There are more and more smart speakers on the market these days, with many competing for a spot in your living room to deliver your favorite playlists. Sonos is one of the most dominant speaker brands on the market.

What’s more, Sonos Beam and Ray are two of the most popular Sonos soundbars. In this article, we’ll discuss how each soundbar stacks up against the other and what you need to know before making a purchase decision. Read on to find out which of these two premium soundbars suits your needs.

Sonos Beam vs Ray: Side-by-Side Comparison

Sonos BeamRay
Year Released2018 (Gen 1)
2021 (Gen 2)
2022
SpeakerFive Class-D digital amplifiers, four elliptical midwoofers, and one center tweeterFour Class-D digital amplifiers, two high-efficiency midwoofers, and two tweeters
Size69 x 651 x 100 mm71 x 559 x 95 mm
Price$399 (Gen 1)
$449 (Gen 2)
$279
Weight2.8 kg1.95 kg
BluetoothNoNo
Dolby AtmosNo (Gen 1)
Yes (Gen 2)
No
AlexaYesNo

Sonos Beam vs Ray: What’s the Difference?

If you’re looking for a new soundbar to improve your home theater experience, you may be wondering whether to choose the Sonos Beam or the Sonos Ray. Both are excellent choices, but there are some key differences between them that you should be aware of before making your decision.

Price

Sonos Beam - Smart TV Sound Bar with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black
  • Beam - The smart, compact soundbar for TV, music, and more.
  • High definition sound - Experience rich, detailed sound for your TV that fills the entire room.
  • TV, music and more - Play music, TV, movies, podcasts, radio, audiobooks and video games.
  • Easy control - Control Beam with your voice, remote, the Sonos app, and more.
  • Class 10 for Full HD video recording and playback (Full HD (1920x1080) video support may vary based upon host device, file attributes, and other factors)

The Sonos Beam is priced at $399 (Gen 1) and $449 (Gen 2). However, Sonos Ray is cheaper as it is officially listed at $279 on the official Sonos website. The main difference in price is due to the fact that the Beam has more digital amplifiers and the second-generation Sonos Beam supports Dolby Atmos. Meanwhile, Sonos Ray does not support Dolby Atmos.

Both products are available for purchase through the Sonos website and select retailers. If you’re looking for a high-quality soundbar but are on a budget, then the Sonos Ray is a great option. However, if you’re willing to spend a bit more for better sound quality, then the Sonos Beam is worth considering.

Connection

The Sonos Beam has an HDMI ARC port, while the Sonos Ray does not. This means that the Beam can be connected directly to your TV via an HDMI cable, while the Ray will need to be connected to your TV via an optical cable. The Sonos Beam and Sonos Ray both have an Ethernet port. They can also connect to WiFi. 

Audio Quality

Sonos Beam Gen 2 (Black)
  • Enjoy vibrant bass, crystal clear dialogue, and a panoramic soundstage.
  • Experience a 3D surround sound effect with Dolby Atmos.
  • Stream music, radio, podcasts, and audiobooks from all your favorite services when the TV is off.
  • Control with the Sonos app, your TV remote, Apple AirPlay 2, and your voice using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
  • Breeze through setup with only two cables, step-by-step guidance from the Sonos app, and smart Trueplay tuning. Easily expand your Sonos system over time to enjoy true surround sound and multi-room listening. Everything connects over WiFi.

When it comes to audio quality, there are a few key differences between the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) and the Sonos Ray. The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) features five Class-D digital amplifiers, four midwoofers, and one center tweeter. By contrast, the Sonos Ray only has four Class-D digital amplifiers, two high-efficiency midwoofers, and two tweeters. 

As a result, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) tends to produce richer and more detailed sound than the Sonos Ray. Sonos Ray is also suitable for medium-sized rooms, while the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) can fill a large room with its immersive audio output. 

Additionally, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) supports Dolby Atmos, while the Sonos Ray does not. So, if you are looking for a high-quality audio experience, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is your best option. 

Voice Control

One of the key differences between the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) and Sonos Ray is the range of smart features on offer. The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) comes with Amazon Alexa built-in, allowing you to control it using your voice.

You can also use Alexa to control other smart devices in your home, such as lights and thermostats. In addition, the Sonos Beam comes with built-in AirPlay 2, making it compatible with Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad.

By contrast, the Sonos Ray does not have Alexa built-in. It does not have a microphone either, which means you cannot control it directly with your voice, unlike the Sonos Beam (Gen 2).

