After years of rumours, Sonos has now entered the headphone market

After months of rumors and leaks, audio brand Sonos has announced and revealed its first foray into personal audio with… Sonos Aceexpensive over-ear wireless headphones that compete with the likes of Apple’s AirPods Max and Sony’s popular WH-1000XM5 headphones.

The Bluetooth 5.4 headphones were shown off at select press outlets in New York this week. It’s too early to judge their sound quality, but they’re priced high, and Sonos has a good reputation on that front.

Each cup has a 40mm driver, and there are a total of eight microphones for noise control. It is worth noting that the headphones weigh less than Apple’s AirPods Max.

Like competing pairs, they have cutting-edge features like effective active noise cancellation, mindful modes, Dolby Atmos spatial audio, and head tracking. The killer feature is for users who already use other Sonos products in their home theaters: you can quickly switch from playing audio on Sonos Arc speakers to headphones and back. This works with any audio from your TV, including set-top boxes or game consoles.

It’s similar to how Apple’s AirPods Max work with Apple TV receivers. Support for other Sonos speakers like the second-generation Beam will come later this year.

Additionally, the Ace will get a new feature called “TrueCinema” that enhances Sonos speakers’ ability to create a 3D map of the room in order to simulate the acoustics of your space when wearing headphones and using spatial audio, in theory. It’s as if you were just listening to a regular surround system inside the room. However, this feature will also come later in the year.

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Of course, the timing of this announcement couldn’t be worse for Sonos. The company is currently facing consumer backlash after it updated its mobile app but left out several features from the previous version, including accessibility options.

The goal of updating the app in the first place was to make it easier to enter and exit the application and do basic tasks such as adjusting the volume without waiting for screens to load or taking many steps, and it succeeded in that, which is long overdue. But it doesn’t have all the high-end case features of its predecessor, and Sonos is playing damage control with an angry subset of its usually loyal user base.

For the Ace, the app is necessary for doing things like adjusting the EQ and some other special features, but it’s not required for basic listening tasks like adjusting the volume or noise-canceling settings. Thankfully, Sonos has opted for physical buttons for these things rather than touch gestures or an app interface.

The Sonos Ace will be released on June 5 for $449.

Listing image by Sonos

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