The Sonos portfolio of products has grown immensely in recent years, and the lounge room has been at the centre of that growth, with things like their IKEA frame, the new soundbars and singles you can use as rears and the booming Sub. Today, we’re looking at the lower end of the living room lineup, the brand new Sonos Ray.

Sonos Ray is a $395 soundbar, and at that price, it’s a fantastic device, a great option.

To say it’s the “good” in the Sonos lineup might sound like a bad thing, but the Sonos Arc is a stunning bit of audio engineering, the Sonos Beam performs way above it’s small size, so the Sonos Ray is actually similar in that it has the audio engineering genius of Sonos, packed into something that’s frankly tiny.

It’s 56cm wide, and stands just under 10cm tall, I can’t remember using a soundbar this small before other than the JBL 2.0 from a few years back.

Setup and installation were a breeze, the Sonos app is so intuitive, of course you can add it to an existing Sonos system, or make this your first – whatever you choose it’s the same ease of setup.

However, out of the box you realise the first thing that’s missing at this $395 price point. HDMI eArc. There’s no HDMI input here. Just power, Ethernet (WiFi also on board) and an Optical connection.

So this is taking Audio straight from the TV into the unit.

The smarts here are the Sonos Ray can also work with an IR remote, but unfortunately mine is RF, so no compatibility, meaning I need to adjust the volume using the Sonos App.

For me, that’s a deal breaker, but – let me be clear, I’m using a $10,000 Samsung TV, so I’d think that owner is likely buying a Sonos Arc or similar.

Basically, you should check that your TV remote is INFRA-RED – if so, the Sonos Ray is a winner, in the Sonos App you choose to Pair a TV remote and then a quick setup and you’re away with Volume control using your standard TV remote.

Of course, with WiFi and Ethernet you’ve also got a smart connected speaker here, so you can stream music from a myriad of sources, or use Apple AirPlay to choose the speaker from your iPhone or iPad.

How does the Sonos Ray Sound?

The all important question.

My first answer is, not loud enough. Watching Netflix Movies and Movies on Fetch I wasn’t able to pump it up to that “will the neighbours hear this” kinda volume I get from much larger soundbars.

That said, it’s louder than any regular TV. And importantly, clearer

The one thing I notice no matter what I put on, from Gozilla vs Kong, to Oceans 11, is the clarity. You know when people whisper in movies and you think – should they have bumped that volume up? Nope, not here – you hear it like they are whispering in your ear.

This is not a device with Dolby Atmos, nor is it pretending to have some virtual surround, though I will say, I did get a feeling the sound was all around me in some sense.

When playing music from my phone, I got a louder volume, but still, not “call the police” levels at all.

Who should buy the Sonos Ray

The Sonos Ray is going to take market share from soundbars in the $195-$450 price point. Those higher will come down for the simplicity and quality, those lower will be sold up for the same reasons.

And it doesn’t mean that’s the end either. Sonos Ray can be expanded, add a Sonos Sub, add a rear set of speakers – something most other basic soundbars don’t do is expand.

Overall thoughts on the Sonos Ray

Great sound quality, pretty good bang for the buck, wish it was a touch louder but love the compact look and design.