## Unleashing the Beat: SONOS ACE Takes Pro-sumer Headphones to a New Level

The United States audio equipment manufacturer Sonos, known for its promise of ‘better sound’, has reinvented the headphone market with its Sonos Ace Headphones. Shipments of the new model began on 5 June after teasing its features and excellence in May. Its marketed tagline – ‘the Ace you’ve been waiting for’ – is sure to live up to its pro-sumer category (professional features paired with the ease of consumer functionality) and make it a hit. Does it live up to the promise of its name, though? Is it really ‘better’ than other audio products, such as Apple AirPods Max or Bose’s 700 model? Does a non-technical layperson like myself have anything constructive to say about high-end products that promise consumers a better listening experience? Well, let’s see.

### Unpacking the SONOS ACE: What's in the Box?

Opening the box is a lot like unboxing an Apple product but with more terroir. The Sonos Ace headphones are inside, with a USB-C to USB-C cable, a 3.5mm cable for daisy-chained listening, inside a colour-matched carrying case, then a magnetic cable carrying case, and the usual paperwork. They clearly didn’t include any charging bricks.

### A Symphony of Design and Comfort

The Sonos Ace headphones are a powerful combination of high-end style and comfort. Weighing in at 312 grams, they are lighter than competitors such as the AirPods Max. With a touch of stainless steel and soft-touch plastic, they create a premium feel without sacrificing comfort thanks to the memory foam earcups and headband. Sonos’s choice of tactile over touch-sensitive controls and modular design for replacement of the ear cushions demonstrate the company’s focus on function in design.

### Connection Seamless as a Sonata

It’s a simple pairing process via Bluetooth 5.4 so, although the Sonos app does make everything a bit nicer, it’s not essential to use it when you’re just listening day to day, and it’s uncomplicated enough to do without. I had a little issue with an initial update but, after that, I found it easily connected to most devices without any real problems, which is always reassuring when it comes to Sonos, and effectively guarantees a positive experience.

### The Sound: A Crescendo of Clarity

Indeed, at a price of $449, it’s fair to say that the bar for sound quality is extremely high, and the Sonos Ace meets par. These headphones come with contextualised 40mm drivers along with support for spatial audio and Dolby Atmos, creating an acoustic experience highly reminiscent of a live performance. From the articulation of the vocals to the fullness of the low end, the Sonos Ace enhances any genre of music, with the acoustics as appealing as in a live set-up. The addition of ANC and an aware mode, with the Sonos Ace, makes the listening experience even better with no distractions.

### An Orchestra of Features

Sonos Ace headphones features including active noise-cancellation (ANC) are effective in cancelling out ambient noise, while an ‘Aware mode’ keeps you aware of what’s going on around you without compromising audio quality, while head tracking, spatial audio, and Dolby Atmos draw you more deeply into the immersive listening experience. Connectivity to multiple devices fits an increasingly multi-gadget lifestyle.

### SONOS Ecosystem: Your Sound Sanctuary

Following in the footsteps of the Sonos brand, the Ace really comes into its own when used alongside other Sonos products. Via features such as Audio Swap, users can zip between audio sources with the press of an Ace button, and the Sonos-specific TrueCinema mode (which is still to be rolled out) will enhance a multi-channel listening experience with a Sonos sound bar. It’s another example of Sonos’s vision of a connected, lifestyle audio experience throughout your home.

### Final Notes: To Conquer the Soundscape

Its lack of an official IP rating and non-folding design might be cope-able setbacks – but the package as a whole is such a delight, particularly in a vacuum where the sound quality, usability and ecosystem are all fabulous, that the Sonos Ace headphones are a tempting choice nonetheless. At $449, in black and soft white, it’s more of a marked declaration of audio intent than just a pair of headphones.

Whether you are an old hand at Sonos, or this is your first time, the Ace is a good bet to provide the sound of technology and the fun of listening; it’s an appealing prospect when it begins to surface in retail and online, later this year. Will the Sonos Ace rewire your brain to new possibilities for pro-sumer headphones? We’ll let your ears be the judge of that.

### About SONOS

Known for an obsession with innovation and audio quality, the company is at the forefront of speaker and headphone technology. At Sonos, sound innovation drives user-centric design, which in turn informs the company’s focus on ecosystem connectivity. In practice, this means products engineered to play a song, not just music. Sonos products are built to foster a better relationship to sound, a dialogue that continues long after the song is over.

Jun 06, 2024
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