Sonos gave birth to the second generation of the Beam soundbar which now also supports Dolby Atmos. Also in sight is future compatibility with Amazon Music’s Loseless Ultra HD audio and Dolby Atmos Music.
Dolby Atmos and new front grille
One of the outstanding features of the new Beam (Gen 2) is the three-dimensional Dolby Atmos audio which is now finally supported. The dimensions of the Beam are unchanged, but the polycarbonate front grille changes with a sharper hole similar to that of the Sonos Arc.
Thanks to the support of Dolby Atmos, the connectivity of the Beam (Gen 2) passes from HDMI ARC to HDMI eARC, and NFC is also introduced in order to facilitate pairing with the device that will manage the Sonos app.
Although the speakers have remained the four elliptical broadband, three passive bass radiators and the dialogue-focused center tweeter, Sonos has improved the array management software while also accompanying a more powerful CPU that can take care of Dolby Atmos and its directionality. There is also Speech Enhancement to improve dialogue and Night Sound for listening during night hours.
Confirmed support for Trueplay for iOS for the acoustic measurement of the room where Beam (Gen 2) will be placed, AirPlay 2, Wi-Fi and Ethernet port, as well as the IR receiver and support for Alexa and the Google Assistant.
Looking to the near future of Beam (Gen 2), Sonos plans to offer in select markets over the course of 2021 Ultra HD audio from Amazon Music, then tracks in lossless audio up to 24 bit / 48 kHz, and also Dolby Atmos Music.
New audio encodings on Sonos products are coming
With this in mind, looking at the universe of Sonos products, Ultra HD audio will be available on all S2 devices, excluding Play: 1, Play: 3, Playbase and Playbar, while Dolby Atmos Music contents can be listened to on Arc and Beam (Gen 2). Also later this year, Sonos also announced plans to add support for decoding the DTS Digital Surround format through the S2 platform on Playbar, Playbase, Amp, both generations of Beam and Arc.
The Beam (Gen 2) soundbar will be available from 5 October for a list price of 499 euro which, if compared with the 449 euros of the first generation Beam three years ago, appears well proportioned also in consideration of the innovations introduced.