Sonos Ray 3.0 soundbar at $399 will blow you away – first look (AV)

Sonos and low cost don’t exactly go together, but the new $399 Sonos Ray 3.0 soundbar keeps everything good about Sonos gear at a price sure to entice more new users into the Sonos ecosystem.

This is a first look, not a full review. Upfront, we were mighty impressed with this powerful little soundbar. Great bass and clear sound.

It has heaps of mid-bass kicking in from about 43Hz-100Hz, really strong high-bass (100-200Hz), flat mid/low-treble (for clear dialogue 200Hz to 5kHz) and a slightly recessed mid-to-high treble to avoid the upper register harshness. Its native sound signature is a hybrid between warm and sweet for movies and most music genres, and the Sonos trademark neutral sound signature that you can do pretty well anything with via the S2 App and its EQ.

It also has quite a wide 2D soundstage. Even better, as the speakers are forward-firing, you can put it under or on top of a TV, on a TV stand/cabinet/bookshelf or wall-mount it.

You can read more about sound signatures and our test tracks How to tell if you have good music (sound signature is the key – guide).

Inside the Sonos Ray 3.0 soundbar

Small at 559 x 95 x 71 mm x 1.95kg, yet it is 3.0, meaning that it has Left/Right stereo woofers and Centre (dual tweeters) – a total of four Class-D amps. It also has two low-velocity bass ports (passive) that do a great job for a mini-soundbar. The cabinet contains acoustic waveguides to open the sound stage wider.

 All speakers are forward-firing (there is no Dolby Atmos), so you can add them to any TV (it uses an Optical Digital connector found on most older TVs) and get an immediate and impressive sound upgrade.

You can add the Sonos Sub Gen 3 ($1099) and a pair of One SL for the rears ($578) taking it to a 5.1 $2K soundbar. Frankly, for that money, we would suggest you look at an LG 2022 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos soundbar with discrete rears and a sub at well under $2K. Or graduate to the Sonos Beam 2 or ARC with the complete kit. These are the top premium category sellers, so to hell with the budget.

It connects to home Wi-Fi to be part of the Sonos multi-room ecosystem.

Who is it for?

A new Sonos audience who wants an all-in-one mini-soundbar with loads of volume and a very listenable warm and sweet sound signature.

So, new Sonos users, those in apartments, for the bedroom TV, gamers, those without a Dolby Atmos TV, wanting a classy multi-room speaker with all the Sonos S2 app features.

Sonos S2 App features

The App for iOS or Android has a vast array of features. Perhaps most important is Trueplay, (iOS only) which tunes the speaker to your room. Android users – borrow an iPhone, and you will be impressed at the difference it makes to the out-of-the-box sound.

The app also features Speech Enhancement and Night mode. When the soundbar is in use, you can enable

  • Night sound reduces the intensity of loud sounds while increasing the level of quieter sounds, making dialogue clearer without turning up the volume.
  • Speech Enhancement boosts audio frequencies associated with the human voice. Turning this feature on makes dialogue easier to hear.

This is impressive, if not unique, for a $399 soundbar. Hearing-impaired will hear far clearer dialogue and not annoy the neighbours with a soundbar that is turned up loud so you can hear it.

It will downmix up to 5.1 channel Dolby Digital and DTS to 3.0.

And don’t forget that Sonos has one of the most significant streaming service supports, including Sonos Radio.

What it is not?

In order to keep costs as low as possible, it does not have Dolby Atmos (and you would not expect that anyway), it uses an industry-standard Optical connector, and it does not have mics or a voice assistant.

Sonos Ray 3.0 Soundbar brief specs

  • Sonos webpage
  • $399 and available from 7 June from Sonos Online, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi and Sonos retailers
  • Warranty: 12 months
  • Colours: Matte Black or White polycarbonate
  • Inputs: Power, Ethernet and Optical In
  • Optical In syncs with most TV IR remote controls
  • Sound format: Stereo PCM, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS Digital Surround
  • Airplay 2

You will see a full review before the product release on 7 June.

Other Sonos News

Sonos announced its own Hey Sonos voice control to enable way more Sonos streaming features that and it is far faster than a regular voice assistant. It is 100% private as all commands stay on the device, it does not perform other voice assistant tasks, and it does not upload to a cloud. The voice is John Carlos Esposito, best known for portraying Gus Fring in Breaking Bad.

It also announced three new colours for the $299 Sonos Roam – Olive, Sunset and Wave. These are expected 17 June.

CyberShack Sonos news and reviews including Sonos Beam 2 and Arc soundbars