Without a doubt, getting the best soundbar can change the game when watching TV and movies, especially if you're relying on built-in speakers.
A lot of the best TVs come with ok-ish speakers in 2022 but there's still nothing like adding that extra heft to your audio setup. TV speakers have got better, but they definitely still lack at the low end and in terms of positional clarity.
A lot of modern soundbars from Sonos, Samsung, Yamaha, and others come with Bluetooth, AirPlay support, and multiple HDMI ports, including e-ARC, making them something of a multi-tool in the living room.
In this case, we're going to look at some important things to know about the absolutely excellent Sonos Beam, which we've rated as the best soundbar for those shopping in the mid-range right now.
Whichever Sonos soundbar you plump for, though, there are some key things worth knowing, as they will help you get the most out of your sound system.
1. With Sonos Beam, you won't need any other speakers
We mean this in two senses.
Firstly, the Sonos Beam absolutely fills most living rooms (or bedrooms) with crisp, clear sound and low, punching bass.
And secondly, the Beam is such a versatile speaker that it can do it all. You can connect directly to the TV via HDMI or through a optical input and play music over WiFi, either via AirPlay or Spotify's Connect feature.
The fact that the Beam is always-on means that connecting is super super easy, too.
It's like a one-stop-shop speaker for all your audio needs, be that enjoying the dramatic soundtrack to a new movie or streaming a music playlist at during a house party.
2. Sonos Beam makes use of the best multi-room audio system
Sonos has devised perhaps the best multi-room system on the market right now, easily controlled via its app (for things like Spotify Connect) or by toggling AirPlay on and off across your available speakers.
On top of that, you can add a speaker by holding down the play/pause button, where it will cycle through all of the audio coming from your speakers.
It's an ingenious system and we can't really foresee ourselves going back to fiddling around with Bluetooth settings any more. Sonos Beam, like all Sonos soundbars, is 100 per cent compatible with this feature.
3. Make sure your TV has e-ARC
One important thing to note is whether your TV has an e-ARC HDMI port, something found mostly in newer models. It's not a dealbreaker by any means but it does mean that you'll be using more HDMI ports.
In essence, e-ARC ports, which expand on ARC ports, can transfer sound from your TV to the Sonos Beam seamlessly, all from one port.
As we said above, the cheaper Sonos Ray doesn't include e-ARC, so if your TV doesn't either, it might be worth figuring it out with an optical input instead (although HDMI is likely going to be a little easier).
4. Sonos Beam is kind to your neighbours
Living in London as I do, neighbours are everywhere – and not everyone likes the sound of a thumping movie score through the floor.
Sonos has thought of this, however, and included really detailed EQ controls within its app, which can be changed in an instant. We personally found that removing two levels of bass was the right balance between sounding good and deadening noise.
The Beam also comes with a specific Loudness mode, so keep that in mind if you live in very close proximity to others.
5. Sonos has a lot of custom soundscapes
Speaking of the app, you don't have to rely on Spotify (or another music streaming service) for sonics because Sonos has included a huge array of different soundscapes and music in its app.
Some of the fancier sounds and music are only available to paying subscribers but many, such as the ambient noise-scapes, come for free. Great for chilling out or staying zen when working from home.
Thanks to the smart enveloping sound offered by the Sonos Beam, these soundscapes really do fill the room, too, granting an 'in the environment' sensation. A great extra feature!
- Sonos Beam vs Sonos Arc: which Sonos soundbar is right for you?