Home Tech Sonos Ace review: Quality noise-cancelling headphones worth the wait

Sonos Ace review: Quality noise-cancelling headphones worth the wait

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Sonos Ace review: Quality noise-cancelling headphones worth the wait

tWi-Fi hi-fi manufacturer Sonos has finally launched its long-awaited first pair of headphones, the Ace, which combine the best elements of Bose, Apple and other high-end rivals with supreme comfort, elegant style and a great party trick for the owners. of the company’s sound bars.

The high-tech noise-canceling headphones cost £449 (€499/$449/A$699), rubbing shoulders at the top of the market with the Bose QuietComfort Ultra, Sennheiser Momentum 4 and Apple AirPods Max.

The Aces are pleasantly soft and discreet, with plush but thin ear cups that don’t protrude much from the sides of your head. The headband has two types of foam with a softer part right at the apex to relieve pressure on the ridge at the top of the skull, similar to the Sennheiser.

The Aces come in black or soft white with a subtle logo on an earcup that’s only visible in certain lights. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

A hidden hinge provides a great fit and prevents hair from getting caught in the mechanism, similar to the AirPods Max. They are very comfortable even for long listening sessions and stay put when moved without putting too much pressure on your head.

The left earcup has a power button and a USB-C port, which is used for charging and wired listening via USB or the included USB-C to 3.5mm cable. The right earcup has a noise cancellation control button and an excellent slider button that handles volume and playback controls.

The battery lasted several hours longer than the rated 30 hours during testing via Bluetooth with active noise cancellation, or about 14.5 hours when connected to the Arc soundbar, which is more than enough for most. A full charge takes approximately three hours, quickly reaching 10% in just three minutes for up to three hours of playback.


  • Weight: 312g

  • Dimensions: 191x160x85mm

  • Drivers: 40mm

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.4 with multipoint, Wi-Fi, USB-C audio and charging

  • Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX adaptive with lossless

  • Battery duration: More than 30 hours with ANC over Bluetooth

Listen to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or USB-C

The USB-C port is used for wired charging or playback using a USB-C cable or the included USB-C to 3.5mm headphone cable, though not without a battery. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Ace has Bluetooth 5.4 and supports the standard SBC and AAC audio formats, the highest quality aptX adaptive which is compatible with many Android and Windows devices, plus aptX lossless playback if you have one of the A small handful of phones that support it..

They can connect to two Bluetooth devices at once and seamlessly switch between them, like calls on a phone and movies on a tablet. They can also play lossless music over USB-C for the highest quality sound from Android, iPhone, tablets, computers and other devices, charging while they play.

The Aces have Wi-Fi to connect directly to one of Sonos’ sound bars for a personal theater sound experience, but they can’t be grouped with the company’s other speakers to stream music throughout the house over Wi-Fi.

Quality sound from any source.

The metal content key makes it easy to adjust volume or control playback and is easy to distinguish from the noise cancellation button below without looking. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Whichever way you connect the Ace, they’re some of the best-sounding headphones you can buy, producing the kind of quality audio that reveals new details in your favorite tracks. They are very well reviewed, with the same balanced audio that the best Sonos speakers are known for. They’re capable of hitting really deep notes when needed while also producing warm mids and detailed highs with the kind of cross-genre nuances you should expect at this price.

An equalizer in the Sonos app can adjust bass, treble, and balance, but still, those looking for bass above all else will have to look elsewhere.

The Ace also supports Dolby’s spatial audio technology with head tracking, creating a surround sound experience, giving depth to stereo music without sounding hollow, but comes into its own when watching movies and TV shows. with Atmos soundtracks.

Unlike most of its rivals, the technology works with any device or content, making it sound as if the surround speakers are anchored in the space around you, even when you turn your head. The system refocuses if you look in a particular direction for about seven seconds and is smart enough to suspend head tracking if you move a lot, like walking.

change of television

Pressing and holding the content key swaps TV audio between the headphones and soundbar, or you can do this through the Sonos app on an iPhone. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Sonos’ ace in the hole is the ability to stream audio from its soundbars to headphones at the touch of a button with a feature called “TV swap.”

