NO-NONSENSE Premium Quality Audio! Sonos Beam Gen 2 Review

Yeap, this was the special edition package of the Liverpool and Sonos collaboration which is currently not on sale yet, so yes as a Liverpool fan, I was pretty excited!

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Unboxing

So other than the Liverpool goodies, you would get what exactly that you would expect in the Sonos Beam Generation 2 unboxing, such as:

  • the Power Cable
  • a 1.5 meter HDMI cable
  • an Optical Audio Adapter, just in case you’d like to connect the Beam to an Optical Audio connection
  • and of course, the documentation
1.1 power cable - 1080p_Sonos Beam Gen 2.mp400006
1.3 optical adapter - 1080p_Sonos Beam Gen 2.mp400008
1.2 HDMI cable - 1080p_Sonos Beam Gen 2.mp400007
1.4 documents - 1080p_Sonos Beam Gen 2.mp400009

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Design & Build

If you are not very familiar with the different types of products from Sonos, this Sonos Beam is the only compact and affordable soundbar option compared to its bigger sibling the Sonos Arc, which is the current soundbar that I have been using for more than a year.

In terms of the color options, the one that I am reviewing is in matte white color and the other option is in matte black.

But if you are familiar with the first generation Sonos Beam, you’d find that the Gen 2 has the same exact design and form factor, which is very compact, measuring 65.1 centimeters wide, 10 centimeters in depth, and 6.85 centimeters in height.

Now, this means if you have the Gen 1 mounted on your wall already, if you want to swap it off you can easily do so, and that is sweet.

I have to say that I love the upgraded polycarbonate material grille which is used here in the Gen 2 Sonos Beam, which is the same material used on the Sonos Arc.

And this is because the cloth type of fabric on the Gen 1 wasn’t the best at giving you a long-lasting experience, as either it trapped dust or if you chose the white color variant it could turn yellowish after a long period of time.

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Controls & Ports

Next, looking at the overall controls and the IO available on the Sonos Beam Gen 2, you will find the capacitive touch controls on top of the soundbar, where you will also find a total of 5 far-field microphones to choose between Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa voice assistant features to compliment your smart home ecosystem if you have one.

Until now it doesn’t natively work here in Malaysia but there is a workaround to get it to work here in Malaysia which I will link a file for you all below.

Workaround file:
https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/mobile/folders/1OKDMGoq37UfWLncioLoH3JRzLLmwSQoq?usp=sharing

Then at the back, other than the power port, there is the familiar join button when pairing and configuring the speaker, an Ethernet port for a wired internet option, and an HDMI eARC port and this was the significant upgrade to the first generation Beam.

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Hardware

As for the hardware specs or what is exactly in the soundbar, there are four elliptical or a full range mid-woofers, a single-center tweeter, and these speakers are all powered by a Class D amplifier.

What’s also new is that this new Gen 2 Sonos Beam has a 40% faster processor, and this processor has a very unique ability to create two new virtual audio paths for Dolby Atmos.

So what this does and means is that, compared to a traditional Dolby Atmos soundbar like the Sonos Arc, which usually has upwards and sideways speakers to enhance the Dolby Atmos experience, these two new virtual audio paths will mimic those speakers virtually, giving you a total of FIVE audio paths!

To be honest, this got me skeptical at first as technically it is not exactly a “true Dolby Atmos” since it’s using a virtual audio path instead of an organic speaker sound.

And having heard similarly priced soundbars from JBL and Samsung, I was really not pleased by that and I was proven wrong with this Gen 2 Sonos Beam as it did sound like true Dolby Atmos indeed but more on my sound experience later.

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Setup

So setting up the Sonos Beam is exactly the same as other Sonos speakers, which I have done an in-depth setup in my Sonos Arc review, which I will link below.

Sonos Arc review – https://youtu.be/t9R1BbhBo9E

But it is now even easier and faster, since the Sonos Beam Gen 2 has NFC so overall the pairing and setup process was way much quicker by tapping your phone on the Sonos Beam Gen 2 once it is detected, connect to your WiFi, name the room that you are placing the Beam, and you are done!

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Sound Experience

So, how does the speaker sound then? Well, before we go into the Dolby Atmos experience, allow me to give you my thoughts about the sound when listening to music first.

Now before even listening to music or even watching movies, I would totally recommend for you to use TruePlay through the Sonos S2 App to ensure that your sound is automatically tuned. Once again, this is only available for the iOS devices, and as of the recording of this video, the app doesn’t support the latest iPhone 13 series, so try to get hold of the iPhone 12 series or before and hopefully there will be a software update coming really soon which supports that.

So all of my music listening was on Apple Music and while the separation of the instruments for any kind of genre was really nice and loud with very nice and rounded bass, what really stood out to me was the amazing clarity of the vocals as it really did sound like vocals were “placed” right in the middle of the speakers.

And I am really in awe of how much output that the speaker produces because of the small and compact form factor.

Then when it came to Dolby Atmos’ experience on Netflix, once again, the Centre Channel really boosted the vocal projection extremely well, and this was true to the sound even when watching a YouTube video as well.

The vocal clarity literally cuts through the noise and the background sound perfectly without compromising the quality or having any distorted sound even at the higher vocal frequencies, and here is where I feel that the processor is doing an amazing job too.

So gone are the days where you would need to use the Night Sound Mode to enhance the vocal clarity if you are coming from the Generation One Sonos Beam.

And going back to talking about the processor is that similar to how it was for me when I added the Sonos Sub into the Sonos Arc, it will cleverly separate the bass out more towards the sub and make the overall additional speakers way more balanced.

In terms of the surround sound for Dolby Atmos, as mentioned, I was pleasantly surprised as the overhead sound like a plane or an explosion over the top was really heard well, and you would not even guess that the sound was created through a virtual path instead of using “real” speakers instead.

Then gaming on the Sonos Beam was also really sweet where there was absolutely no noticeable latency when it comes to my gaming experience on the audio/video output. Playing fighting games like Mortal Kombat was nice as it had that nice low end and playing FIFA was great with a great sound atmosphere of the crowd.

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Cons

With the overall experience of using this soundbar for the past month, I honestly don’t see any cons, especially with this price point and amazing sound quality.

If I really have to nit-pick I would probably say that having an additional HDMI port would have been nice but maybe the second generation Sonos Arc might have that as I am sure Sonos was looking towards keeping the Soundbar compact and that could be the reason why.

Some may argue about not having Bluetooth connectivity too but here is where either you can get the Sonos Move or the Sonos Roam for more portability as the WiFi music streaming is far more superior compared to a typical Bluetooth connection.

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Conclusion

Now, in conclusion, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 is surely a soundbar that will shake the home audio industry with its no-nonsense and premium sound quality by packing this amazing sound in a compact form factor, whether or not you are using it for watching movies through Dolby Atmos or just listening to music.

I think that the Sonos Beam Gen 2 might be stealing some of the customers who might have been looking to make a purchase of the Sonos Arc due to the great price point of only RM2,699 and you can get yourself one from TC Acoustic in which I’ll leave the link down below.

Get the Sonos Beam Gen 2 at the link below:-
https://trysonos.my/products/sonos-beam-gen2

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