Sonos’ second-gen Beam soundbar helps Dolby Atmos – TechCrunch

Sonos has bought dwelling theater merchandise for a very long time, however the firm has made the lounge much more of a precedence in recent times. 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.

As we speak, the Beam is getting a serious improve. The brand new, second-generation Beam goes on sale in the present day for $449 and shall be obtainable on October fifth. That’s $50 greater than earlier than, according to 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 quite a lot of methods. We’ll should evaluate it earlier than we are able to actually say if it’s price the additional $50, however there are a selection of notable new options right here.

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

Sonos Beam (gen 2)


Most notably, the gen-two Beam helps Dolby Atmos, for motion pictures, TV and music (the latter in a restricted style, 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 improve the speaker arrays — not the precise speaker elements, however, as Fink explains, “the set of software program that coordinates the playback and interplay of all of the audio system collectively within the soundbar.” The brand 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 top data.

All instructed, the Beam helps the identical dwelling theater audio codecs because the Arc(together with Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus, Multichannel PCM and extra), which prices twice as a lot because the Beam. Along with 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 because of the extra audio processing energy, one thing that ought to make the currently-available speech enhancement function work higher than earlier than.

The {hardware} additionally helps extra music codecs, as nicely. The Beam (in addition to the Arc) will quickly help the Extremely 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 help Dolby Atmos on Apple Music, and unsurprisingly the corporate wasn’t prepared to say but. However, there shouldn’t be any technical purpose, 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 can even use different Sonos audio system as surrounds. You’ll be able to 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 could 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 prime of the Beam, too). Like another current Sonos audio system, the brand new Beam has NFC to make setup even simpler — enjoying your telephone working the Sonos app close to it would robotically join it to your WiFi community.

Based mostly on what Sonos has stated to this point, the brand new Beam might be not a vital improve for many, until you’ve been itching to get Dolby Atmos into your setup with out spending a ton of cash. However on condition that the Beam is already the best-selling compact soundbar (in keeping with NPD information), these upgrades ought to assist it maintain its lead over the competitors — even with that $50 value hike.

Editor’s word: This text initially appeared on Engadget.

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