HDMI ARC Support

​​Another difference between the two soundbars is that the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) has HDMI ARC support, while the Sonos Ray does not. HDMI ARC allows you to connect your TV directly to the soundbar using a single HDMI cable, which simplifies setup and reduces clutter. Additionally, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) supports Dolby Atmos, while the Sonos Ray does not.

Design

Sonos Ray Essential Soundbar, for TV, Music and Video Games - Black
  • Experience clearer, more powerful sound than ever before possible by a small standalone soundbar
  • Dynamic sound that enhances the drama and creates a surprisingly wide soundstage
  • Zero-stress setup with only two cables and help from the Sonos app
  • Stream all your content from your favorite services over WiFi using the Sonos app, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and more

When it comes to design, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) and Sonos Ray have a few key differences. The Beam is shorter and wider, while the Ray is longer and narrower. The Beam also has a physical button on the top for controlling power, while the Ray does not. The Beam has a sleek, modern design that will blend in with most home décor. 

Both speakers are compact and can be easily moved around, making them ideal for small spaces. Both the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) and the Sonos Ray have touch controls on the top for volume and playback.

Sonos Beam vs Ray: 6 Must-Know Facts

  1. The first version of Sonos Beam was released in 2018, while the second-generation Sonos Beam was released in 2021.
  2. Sonos Ray is the cheapest Sonos soundbar.
  3. Both the Sonos Beam and Sonos Ray are compatible with AirPlay 2, meaning you can easily stream music from your iPhone or iPad.
  4. Sonos Beam (Gen 2) offers a built-in assistant (Alexa), while Sonos Ray does not. However, both soundbars can be controlled with your voice if you have an Amazon Echo or Google Home device.
  5. Sonos Beam (Gen 2) has HDMI ARC support, while the Ray does not.
  6. Sonos Beam has a better bass response than Sonos Ray.

Sonos Beam vs Ray: Which One Should You Buy?

When it comes to choosing between the Sonos Beam and the Ray, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. First, think about the size of your room and how much power you need. 

The Sonos Ray is a great choice for smaller rooms, while the Sonos Beam is ideal for larger spaces. Second, consider your budget. The Sonos Ray is more affordable than the Beam, so it may be a better option if you’re looking to save money.

Finally, think about the features that are most important to you. Both the Sonos Beam and Ray offer great sound quality and easy setup, but the Beam (Gen 2) has some additional features like Alexa voice control and Dolby Atmos that might be appealing to you. 

Ultimately, the decision between Sonos Beam and Ray comes down to personal preference. However, we recommend the Sonos Beam since it supports Alexa voice control and Dolby Atmos. 

Last update on 2022-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sonos Beam vs Ray: Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are the main differences between the Sonos Beam and the Sonos Ray?

The main differences between the Sonos Beam and the Sonos Ray are their size, shape, and functionality. Sonos Beam (Gen 2) supports voice control with Alexa and Google Assistant. However, Sonos Ray does not have a microphone, and it does not have an in-built voice assistant either.

The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) has five full-range drivers and three tweeters, while the Sonos Ray has four full-range drivers. The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) also has HDMI ARC support, while the Sonos Ray does not have an HDMI port.

Which is better, the Sonos Beam or the Sonos Ray?

Both the Sonos Beam and the Sonos Ray are great products, but it really depends on your individual needs. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, then the Ray is a great choice. However, if you’re willing to spend a bit more for superior sound quality, then the Beam is definitely worth considering.

How much do they cost?

The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is listed at $449, while the Sonos Ray is listed at $279.99 on the official Sonos website.

What is Dolby Atmos?

Dolby Atmos is a revolutionary audio technology that creates a truly immersive sound experience. It uses a unique speaker setup that allows sound to be directed anywhere in the room, creating a three-dimensional soundscape. This makes it ideal for home theater systems and gaming laptops.

What are the benefits of Sonos Beam’s Dolby Atmos?

Dolby Atmos is a revolutionary new audio technology that immerses you in your favorite movies and TV shows like never before. With Dolby Atmos, sound comes alive from all directions, including overhead, to create an incredibly vibrant and realistic experience. You’ll feel like you’re right in the middle of the action, whether you’re watching a blockbuster or your favorite TV show.

Dolby Atmos is the perfect way to experience your favorite entertainment. Whether you’re watching a movie or TV show, or playing a video game, Dolby Atmos creates an immersive soundscape that will completely envelop you. You’ll hear sounds coming from all around you, including from above, for a truly realistic and exciting experience.

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