Sonos’ second-gen Beam soundbar supports Dolby Atmos

Sonos has bought residence theater merchandise for a very long time, however the firm has made the lounge much more of a precedence lately. It began with the Sonos Beam, a smaller and extra inexpensive model of the flagship Playbar soundbar. And 2020’s new flagship, the Sonos Arc, was the corporate’s first soundbar able to Dolby Atmos playback.

Today, the Beam is getting a significant improve. The new, second-generation Beam goes on sale today for $449 and will probably be accessible on October fifth. That’s $50 greater than earlier than, in step with the opposite value will increase Sonos introduced final week. The excellent news is that the brand new Beam is extra succesful than its predecessor in numerous methods. We’ll need to overview it earlier than we will actually say if it’s value the additional $50, however there are a selection of notable new options right here.

The new Beam seems practically similar to its predecessor, except for a brand new perforated polycarbonate grille as a substitute of the fabric entrance discovered on the unique. It additionally has the identical speaker parts inside: a middle tweeter, 4 woofers, and three passive bass radiators. What’s totally different is that the brand new processor contained in the Beam is 40 p.c quicker, which opens up a number of new audio codecs.

Sonos Beam (gen 2)


Most notably, the gen-two Beam supports Dolby Atmos, for films, TV and music (the latter in a restricted vogue, for now). Scott Fink, a product supervisor at Sonos who labored on the brand new Beam, says that the horsepower from the brand new CPU let the corporate enhance the speaker arrays — not the particular speaker parts, however, as Fink explains, “the set of software that coordinates the playback and interaction of all the speakers together in the soundbar.” The new Beam has 5 arrays, up from the three within the older mannequin, and Fink stated that the extras are devoted to encompass sound and peak information.

All advised, the Beam supports the identical residence theater audio codecs as the Arc (together with Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus, Multichannel PCM and extra), which prices twice as a lot because the Beam. In addition to the elevated processing energy, the brand new Beam has HDMI eARC to facilitate these new codecs. Sonos says the speaker ought to have improved dialog readability due to the extra audio processing energy, one thing that ought to make the currently-available speech enhancement characteristic work higher than earlier than.

The {hardware} additionally supports further music codecs, as nicely. The Beam (in addition to the Arc) will quickly assist the Ultra HD and Dolby Atmos codecs from Amazon Music. Some Sonos audio system have labored with a handful of HD music companies for some time now, however that is the primary time {that a} 3D music format will work with the corporate’s merchandise. I requested if there have been any plans to assist Dolby Atmos on Apple Music, and unsurprisingly the corporate wasn’t prepared to say but. But, there shouldn’t be any technical cause, it’s only a matter of Sonos and Apple working collectively to get extra Apple Music codecs supported.

Sonos Beam (gen 2)


As with different Sonos merchandise, the brand new Beam connects to the corporate’s different audio system for multi-room playback; you too can use different Sonos audio system as surrounds. You can tune the speaker to your room to enhance the sound utilizing Trueplay, assuming you will have an iOS gadget. The Beam additionally has far-field microphones so it might obtain voice instructions by means of both Alexa or the Google Assistant, however that’s not required (there’s a mic mute button proper on high of the Beam, too). Like another latest Sonos audio system, the brand new Beam has NFC to make setup even simpler — enjoying your cellphone operating the Sonos app close to it is going to mechanically join it to your WiFi community.

Based on what Sonos has stated thus far, the new Beam might be not an important improve for many, until you’ve been itching to get Dolby Atmos into your setup with out spending a ton of cash. But provided that the Beam is already the best-selling compact soundbar (in line with NPD knowledge), these upgrades ought to assist it preserve its lead over the competitors — even with that $50 value hike.

All merchandise advisable by Engadget are chosen by our editorial staff, impartial of our father or mother firm. Some of our tales embrace affiliate hyperlinks. If you purchase one thing by means of one among these hyperlinks, we could earn an affiliate fee.