American manufacturer Sonos has revealed the Sonos Beam Gen 2 soundbar, an update and redesign of the iconic Sonos Beam. This second generation adds an eARC HDMI port with Dolby Atmos compatibility for an even more immersive 3D sound. The more powerful processor promises improved simulation of various effects and more efficient DSP modes, while support for voice assistants and streaming technologies makes this Sonos soundbar even easier to use.
Sonos Beam Gen 2: Dolby Atmos 3D sound
In early 2020, the American manufacturer launched the Sonos ARC, the first Dolby Atmos compatible Sonos soundbar. With the new Sonos Beam Gen 2, the brand adds this technology to its entry-level model to provide an even more immersive listening experience in a format that’s still compact and discreet. To do this, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 takes the acoustic design of the first generation, with four drivers dedicated to the midrange, a tweeter for the highs and three passive radiators responsible for extending the response in the lows. However, each driver is controlled more precisely thanks to the use of a more powerful processor that is now compatible with the majority of Dolby formats, including Dolby Atmos. That said, Atmos effects are only simulated and not reproduced by real drivers. We can therefore expect a less impressive result than with the Sonos Arc which has dedicated drivers on its top panel, just like many other Dolby Atmos soundbars.
Sonos Beam Gen 2: sound modes
Like its predecessor, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 soundbar offers several sound enhancement modes, including a voice mode for more efficient reproduction of dialogue. The night mode is also available to reduce the dynamic range in order to limit the differences in sound level to enjoy your movies without disturbing people who are already in bed. These different modes are even more convincing thanks to the new processor which ensures higher computing power and greater reliability.
Sonos Beam Gen 2: HDMI eARC
To enjoy Dolby Atmos streams, the HDMI port of the Sonos Beam Gen 2 soundbar is now compatible with the ARC and eARC protocols. It is therefore able to retrieve the soundtrack of the program viewed on the television, from any source. The Sonos Beam Gen 2 can thus play all your sources, whether it is a UHD 4K Blu-ray player, a TV program, a network player, a game console or even a program watched from a VOD service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, for example. As with the Sonos ARC, an HDMI to optical adapter is included to connect this Sonos soundbar to a TV that only has an optical output.
Sonos Beam Gen 2: Trueplay calibration
The second generation Sonos Beam soundbar still uses Sonos Trueplay acoustic calibration technology. The latter makes it possible to adjust the sound reproduction according to the resonances and reverberations of the listening room. To make this adjustment, however, it is still necessary to use the Sonos app on an iOS device (iPhone or iPad). Although Android users cannot take advantage of this system, they still have the option of personalizing the sound thanks to the bass, midrange and treble equalizer available in the Sonos app.
Sonos Beam Gen 2: streaming & multi-room
The Sonos Beam soundbar (Gen 2) can also be used to listen to music, with the same possibilities as any other Sonos connected speaker. Thanks to its dual WiFi and Ethernet network controller, it connects very easily to the Internet and to the local network. It is then able to play shared music, but also radio stations and music services on the Internet such as Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, etc. Streaming any audio stream is also made easy for Apple smartphone, tablet, or computer users with AirPlay 2 compatibility. Finally, multi-room streaming is possible to any Sonos or AirPlay 2 compatible device or speaker.
Sonos Beam Gen 2: voice assistants
Like all the Californian brand’s equipment, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 soundbar is controlled in a simple and intuitive way using the remote control of the television to which it is associated, its touch-sensitive interface or even vocally thanks to the integration of Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Its many long-range microphones then ensure optimal voice pickup, even in a noisy environment. All you have to do is ask the assistant to play your favorite song, adjust the volume or even change tracks to control this Sonos soundbar.
Sonos Beam Gen 2: price & availability
The new Sonos Beam Gen 2 soundbar will be available for pre-order from September 21, 2021 for €499.