Meet Sonos Beam



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If I use optical connection on the beam to tv, would I miss any of the new features over HDMI?
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@pwwhitehead My post, was, by the way, not directed at you, but was an response the the previous post by shoturtle.

There's two ways to (correctly) look at the new Beam:

1. It's a smaller, cheaper version of the Play Bar that connects to your TV out via optical.

Now noone can say that's a product that noone wants. My understanding is they've sold quite a few of them. If you have an older TV without HDMI-ARC, that is what the product looks like.

2. For those with a modern TV with HDMI-ARC, it's an improved product which connects to your TV and other peripherals in the way that is likely to be commonplace and standard going forward.

Now, possibly due to a misunderstanding on your part, you look at the product as something else. If you have a newer TV with HDMI-ARC, you should have no requirement for HDMI passthrough on the Beam, as the TV should do this and present you the audio from all of your devices via HDMI-ARC. If you don't have HDMI-ARC on your TV, then optical output is the supported option.

Now I appreciate that, with your setup, Beam might not be the product for you, but that doesn't apply to everyone. Going forward more and more people will be going the HDMI-ARC route. It's now common on TVs and, unlike Atmos, is something that most people will want to use (once they understand it) as it makes their lives simpler, reduces cable clutter, etc.

Cheers,

Keith
@pwwhitehead My post, was, by the way, not directed at you, but was an response the the previous post by shoturtle.

There's two ways to (correctly) look at the new Beam:

1. It's a smaller, cheaper version of the Play Bar that connects to your TV out via optical.

Now noone can say that's a product that noone wants. My understanding is they've sold quite a few of them. If you have an older TV without HDMI-ARC, that is what the product looks like.

2. For those with a modern TV with HDMI-ARC, it's an improved product which connects to your TV and other peripherals in the way that is likely to be commonplace and standard going forward.

Now, possibly due to a misunderstanding on your part, you look at the product as something else. If you have a newer TV with HDMI-ARC, you should have no requirement for HDMI passthrough on the Beam, as the TV should do this and present you the audio from all of your devices via HDMI-ARC. If you don't have HDMI-ARC on your TV, then optical output is the supported option.

Now I appreciate that, with your setup, Beam might not be the product for you, but that doesn't apply to everyone. Going forward more and more people will be going the HDMI-ARC route. It's now common on TVs and, unlike Atmos, is something that most people will want to use (once they understand it) as it makes their lives simpler, reduces cable clutter, etc.

Cheers,

Keith
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I accept that Dolby Atmos is a niche product and the ability to deliver true Dolby Atmos with a sound bar is difficult if not impossible. However I have researched the reviews for the Sony sound bar, they are very good. I just offers my more flexibility than the poorly thought out Beam. Which is just a glorified way to improve the sound from your TV. Yes a great addition to any existing Sonos system, but it's not a great addition to the TV.

As I stated I love my Sonos speakers and will wait until Google Assistant is built in, however the Sony will at least allow my to select the Sony play bar within the Google Home app. I just think the Beam is limited and only on use to extend the Sonos speaker system.

Most users in the UK have either Sky via satellite, Virgin via cable or You view IPTV. All are delivered via their specific set top box. So all these users would not look kindly on the omission of the additional HDMI. If the Beam had the additional HDMI I would have placed my order for July to expand my Sonos system. But with this one decision they have lost my custom for this particular before.

I would also water a bet they current UK Sonos users thinking about a sound bar will have a similar view to myself alone with customers thinking about a Sonos purchase for the first time. Once the dust settles on the initial press reviews detailed reviews will highlight the glaring omission of the additional HDMI input. This omission is totally stupid and not logical for a TV sound bar.
As I said (and the crux of my post, which you seem to have missed) is that there is a HUUGE difference between Atmos being commonplace on products, and people caring about it.

"Mainstream" means that people care enough about it to influence their buying decisions longer term.

