The Sonos One Gen 2 (or One SL) is the backbone of any Sonos system – for music, home theatre, or as a Voice Assistant speaker.
And apologies to Sonos. In all the times we have covered its excellent speakers, we always referred to the Sonos One (and its Google-less version, the One SL) as rear speakers for the Arc, Beam 2 and Ray soundbars. It was only over the Xmas break that we had the time to set up a pair as stereo speakers that we realised what a gem they are.
The Sonos One Gen 2 is a small, mono (it downmixes stereo), forward-firing, Wi-Fi, or Ethernet-cabled speaker. You set it up via the fool-proof Sonos S2 App, and you can use Trueplay (iOS only) to tune them to the room. It is the kind of speaker you can have in the kitchen, bedroom, study etc., but it really shines as a stereo pair or as rear speakers to Sonos soundbars.
Australian Review: Sonos One Gen 2 (and One SL)
|Website||Product page and Support Page AND Teardown|
|Colour||Sonos White or black matte polycarbonate case|
|Price||Sonos One $319 inc free delivery and 100-day return policy Sonos One SL $289|
|From||Sonos Online, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Good Guys, Videopro|
|County of manufacture||US-designed and made in China.|
|About||Sonos is an American Audio company based in Santa Barbara, California [Est 2002]. It develops and manufactures smart speakers to play music simultaneously in multiple rooms.|
|More||CyberShack Sonos news and reviews|
We use Fail (below expectations), Passable (meets low expectations), Pass (meets expectations), Pass+ (near Exceed but not class-leading) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. You can click on most images for an enlargement.
First Impression – Pass+
It is beautifully boxed and is 162 (H) x 120mm (square) x 1.85kg in Matte Black or White. It fits in anywhere, and the White is excellent for modern décor.
On top are capacitive touch controls for play, pause, skip, replay, volume up/down, and turn on/off the microphone. One SL does not have a mic array.
Interestingly it can withstand high humidity, like in a bathroom.
How does it sound? – Pass+
It has two amps – one for a mid-woofer and one for a tweeter. The maximum volume is 88dB with no apparent distortion – excellent.
There is a good amount of mid-bass, flat upper-bass, mid and treble (excellent). I would call it a rich, detailed sound, but its native neutral sound signature means the Sonos S2 App can make it sound whatever you like. It also has settings for clear vocal and a two-band EQ. It wants to be pushed – the more volume, the better it sounds.
The Sonos One Geb 2 has more mid-bass than expected (as it has no passive radiators), but a Sonos Sub Mini for maxi-bass really makes this a fantastic 2.1 system.
Voice Assistant – Pass
It supports Google Assistant or Alexa (one of the few to support both) and Siri. The far-field four MEMs mic array is good to about 5 metres (not as far as a Google Nest Hub) and can be switched off (handy when using a pair). As far as we can tell, it does everything OK Google does. You can ask Google to play (XYZ) from (source) on Sonos (Name) and adjust the volume.
Siri support is via the Apple Home app and an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV to ask Siri to play music (currently limited to Apple Music).
Trueplay makes a difference – Exceed
Pity, it is for iOS only. But whether you are using this as a mono or a stereo pair, Trueplay maps the room and adjusts the speaker acoustics for placement.
Both speakers are forward firing, and to our surprise, there are no passive bass radiators – all the bass comes from the main driver.
You can get optional 837.8 x 300 x 300mm stands for rear speakers or just for room placement.
Sonos transmits audio over Ethernet or Wi-Fi. It only uses a small bandwidth, but your router must be able to cope with this and all the other devices. As a speaker, it connects to both 2.4 and 5Ghz home networks. As rears in home theatre, it and the soundbar connect to 2.4GHz. Sonos also sets up a 5Ghz Wi-Fi Direct network between its speakers.
We tested them as stand-alone speakers (mono) with Netgear Orbi RBKE963 Quad-band Wi-Fi 6E AX 11000 mesh (network review), and the sound was stable all around the home. When we stereo-paired over Wi-Fi, we noticed some clipping. Using Ethernet immediately cured that.
If the sound is not as expected, try Ethernet because it is likely poor Wi-Fi’s fault.
Power Use – negligible – Pass+
It has an internal transformer and a 2m power cable – no power brick. Most of the time, it uses between 5-10W and is negligible in standby mode.
CyberShack’s view – Sonos One Gen 2 are great audio speakers, even better as a stereo pair
This review fixes our oversight – we already knew they were great rear speakers in home theatre mode.
Why Sonos? You must understand that these are Wi-Fi/Ethernet speakers (the best-sounding smart speakers you will find). They form the backbone of the Sonos ecosystem of multi-room audio and home theatre. Sonos also makes the portable Roam (BT/Wi-Fi) and Move BT/Wi-Fi, as well as a range of other speakers and soundbars.
- Features: 90 – It is a mono, smart speaker that can be used as a stereo pair of rears
- Value: 85 – Sonos gear is a tad expensive, but you get what you pay for – quality and performance
- Performance: 90 – Excellent neutral sound signature, and the S2 App adds more flexibility
- Ease of Use: 90 – The Sonos S2 App is foolproof
- Design: 85 – Nice looking, well-made but slightly dated
Sonos One Gen 2 and One SL
One Gen 2 $319, One SL $289
- All three Voice Assistants (or buy the One SL)
- Support for many music streaming sources
- Excellent mono or stereo sound
- Easy setup in S2 App
- Backbone of the Sonos ecosystem
- None, really – no BT or AUX in, perhaps
- Ethernet cable where you can
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