First Sonos headphones blast away at AirPods Max


Sonos Ace headphones in soft white
Sonos' first headphones look like quite an appealing alternative to AirPods Max -- for $100 less out of the gate.
Photo: Sonos

Popular speaker brand Sonos finally unveiled its “most-requested” product ever Tuesday — Sonos Ace over-ear headphones. They appear to go straight at Apple’s aging AirPods Max as a competitor. The new cans sport top features and a $100 lower list price ($449) than Apple’s premium headphones.

Sonos touts the new headphones’ “breathtaking lossless and spatial audio, world-class Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Aware Mode, as well as the most precise and immersive home theater experience possible using Sonos’ new TrueCinema technology.”

You can preorder Sonos Ace now and they become available June 5.

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Sonos Ace headphones

A flurry of breathless media coverage greeted the new Sonos Ace rollout, with several positive early reviews in the mix. For its part, Sonos knew this would be a pretty big deal. Excitement skyrocketed with the headphones’ first leak in early May.

“They’re here! Fans have asked us for years to bring the Sonos experience to headphones — and we knew our first foray into the category needed to champion the type of innovation and sound experience Sonos has become synonymous with,” said Patrick Spence, CEO of Sonos, in press materials.

“Sonos Ace leverages everything we’ve learned over two decades as an audio leader to bring stunning sound, sleek design and long-standing comfort to one of the largest and most popular audio categories worldwide,” he added.

The new cans’ release follows on the heels of the Sonos audio app’s recent redesign, which angered some fans by leaving out features the company pledges to restore, according to The Verge. And the headphones come along as Sonos needs a boost after it speaker sales flagged following a pandemic surge.

The Verge described the look of the headphones this way, citing two of the best sets of cans on the market: “These look like what you’d get if you put Sony’s WH-1000XM5 and Apple’s AirPods Max into a blender.”

As far as the next AirPods Max update goes, a minimal upgrade is expected in 2024, but it may only involve a connector swap from Lightning to USB-C and new color options.

Sonos sound in a more personal package

The company ticked off an impressive range of features in cans it described as “masterfully tuned.” Sonos Ace headphones feature two custom-designed drivers for precise and clear audio. You can listen via Bluetooth or through a wired, lossless 3.5mm to USB-C cable. Wireless lossless audio is available to Android users via AptX codec.

These headphones tie in nicely with Sonos’ identity as a leading home theater audio provider of soundbars, speakers and subwoofers. Just a tap of a button switches you from those to Sonos Ace headphones’s surround sound, the company said.

With the headphones, you get Dolby Atmos spatial audio with dynamic head tracking. Then, later in 2024, Sonos promised an upgrade. Its “all-new TrueCinema technology precisely maps your space then renders a complete surround-sound system for a listening experience so realistic you’ll forget you’re wearing headphones,” the company said.

ANC with ‘Aware mode’

Sonos Ace headphones in black
This guy is rocking the new Sonos Ace headphones in black.
Photo: Sonos

The new Sonos Ace come with ANC and a version of Transparency mode that Sonos dubs “Aware mode.” It lets you hear more of what’s going on around you when you want to make sure you’re not accidentally ignoring your spouse or walking into oncoming traffic.

The headphones also claim day-long battery life and fast charging. You get 30 hours of use on a full charge and 3 hours of battery life with a quick 3-minute charge using the included USB-C cable.

Sonos Ace headphones aim for elegance and comfort

Sonos Ace headphones blend metal accents with a matte finish in black or soft white to go with many styles, Sonos said. It noted the cans feature an “airy fit” from their lightweight, premium materials. Vegan leather surrounds the memory foam ear cups with a hidden hinge in the headband.

The headphones feature tactile buttons for control and a fold-flat design to fit easily but snugly in a lightweight travel case.

“Sonos Ace represents our ambition to create moving sound experiences that are equal to the moment we live in. It is an exciting new chapter as we embark on what it means to design for personal listening,” said Sonos Chief Product Officer Maxime Bouvat-Merlin.

“True to Sonos’ heritage of premium products, each individual detail of Sonos Ace has been expertly crafted, custom designed, and tuned by the world’s leading sound experts to give you a listening experience unlike any other.”

You can preorder Sonos Ace headphones at for $449 with June 5 shipping. They’re not on Amazon yet, but like many Sonos products, they probably will be soon.

Where to preorder: Sonos

Source: Sonos

Sonos Ace headphones

The premium speaker brand's first headphones feature a sleek, over-ear design with Active Noise Cancellation and dual drivers for clear sound, plus spatial audio with dynamic head tracking.

Preorder now


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