Want a cool sound in your apartment for music and movies, but no room? "The technique has arrived", now there is a way out

Sonos is a near-perfect smart speaker for the home, but the brand invariably pisses off audiophile mothers who dream with

lunches to save up for B&W Nautilus. Here's why the second generation Sonos Beam soundbar is the top for decent money.

Table of contents

  • Sonos? What is this anyway?
  • Now you will tell us about the soundbar, and what else can you buy?
  • How is Beam gen 2 different from the first generation?
  • How is this soundbar equipped?
  • What is this super app?
  • How about sound and experience in general?

Sonos? What is this anyway?

I consider it a huge injustice that this brandpoorly known in Russia. Partly, the fact is that they do not have products in the budget segment, and for quite some time there was no full-fledged representation in our country. As a result, many by inertia take familiar brands and recklessly do not try to figure out what is so special about a certain Sonos. But, for example, in the United States, the technology of this manufacturer is something like an iPhone against the background of dull cheap Android. She is known, loved and sold out in decent editions.

Unlike most of my friends, about meSonos recognized 7 years ago, when the term “multiroom” was just starting to become popular in the context of more or less affordable speakers for the home. This manufacturer has always been a leader in multi-format home acoustics with convenient connection and seamless switching between speakers, as well as control from one application. Basically, Sonos provided customers with the best user experience in its class. Recently, Bowers & Wilkins also has an excellent multi-room solution. But there it will be possible to assemble a decent set for an apartment at the price of the apartment itself. Maybe not Moscow, but the meaning is clear.

In general, the trick with Sonos products is that theythey never aimed at the audience of aesthetic snobs who talk about the acoustics that are too heavy for themselves for millions of millions or say that “for that kind of money” it is three times better to put together a set for their home. We can say that Sonos as a phenomenon in the audio electronics market leaves no one indifferent: it is either adored or hated. At the same time, the latter, as a rule, never used it.

For the price, Sonos exists in the segment aboveaverage, but does not try to flirt with luxury. And the buyers are given exactly the level of quality that should be for the money. These products have good sounding that the average person will love. Their design is made in such a way as to fit well into almost any interior, without getting lost, but also without drawing a lot of attention to themselves. In terms of connection and subsequent use, Sonos is as simple and straightforward as possible, but at the same time it gives functionality three heads higher than its competitors.

Now you will tell us about the soundbar, and what else can you buy?

What's great about Sonos is the ability to take ontry one product, and if you like the experience of using, gradually place gadgets from their ecosystem in all the rooms. The choice is large: from super-small speakers for the bedroom and nursery, to large acoustics options for medium to large rooms. Also available are portable speakers and portable trouble-free models with indistinct positioning - either more appropriate for a country house, or for large-scale trips to nature.

Sonos has two soundbars.A premium Arc for a thousand bucks (probably, it should also receive a generation update soon) and a compact Beam gen 2. In either case, you can gradually assemble the desired home theater configuration on this basis. Generally, kits are also available for purchase, but let's be honest: the prices for Sonos bite and pay for four products at once (soundbar, sub and two rear speakers) will be expensive for the majority. But being able to add the components you want one at a time sounds like a great way to put together a top-end entertainment system without financial drama.

However, do not forget that the Sonos Beamgen 2 is an independent and complete product. Complementing it with other gadgets is an option, and not all buyers need it. Personally, the soundbar is enough for me one hundred percent. Feelings of infringement due to the lack of a sub and rear areas do not arise. But if it seemed that the soul requires not just juicy, but downright killer bass - take the Sub wireless subwoofer. It is sold separately from Sonos. If you want even more surround sound - buy a couple of Sonos One, which work both as standalone smart speakers and as rear channels in a home theater. I give a life hack for the budget conscious: on weekdays they can be kept apart, for example, in the bedroom and in the nursery. And in a home theater, use only on weekends, when the whole family gets together for a thorough viewing of films or TV series.

How is Beam gen 2 different from the first generation?

The list of changes is decent, but not quiteunambiguous. To say that this is a full-fledged "nextgen" and urgently to humiliate the owners of the first generation does not seem to want to. But those who have just been looking at buying a soundbar lately should be happy about everything new in Beam gen 2. In price, however, the new model has also "improved" a little (in favor of the seller, of course), but you know that How has the cost of electronics been increasing lately?

I will spare you the hassle of reading in solid text as I retell the official changelog in my own words - and simply add it below to the table. Look, it's more convenient this way.

Sonos Beam Gen 1Sonos Beam Gen2DescriptionProcessorBeam Gen 1 processor 40% increased processor performance 40% increased processor performance to support Dolby Atmos Sound3.0w / Dolby Surround Sound3.0w / panoramic Dolby AtmosAmplifiers5 Class D5 Class D Dimensions68.5x651x100 mm 68.5x651x100 mm perforated grill Simplifies product maintenance and reduces wear and tearHDMI ARCHDMI eARCHDMI eARC supports high-definition audio formats such as Dolby AtmosColouringHDMI and power cables are black HDMI and power cable color matches soundbar colorNow color-matched to body colorNFCNoNFC in Beam Gen 2 and decorative elements that are difficult to recycle Recycled materials without packaging foam Packaging made of recycled paper, and the plastic has become 75% less Price RUB 40,990 RUB 46,990 RUR retail price at the start of sales of Beam Gen 2

How is this soundbar equipped?