And the reality is that the "Atmos" logo on a typical sound bar is likely to be pure hype: A soundbar solution is unlikely to deliver any significant improvements over other soundbar based surround like Dolby Digital. Why? Because Physics.

The same Physics that means that, whilst it may be possible to tune a soundbar "to sound good" in most rooms, making it sound good and making it in any way live up to the Atmos specifications to the extent it's significantly better than existing surround sound standards like Dolby Digital is unlikely to happen without requiring additional speakers.

I speak as an Electronics Engineer with some training in acoustics.

Frankly, Atmos is the industry hype at the moment. But most people will simply not understand what it is or care about it. I bet if you stopped 100 people in the street, 99 of them wouldn't even recognise the name. Most people don't even know the difference between Dolby Digital and DTS after more than a decade of these technologies being ubiquitous in consumer products.

The people who do care about it will mostly be smart enough to realise that you need a proper surround installation to benefit properly from it. They won't be expecting to magically get full Atmos benefits from a standalone sound bar.

Now if people were asking for Atmos support from an AV Receiver type system, then I could understand this. That makes sense. Sonos doesn't currently make one of those and, frankly, they are unlikely to IMO.

So as far as I'm concerned, Atmos support in a soundbar solution is pretty pointless: outside of the industry and a niche of enthusiasts almost no one cares about it and it's unlikely to ever be beneficial in the sort of products that most people want (like sound bars).

Beam is aimed at that the 99% of people who really don't know what Atmos is yet alone care about it. That's unlikely to change any time soon. If it does, Atmos support could probably be added with a software update.

Cheers,

Keith
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I was initially considering a purchase of Sonos Playbase to add to my Sonos system. When it was apparent the the new devise would have HDMI I held off as I wanted the ability to use my Sky Q box to pass through the new device allowing the use of Sky Q remote to alter sound levels. To my disappointment only ONE HDMI. I had online chat with Sonos.

They confirmed I would have to use optical with the loss of funcitiallity. Altering sound via Sonos app. He expressed his surprise and the situation and stated he would feed this back to design and development team. I stated I would not purchase Beam as only one HDMI isca deal breaker for me. What sort of company does not allow HDMI pass through for set top boxes Satellite Cable in THE USA never mind game machines. This is total madness.

I will be buying a Sony Dolby Atmos they allows my to input my Sky Q box, allows 4K pass through and I can slow select the Bluetooth with my Google Home so allow this to input over the Sony playback.

Really disappointed in Sonos I really think they have lost the plot.
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If the playbar is going to be redesign down the line and maintain then750 or higher price tag. It would most certainly need Atmos Support to keep in line with all the Atmos sound bars on the market. If it does not. Sonos will might as well get out of the HT business. All the steaming boxes will eventually support Atmos. And not supporting that with the big price tag will leave it serverly handicapped.


I can see Sonos releasing a device with Atmos support if and when it makes sense, i.e. if it becomes something that a double-digit percentage of the markets expects and demands.

Be aware that may never happen. Yes Atmos support may become common, but the number of people who actually care about it enough to have it influence their buying decisions may remain low.

The trouble with audio is that the high-end stuff generally only makes sense in high-end setups. Vendors and the industry in general will try to convince us otherwise, but how many soundbars on the market will offer Atmos technically, but, inpractice, will sound no better than a similar soundbar with Dolby digital surround (or even, in a lot of homes, simple stereo).

My educated guess is most of them.

At the moment Atmos is the trendy name in home theatre audio, but how long it will be when the majority of people realise it's actually not significantly better for them than what was before.

Because the reality is most people have weird shaped rooms with odd reflections, and stuff like vaulted ceilings which can't be easily tamed into a high-end surround system befitting the Atmos name with a simple sound bar device even if you throw lots of Maths and Physics theory at it.

And most people don't want to be messing around installing speakers or dealing with acoustic treatments. They just want their TV to sound better than the crappy speakers it came with, so they'll just buy a soundbar type device and plonk it down in front of their TV. In this market, how it looks and secondary features (like Alexa, Airplay support) are probably as important to most most people than absolute sound quality. Possibly more so.

