Sound and Imaginative and prescient: Sonos Beam 2 presentations no longer all Atmos bars are equivalent

OPINION: Sonos has introduced a sequel to its well-liked compact Beam soundbar, and the headline commentary is that it helps Dolby Atmos. Taking into account the place the marketplace is travelling against, it’s the one good trail for the Beam Gen 2 to head down.

But when there’s one factor about Dolby Atmos in the house, it’s that it used to be no longer somewhat what it used to be billed when it first gave the impression at the scene. I keep in mind being on the release of Atmos at Dolby’s UK HQ in Soho and taking note of the way it used to be going to advance cinema sound additional, which it in reality has.

However in shifting that to the house, there were a couple of false begins. The preliminary messaging and means of getting to knock holes within the ceiling for downward-firing audio system didn’t take off until it used to be for customized installations; and standard encompass speaker programs with upfiring modules soak up more room and are dearer. What Atmos wanted used to be comfort.

And so it’s been discovered within the soundbar realm. (*5*)Soundbars have turn out to be an more and more well-liked way of smuggling Atmos into the house, requiring no cables and occupying a smaller footprint than a conventional speaker bundle would. Because the years have long gone by means of, we’ve observed extra producers bounce into this sector of the marketplace – (*2*)Bose one of the most recent – however does it be offering a real efficiency or only a handy funnel for Atmos?

The Sonos Beam Gen 2 has a an identical speaker array to the unique and doesn’t have any upfiring audio system as a part of its set-up, so there aren’t any bodily manner of firing sound against the ceiling and bouncing it all the way down to create the Atmos impact like Sonos’ personal Arc soundbar.

As a substitute, it makes use of psycho-acoustic tactics, which is extra about how the human ear perceives sound. The Beam 2, due to this fact, provides Atmos in a digital sense, developing the belief of a taller, wider soundstage higher processing.

Digital Dolby Atmos is one such strategy to handing over immersive sound, however is it higher than a soundbar that has upfiring audio system? From my standpoint, out of the soundbars we’ve examined, it’s no longer been essentially transparent if both possibility is definitively higher.

The LG SN7CY from 2021 used to be a unhappiness from an object-based audio standpoint, generating a lean and muffled tone.

The JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam is going with out upfiring audio system however delivers higher efficiency with Atmos content material, whilst a larger soundbar device just like the Philips Fidelio B97 (upfiring), takes a extra refined and no longer somewhat as enthusiastic strategy to ship at the promise of peak in a soundtrack.

Then there’s the problem that Atmos is a encompass sound layout, however compact bars are most effective in a position to generating the entrance hemisphere of that ‘encompass sound’.

There’s an inconsistency that may be perceived as maddening, but when there’s one factor this is transparent about Atmos in the house it’s that on the finish of the day, the most efficient effects happen from having an outlined means and tuning. Atmos stays a extra top rate proposition in the house marketplace.

Sonos Beam Gen 2 grille shot

However Sonos has often proven its talent in relation to tuning and its strategy to sound, and we shouldn’t bargain the presence of the Trueplay calibration device, which like JBL’s MultiBeam device, may just hang the important thing to presenting Atmos that’s absolutely meshed with the acoustics of your room.

So, right here’s hoping that the Sonos Beam Gen 2 can fulfil the potential for Atmos and, regardless of the cost hike over the unique, nonetheless at a rather inexpensive value. If it does, it would cleared the path for single-bar Atmos soundbars going ahead in a lot the similar approach as the unique Beam did for compact bars.

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