The Sonos Ace is an admirable first attempt at delivering some premium over-ear headphones

Sonos is well known for its high-quality audio and stylish designs across a variety of soundbars and wireless speakers. But for as good as they are, it seemed like there was a small gap in the market. Sony has done it with the WH-1000XM5. Bose has done it with the QuietComfort Ultra. Everyone’s either seen, heard of or bought the AirPods Max somewhere down the line. And now, we have the Sonos Ace.

It’s certainly a welcome addition to the Sonos family and one that honestly could not come soon enough. Right off the bat, the Sonos Ace does a bunch of things well. It ticks the expected boxes with premium audio, impressive build quality and a stunning design, on top of some decent noise cancelling.

While I have a few minor gripes with the Sonos Ace which hold it back from true greatness, the premium A$699 price tag is ultimately worth the price of admission, serving up what is without a doubt one of the better over-ear noise-cancelling headphones out there today.


There’s just no way around it; the Sonos Ace looks and feels fantastic. Available in either Black or Soft White, the Sonos Ace includes a matte finish that is incredibly fingerprint-resistant. The memory foam earcups are made from soft vegan leather and are also really easy to clean and replace down the track.

It’s competing closely with the Sony WH-1000XM5 and the Bose QuietComfort Ultra in this department. At 312g, they’re heavier than the XM5 at 250g and lighter than something like the AirPods Max, which is the heaviest of the bunch and noticeably so. While the Sonos Ace does feel relatively heavy, it’s pretty much the most comfortable fit out of the bunch. Having tried both Sony’s and Bose’s offerings in the past, I can safely say that the larger earcups hug nicely; a huge plus for larger heads like mine.

Even so, I did experience a tiny bit of audio bleed at louder volumes, so you might find this a more prominent issue if you have smaller ears. Either way, the level of cushioning here is supreme, and it helps with longer listening sessions to say the least. In addition to this, the polished hinges are actually tucked away inside the earcups themselves and it’s incredibly impressive. They’re easy enough to adjust, but won’t get snagged on longer hair. I honestly wish I had kept my long hair just to experience this, as I had been dealing with this problem for ages.

The Sonos Ace opts for physical buttons as opposed to touch buttons, but I personally love it. It’s much easier to not only find them but as every button is shaped differently, it’s also super easy to understand and adjust on the fly.

On the left-hand side, you’ll find a dedicated USB-C port for charging and a standard power button. On the right-hand side, you’ll find a toggle button to change between Noise-Cancelling and Aware modes and a unique Content Key, which slides up and down for volume control and presses in to pause audio and manage incoming phone calls.

The Sonos Ace also comes with a felt storage case made from recycled materials, which is slim enough to fit into majority of backpacks and even some larger handbags. While the Sonos Ace earcups only fold flat and not inwards, it seems like they could have been made to squeeze into something a little smaller, but I’ll admit that’s a nitpick at best. The case also includes a small magnetic detachable pouch which can carry the included USB-C to USB-C charging cable and USB-C to 3.5mm audio cable.

Overall, the Sonos Ace feels just about as premium as the price suggests, and it’s really hard to argue with the results. The earcups are super comfortable and the earcups are an absolute win for larger ears like mine. The hidden hinges are great for those with longer hair and the matte finish helps to keep these clean in the long run. While they are heavier than something like the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones, I don’t think it’s enough of a weight increase to hinder the experience in any meaningful way.

Sound & Functionality

As you would expect from a brand like Sonos, they have nailed the audio out of the box. Complete with the latest Bluetooth 5.4 and compatible with spatial audio, lossless audio, Dolby Atmos and even Snapdragon’s aptX Lossless codec, you’re getting the goods here. While it’s not supporting codecs like Auracast and LE Audio which are on the rise, it ticks many of the expected boxes.

Spatial audio and Dolby Atmos alone give these headphones a huge soundstage, while you can even enable head tracking to adjust the audio as you move about a room to help it sound focused and localised to one spot. Features like these are obviously only as good as the actual hardware, and these custom-designed 40 mm dynamic drivers are definitely where it’s at. I’m someone who usually needs to mess around with the EQ settings to get the best experience, and while I believe some will want to experiment, it doesn’t feel as necessary.