I strongly suspect that Atmos will eventually become ubiquitous on most home theatre devices. I also strongly suspect that most people won't actually care.

I also fully expect that a lot of Atmos-in-name-only devices making bold, but unfulfilled, promises will appear on the market. Eventually Atmos will just become another one of the plethora of logos that appear on the side of the packaging that only the audio geeks read or care about.

Cheers,

Keith


Actually the are quite a few Atmos sound bars on the market. Yamaha, LG, Onkyo, Sony, and Phillip are just a few that have them. Vaulted ceiling is not that much of an issue as well. Since all the new speakers have internal tuning mic. They actually do a good job adjusting for it.

And the soundbars are aims at smaller living rooms in general. If you have the room. A true 7.1 Atmos system is the way to go with a proper Dolby Atmos receiver.

But with appletv adding Atmos support Atmos is going mainstream. Even cell phones support Atmos with headphones.

While with DTS it was not much of a difference as what sonos has been doing with their 5.1. The Atmos format has change things. And steaming boxes supporting it will make the Atmos the main stay for HT is the future.

If you buy a uhdtv. The first thing people do is upgrade their poor sound. That is just the nature of the beast. You can get good sound with the ultra thin speakers in the thin TV's. So the tv manufacturer all have add on kits that are support Atmos now.

And like 3d movies that seems to be the mainstay of action movies now. Atmos is most likely to stay. It like 3d at the cinema. If it is done right. People will adopt it. And having heard the Sony Atmos soundbars at a friend's home. It can be done simply without to much stress. This is not like HD audio that really make no differce. With Atmos you really hear the difference. If you can get a Atmos sound bar for 750 dollars vs sonos playbar for 750 dollars. And ,out are a movie Buffy. It is easy to just b,pass the sonos playbar All together. Technology is changing. You can only hold back the flood for so long.

But like I said the beam is good for the market segment it is aim at. But if sonos want to sell a update playbar at the 750 dollar range. It will need to adopt.

The beam and tow play1 and sub will make a good basic 5.1 for people that don't care to much. And with the low cost HT system with a beam. It is better peak vs it's competition. The playbar and playbar are to expensive for what that provided.

So in conclusion. A playbar replacement need to be a real upgrade vs a refresh the the 750 dollar price point. As Atmos bars are now filtering I to that segment.

Technology sector that Sono plays in is a shark. If it does not keep moving forward it will die. And the 400 dollar beam is aim at the normally soundbars. And kinda under cut the playbar and playbar. So those two need a update in the near future.
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Dolby Atmos requires a lot more bandwidth than the 1 Mbps that HDMI-ARC provides. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO PROVIDE ATMOS AUDIO OVER HDMI-ARC. The only way Atmos could have been provided now is if Sonos provided an HDMI passthrough... but then only one device would have Atmos support... everything else connected to the TV would still be limited to DD 5.1.

If Sonos is able to upgrade their HDMI firmware to support eARC later this year or early next year, THEN they'd be able to support Atmos and other encoding formats that need more bandwidth... assuming your TV also gets upgraded to support eARC or has HDMI 2.1.


I am curious to know how Dolby Atmos is different from DD5.1 ? I guess all sonos soundbar support only DD5.1 isn't it?


7.1 you need a set speakers providing sound from on top. You can have ceiling mounts or so.upward firing speak bouncing off the ceiling.
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Dolby Atmos requires a lot more bandwidth than the 1 Mbps that HDMI-ARC provides. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO PROVIDE ATMOS AUDIO OVER HDMI-ARC. The only way Atmos could have been provided now is if Sonos provided an HDMI passthrough... but then only one device would have Atmos support... everything else connected to the TV would still be limited to DD 5.1.

If Sonos is able to upgrade their HDMI firmware to support eARC later this year or early next year, THEN they'd be able to support Atmos and other encoding formats that need more bandwidth... assuming your TV also gets upgraded to support eARC or has HDMI 2.1.


