The Sonos Beam. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Sonos Beam. Picture: SUPPLIED

Sonos Beam
Cool factor 5/5
Usability 5/5
Value for money 5/5

There was a time when multiroom music required you to install speakers in your roof and run cables to an expensive amplifier. Then Sonos arrived and became the gold standard of streaming.

It’s a staple in global markets and is finding traction at last in SA. A new distributor is making this excellent gadget readily available, including through Hirsch’s stores.

The Beam (R12,500) is an all-in-one unit that is mounted under your TV and gives a luxurious sound to your HD television. Like it or not, to make a slim TV means a compromise on sound quality — because speakers need airspace to produce good sound — hence the rise of this soundbar category. Most TV manufacturers have been making soundbars to complement their sets for years, as well as multiroom streaming speakers. But Sonos has always been the best.

The Beam is an upgrade to the existing Playbar, and is 60% smaller at just 65cm long, 7cm high and 10cm deep. But it still houses four full-range woofers and tweeters and five digital amplifiers.

Using an app to set it up, the speaker blasts audio signals to your phone and maps the room you watch TV in — then fills the space with excellent sound. An HDMI socket at the back, which supports a format called ARC, lets you sync the sound from the TV and control volume with your TV remote. It also supports Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and Apple AirPlay 2 streaming service. And, if you have other Sonos speakers, it forms the heart of this home audio system.

It was Stuff magazine’s hi-fi and overall gadget of the year, beating all the marvellous smartphones, TVs, cameras, electric cars, fitness trackers and drones. It’s that good.