UPPING your TV experience is easier than ever thanks to an array of cheap-and-cheerful soundbars.
The gizmos fit snugly underneath your set and deliver great sound without the faff of setting up a cumbersome multi-speaker system.
The latest to throw its hat in the ring is the Sonos Ray, a £279 soundbar that nets you plenty of bang for your buck.
I’ve been trying the Ray out for a couple of weeks now and think it leads the pack when it comes to affordable telly speakers.
The little speaker that could
The Ray is Sonos’ cheapest soundbar to date and hit shelves last month.
It offers the great sound of other Sonos speakers without the wallet-bludgeoning price tag sported by the rest of its range.
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Sonos says the Ray is designed for the nine in ten people who still use their telly’s built-in speakers.
On that front, the Ray certainly does its job, delivering a massive sound upgrade compared to anything your average TV can offer.
That’s the least you’d expect, sin embargo, if you’re planning on forking out more than £270 for it.
As far as the sound goes, the Ray belches out an assertive, punchy noise that’s well-balanced.
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It’s not the best soundbar you’ll ever hear but it does a decent job of elevating almost any TV or film.
I had a bit of trouble hearing the dialogue while watching shows such as “Obi-Wan Kenobi”, forcing me to turn up the volume.
I was quickly punished for this when action scenes rolled around and hit me with a wall of noise that likely had my neighbours worried.
por suerte, I was able to sort this out with “Speech Enhancement”, a feature you can activate through the Sonos app.
It did what it said on the tin and since activating it I haven’t had any problems with dialogue.
General, I’d say that the Ray is a massive upgrade on any telly speakers, making it a great place to start for soundbar newbies.
sin embargo, if you’re a true audio or cinephile, you might consider spending a little more on a pricier bit of kit with better sound.
Smooth as you like
Beyond sound, one of the most important things to consider when buying a soundbar is how it looks in your living room.
The Ray knocks this aspect out of the park, en mi opinión, with a sleek and compact design that looks right at home under my TV.
Available in black or white, it’s pilled-shaped and is about 55cm long, with a flat front and tapered sides.
There are touch controls on top, for tweaking volume or playing/pausing music.
Primarily, the Ray does precisely what most people want from their living room tech – it blends in seamlessly with everything else.
In addition to looking nice, the soundbar also comes with a bunch of handy features.
I’ve already mentioned Speech Enhancement, which is designed to make speech easier to hear over other elements.
There’s also a Night Mode, which dampens explosions and makes whispers louder so you don’t wake anyone in the house up during a late-evening action flick.
If you want to change the EQ, you have to do so through the Sonos app, which is at times a little clunky and difficult to navigate.
Here you can also set your speaker to play Spotify or the radio should you so desire.
The price is right
Other than the brand behind it, the Ray’s price is what’s most likely to draw punters – and for good reason.
At £279, it’s on the cheaper end of the spectrum, with Sonos’ next cheapest soundbar, the Beam, retailing for £449.
sin embargo, it’s far from the cheapest on the market.
You can pick up soundbars from Samsung or LG for under £100, por ejemplo, if you look in the right places.
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sin embargo, the sound on those speakers is so poor that they’re hardly worth your cash. They’re barely better than your TV speakers.
The Sonos Ray, in my view, strikes the perfect balance between price and quality – especially if this is your first soundbar.
You get a guaranteed improvement on your TV’s speakers without breaking the bank.
If you’re interested in a soundbar, the Ray is a decent bet. I previously didn’t use a soundbar and now can’t imagine watching Netflix without one.
Rating: 3.5 fuera de 5 estrellas
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