boosts dialogue in order that persons are a little bit simpler to listen to. Each of those options are straightforward to toggle on and off by way of the app. And, handily, the app may even present you the sound format you’re at the moment getting, so you possibly can test for any points: when you’re not getting Dolby Atmos, rebooting your participant can assist, for instance.
Sound high quality
- Glorious steadiness and vary
- Sound wraps round you
- Stunning quantities of bass
The very brief model is that the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) sounds exceptionally good, particularly contemplating its comparatively small dimension. There are some limitations, though these will be mounted by including additional Sonos parts into the combo for encompass sound and bass.
Let’s begin with the out-of-the-box expertise, with the Beam in its commonplace configuration. I watched a wide range of content material to get a really feel for what this soundbar can supply. Take one thing brash and fascinating, such because the opening battle sequence in Captain Marvel, streamed from Disney+ in Dolby Atmos, and there’s a correct cinematic expertise bursting out of this field.
You get a way of stereo width, with the laser blasts virtually wrapping round you. There’s not fairly the dimensionality of the Sonos Arc, which provides a way of sound above you in a extra positional method; right here, it’s extra refined, as if there’s sound wrapped round you, even when you can’t fairly place the place it’s precisely.
Improve the stream to the Extremely HD model in full Dolby TrueHD and the presentation is healthier nonetheless: with the lossless soundtrack there’s extra readability to the combo, and the audio is cleaner with a degree extra subtlety to it.
Poise and steadiness are wonderful all through. Given how small this soundbar is, the bass ranges are spectacular. You don’t get fairly that punch of sound and rumbling, as you do with the Arc, however there’s extra pleasure and presence that you simply’ll get from any commonplace TV speaker. Definitely, there’s sufficient bass right here to supply a degree of immersion, because the opening scene of Tenet will attest (blended in 5.1 on the Extremely HD disc).
In comparison with the Arc, the Beam doesn’t fairly have the identical vary at both finish, and the sound is a bit more compressed total and a contact sharp on the excessive finish. However, audio is essentially effectively balanced, with no a part of the spectrum overwhelming one other half.
What you don’t get with the Beam (or the Arc by itself) for that matter, is a real sense of encompass sound. Hearth up an episode of Netflix’s Midnight Mass, and there are some nice scenes for encompass sound; in its default configuration, the Beam (Gen 2) simply doesn’t ship the subtlety.
The facility of the Beam (Gen 2) together with different Sonos soundbars is that you may add to the system utilizing two of the identical audio system for the rear channels. I used a pair of Sonos One SL audio system for the rear channels, which crammed within the soundscape, with spectacular transitions between the entrance and rear.
Begin Midnight Mass once more and, with out spoilers, the sound of the person crying out instantly comes from behind you because it ought to; in its default mode, the Beam makes this cry sound a little bit vague.
Throw in a Sonos Sub and bass turns into correctly cinematic, with sufficient drive to make your room shake. It’s nice for motion movies and sci-fi, delivering the consequences as they have been alleged to be heard.
After all, all of this provides considerably to the worth. In case you actually need to spend all that additional on encompass audio system and a subwoofer, I’d be tempted to spring for the costlier Arc to begin with.
It’s price speaking about lip-sync, as HDMI ARC is understood for inflicting points. Whereas HDMI eARC is meant to be higher, it can also trigger issues. Through the app, you possibly can regulate the audio delay, however the fact is that your enter supply and TV all have a component to play, so it’s possible you’ll get completely different points at completely different instances. My set-up was largely advantageous and might be tweaked, however when you’re having issues my information on methods to repair lip-sync points with Sonos can assist.
It’s exhausting for a producer to get high quality film/TV sound and high quality music out of the identical gadget, however Sonos manages it. On the sound scale for music, I’d say that the Beam sits above the One or One SL, however beneath the 5; it’s really a contact higher than the outdated discontinued Play:3.
Play Foo Fighter’s Sufficient House and the opening guitars swirl throughout the stereo house convincingly; this soundbar can definitely ship that stereo expertise. It’s able to dealing with bass-heavy tracks with out blowing out and sounding distorted, as OK Go’s This Too Shall Cross proves.
Delicate dealing with of the extra refined is there, with Johnny Money’s fingers sliding up the strings popping out in his cowl of Damage. Actually, with the Beam, you don’t must have a separate speaker.
Must you purchase it?
In order for you an immersive method of boosting sound out of your TV, and a tool that can match into your multi-room setup, the Beam is difficult to beat.
In order for you a fuller cinematic expertise with extra positional Dolby Atmos, the Sonos Arc delivers a extra rounded and highly effective expertise
In case you consider the Sonos Arc because the true residence cinema product, constructed for larger TVs and for delivering Atmos results in a extra enveloping and fascinating method, the Beam is the soundbar for smaller TVs and rooms.
It has a number of the options of its large brother and might wrap sound round you, even when positionally it’s not as completed because the Arc. What you do get is evident and outlined audio that can outperform your TV, a way of cinematics and the choice to improve if you need extra immersive sound.
With all of Sonos’ multi-room prowess piled on prime, it is a soundbar that may ship an amazing music expertise, becoming in along with your present system, not changing it. For my lounge, I need the Sonos Arc, however for different rooms, the Beam brings the enjoyable at a cheaper price.
The primary situation is whether or not or not a soundbar with solely an HDMI eARC enter is versatile sufficient for you. In case you’d somewhat have full HDMI inputs, then the Samsung HW-Q900T could also be higher, in any other case learn our information to the most effective soundbars for different selections.
How we take a look at
We take a look at each soundbar we evaluation totally over an prolonged time period. We use business commonplace assessments to check options correctly. We’ll all the time let you know what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to evaluation a product.
Discover out extra about how we take a look at in our ethics coverage.
Examined over the course of a number of days
Examined with actual world use and completely different TVs
Examined with lossy and lossless audio codecs
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The primary distinction is that the Gen 2 helps Dolby Atmos and has an HDMI eARC enter.
You possibly can group them, however you possibly can’t create a stereo pair from them.
Sure, there’s an official wall bracket that you may purchase.
First Reviewed Date
Sonos Beam (Gen 2)
651 x 100 x 69 MM
Sonos Beam (2nd Gen)
Black or white
1x tweeter, 4x mid-woofers, 3x passive radiators
HDMI eARC, Optical S/PDIF (by way of adaptor)
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD, Dolby Atmos, PCM
Dolby Atmos is an object-based audio format. It expands on 5.1 and seven.1 soundtracks by including overhead channels. Sounds are known as “audio objects”, of which there will be as much as 128 audio channels, and these ‘objects’ will be precisely positioned inside a 3D soundscape. This permits soundtracks that assist the know-how to position sounds above and across the listener with appropriate equipment.
Amazon’s good voice assistant
Dolby Imaginative and prescient
Dolby Imaginative and prescient is a variant of HDR, including a layer of dynamic metadata to the core HDR sign. This dynamic metadata carries scene-by-scene (or frame-by-frame) directions from content material creators on how a TV ought to current the pictures to enhance every part from brightness to distinction, detailing and color replica.
A voice assistant which is Google’s tackle Amazon’s Alexa.