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SonosRoam Review | PCMag




The Sonos Move ($ 399) is one of our favorite outdoor speakers, but at 6.6 pounds and about a foot high, it’s not the most portable model on the market. At $ 169 roaming, Sonos has several additional features that check many of the boxes you’d expect from a portable speaker, such as dustproof, waterproof builds, with a much more bag-friendly form factor and give it a unique edge. I will. competition. As a Sonos speaker, it supports multi-room Wi-Fi streaming that can be easily integrated with other parts of your Sonos system. In addition, it supports AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth, making it much more versatile than standard Bluetooth speakers. It also features voice integration between Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, so this little design is packed with a lot of technology. The downside is that other manufacturers offer comparable-priced speakers with significantly better sound, so you’re paying a premium for convenience rather than audio performance.

The most portable Sonos speaker

Approximately 6.6 x 2.4 x 2.4 inches (HWD), a £ 1 Sonos Roam is much easier to carry than the Sonos Move. ROHM, available in black or white, does not have the typical look of dustproof and waterproof speakers. It has an uncovered USB-C port and the surface isn’t the usual rubbery shock-absorbing material found in competitors. model. Sure, the side panels have a typical silicone rubber treatment, but the grille panels that cover the driver and back look smoother than sturdy.

The left panel has pushbutton controls, a play / pause control that allows you to skip the track back and forth by pressing it a couple of times, a dedicated volume up / down button, and a mic mute button. The back panel has a power / pairing button and a USB-C port for charging.

ROHM’s rounded triangular construction naturally points the driver towards you when the speaker is laid flat on your rubber feet. (You can also stand it vertically on the side. It’s a monaural speaker, so you won’t mess with stereo images that don’t exist either way.) The Sonos logo is embroidered on the entire front of the speaker and under the perforations on the outside. .. There is another layer of speaker grille, a cool repeating hexagonal pattern grille. The drivers are hidden side by side below this, with a midrange woofer and a single tweeter, driven by a dual-class H amp.

Despite its sleek look, ROHM’s IP67 rating is no joke. That is, the speaker is completely protected from dust and water. It can be rinsed under the faucet and submerged for up to 30 minutes without any technical problems. Wireless audio signals aren’t very useful in that scenario, but the point is that you can use ROHM when it’s raining, on the beach, in the shower, or even in a sandstorm, and it should still work fine.

ROHM connects to the Internet at home via 802.11b / g / n / ac 2.4GHz or 5GHz Wi-Fi. It also supports streaming via Apple AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth 5.0.

Sonos has an estimated battery life of about 10 hours, but results will vary depending on the volume level. You can charge your speakers via a Qi-certified wireless charger as well as the included cable. Sonos also sells its own charger.

Sonos experience

The Sonos app for Android and iOS is very important for using corporate speakers. If you already have Sonos gear, you know this. Setting up ROHM is easy because the app shares all network information. The speaker was automatically saved and set up. If you don’t have a Sonos system yet, you can go through a fairly simple process. Creating a Sonos account gives you access to Sonos Radio streaming content. You can also integrate your music library with streaming services such as Apple Music, Pandora, and Spotify into your app to keep all your audio in one place.

Obviously, Wi-Fi-dependent features aren’t available for hiking, but in such scenarios ROHM becomes a fully functional Bluetooth speaker. You can also use your speakers on other Wi-Fi networks to access many of the same Sonos features as your home network. That said, Sonos usually doesn’t work well on public Wi-Fi, so this applies, for example, to a friend’s home Wi-Fi or Airbnb network. When you bring Roam home, it automatically syncs with your home network and Sonos system.

When you set up roaming, you can activate the automatic Trueplay feature that adjusts your speakers to suit your environment. This helps to adjust the sound quality in any room, and the sound changes when the environment changes, so when you go out, the speaker uses the built-in accelerometer to confirm and adjust it as it moves. More and more automatically. In most cases, the changes are minor and you can leave this feature off if you wish.

The app also has an adjustable EQ. There are bass and treble faders, but there’s no such thing as a 5-band EQ that can actually be fine-tuned. There is also a loudness button that helps control the bass response according to the volume level. In the settings menu, you can set the two roaming units as a stereo pair, set volume limits, and adjust various other parameters.

ROHM acts as a smart speaker and can be voice controlled using Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant. Setting up Alexa in the Sonos app is easy, but you’ll need to go to the Alexa app and enable your Sonos Roam skill. This is not an additional step required for all voice control speakers. Anyway, doing this makes ROHM a hands-free voice-controlled speaker that makes it easy to pick up voice commands, even when playing music at a relatively loud volume. The distant microphone also does the definite job of listening to commands from across the room. There is no speakerphone feature that applies to most of the smart speakers we have tested.

SonosRoam Audio Performance

On tracks with heavy sub-bass content, such as The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” ROHM provides the sensation of a good low frequency response at a moderate volume level. I disabled the Auto Trueplay feature and tested the EQ settings at neutral level. At maximum volume levels, the bass can be a little dimmed. As you would expect from a speaker of this size, a lot of DSP (digital signal processing) is used, and at maximum volume, the dynamics are expected to be significantly crushed. What you hear still sounds good, but it’s not exactly comparable to the other products in the Sonos lineup.

See how to test your speaker

Bill Callahan’s “Drover” is a track with much less bass in the mix, giving you a better understanding of ROHM’s general sonic character. The drums on this track may sound thundering on bass forward speakers, but on such a small model you wouldn’t expect that. However, the drums seem to disappear a little in the background. Instead, it’s Callahan’s baritone vocals that take a step forward in the mix and get some extra bass and midrange richness that matches some added treble definitions. The percussive hits in the treble are particularly bright, the overall sound signature is rich and crisp, balanced at moderate volume, and slightly less defined at higher volumes. When you pump the volume, the DSP softens the transients and even breaks the dynamics of these relatively natural-sounding tracks.

In Jay Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop has a high-mid presence that allows the attack to remain punchy. You’ll hear sub-bass synth hits that accentuate the beat, but most are top notes, with no truly deep and ominous subwoofer-level deep bass. The vocals on this track are provided with solid clarity and little sibilants are added.

Like the orchestra track in John Adams’ Gospel by Other Mary, it adds a bit of bass depth, but it’s subtle and helps bring the bass and midrange of the mix a little further forward. The treble brass, string and vocals on this track are well-received in the treble and treble to maintain a bright and crisp place in the spotlight.

It is worth noting that roaming is only moderately large. This isn’t a bad thing, as its volume is more or less appropriate for its size, but it’s a bit underpriced.

Finally, enabling the auto Trueplay feature in the acoustically processed test space and moving the speakers around the room seems to have little effect on the sound of the audio. In a sense, you won’t notice any dramatic differences in the characteristics of the sound, so that’s the point. However, it is arguable how much it actually helps with audio performance, depending on where you move the speakers.

For Sonos lovers

If you’re an avid Sonos user, you’ve been waiting for a small portable speaker like Roam. Despite all its features and easy integration into the Sonos ecosystem, it’s not as good as a similarly priced outdoor speaker like the $ 180 JBL Charge 4 or the $ 150 Sony SRS-XB33. Even the $ 90 Anker Soundcore Motion Boom offers more in terms of bass depth and power, making these speakers a better option for Sonos aggression. However, if you’re already a Sonos user, none of these models will work with your existing gear. For outdoor parties and gatherings, we recommend the large and expensive Sonos Move. Roaming is fine for Sonos enthusiasts who only need the right amount of audio power on the go.

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