I am curious to know how Dolby Atmos is different from DD5.1 ? I guess all sonos soundbar support only DD5.1 isn't it?
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Not something Sonos users will likely need to worry about, at least this decade :@


So that would be a "I have no idea how I was going to mount Sonos speakers on the ceiling, so I'll just post snark instead" answer?

Thanks for the clarification.

Can anyone else state how they plan to mount Sonos speakers on the ceiling? It's a serious question, for I may have misinterpreted the request, and would welcome being corrected.


Connect or connect anp to drive generic,in ceiling speakers. Extremely common set up for new construction builds.

If the playbar is going to be redesign down the line and maintain then750 or higher price tag. It would most certainly need Atmos Support to keep in line with all the Atmos sound bars on the market. If it does not. Sonos will might as well get out of the HT business. All the steaming boxes will eventually support Atmos. And not supporting that with the big price tag will leave it serverly handicapped.


I can see Sonos releasing a device with Atmos support if and when it makes sense, i.e. if it becomes something that a double-digit percentage of the markets expects and demands.

Be aware that may never happen. Yes Atmos support may become common, but the number of people who actually care about it enough to have it influence their buying decisions may remain low.

The trouble with audio is that the high-end stuff generally only makes sense in high-end setups. Vendors and the industry in general will try to convince us otherwise, but how many soundbars on the market will offer Atmos technically, but, inpractice, will sound no better than a similar soundbar with Dolby digital surround (or even, in a lot of homes, simple stereo).

My educated guess is most of them.

At the moment Atmos is the trendy name in home theatre audio, but how long it will be when the majority of people realise it's actually not significantly better for them than what was before.

Because the reality is most people have weird shaped rooms with odd reflections, and stuff like vaulted ceilings which can't be easily tamed into a high-end surround system befitting the Atmos name with a simple sound bar device even if you throw lots of Maths and Physics theory at it.

And most people don't want to be messing around installing speakers or dealing with acoustic treatments. They just want their TV to sound better than the crappy speakers it came with, so they'll just buy a soundbar type device and plonk it down in front of their TV. In this market, how it looks and secondary features (like Alexa, Airplay support) are probably as important to most most people than absolute sound quality. Possibly more so.

I strongly suspect that Atmos will eventually become ubiquitous on most home theatre devices. I also strongly suspect that most people won't actually care.

I also fully expect that a lot of Atmos-in-name-only devices making bold, but unfulfilled, promises will appear on the market. Eventually Atmos will just become another one of the plethora of logos that appear on the side of the packaging that only the audio geeks read or care about.

Cheers,

Keith
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so the Beam will work the same as the Playbar/Playbase - no full mode from digital input (only from stream services / local files)
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If I group Beam and the 2 play1 surround and maybe sub when watching TV, will I have like multichannel stereo WITHOUT any delay from the video?
I would buy for sure only if I can use multichannel surround.
I live in a flat and I have some noises but at the same time I cannot pump up the volume.

If you bond the speakers so that it's one zone with a soundbar, sub, and surrounds...there is no delay.
The word 'grouping' in Sonos world means playing two or more zones together. Not the same as bonding to a 5.1 setup. Semantics, but it can be confusinf if you start mixing terms.

If what you're looking to achieve is to get the surrounds to play the same stereo signal as the front channels for TV audio, grouping them together is the only way to go, however, they will likely be slightly out of sync for the TV audio only. The surround configuration using the 5.1 setup works off of 5GHz and has no noticeable latency, but grouping the TV signal could have a little delay. It may be noticeable.
This looks great! Wow, well done Sonos.
So now Amazon comes out with the FireTV Cube, with far field Alexa, streaming and universal remote, all in one. Kinda like the Beam without speakers, but with the streaming... Too many choices, lol.

The Cube would be great with a Playbar/Base, but partially redundant with the Beam.

