For years, Sonos users have been requesting headphones from the brand and that stops today because the brand has finally unveiled their very first personal audio product – the Sonos Ace. Lucky for us, we had the chance to play with and experience a little, thanks to TC Acoustics and Sonos for making it happen. We have a lot to share, so sit back and read this Sonos Ace Initial Impression.

Sonos Ace Initial Impression

The Sonos Ace, without a doubt, marks their first bold step into the Personal Audio space and with these headphones, they plan to bring a different experience for users to enjoy. But given the brand’s success with Soundbars and other products we have seen, this is going to be a rather challenging one. But that said, here’s everything we experienced, starting with the design and build.

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Vaguely Familiar Design Choice, However Very Sonos

The moment they unveiled the Sonos Ace in two different colours (Black and Soft White. White is my favourite), immediately there was one thought in my mind. It felt like a lovechild of the Airpods Max and Sony WH-1000XM5 (where the latter is still one of the best headphones we have tested). But knowing Sonos and their design choices from the past, where they have been that brand for minimalism, this headphone screams Sonos in every way possible.


They did get “inspired” by the two contenders for sure because we see some good material choices all around. The headphones are constructed in polycarbonate material (17% less virgin plastic) and the padding on these is faux-leather with Memory foam used in the earcups and band for that long comfy listening experience. Also, just like the Cupertino brand’s headphones, these Sonos Ace uses Magnetic earcups which can be replaced easily and are colour-coded for easy L and R identification.

As for the band, we do see proper stainless steel stems on the side which are extended depending on the shape of your head for adjustability. This is well done, which we noticed at first glance. Sonos said that the headphones weigh 312 grams (vs 384g Airpods Max and 250g Sony WH-1000XM5).

While it doesn’t feel heavy, you can feel the heft of the headphones while holding it. They claimed that they did test the headphones with different head shapes to get the ideal design for the right listening experience for whoever opted in for the Sonos Ace. Wearing it for a few minutes, we can definitely feel the weight, however, if I have to describe the feeling: it felt like a hug.

Sonos Ace Case

It comes in this recycled felt case made out of plastic bottle for you to store your headphones.

All Physical Buttons and Controls

As much as I personally still rely on my Sony WH-1000M5, I have a love-hate relationship with the touch controls (But there are some improvements, stay tuned for a content on that). That’s not the case with the Sonos Ace because all the controls on it are proper physical controls. On the left earcup are the power button and the USB-C – where Sonos will include two cables: a USB-C to C and a USB-C to 3.5mm (yay!). On the right, you have the ANC/Ambient toggle and a silver button which is the slider and a button baked right into it, giving you control over volume, play/pause and other Sonos features which we will talk about in a bit.

Now for the Sonos Experience, you are signing up for

Let’s Start with the App (Oh god)

I know, we aren’t loving the Sonos App at the time of writing it – because of the whole drama. But let’s just touch upon the Sonos Ace features in the app. Now, Sonos mentioned that the app they are using here is the Beta version – so there’s a chance that some controls we see here may be improved or nuked.

The iOS/iPadOS version of the app gives you the option to do Noise Control, EQ (where you can adjust the Bass, Treble, Balance and Loudness), Head Tracking (for spatial and Dolby), Home Theater connectivity (at the time of writing, limited to Sonos Arc), Multipairing via Bluetooth upto 2 devices, Noise Control and Wear Detection.

Personally, I was expecting more features but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now. So speaking of swapping the Audio…

Swapping Audio from your Home Theatre to your Sonos Arc

One of the key features of the Sonos Ace is the ability to switch from your Home Theatre sound system and bring the audio to your Sonos Ace. Now we are no strangers to this feature as brands who have a strong foot in establishing Ecosystems have been doing it for a while.

However, what makes the entire experience with Sonos worthwhile, it’s the ability to get the audio tuning with the help of Dolby Head Tracking and Spatial Audio. This happens with the help of Sonos Intelligent Motion Processing and usually, it would be content dependent. However, since we didn’t have much time with it – we will hold our thoughts on it for now. To switch, you just have to press and hold the silver slider for three seconds and the switch is seamless.

Let’s just say it’s as smooth-as-a-butter-sliding-on-a-hot-pan seamless.

There’s a Catch though…

At the time when we tried the Sonos Ace with the Sonos Arc, we were told that this Audio Swapping only works between the Arc and the Ace. So, if you are an existing Sonos user and happen to own the Beam or the Ray – well, tough luck. The time of the announcement, there was no promise that the Swapping Audio feature would come to the other Sonos Soundbar or even to their Amp or Port, but I can’t help it but to feel a wee bit let down by that.

We just have to wait and see for this one.

As for the Listening Experience, Hardware and Codec

Other than the software experience, the hardware powering the Sonos Ace is pretty neat as it uses a custom 40mm Dynamic Driver on each side, with 8 beamforming microphones for ANC and Spatial Audio which it uses for Voice targeting.

As for the codec, you do get support to the usual SBC and AAC, but Sonos announced that it does work with a Lossless codec, well more specifically, Qualcomm Snapdragon Sound AptX for Lossless. There’s no support for LDAC, which I expected when they said it supported Lossless. Supports Bluetooth 5.4, has a built-in 1060mAh battery that can last upto 30 hours and has fast charging, giving you 3 hours of listening with 3 minutes of charging from 0%.

From listening to the few songs they nitpicked for us, and trying out the demo audio, we did manage to get some time listening to songs I personally listen to such as Don’t Shoot Me MAMA by CODE KUNST, All for Us by Labrinth and Zendaya and Nevertheless by The Mills Brothers.

It’s safe to say that the default audio EQ for the Sonos Ace has a bit of a focus on the treble with very light bass although tasteful and the rest were present. It’s the type of audio curve that would suit perfectly for video content consumption where you do want the vocals to be clear and crisp, followed by the BGM and other sounds. Yes, there’s the EQ for you to tinker around to get the audio you want, but this is something I need to wait and get my hands on them to talk about.

Sonos Arc Malaysia Price

The Sonos Arc is coming to Malaysia and you can pick between the two colours, and both will be going for RM 2,299. Pre-orders for the Sonos Arc start now and will be available from 5th June 2024 through TC Acoustic. In the meantime, stay tuned to us as we will share more and perhaps when we review the Sonos Ace, to give you a clearer picture, if it’s one worth getting and puts the contenders to shame.

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