Sonos launches widely anticipated ‘Ace’ headphones – with trick to avoid waking people up


Sonos has finally unveiled its much-anticipated headphones, named Ace.

The company has long been trailing its entry into a new category, which its chief executive Patrick Spence has suggested could lead to substantial new revenues. Now it has arrived in the form of the headphones, which mark its first product that is not a smart speaker.

The premium headphones come with a special feature, intended to avoid antisocial behaviour: they can connect Sonos’s top-end Arc soundbar with one click, allowing the sound to be transferred and ensure quiet. But they are otherwise functionally the same as other headphones, working over bluetooth.

Sonos has focused largely on the audio quality of the new headphones, as well as features suchas Active Noise Cancellation and a passthrough mode that allows people to hear what is going on outside.

“They’re here! Fans have asked us for years to bring the Sonos experience to headphones - and we knew our first foray into the category needed to champion the type of innovation and sound experience Sonos has become synonymous with,” said Mr Spence.

“Sonos Ace leverages everything we’ve learned over two decades as an audio leader to bring stunning sound, sleek design and long-standing comfort to one of the largest and most popular audio categories worldwide.”

As part of the feature built to allow the headphones to connect to its soundbar, the company has also introduced new spatial audio features that allow it to map a space and simulate it. The company says that will then be used to alter the sound in a way that is “so realistic you’ll forget you’re wearing headphones”.

It does not however offer any other way to connect with the rest of the Sonos ecosystem. There is no way to listen to music over WiFi, for instance, and while its portable speakers can send sound from Bluetooth to the rest of the house, the headphones cannot do the same.

As well as audio quality and its connected features, Sonos pointed to long battery life. Users can listen for up to 30 hours and a three minute charge will bring three hours more battery life, it said.

The Ace headphones will cost $449, or the same in pounds. They will be available in two colours – black or white – from 5 June.

Sonos’s announcement came as it continues to deal with the fallout from a major app redesign, launched earlier this month. It said that the total rebuild would bring new features as well as making the app more dependable – but users have complained about technical problems and the removal of basic features such as the option to edit alarms.