Sonos Releases New Beam Soundbar with Dolby Atmos Support
Sonos recently released the second-generation Beam soundbar, which now supports Dolby Atmos 3D audio to give your home theater “panoramic sound.” While the new Beam looks the same, it comes with a few new upgrades that will improve your home theater even more. Here’s everything you need to know about the new Sonos Beam 2 soundbar, including its new features, price, and release details.
Faster Processor & HDMI eARC Support
The Sonos Beam 2 has a new processor that is 40% faster than the previous model. With this additional processing power, Sonos was able to give its new soundbar an HDMI eARC connection, which allows it to support higher-resolution audio formats.
While the original Sonos Beam featured an HDMI ARC (audio return channel) port, the new soundbar was upgraded to support eARC (enhanced audio return). This increases the amount of data the Beam 2 can send and receive, so the new soundbar doesn’t have to compress audio as much, and you get the best audio quality possible.
However, in order to hear the benefits of eARC, your TV also needs to have an HDMI eARC port. You will also need to use an “ultra-high-speed” HDMI 2.1 cable. Otherwise, your audio will be downgraded to ARC, and you won’t be able to listen to Dolby Atmos content.
With a faster processor and eARC port, Sonos was also able to add Dolby Atmos audio to the Beam 2. This technology improves on surround sound by adding an overhead dimension. So, you will hear audio coming from all around you, giving you a more immersive experience while watching movies.
For example, think of a movie scene where a helicopter flies down from the top of the screen. With Dolby Atmos, you would be able to hear the sound of the propellers as they come from behind you, pass over your head, and continue to float down in a 3D space.
With a traditional sound system, you would need to mount speakers on the ceiling to get the 3D effect of Dolby Atmos. Most soundbars that support Dolby Atmos use upward-facing speakers to bounce sound off the ceiling to achieve this effect instead. However, the Sonos Beam 2 can only deliver the “impression of height” using Dolby Height Virtualization.
Dolby says its Height Virtualization technology works by adding filters to the audio during the editing process that “simulate the natural spectral cues imparted by the human ear to sounds arriving from overhead.”
So, basically, the sound doesn’t actually come from above you, but sound engineers manipulate the audio data to make it sound like it’s coming from overhead. However, Dolby claims the technology still provides “enhanced height sensation that previous sound bars do not provide.”
With its extra processing power, Sonos was able to add two extra audio channels to the Beam 2 without changing the design of the original soundbar. The new height channel adds a sense of space, while the rear channel adds depth and delivers bass.
Same Sonos Soundbar, New Design
Sonos didn’t change the design of the Beam, but its new soundbar has a polycarbonate grille, which is made with high-quality plastic that helps keep the product durable. This material also makes the Beam 2 easier to clean and maintain.
This 25-inch soundbar is half the size of most models that support Dolby Atmos. Just like the previous model, the Beam 2 will fit between the legs of most 55-inch TVs, so it should free up some space on your TV stand.
What Stayed the Same with the New Sonos Soundbar?
Like the original Beam, the new Sonos soundbar comes with Alexa and the Google Assistant built-in, so you can control your TV or play a song with voice commands. You can also connect your iPhone to this soundbar to stream audio over AirPlay 2.
You can also connect this soundbar to other Sonos speakers over WiFi or use the Ethernet port to connect it directly to your router for a more stable connection. This soundbar can be paired with a subwoofer and rear speakers for a true surround-sound setup.
Sonos Beam 2 Price and Release Date
The new Sonos Beam 2 was released on Oct 5 with a starting price of $449. The soundbar comes in black and white finishes, and it is only available at Sonos.com right now.
While the new Sonos soundbar is $50 more than the previous model, it isn’t the only speaker getting a price hike. During a call with investors, Sonos recently said that it is raising the price of its speakers based on current demand and supply chain constraints.
While Sonos only raised the price of the Roam by $10, the Arc soundbar is now $100 more expensive than it was previously.