Sonos busts out new Beam sound bar, plus AirPlay 2 support

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sonos beam
Sonos Beam is sleek but packs a punch.
Photo: Sonos

Sonos is making a power play to take over your living room with its latest smart speaker called Sonos Beam.

Beam is a new sound bar that is smaller than Sonos’ Playbar and Playbase, but it also packs some new features like a five-microphone array and it plays well with Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and of course, Siri.

Watch out HomePod, this thing looks amazing:

Beam takes on HomePod

Priced at $399, Beam is set to go on sale on July 17. Even though it’s a soundbar speaker, it could become a major competitor to Google Home and Apple’s HomePod.

Like all of Sonos’ speakers, Beam is beautifully designed with a sleek look that makes it smaller than most sound bars without compromising on sound. It’s just 25 inches across with two front-facing woofers and one more on each end. more on the end one angled on each end and two front-facing. Beams only has one tweeter in the middle with three passive radiators.

The company says that its goal is to present sound as it was intended to be heard. So unlike the HomePod, it doesn’t make a bunch of changes to the equalizer for real-time audio mixing. That might be good or bad news for audiophiles. We’ll have to wait and see how good it sounds in real life, but judging from people that got to beta test it, it sounds really good.

Sonos supports AirPlay 2

Also among Sonos’ announcements, today was the upcoming support for AirPlay 2. Newer Sonos speakers like the Sonos One, Play 5, Playbase, Beam and future products will support AirPlay 2 which gives you the option to play the same song from your iPhone on multiple speakers.

Sonos’ implementation of AirPlay 2 adds a few new tricks too. For instance, you can control some of the AirPlay 2 music with Alex. But you can also launch music from your iPhone using Siri. Once music is playing via AirPlay 2, you can use Alexa to pause a song, skip, or ask what song is playing.

AirPlay 2 on Sonos speakers will also be able to work with Sonos’ room systems that way you don’t have to set up two different systems. And if you have one of the supported new speakers, you can still use AirPlay 2 to older Sonos speakers through it.