Sonos Ace review: Strong start with a home theater push

Sonos tries an Ace up its sleeve.

Sonos Ace headphones in black in hand.
(Image: © Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Android Central Verdict

Sonos purists will take issue with the isolated approach, but the Sonos Ace prove steady and consistent in how well they handle both the sound between your ears and what’s going on around you.


  • +

    Excellent sound

  • +

    Superb ANC and ambient modes

  • +

    TV audio integration with Sonos Arc

  • +

    Comfortable fit

  • +

    Removable ear cups

  • +

    Decent battery life


  • -

    Won't work with Sonos speakers

  • -

    Features still missing for Android

  • -

    No multiband EQ

  • -


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Now that the Sonos Ace are out, their existence probably doesn’t surprise most who pay attention to both the brand and the personal audio space. Headphones are an obvious foray for Sonos after building a coveted multiroom home audio system for the last two decades. It was time to spread that sound out and personalize it further.

Only the Ace take it personal in different ways, and that’s where things get divisive depending on who asks. Rather than introducing the Ace as a unique extension of the broader system, Sonos’ speakers sit this one out, leaving only its select soundbars to make these headphones part of the team.

Sonos Ace: Price and availability

Sonos Ace headphones in black and soft white.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

The Sonos Ace launched in June 2024 and are available at a number of retailers, both brick-and-mortar and online. They start at $449 and are unlikely to see a price drop for a while as the company looks to sell them in greater numbers. Replaceable ear cups are available at for $49 a pair. Both the headphones and ear cups come in black and soft white. More colors may follow but Sonos hasn’t confirmed any such plans at this time.

Sonos Ace: What's good

Wearing Sonos Ace headphones outside with sunglasses.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

I got hands-on time with the Ace prior to receiving my review unit, so I went into testing these with notes in hand. It’s a relief they continue to fit and feel as comfortable as they did when I first tried them on. I know fit and comfort for over-ear headphones are subjective, but Sonos found a good mix of spacious cups to envelop the ears while using padding that’s soft enough to recess and contort with your ears. In my case, they fully cover mine, sitting nicely in place with a headband that never feels constraining.

Maybe I’m lucky because I haven’t noticed any itching, heat, or pinching while wearing them for longer stretches, especially while working. I would wear them barbecuing, walking, traveling, commuting, and haven’t seen any issues come up that way.

The design consequently plays a major role in how the active noise cancelation (ANC) works.

Not that it matters for size, but replaceable ear cups also act like an insurance policy of sorts. Sonos may play up the vegan leather it's using for the cups but if they fall apart or wear down, at least they don’t have to affect the rest of the product. Magnets make them easy to pry out and set in yet secure enough not to wiggle at all when handling the headphones.

The design consequently plays a major role in how active noise cancelation (ANC) works. First, passive isolation is excellent, cocooning your ears from background noise. Second, the onboard microphones do a superb job blocking out a range of frequencies to deliver excellent ANC in a variety of conditions. Whether on a plane, train, bus, car, street, or busy environment, the Ace cut down a whole lot of that noise, keeping you from raising the volume or bearing the brunt of sounds that seep through.

Close-up screenshot showing Master track on Tidal.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

These are Bluetooth headphones, after all, and as such, require a slightly different setup to get everything going. Pair them with your phone like any other Bluetooth device, then open the Sonos app (which will recognize the Ace) and run through the few steps to access the features and settings associated with it. Once ready to play, the Ace deliver a punchy and resonant sound, striking a nice balance. There’s definitely a healthy bass response to go with warm highs and decent mids, all easy to discern, no matter what genre you’re listening to. I’d be cautious to say they’re right on par with the Sony WH-1000XM5, but the Ace sound great right out of the box.

They can also shine with some of the variety involved. Want hi-res tunes? No problem—the Ace can do that either through the aptX Adaptive and Lossless Bluetooth codecs or wired playback. Want spatial audio? There’s plenty of that, too, including Dolby Atmos support with head tracking.

Hi-res tracks from the best music streaming services like Amazon Music, Tidal, and Qobuz sound clear and (to my ears) detailed compared to more compressed bitrates, though you may have to raise the volume more with wired playback. Spatial audio is entirely elective, so you can turn it on or off at will without the Sonos app when you go to the Ace in the Bluetooth menu on your Android phone or tablet. For head tracking, you’ll have to go to the Sonos app to toggle that on or off.

