The new Sonos In-Ceiling and In-Wall Speakers are the company's first step into the world of architectural solutions, bringing some unique features when paired with the new Sonos Amp, but what exactly is so special about them, and most importantly, what do they sound like?
Sonos’ In-Ceiling and In-Wall Speakers are an interesting development in the home audio industry. Since Sonos erupted onto the scene in 2002 they have released a whole host of products, from the stand alone ONE to a TV Soundbar in the form of the Beam. Whilst their range of amplifiers have long been a go-to for installed audio solutions, their new in-ceiling and in-wall speakers represent their first dive into the architectural speaker world, created in partnership with 35 year old speaker manufacturers Sonance.
The speakers don’t look much different from Sonance’s independent range, featuring a 1 inch tweeter and a slightly angled 6 inch bass driver, which has received an upgrade in the form of new kevlar material (plus the Sonance logo has also been swapped out for the Sonos one). Based on this you would be forgiven for assuming this is just a Sonos logo on a Sonance speaker, but it is what is going on behind the scenes that makes these architectural speakers unique.
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THEM?
Sonos built these speakers ‘from the ground up’ with Sonance, and focused on making them the perfect accompaniment to their new Amp (which you can read about here). Whilst there isn’t much technical detail about what exactly this entails, Sonos claims that their new Trueplay technology uses an iPhone mic to listen to frequencies the speakers send out and communicates with the Amp to calculate the room size and furniture locations. Truplay will then adjust the speakers so that they will produce the best possible sound in the environment they have been placed in.
We tested Trueplay, and whilst the set up was interesting - if not theatrical - it did amount to a noticeable difference in sound when toggled on and off, which begs the next and most important question…
In a general sound test - without Trueplay or EQ tweaks - we found the speakers to be crisp and clear; they produce a pleasant sound that certainly isn’t tinny. There wasn’t a massive amount of bass but this is expected for speakers with a 6 inch bass driver. Overall, we felt that they were good, but would be outperformed by models with an 8 inch bass driver within the same price range.
With Trueplay set up and enabled the speakers sounded quite different. When off, there was much more of a focus on the lower end frequencies which was preferable for some tracks. With Trueplay enabled the middle and high-end frequencies were much more pronounced; hi-hats for example were louder and clearer, as were the vocals. It could delve into sounding a bit too bright with some tracks, but we found that using Trueplay in conjunction with adjusting the EQ settings resulted in the best sound possible from the speakers.
These speakers are definitely good, but the justification of the £600 price tag comes down to their compatibility with Trueplay technology. If you have Sonos products and enjoy using Trueplay throughout your house then these speakers, combined with the new Amp to unlock the feature, will be a welcome addition to your home audio set up.
If you are not that fussed about Trueplay or don’t want to use the Sonos Amp to drive your ceiling speakers then there are definitely other solutions available that will sound just as good.
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