Sonos should be a much bigger deal in the Australian market.
Their products are always easy to use, connect and pair seamlessly with the use of the app, and sound amazing. Plus, they look stylish without looking garish – the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is a sleek silver bar (also available in black) with rounded edges and a polycarbonate grill — a marked improvement on the material grill in the Gen 1 which tends to collect more dust than a robovac.
It looks great, but it looks even greater as it melds into your home entertainment system, looking a treat but never pulling focus.
After all, this thing is meant to be heard, not seen.
As with most tech, it’s the little things that end up being the biggest deal.
The app steps you through the connection process easily and in a way that makes sense. You can also use this app as a one-stop shop: as your music controller, TV remote, and to fix any troubleshooting, but I assume you’ll just set and forget, until you need to make any adjustment. If you have other Sonos gear in your house, you’ll find pairing the speakers a breeze, even when in separate areas of the house.
It may sound like a small thing, but having lengthy HDMI and power cords is a godsend. I don’t know how many expensive products scrimp when it comes to cord length, but it’s a baffling decision to make, and one that can literally be a make or break for me (Attn: Apple).
Tech-wise, the processor is apparently 40 per cent faster than the Gen 1, with an additional two speaker arrays added to the three in the original.
But does it sound good?
The answer: of course it does. Even when watching the most ho-hum TV (such as a daily press briefing by the Premier), the oomph of the bar is notable, with the sounds more immersive, the way it gives a three-dimensional sense pleasing and surprising given the limited subject matter, and — even with things like background noises, overhear planes, and reporter questions, it gives the sensation of having ceiling speakers and be in the thick of the action (albeit, very slight in the action stakes).
Music is where the Sonos Beam Gen 2 really shines.
I tested two of the most divisive and loved albums of 2021: Drake’s Certified Lover Boy and Kanye West’s Donda. Both these records have throbbing bass tones, a dynamic audio range, and are multi-layered mixes. Both have been produced by the best in the game, mastered and mixed to be heard by the most high-end speaker systems, and both sound amazing through the Beam (Gen 2).
For such a small bar, this thing pumps. The basses rumble the room even when Spotify is turned halfway up — any higher than that and the police will come around —while the highs never hit that tinny level, the mix separation is rendered perfect, and the mid-range never gets too muddy or the details lost in the mix.
At $699, this bar isn’t exactly cheap, but it is extremely affordable given how great the sound quality is, and how versatile it is.