The sound bar processes TV audio input to its HDMI port before sending it to headphones over Wi-Fi with the touch of a button. That means it can be used with anything connected to your TV, including movies and TVs, set-top boxes like Sky Stream or games consoles.

The system worked flawlessly producing one of the best head-tracking surround sound experiences, making it the ultimate solution for anyone who has a Sonos soundbar and wants to continue listening to a movie soundtrack without disturbing to others.

However, there are a couple of caveats. Only one pair of headphones can be connected to each sound bar at a time. The feature only works with the Controversial new Sonos app for iPhone or iPad at launch, i.e. Android users can’t configure it yet. You also need the top-tier Arc to begin with, but compatibility with the rest of the company’s more affordable soundbars is coming in the near future. Also promised is a feature capable of recreating the acoustics of your real room for a super realistic home theater experience.

Noise Cancellation

Use sensors on each earbud to pause or play music when you put the earbuds on and off. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Ace also has very good noise cancellation that is available for all listening modes and rivals class leader Bose for its ability to muffle commute or office sounds. Noises, roars and other low tones are effectively suppressed, while higher tones, such as chatter or keyboard tapping, are silenced better than many rivals. Awareness mode is excellent, second only to the AirPods Max in natural sound, although high notes like the jingling of keys or the rustle of a waterproof jacket sound louder than reality.

Call quality is very good, sounding quite natural in both quiet and noisy environments, with just a little bit of background noise filtering through to the other end of the call, although wind noise is audible. The built-in microphones can be used when listening wired with a USB-C cable and via Bluetooth.


The earpads are held in place by magnets, making them easy to replace, while the case is made from 75% recycled plastic. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Aces are generally serviceable by Sonos. The company commits to a minimum of five years of software support for feature updates after stopping sales of a product, but has a much longer track record, including bug and security fixes for its legacy products. The battery must last at least 500 full charge cycles and will be replaceable through out-of-warranty service.

The speaker contains 17% recycled plastic. sonos offers exchange and recycling of products and publishes products. environmental impact reports.


The Sonos Ace costs £449 (€499/$449/$699).

For comparison, the cost of the Bose QuiteComfort Ultra £450the cost of Beats Studio Pro £350Sony WH-1000XM5 Cost £279the Sennheiser Momentum 4 costs £309.99 and the Apple AirPods Max costs £499.


Sonos’ first headphones will be a long time coming, but they’re worth the wait. The company has clearly learned from its rivals, combining elements from each of the best models on the market to create an excellent pair of wireless headphones.

The Ace are slim, stylish and extremely comfortable. You can connect them via Bluetooth, USB or a headphone cable. They combine near-Bose-level noise cancellation with Sennheiser-level sound quality, long battery life, excellent controls, and immersive cross-platform audio.

But the main feature for Sonos soundbar owners is TV sharing. There’s nothing quite like them, producing full private theater sound at the touch of a button without waking the rest of the house. Unfortunately, it only works with the company’s top Arc soundbar and iPhone or iPad app at launch, so Android users miss out for now, something Sonos promises to fix soon.

With easily removable ear cushions and a service-replaceable battery, they should also last a long time with a little care. Which is good, because they are very expensive and on par with more expensive rivals. They also don’t fold up for travel and weigh about 60g more than the lightest ones.

For Sonos fans looking for a high-quality pair of headphones for home and on the road, the Ace are an obvious choice. But they also deserve to be on any list alongside high-end rivals like Bose, Sennheiser and Sony, even if Android users should wait.

Advantages: stylish design, very comfortable, top-notch noise cancellation and fantastic sound, spatial audio, excellent multipoint Bluetooth support and adaptive/lossless aptX, cross-platform companion app, can be used with USB-C or 3.5mm cable included, TV change, battery can be replaced.

Cons: very expensive, doesn’t fold for travel, microphones can’t be used with 3.5mm cable, 312g, can’t be used without battery, can’t switch to Android TV at launch.

The Ace look, feel and sound like quality headphones. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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