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/6/7/17434534/amazon-fire-tv-cube-echo-announced-features-pricing-release-date
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For appletv 4k Users Atmos is supported. So it is nolong just blue ray and DVD codec anymore. So Atmos is something that should have been considered for future home theater system.


Atmos is great for high-end installations with multiple speakers correctly places in a treated room, but it is pretty pointless for a soundbar like BEAM.

If you can configure Apple TV to not output Atmos, which I believe you can, then you will be good to go.

Next...

Cheers,

Keith


I would agree with you about the beam. It is not mentioned for high end home theater. It is more for improving stand flat screen TV poor sound quality. And it it should do oknon that market segment.

If the playbar is going to be redesign down the line and maintain then750 or higher price tag. It would most certainly need Atmos Support to keep in line with all the Atmos sound bars on the market. If it does not. Sonos will might as well get out of the HT business. All the steaming boxes will eventually support Atmos. And not supporting that with the big price tag will leave it serverly handicapped.
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When you set speakers as surrounds in full mode - when watching TV the rears acts as surrounds. When listening to music the rears act as full speakers. So yes when listening to spotify the rear speakers would be full volume stereo.

The negative in that is sometimes people want to listen to music on the TV or just want the rears to play stereo when watching TV. The design of the playbar/playbase doesn't allow TV sound to be set to full (always surrounds).

I don't know if the architecture with the hdmi input instead of toslink will allow Sonos to add a much requested (Stereo via digital input) feature allowing full stereo when watching TV.
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If you don't want your 2xOnes to ever play as tv audio surrounds, don't bond them with the beam. Just set them up as a stereo pair and group them with the beam when you want them to play the same music source (not tv).so what do i set the beam as in the sonos app? i want the beam to be just the speaker for the tv, but i want the beam with the 2x One to play music at the same time when the tv is off.

If that's the setup you want you set it as an entirely new room in the app. When you play music, you will have to manually group ithe two virtual rooms together in the app. It doesn't matter that they are in the same room physically.

I honestly wouldn't recommend this though. Setting them up as surrounds works quite well, and will play stereo for music source if you want, in the beam and ones.
i have a smallish place, open kitchen and living room as one. i currently have 1x One at the corner of the kitchen area, then other One is at the adjacent end at the living room area about 15-20' away. my TV is about 12' away from the 2nd One in the living room. if i set the 2x One as surround, wouldn't the volume be somewhat low? or did you mean all 3 speakers, 2x One and Beam, will be in normal volume when playing music from spotify?
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so how can i pair the beam with 2x One? i already have the 2 One in stereo mode.
When you go to set up Beam (or a Playbar or Playbase) there's an option to add surround speakers when you do that, it'll ask you to press the buttons on the ones you have to set them up as a surround configuration. If you don't want to do that when you first set it up, you have the option at any time with the Room Settings to add surrounds.
so if i want just the beam to play the stuff from my tv, and at another time i want the beam and the 2x One play music from spotify, how should i go about doing that setup?


I think this is done automatically by Sonos when you pair as surround.
What you cannot do like this is configuration surround as multichannel stereo.

As camillo777 said, Sonos does this automatically. TV audio can be automatically started when the audio signal comes in to the Beam. Also, you can start music using Alexa or the Sonos app. The multichannel stereo isn't available for home theater sources (the TV) but you can set that up for music playback within the Sonos settings if you'd like.


But Ryan,
If I group Beam and the 2 play1 surround and maybe sub when watching TV, will I have like multichannel stereo WITHOUT any delay from the video?
I would buy for sure only if I can use multichannel surround.
I live in a flat and I have some noises but at the same time I cannot pump up the volume.
Unfortunately we do not live in a studio.

This is the only thing that is stopping me to expand my Sonos setup.

Can you please elaborate more?

