Sonos Ace: Spatial Audio, Premium Sound, But No Sonos Network?

Sonos Ace: Spatial Audio, Premium Sound, But No Sonos Network?

By: CE Critic

Sonos Ace Headphones: A Surprising Turn in the Wireless Audio Race

Sonos, a name synonymous with multi-room audio excellence, has finally entered the headphone arena with the Sonos Ace. Priced at $449, these over-ear headphones boast a sleek design, active noise cancellation (ANC), spatial audio support, and a unique connection to Sonos soundbars. But in a market dominated by the likes of Sony and Apple, is Sonos too late to the game? And does the Ace have what it takes to stand out?

The Ace's Hand: Features and Functionality

  • Premium Build and Comfort: The Ace exudes a quiet luxury with its slim profile, available in matte black or white finishes. The lightweight design, combined with well-balanced clamping force and cleverly concealed hinges, promises all-day comfort.
  • Sound Quality: Powered by custom-designed 40mm drivers, the Ace delivers a full-range sound with impressive bass response. Support for both Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio, coupled with head-tracking technology, provides an immersive spatial audio experience.
  • Connectivity: The Ace connects primarily via Bluetooth 5.4, supporting SBC, AAC, and Qualcomm Snapdragon Sound aptX Lossless codecs. A USB-C port allows for wired lossless audio, catering to audiophiles.
  • Active Noise Cancellation: Four beamforming microphones per earcup enable adaptive ANC, effectively reducing ambient noise for a focused listening experience.
  • Sonos Soundbar Integration: A unique feature of the Ace is its ability to connect to a Sonos soundbar (initially the Arc, with more models to follow) via Wi-Fi. This enables private listening with head-tracked spatial audio, a potential game-changer for late-night TV viewing.

A Missing Ace? Sonos Network Integration

One glaring omission is the lack of direct integration with the Sonos multi-room system. Unlike Sonos speakers, the Ace cannot be selected as a playback zone within the Sonos app. This means no seamless handoff between headphones and speakers, and no lossless audio streaming from sources connected to your Sonos network.

While Sonos claims they will be "listening to feedback" on this issue, it's a surprising departure from their established ecosystem. For those deeply invested in Sonos, this might be a dealbreaker.

Specs and Availability

Specification   Details
Drivers   Custom-designed 40mm dynamic drivers
Microphones   8 beamforming microphones
Spatial Audio   Dolby Atmos with Dynamic Headtracking
Lossless Audio   aptX Lossless
Bluetooth   5.4
Noise Control   Active Noise Cancellation / Aware mode
TV Audio Swap   Works with Sonos Arc (more to come)
Battery Life   30 hours (ANC on)
Rapid Charge   3 hours in 3 minutes
Weight   11 oz (312 g)


The Sonos Ace is available from June 5th in most regions, priced at $449/£449/AU$699.

A Contender in a Crowded Field?

With its premium price tag, the Ace faces stiff competition from established players like the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones and Apple AirPods Max. It offers a compelling blend of features, comfort, and sound quality, but the lack of Sonos network integration is a significant drawback for Sonos enthusiasts.

For those seeking a premium Bluetooth headphone with exceptional sound and a unique connection to Sonos soundbars, the Ace may be a worthy contender. However, its long-term success will depend on how Sonos addresses the feedback regarding network integration and whether they can carve out a niche in an already saturated market.

The Bottom Line

The Sonos Ace is a bold entry into the headphone market, but its lack of Sonos network integration raises questions about its fit within the broader Sonos ecosystem. While it boasts impressive features and sound quality, its ultimate success will hinge on how Sonos responds to user feedback and whether it can differentiate itself enough in a crowded market. We look forward to the reviews and CE Critic Score.