The first thing that attracts attention is the largeproduct weight. For a compact model, you can even say that the soundbar is heavy. The fact is that the manufacturer uses high-quality and rather thick plastic. And all the space available inside was tightly packed with a set of speakers. The approach is not at all similar to those manufacturers who make a long dummy soundbar just for the sake of solid size, but not at all for the sound.

The speaker system is equipped with fourelliptical speakers and one tweeter, as well as three passive radiators. Their operation is supported by five digital class D amplifiers. Connection to the network is carried out via the Ethernet port or via Wi-Fi 802.11 in 2.4 or 5 GHz networks, there is still support for Apple AirPlay 2, and the TV uses the HDMI eARC connector, or you can connect via optics via complete adapter. The soundbar also has an NFC module for easier connection and start-up. It is enough to attach a smartphone (but not an iPhone) for pairing to occur immediately and Beam appears in the application.

Sonos Beam gen 2 also has Enhancement modes.speech quality ”,“ Night sound ”, Trueplay technology for adjusting the sound to the room (only for iOS applications), and an equalizer. Of the cool features, I will note such trifles as full-fledged touch control of playback on the case (pause and change the volume with a touch, switch and return to the beginning of the track with swipes), and the work status indicator adjusts the brightness to the ambient light. The soundbar also has 5 microphones for voice control, but neither Google Assistant nor Amazon Alexa work in Russia.

Already one set of hardware andtechnological features, it becomes clear that Sonos is trying to give the user more than the market average. And when you get to their "super application" and begin to understand its capabilities - there Sonos is definitely out of competition.

What is this super app?

One of the Sonos tricks has always beena functional application, where there is not only a typical equalizer and a couple of settings, but literally a control center for devices and a media library is assembled. In current terminology, it turns out something like SuperApps, which are fashionable now, which take on more tasks than usual.

The point is to rid the user ofthe need to run a bunch of different applications, and do everything in one place. For example, you can add your Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, YouTube Music, Soundcloud, and Yandex.Muski accounts to the Sonos App. The media libraries of these services will be available in one place. True, with some API restrictions (for example, Spotify will not show a playlist with likes), but it's still convenient. In addition, Bookmate, Plex audiobooks, various podcast services, Internet radio stations, services with broadcasts of meditative music and background noise for concentration are connected to the Sonos app. There are dozens of available services.

There, in the application, the history is availablelistening, managing and grouping Sonos home devices, connecting and configuring media servers and UPnP. You can also set alarms on Sonos. If you can easily oversleep the smartphone signal or turn it off by inertia in the first seconds, then the music on the speaker system is guaranteed to raise even a hopeless sleepyhead. By the way, you can choose both branded neutral ringtones and playlists of streaming services or radio stations as a signal.

How about sound and experience in general?

Among compact soundbars, the sound of the Sonos Beamgen 2, in my opinion, is one of the best on the market. The sound is dense, rich, voluminous - just right, as it should be in acoustics for a TV. So, it is suitable for boom, bang and other blockbusters. The music also sounds very perky, with a pronounced inclination towards juicy bass. You shouldn't count on the correct sounding "as intended", but it would never occur to you to go to the soundbar with the same standards as some classic shelf stereo pair?

The trouble with soundbars, and indeed any other majortechnology, in that, unlike smartphones, you will hardly be able to put together a few pieces at home for direct comparisons. However, I was able to listen to Sonos Beam gen 2 in two completely different rooms and, for the sake of interest, compare it with a soundbar of a different class. I started with a tiny bedroom a little over 10 square meters, and ended up in a spacious kitchen-living room of about 40 square meters. It is curious that even in the second case, Beam coped with his duties. It felt like he was already working on the brink of delivering sound to such a large room, but still an impressive result for a meter length model.

As for the comparison with another soundbar, Imanaged to test Beam together with the flagship Samsung with 7.1.2 channel configuration and almost twice the cost. It is curious that while watching Dune I have not yet decided on whose sound I like more. In theory, the compact model was supposed to immediately drain the big guy, but it turned out ambiguous. Samsung naturally had more headroom for the room and gave out a wide panorama, but the Beam impressed with a noticeably denser and richer sound. I have not tried the older Sonos soundbar, but now I assume that there is a cannon at all.

I used to think that if we take a soundbar,then you definitely need a nine-channel. I tried Beam and changed the shoe. You can not overpay and get by with a compact model in rooms up to 25 square meters. Moreover, the second generation received support for Dolby Atmos, and at any time it can be supplemented with a subwoofer and rear speakers. Plus, the Beam wins me over because, thanks to the Sonos app, AirPlay and Spotify Connect, it can be used for music without compromise or crutches. And not spend money on acoustics for the room where the soundbar is installed.

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