Beam (Gen2): My Experience

  • 4 October 2021
  • 10 replies
  • 1120 views

Userlevel 7

Hello

My Beam (Gen2) arrived today (10/4/21).  Here are my thoughts…

Test Parameters 

Testing was done to compare the Arc and Beam-Gen2 as stand-alone speakers without surrounds and sub(s). My opinions are based upon my ears. There are no graphs or charts to show frequency response with peaks and valleys. In short this is not a Peter Pee review (for those of you familiar with his YouTube Chanel) . Just a plain good ol’ fashion End User opinion/experience. 

  • Sonos Original Setup: Arc + One x 2 + Sub x 2
  • Sonos Test Setup: Arc / Beam-Gen 2
  • TV: LG OLED 65in (165.1cm) with eARC
  • Room Dimensions (L x W x H) 20ft (6.096m) x 13ft (3.9624m) x 8ft (2.4384m)
  • Disc Player: Panasonic DP UB9000 Ultra HD Blu-Ray
  • Disc: Justice League 4K Ultra HD / Disc1 / Part 2 Heros
  • Sonos App Reported Sound: Dolby Atmos (True HD)

Setup

Setting up the Beam-Gen2 was simple, fast and easy. To date it was the best experience I’ve had with a Sonos product. The ease of setup IMO is in no small way due to the integration of NFC using one’s cell phone.

Performance

Overall the Beam-Gen2 performed quite well. It was able to get loud without any noticeable clipping. Lows were decent but nothing to write home about. There were no  noticeable Lip Sync issues with the disc, cable nor AppleTV 4K (thus far). However, it did lack the depth and total engrossment one experiences with the Arc. 

The previous statement is actually a given due to the Beam’s minimalist speaker array compared to the Arc’s (11 drivers vs 5 drivers). Add to that no upward firing speakers the reflections were not as pronounced. 

Listening to music IMO is an improvement over the Arc. I attribute that to the more-in-your-face speaker array setup with the Beam vs the Arc. You might say that in this instance the Beam’s minimalist speaker array is not as reflective thus giving a truer sound to music and vocals. Less is More in this case.

Final Thoughts

I’d venture to say that without a one-to-one listening audition of the Arc vs the Beam-Gen2 the end-user will be quite pleased with the Beam’s performance. TV size aside the Beam-Gen2 (IMO) is going to provide a better listening experience in a small to medium size room with 4 walls versus an open concept environment for video. As a music speaker room size is not as critical. However, I don’t have mention…lets’ not go crazy and install either the Arc or Beam in a concert hall size room or do I :wink:?

FYI

The resting place for my Beam-Gen2 is a guest bedroom with One’s as surrounds sans sub. I might also add that in this room the Beam (Gen2) is replacing a Playbar that was attached to an older Sony TV with only HDMI ARC. The Playbar IMO offered a wider sound stage than the Beam ( Gen1). The Beam (Gen2) with side firing speaker appears to equal the sound stage produced by the older Playbar.


10 replies

Hey AJ,

 

Thanks for the in-depth review! Feedback like this is always very useful to our product team and I’ll be sure to pass this post along to them :smile:

Great insights thank you! 
I have a 55 inch in an open plan room (2 and a half walls where the TV is) and an angled ceiling up to 5 metres, would you go the Arc or would Beam Gen2 be enough? We don’t have any additional speakers and all I want is better than the current sound which obviously won’t be hard!

Userlevel 7

Hi @Bbbbbb4 

Based upon info provided….

Open plan spaces are difficult for any soundbar to adequately cover. Add to that a vaulted/angled ceiling and the ability to reflect sound degrades. The Beam (Gen2) has no upward firing speakers. The only reflected sound would be from its side firing speakers provided there are walls to reflect off.

The Beam (Gen2) will be an adequate speaker to improve upon TV speakers or a plain 3.0 soundbar. However, if you are considering the Beam (Gen2) to deliver as a capable speaker for Dolby Atmos (in your space); IMO you’d be better served with the Arc.  Using Trueplay can compensate to get the most out of the Beam (Gen2) and the Arc. 

Of course adding surrounds and sub will improve the listening experience. Especially adding a sub to the Beam (Gen2) which relieves it of low end frequencies and allows it to concentrate on mid and highs. Doing the same with the Arc is of course a given.

