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Sonos has fixed the big problem we found in our Sonos Ray review

Soundbar: Sonos Ray
(Image credit: Future)

When Sonos first announced its inflation-beating budget soundbar, the Sonos Ray, a few months ago, we were more than a little eager to see and hear how the benchmark-setting company would overcome the physical limitations of scale to deliver cinematic sound from an affordable, desktop-sized speaker.

While we found that the Ray is undoubtedly a clear, sparkling, room-filling speaker, during our extensive testing we also came across a significant flaw in its bass presentation that results in an unusual low-frequency resonant buzz across a range of movies and music.

At the time, we approached Sonos with our concerns, and the company confirmed to us that it was able to recreate the issue, and that it hoped to correct it via a future firmware update. It now seems as though Sonos has made good on its promise.

Last week, a new version of the Ray's software was released, and Sonos has informed us that, in direct response to our findings, it includes a significant tweak to the Ray's low-end response. According to Sonos, the new tuning slightly dips frequencies below 50Hz in line with increases in overall volume level, which should help mitigate unwanted vibrations.

A representative from the company explained to us that the Ray's low-end issue had arisen because its curved bass-reflex design has a port frequency of around 55 Hz that becomes susceptible to 'chuffing' when handling resonant frequencies, which had cropped up throughout the content we tested with and can only be avoided entirely by adding the Sonos Sub, which currently costs more than twice the price of the Ray so isn't a practical solution for most buyers (though perhaps the rumoured Sub Mini will be).

We've updated our Ray sample and have taken a quick listen, and we're pleased to find that the newest firmware does appear to have dampened the soundbar's bass buzz, making it a much more palatable listen. We'll need to undertake more extensive testing before updating our review, but the new software seems good on first listen and it's great to see Sonos responding to feedback in this manner.

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Mary is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi? and has over a decade of experience working as a sound engineer mixing live events, music and theatre. Her mixing credits include productions at The National Theatre and in the West End, as well as original musicals composed by Mark Knopfler, Tori Amos, Guy Chambers, Howard Goodall and Dan Gillespie Sells.