Home Tech Sonos finally has headphones and we’re excited

Sonos finally has headphones and we’re excited

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2 pairs of over-ear wireless headphones, one black pair on the left and one white pair on the right

It is true that “before the pandemic” is a confusing time, an era in which it is difficult to pin down the chronology with certainty. So while rumors about Sonos headphones definitely started before the pandemic, who knows exactly how long we’ve been waiting for them? Four years? Ten?

That’s all academic now: they are here. Sonos isn’t the first company promising to revolutionize a particular sector of the consumer electronics market, and it won’t be the last, but for once this undervalued word might be appropriate. He Sonos Ace wireless The active noise-cancelling over-ear headphones are designed to go head-to-head with established market leaders like Apple and Bose, and are priced at the equivalent of $449 (£449 / €499 / AU$699).

So what does that price really get you?

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Quiet luxury

Visually, you get a sleek and noticeably thin pair of over-ear headphones in “soft” matte black or white finish. Thanks to a light weight of 312 grams, a very well calculated clamping force and a clever suspension arrangement that hides the hinged yoke inside the body of the headphones, it means all-day comfort.

Photography: Sonos

The combination of memory foam, vegan leather and stainless steel is equally beneficial when it comes to comfort and aesthetics. The branding is restricted to one earpiece and is laser engraved, so it manages to be discreet while still attracting attention. Where the Apple AirPods Max scream “Look at me!”, the Sonos Ace enunciate it quietly and precisely.

The Aces come in a slim, skin-friendly travel case that features a magnetic pouch for a USB-C and 3.5mm cable. The case is made from 75 percent recycled plastic bottles.

When it comes to performance, you get all the amenities you expect. Wireless connectivity is via Bluetooth 5.4, and they have SBC and AAC codecs, allowing the Ace to be compatible with ALAC and Qualcomm Snapdragon Sound aptX Lossless. Sound is provided by a pair of custom-designed 40mm dynamic drivers. Sonos is characteristically timid about frequency response, but as I heard briefly at a recent press event in London, they had a full enough range for real bass. The ported acoustic architecture allows for optimal extension of low frequencies.

Spatial audio is available through streaming services that support Dolby Atmos and/or Sony 360 Reality Audio, and Sonos’ intelligent motion processing with Dolby Head Tracking dynamically tracks your head movement to deliver an even greater sense of dipping and wrapping.

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