Sonos app showing Ace headphones swap with Sonos Arc.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Looking at the Ace from a broader perspective, there’s a key distinction in that they’re not an equal part of your Sonos system because they don't link up with its speakers. The only exception, as of this review, is the Sonos Arc and Arc SL, with the company’s other soundbars—Beam 2, Beam, and Ray—all coming aboard the compatibility train later.

The Arc can transfer TV audio over to the Ace when you connect them together. The catch is you need to do it with an iOS device because Android support for the feature isn’t ready at launch. A pretty easy process in the Sonos app that should establish the connection within minutes, so long as both devices are updated to the latest software. This “TV Audio Swap” is a seamless transition, where you only need to hold the Content Key slider button on the right ear cup to switch between them. Once available on the Android app, you’ll also be able to toggle them there as well.

Wearing Sonos Ace headphones from side view.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

It’s impressive in both execution and audio quality, really giving you the feeling of a private cinema experience between your ears. Even better, it works regardless of what the Arc is playing, so whether you’re watching a game, streaming a show, or playing video games, all the audio patches through to the Ace. I can see it saving couples and families from arguments, especially in late-night situations or keeping a child asleep. 

This is the only circumstance in which the Ace are on Wi-Fi, so you lose the Bluetooth connection with your phone or tablet. If a call or notification comes in, you won’t hear it, forcing you to swap back to the TV first and then pick up the call once the phone re-establishes contact. It’s not the smoothest transition, and the time it takes could lead to a missed call unless you pick up first and ask the caller to wait until the audio runs through the Ace.

Sonos wants to expand on this home theater setup with what it’s calling TrueCinema, technology that calibrates the Ace to emulate the acoustic response you get from the Arc. It’s also not ready yet but is coming soon, and when it does, Sonos says it will be similar to Trueplay, the current calibration for all Sonos speakers and soundbars emitting audio pulses to measure a room’s dimensions while the listener wears the headphones in the “sweet spot” dead center in front of the soundbar.

The result should be a more expansive spatial audio sound. As is, the Wi-Fi connection and Dolby Atmos can up-convert stereo sound into a virtual 5.1 or 7.1.4 surround equivalent. The Arc does the heavy lifting because it’s transferring that capability to the Ace, after all.

Plus, while the Ace can connect to multiple compatible Sonos soundbars in a home, you can’t use two Ace pairs on the same soundbar simultaneously. Moreover, it's an either-or situation, meaning either the Arc or Ace are playing audio, not both at the same time. This negates the possibility of two people watching the same content on the same TV hooked up to an Arc and Ace.

Sonos Ace headphones with exposed ear cups.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Sonos was smart to go with physical buttons for the onboard controls. All respond well and haven't caused me any problems. Slide the Content Key up or down for volume, press once to play/pause/answer calls, or hold to decline a call or activate TV Audio Swap. Double-click to skip a track, triple-click to go back. The Noise Control button below switches between ANC and Aware mode. Press and hold to access your device’s voice assistant. Wear sensors within the cups also automatically pause playback when you remove the headphones, resuming again when you put them back on.

With everything going on wearing the Ace, battery life comes with some trade-offs. Sonos rates it at 30 hours per charge based on default volume levels using Bluetooth. That largely holds up, though the Wi-Fi connection in the TV Audio Swap saps it at a faster rate. It’s hard for me to quantify exact numbers, but if you’re routinely watching TV with these on, you’ll go nowhere near 30 hours. Mix it up with Bluetooth music and phone calls, and I’d say you can expect north of 20 hours per charge, give or take, based on volume levels. A quick three-minute charge boosts the Ace to give you up to three hours of playback, which is huge when you need some juice before a commute.

Sonos Ace: What's not good

Sonos Ace headphones sitting inside their protective case.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Sonos purists may feel robbed by the mere fact the Ace don’t integrate with the company’s speakers. On the one hand, I understand the decision because Wi-Fi demands more from a battery when you factor in all the other elements involved, like noise cancelation and volume. Bluetooth continues to improve in both range and power efficiency, which is why we’re seeing better battery figures in headphones and earbuds nowadays. Wi-Fi complicates that.