Userlevel 3
Badge +3

I've recently upgraded to the Arc, but I still think the original Beam that it replaced was a suprising performer for all its little size. The addition of eArc (and DTS when it arrives) on the Beam Gen 2 will be a great boon to users, and should make it one of the best value and consistant performers to be found in a soundbar.

I do think Sonos ought to support DD+ on the original Beam. The Arc connection has enough bandwidth and it's maybe a little too rich to ask Beam Gen 1 owners to upgrade after only 3 years.

That said, I wish Sonos luck bringing in new users with the Gen2.

 

 

Userlevel 5
Badge +6

Hi all. Just though I would post my initial thoughts of the Beam gen2 which replaced a gen 1 in the bedroom. I also have an ARC, sub and ones downstairs.

I always thought the Beam had a better centre channel and clarity compared to the ARC, yes the ARC has a wider sound stage but generally I prefer the sound of the Beam. Anyway the beam gen 2 is a step up for me from the gen 1 much more voice clarity which was already good and Atmos does make films etc come alive a lot more, don’t really get any good overhead effects yet but don’t really get them from the ARC either. But the noticeable sound quality is much better.

I am tempted to get another gen 2 beam and replace the ARC downstairs but will do some more comparisons over the next few weeks and make a decision. But so far so good 😊 

 

 

Userlevel 7

Hi @Mitchellsx 

Thanks for your input. Glad you like the Beam 2.

Would you mine posting a little more info about your Arc such as position (ie wall or table mounted), if table mounted how high above the floor. Is the room a rectangle of sorts or an open area. Type of ceiling  (flat or vaulted) and distance from floor. Seating distance from the Arc.

Userlevel 1
Badge +2

I just installed a beam 2 yesterday and I am quite pleased thus far. While I could not get NFC to identify my PIN on the beam 2, Sonos offered a manual means to input the 8-digit code, and vwoillah, the beam 2 was added to my system.  This speaker is replacing an old Zvox.  The beam 2 offers a lot more clarity and detail compared to the Zvox yet less bass (Zvox I had included extra bass speaker).  The footprint and weight is like 15% the size of my Zvox.  I connected the beam 2 to a 7 yr old Samsung 55” TV which has HDMI Arc.  Samsung and Sonos connected seamlessly.  Love how I can use the beam 2 for either music or TV.  A preliminary big thumb’s up from me.  

Userlevel 5
Badge +6

Hi @Mitchellsx 

Thanks for your input. Glad you like the Beam 2.

Would you mine posting a little more info about your Arc such as position (ie wall or table mounted), if table mounted how high above the floor. Is the room a rectangle of sorts or an open area. Type of ceiling  (flat or vaulted) and distance from floor. Seating distance from the Arc.

Hi, no problem.

My ARC is mounted below my tv using a sanus bracket, it can be pulled out so the ARC moves away from the bottom of the tv. The ARC is just below ear level when sitting down. The room shape is square one side with a bay window and the other side has an opening into the dining room. The seating position is up against a wall with to sonos ones either side. The Ceiling is flat and I would say is about 7 metres tall. Seating distance from ARC I would say is 3.5 metres.

 

Hope this helps.

thanks

Userlevel 7

@Mitchellsx

Your space appears to be adequate for the Arc in including speaker mounting and seating distance. The only exception being the open side which diminishes side reflections. However the surrounds should handle what would normally be handled by the Arc side firing speakers.

Top reflections by the Arc can be tweaked by adjusting the top firing speaker height in the Sonos app. That may improve the “Bubble” which surrounds the listener when Dolby Atmos material is played. Adding a sub will make a difference for a more immersive experience.

The only other variable may be your room type meaning:

  1. Hard..Wood or laminate flooring, blinds with little to no cloth furniture
  2. Soft..Carpeted floors with cloth furniture and drapes

The above types have varying degrees of course. My room is “hard” with wood floors, leather furniture, blinds and no open spaces. As such my “bubble” is perfect IMO. Finally, if you have an iOS device (or can borrow one) running Trueplay may improve the sound...maybe you have already done so.

Cheers!

Badge +2

@AjTrek1 Hello!

 

Thanks for a great review of the Beam Gen2 experience, and sorry for waking up an old thread.

 

Would you say that a Beam Gen2 is an upgrade worth to make? I have the Playbar today. Or would you say that I should keep my Playbar? My TV has support for eARC, so I guess I’d get compatibility for more codecs.

Sadly, the Arc does not fit my current setup in size.

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