Review: Sonos Ace Noise Canceling Headphones


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The Sonos Ace Headphones are over-ear headphones with active noise cancelling, immersive sound with spatial audio, dynamic head tracking, and a 30-hour battery life with an impressive 3-minute quick charge. With TV audio sound swap at the touch of a button, not only can they tap into the Sonos ecosystem, but they're packed with all you would expect from a premium headphone. There's a lot riding on this headphone debut...let's see how they stack up.

Sonos Home Speakers & Portable Audio

Sonos has been wowing us with innovative technology for home audio and home theater experiences since 2002. In recent years we’ve seen them transition from products dedicated for your home, to portable speakers such as the Move and Roam—and now, they’re tackling the headphone category with the Sonos Ace.

Unboxing & First Impressions

I really appreciate Sonos’ packaging and unboxing experience—it’s well thought out and reflects their commitment to quality and sustainability. The Sonos Ace come in a fully recyclable package—made from sustainably sourced materials.

Inside, you'll find the headphones snugly packed in a stylish travel case covered in a wool-like material which is actually a recycled felt. The travel case is slim and rigid, which safely packs into a travel bag, backpack or suitcase.

Also included are a USB-C to USB-C charging cable, a 3.5mm to USB-C audio (ADC) cable, and cable pouch that magnetically attaches to the case, along with setup instructions and warranty info—which is a standard 1-year warranty.

My first impressions of the headphones were great. The earcup shells are made from post-consumer recycled plastic and are high quality. We can see nice subtle Sonos branding on the right earcup. The adjustable headband is stainless steel and has a real smooth clicking points to hold them in place.

On the inside, you’ll notice subtle, but clear, identification for left and right—along with alternating colors to easily identify how to put them on. The earcups and headband are wrapped in memory foam and covered with a leather-like material. The earpads, which are magnetically attached, are replaceable—which is a great feature. What’s also rad, you can’t mix them up! They will only connect to the side they’re supposed to be on.

The Sonos Ace are 11oz., which falls right in line with other noise-cancelling headphones on the market.

On the right earcup you’ll have 2 buttons. One for noise cancelling and also the Content Key—which offers unique controls for Sonos including audio swap from a compatible Sonos Sound Bar. More on that in a minute.

On the left earcup you have the power button which is also used for pairing. You’ll notice 6 microphones surrounding the earcups used for active noise cancellation, aware mode, as well as phone calls. And finally...these are available in Black and Soft White.

Tech Specs

As I mentioned in the beginning, these are Bluetooth 5.4, supporting audio streaming from any Bluetooth-enabled device. The Bluetooth connection also supports multipoint Bluetooth connections. So, if you’re watching a movie and then get a phone call, you can easily swap to the call by pressing the Content Key or decline the call with a long hold to resume your movie. Bluetooth multipoint supports up to 2 devices—and that’s the case with any multipoint headphones available.

You have options for Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) or Aware Mode that will blend ambient sound with the music or content you’re listening to. Ad you’ll get between 24 to 30 hours of battery life using Active Noise Cancellation or Aware mode.

These are charged with the included USB-C cable and will need about 3 hours for a full charge. There’s also a 3-minute rapid charge feature which provides an eye-popping 3-hours of listening time from an empty battery.

For music listeners, Sonos Ace supports lossless audio through Bluetooth or with the included USB-C cable. If the term lossless audio is new to you, this is the highest quality audio available from high-res streaming services such as Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify, Qobuz, Amazon and others.

Spatial audio is a feature we're seeing in newer headphones on the market, including the Sonos Ace headphones. This is a very cool immersive listening experience that simulates surround sound, or makes you feel like your music is all around you. Currently, this is only supported through Apple Music and Amazon Music with headphones such as the Sonos Ace.

If you’re using these headphones in a home theater environment, the Sonos Ace headphones support dynamic head tracking, also known as Dolby Atmos Tracking. Sonos will also refer to this as Sonos Intelligent Motion Processing with Dolby Head Tracking. If you’re comparing these headphones to other Dolby Atmos supported headphones on the market, you will often see this referred to as Dolby Head Tracking.

To swap the audio from your Sonos system to the headphones, you’ll simply press the Content Key. And it’s really that simple. I’ll let you know my experience with that in a moment.

It's also important to highlight the Sonos App and how these headphones pair for customizing. Just before the launch of the headphones, Sonos released a new version of their mobile app. It comes with a familiar but new look, better search capabilities, and a more intuitive interface to control your music. For the headphones, the app provides EQ tuning features such as bass, treble, loudness, even balance. If you're a current Sonos user, this should look familiar to you.

Testing Notes

I tested these out in our Montgomeryville Showroom where we have an awesome 5.2.4 Sonos surround sound system. I actually had a little trouble at first figuring out how to do the audio swap, but once I made sure that all of the Sonos devices were up to date, it was no biggie. The app prompted me to add TV audio swap, so it was quite simple.

While I was testing out the TV audio swap feature, I tried Equalizer Three on Netflix. I actually had to take the headphones off at one point, because I couldn't tell if I was hearing the soundbar through the headphones, or if it was actually the headphones. The surround sound was very natural. I actually forgot I had the headphones on.

For music I subscribe to Apple One, which gives me all of their streaming services. And since I don't currently own headphones with the spatial audio feature, I cued up a made for spatial audio playlist that Apple created. While I was checking out the playlist I noticed that they had created so by Weezer. Right away I could hear the guitar come in through the right, and everything just sounded so spatial and almost surreal sounding. It immediately felt like I was listening to something I had never heard before.

To do somewhat of an A/B test, I left Apple and played the same song in a non-spatial streaming service, and immediately I noticed it was right there in my ear. It definitely wasn't the experience I had just just felt. So I switched back to Apple Music and it was almost like I was in our Signature Audio room listening to a pair of world-class speakers versus just headphones.

Final Thoughts

I have to say, the big stand out for me was comfort. I own a lot of headphones, and there's a lot in our showroom that I get to try on, and this one was just the most comfortable that I've tried. I had them on for almost three hours and I forgot that I was wearing them. I didn't get the pressure point on my head or the ear fatigue, and so for years they were just awesome. 

There's a ton of awesome features in the Sonos Ace, including some of the best noise cancellation I've ever experienced. And speaking to Sonos, I'm told there's many more updates to come.

If you're in the Montgomeryville, PA area, I encourage you to stop by our showroom where we have these on demo. If you buy up a pair in-store or online, let us know what you think. 

Shop Sonos Ace

Sonos Ace Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones (Black)

Sonos Ace Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones (White)

Shop Sonos Ace Headphones

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