On the other hand, leaving the speakers out feels like the Ace are acquainted with the family rather than being part of it. Sonos is mum on what it has in mind going forward, and my own sense is the company is waiting to see what the mood is before figuring out how to approach this. 

It’s more of a one-way connection that pushes audio sourced from the TV to the headphones, not audio playback from the headphones the other way around.

The very idea of listening to tunes through the Ace and then switching them over to an Era 100 or 300 upon arriving home sounds so enticing. Indeed, the current integration with the Arc only applies to audio coming through the HDMI port, which is why it’s focused on TV. Stream audio to it from your phone, tablet, or computer, and the swap isn’t available. Thus, it’s more of a one-way connection that pushes audio sourced from the TV to the headphones, not audio playback from the headphones the other way around.

Technically, the Ace should be able to connect with Sonos speakers, especially the newer Era lineup, so it’s a question of whether Sonos sees it as an impractical solution right now. Could the company decide to flip the switch and enable that integration later through a software update? It's certainly possible, but we’ll have to see.

Sonos Ace headphones folded flat and ear cups facing up.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Speaking of speakers and soundbars, Sonos can get away with evading a multiband EQ for those units, but it’s a stark omission on the Ace. Forget expensive headphones, manufacturers making mid-range and affordable pairs routinely have EQs through their dedicated apps. Instead, you’re left with the usual sliders for bass, treble, and loudness, the latter of which chips away at clarity and detail the higher you go. Nothing specific to mids nor the tuning nuances of playing around with a 5- or 10-band EQ.

I get that Sonos wants to keep its own tuning close to the vest, but headphones differ from speakers and soundbars. The Ace feel considerably more personal because the sound isn’t bouncing off walls measured by room dimensions. These cans are up against stiff competitors who not only sound great but also offer loads of custom choices to make their headphones feel inherently personal.  

I should note that a nasty bug also crept up for me during testing that turned the Ace into a ghost on the Sonos app. For some reason, the headphones showed as “Not Connected” in the app even though I was listening to music from the same phone. TV Audio Swap worked perfectly fine—including after un-pairing the Ace from my phone. When I asked Sonos about this bizarre situation, company reps said a new update in time for launch would squash the bug. I’ll revise this review once I can confirm that’s indeed the case.

Sonos Ace: Competition

Sony WH-1000XM5 buttons.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

The Sonos Ace are good enough to compete against the best wireless headphones out there and stand out for the home theater integration others in the category have either neglected or can’t deliver. Even so, high-end headphones come in hot when it comes to quality. The Sony WH-1000XM5 have been a gold standard since they launched, continuing Sony’s pedigree for delivering top-class sound, noise cancelation, battery life, app support, and comfort. Equally hard to beat are the Bose QuietComfort Ultra for the same reasons. These headphones impress on so many levels, delivering ANC on par with the best in the business. 

Audio purists might lean more toward the likes of the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 or Sennheiser Momentum 4, both of which also crush the Ace on battery life. All of these options don’t come cheap, so if your budget allows for something this premium, consider all your options.

Sonos Ace: Should you buy them?

Carrying Sonos Ace headphones from headband.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

You should buy this if...

  • You're already familiar with Sonos products.
  • You want very good sound and noise cancelation.
  • You want home theater privacy with Sonos soundbars.
  • You want a comfortable fit.

You shouldn't buy this if...

  • You want them to work with Sonos speakers.
  • You want more personalized audio customization.
  • You prefer to spend less.

Despite their drawbacks, the Sonos Ace are a solid pair of headphones that open doors other brands simply haven’t gone through well enough, if at all. How often do you hear Sony, Bose, or Sennheiser talking about their headphones integrating with their soundbars or speakers? They may have technical solutions available to make it happen, but they usually involve Bluetooth and other prerequisites that are fraught with challenges. Limited as it may be right now, the Ace show what’s possible, and I can tell you from my experience they’re super convenient to use with the Arc to watch anything in peace.

Still, Sonos will upset some seeking a more invested integration with its products unless it charts a different path later on. As standalone headphones, however, the Ace are an impressive mix of audio quality and noise control, with reliable buttons and a comfortable fit. 

Ted Kritsonis
Contributor, Audio Reviewer

Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar. Often times, that will be with a pair of headphones or earbuds playing tunes. When he's not testing something, he's working on the next episode of his podcast, Tednologic.