Thank you
Camillo

If you bond the speakers so that it's one zone with a soundbar, sub, and surrounds...there is no delay.
The word 'grouping' in Sonos world means playing two or more zones together. Not the same as bonding to a 5.1 setup. Semantics, but it can be confusinf if you start mixing terms.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
If you don't want your 2xOnes to ever play as tv audio surrounds, don't bond them with the beam. Just set them up as a stereo pair and group them with the beam when you want them to play the same music source (not tv).so what do i set the beam as in the sonos app? i want the beam to be just the speaker for the tv, but i want the beam with the 2x One to play music at the same time when the tv is off.

If that's the setup you want you set it as an entirely new room in the app. When you play music, you will have to manually group ithe two virtual rooms together in the app. It doesn't matter that they are in the same room physically.

I honestly wouldn't recommend this though. Setting them up as surrounds works quite well, and will play stereo for music source if you want, in the beam and ones.
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so how can i pair the beam with 2x One? i already have the 2 One in stereo mode.
When you go to set up Beam (or a Playbar or Playbase) there's an option to add surround speakers when you do that, it'll ask you to press the buttons on the ones you have to set them up as a surround configuration. If you don't want to do that when you first set it up, you have the option at any time with the Room Settings to add surrounds.
so if i want just the beam to play the stuff from my tv, and at another time i want the beam and the 2x One play music from spotify, how should i go about doing that setup?


I think this is done automatically by Sonos when you pair as surround.
What you cannot do like this is configuration surround as multichannel stereo.

As camillo777 said, Sonos does this automatically. TV audio can be automatically started when the audio signal comes in to the Beam. Also, you can start music using Alexa or the Sonos app. The multichannel stereo isn't available for home theater sources (the TV) but you can set that up for music playback within the Sonos settings if you'd like.


But Ryan,
If I group Beam and the 2 play1 surround and maybe sub when watching TV, will I have like multichannel stereo WITHOUT any delay from the video?
I would buy for sure only if I can use multichannel surround.
I live in a flat and I have some noises but at the same time I cannot pump up the volume.
Unfortunately we do not live in a studio.

This is the only thing that is stopping me to expand my Sonos setup.

Can you please elaborate more?

Thank you
Camillo
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If you don't want your 2xOnes to ever play as tv audio surrounds, don't bond them with the beam. Just set them up as a stereo pair and group them with the beam when you want them to play the same music source (not tv).so what do i set the beam as in the sonos app? i want the beam to be just the speaker for the tv, but i want the beam with the 2x One to play music at the same time when the tv is off.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
If you don't want your 2xOnes to ever play as tv audio surrounds, don't bond them with the beam. Just set them up as a stereo pair and group them with the beam when you want them to play the same music source (not tv).
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
so how can i pair the beam with 2x One? i already have the 2 One in stereo mode.
When you go to set up Beam (or a Playbar or Playbase) there's an option to add surround speakers when you do that, it'll ask you to press the buttons on the ones you have to set them up as a surround configuration. If you don't want to do that when you first set it up, you have the option at any time with the Room Settings to add surrounds.
so if i want just the beam to play the stuff from my tv, and at another time i want the beam and the 2x One play music from spotify, how should i go about doing that setup?


I think this is done automatically by Sonos when you pair as surround.
What you cannot do like this is configuration surround as multichannel stereo.

As camillo777 said, Sonos does this automatically. TV audio can be automatically started when the audio signal comes in to the Beam. Also, you can start music using Alexa or the Sonos app. The multichannel stereo isn't available for home theater sources (the TV) but you can set that up for music playback within the Sonos settings if you'd like.
Userlevel 2
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so how can i pair the beam with 2x One? i already have the 2 One in stereo mode.
When you go to set up Beam (or a Playbar or Playbase) there's an option to add surround speakers when you do that, it'll ask you to press the buttons on the ones you have to set them up as a surround configuration. If you don't want to do that when you first set it up, you have the option at any time with the Room Settings to add surrounds.
so if i want just the beam to play the stuff from my tv, and at another time i want the beam and the 2x One play music from spotify, how should i go about doing that setup?


Tvsound overrides music, so when tv is on it plays tvsound.

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