Bass is generally fantastic and it rarely gets lost in the mids and highs, and there’s no glaring distortion issues to worry about, even if you do get the slightest hint when you’re watching or listening to content that gets exceptionally high or tinny. The external microphones are also embedded in a slim mesh panel, and while they work just fine, didn’t really stand out to the point where I would say it’s exceptional.

The Sonos Ace also features both Active Noise Cancellation and Aware modes, the former of which blocks out external sounds, while the latter lets them in. The noise-cancellation is actually fantastic, and while I feel like it’s not as great as the Bose QuietComfort Ultra, it’s pretty damn close. That’s really saying something, as alternatives like the Sony WH-1000XM5 and AirPods Max have great noise cancellation to begin with. The Sonos Ace also adds multipoint Bluetooth connectivity, meaning you can switch between two connected devices on the fly with the click of a button.

The battery life here is also great. You’ll get up to 30 hours of playtime with Bluetooth and ANC turned on. It’s much better than the AirPods Max which only offers 20 hours under the same conditions, while slightly beating the Bose QuietComfort Ultra at 24 hours and practically tying with the Sony XM5, which also clocks in at 30 hours. The best part, however, is that while they include fast-charging functionality, they can also give you three hours of listening time from just a three-minute charge.

While I will concede the Bose QuietComfort’s noise cancelling is a smidge better than the Sonos Ace, everything else ties together so nicely that it’s much closer than you would think. Spatial audio and Dolby Atmos support what is otherwise some solid hardware, boosting and enhancing the solid soundstage that’s already on offer. To say it’s simply what Sonos does might sound like a cop-out, but it’s honestly one of the best options out there for premium sound at this premium price.

Soundbar Compatibility

The Sonos Ace also includes a TV Swap feature, which only works with the Sonos Arc soundbar at launch. Sonos has stated this feature will come to the Beam and Ray soundbars down the track, although no dates are official at the time of writing.

With this feature, you can essentially throw the sound from your Sonos Arc into your Sonos Ace headphones, allowing you to watch content on your TV without disturbing anyone else around or near you. You can easily swap by pressing the dedicated content key once connected, and it’s a pretty seamless experience, albeit a random pause or crackle in audio when switching. It also seems as though the actual switching process itself can get a little confused internally, creating some slight lip-syncing issues. While this can be fixed by simply switching back to the Arc and again to the Ace, it’s a strange issue that I can’t quite figure out.

The Arc’s Dolby Atmos will certainly carry through along with head racking so that the action stays focused on the TV no matter where you are in the room. Keep in mind, however, that this experience will drain the battery much quicker.


The Sonos app returns as your one-stop shop for all things Sonos, and it’s a rather minimal one that succeeds in being as easy to navigate as it is to make changes on the fly. Here you can adjust EQ settings, turn noise cancelling on or off and switch to the alternate Aware mode. That being said, while something like the Bose QuietComfort Ultra features a slider to adjust the effectiveness of noise cancellation, it can can only be turned completely on or off on the Sonos Ace.

You can even access settings like wear detection, which automatically knows when you’re taking these on and off to pause and play audio for you, and you can even allow a Wear to Answer feature which automatically picks up calls as you pop these on.

There is not a whole lot else to do here, but it’s all clear, concise and easy to navigate, making this not only a familiar experience for anyone with a Sonos soundbar or speaker but one that’s easy to learn if you’re new to the ecosystem.

Verdict & Value

While they might not provide the best noise cancellation on the market or the lightest fit, the Sonos Ace is doing a bunch of things incredibly well. From the premium audio and sturdy design to the unique hinges and gorgeous matte finish, the list of things to love really does go on.

I also love how these can connect to the Arc soundbar, but I do hope these smaller nagging issues are fixed in time as support for the Beam and Ray soundbars are added.

Sonos has done an incredible job for their first attempt, and I would easily recommend these to anyone shopping in this price range for some premium noise-cancelling over-ear headphones.


Highlights: Comfortable to wear; Fantastic sound quality; Great battery life; Sonos app is easy to use
Lowlights: Audio bleed may be present for users with smaller ears; Arc soundbar experience leads to inconsistent episodes of lip-syncing issues
Manufacturer: Sonos
Price: A$699
Available: Now

Review based on unit supplied by Sonos and is now available via their official website.

Matthew Arcari

Matthew Arcari is the games and technology editor at The AU Review. You can find him on Twitter at @sirchunkee, or at the Dagobah System, chilling with Luke and Yoda.