REVIEW: Sonos Ace Headphones, their first foray into personal, wearable audio

    For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been enjoying Sonos’ highly anticipated, first ever wearable product, the SONOS Ace headphones. Sonos is well established as a the creator of great home audio systems, so the expectations were definitely high when these were announced.

    Due for release this week (Pre-orders ship June 6th), Sonos is hoping a whole new audience of listeners will fall in love with their signature sound quality, but in a sea of options, it’ll be really interesting to see how the market responds.

    Retailing at A$699, the Ace headphones are undeniably a premium offering, but do they live up to the lofty expectations? Let’s delve into the details, my thoughts and opinions in a full review to find out if these headphones are worthy of your hard-earned Aussie dollars.


    At first glance, the Sonos Ace headphones exude a sense of understated luxury. The design language is unmistakably Sonos, with clean lines, a minimalist aesthetic, and a choice of matte black or soft white finishes. The build quality is exceptional, with metal accents adding a touch of sophistication while maintaining a lightweight feel.

    When opening the fabric case, I was surprised to see a mint green interior, but even more surprised to see that mint colour being carried to inside the right ear cup. The obvious choice would have been to colour these the same (I think every other pair of headphones I’ve ever owned has been this way), but Sonos opted for different colours to indicate which way you need to place them on your head. Others opt for a large L or R inside the cup, but not Sonos, they went in a very different direction.

    The black version of the headphones also features different cup interiors, so this is a very deliberate choice without a real explanation as to why we get a mint green interior on the white. Externally you’d never know and it certainly won’t impact your audio listening experience.

    Comfort is paramount for any headphones, especially during extended listening sessions. Thankfully Sonos has clearly prioritised this aspect, as the Ace headphones are incredibly comfortable to wear. The plush memory foam ear cushions mould to your ears, creating a snug yet gentle seal that blocks out external noise. The headband, also padded with memory foam, distributes weight evenly across your head, ensuring a comfortable fit even after hours of use.

    One minor gripe is that the ear cups don’t swivel equally in both directions, meaning that if you take them off and have them around your head, you have 1 option, to face the cups outwards, the opposite to what feels natural to me. To the point above, the interior cup colour difference is on display and may look like a mistake, rather than a deliberate decision. This also hides the Sonos branding on the right cup exterior, so that does feel like a strange decision.

    If you’re travelling with the Ace headphones and need to have the cups flat to slide them in your backpack, they absolutely can do this, so that works well.

    Overall, the design of the Sonos Ace headphones is a triumph. They’re not only beautiful to look at but also a joy to wear, making them an excellent companion for both daily commutes in the train, on walks, or on flights.

    I ventured out to the shops on multiple occasions to gauge the public reaction. While I got a few people looking, I think that had a lot more to do with them being used to people wearing earbuds rather than a full set of headphones, either way, I definitely felt comfortable rocking these in public.


    Sonos hasn’t skimped on features with the Ace headphones, packed full technologies designed to enhance your listening experience.

    High-Fidelity Audio
    The heart of any headphones lies in their audio performance, and the Sonos Ace doesn’t disappoint. Two custom-designed 40mm drivers, meticulously engineered by Sonos, deliver exceptional sound quality.

    The audio is crisp, clear, and well-balanced, with a wide soundstage that makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a concert hall.

    Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Transparency Mode
    The Ace headphones come equipped with advanced ANC technology that effectively blocks out external noise, allowing you to focus on your music without distractions.

    This is crazy good, evidenced most by wearing them in the Supermarket, only to then reach up to the right ear, press the button and turn off the ANC to reveal a very loud environmental mix of radio, conversations, checkout beeps and more. I was completely oblivious to these notices when ANC is enabled, this really is excellent.

    If you need to be aware of your surroundings, Transparency Mode lets in just enough ambient sound to keep you connected to the world around you.

    Private Listening from your TV
    One of the more unique features of the Sonos Ace is its ability to seamlessly integrate with your Sonos home theatre system. With a simple tap, you can switch your TV audio from your Sonos soundbar to the Ace headphones.

    Right now this is exclusive to iOS users and you need an Arc soundbar to setup TV Audio Swap. Sonos says support for Beam and Ray soundbars are coming soon (hopefully Android support too).

    This would be great if you are listening to a movie and then the family go to bed. You’ll want to continue listening with great audio (via Ace headphones) and with this feature, its possible.

    Adjustable EQ Settings
    The Sonos app allows you to adjust the sound profile of the Ace headphones to your liking. You can adjust the bass, treble and can pan audio from left to right, helpful if you had hearing loss in 1 ear, to allow you to balance it.

    Head tracking
    In the mobile app, you have a setting called ‘head tracking’ and when enabled, it then pans the audio between your left and right ear to simulate that the audio source is in front of your body. I’ve had this option with one other headset and quickly turned it off, the same occurred here, that’s just not the audio experience I’m after, but it’s good to know its available for those that do.

    Bluetooth 5.4 and Multipoint Pairing
    The Ace headphones utilise the latest Bluetooth 5.4 technology for a stable and reliable wireless connection. Multipoint pairing allows you to connect the headphones to two devices simultaneously, making it easy to switch between your phone and computer without having to disconnect and reconnect.

    Battery life
    Sonos included a very healthy 1060mAh Li-ion battery to power up to 30 hours of listening time or 24 hours of call time with Active Noise Cancellation or Aware Mode enabled. I found this incredibly generous, using them for days at a time without thinking about a charger.

    When it does come time to charge, there’s a USB-C cable included and rapid charge allows you to get as much as 3 hours of listening time in just 3 minutes. 10% through 100% normal charging speed (full power in up to 3 hours).

    I did experiment with connecting the headphones to USB charging and can confirm this drops the Bluetooth connection, so if these do go flat, thankfully the rapid charging will have you back in action in minutes.


    When it comes to audio performance, the Sonos Ace headphones truly shine. The sound signature is detailed and nuanced, with a focus on clarity and accuracy. The bass is tight and punchy, the mids are clear and present, and the highs are crisp without being harsh. The wide soundstage creates a sense of spaciousness, making you feel immersed in your music.

    My regular headphone playlist includes a lot of Deadmau5 and listening to the same tracks back-to-back with different headphones, I was really impressed with the Sonos Ace. The true abilities of the Sonos Ace was best revealed when watching the latest movie trailers on YouTube. For this, I chose Deadpool & Wolverine and Wolfs, both absolutely transporting you to another world, completely immersive audio that draws you into the video, the sound is incredible.

    I’m glad to report that regardless of how loud you have the audio, there’s not even a hint of distortion, speaking to the capabilities of the speakers included. A word of warning, these can go far louder than is safe to listen to.

    Given we can use headphones to listen to all sorts of entertainment, it is important to consider the sound escaping the headphones to the outside world, particularly if you enjoy podcasts that feature swearing, controversial, or adult content. A good test for this is to give these to a friend and see what you can hear at a normal listening volume. There is definitely some sound that escapes the headset, perhaps a little more than others, so just be conscious of this and consider your audience.

    The call quality is excellent, thanks to no less than eight microphones that work in harmony to accurately capture your voice while minimizing background noise. Whether you’re on a Teams call or chatting with a friend, your voice will come through loud and clear.

    Issues and Opportunities

    Easily my biggest issue with the Sonos Ace headphones is the price itself. At $699 AUD, the Sonos Ace headphones are a significant investment and one only those with plenty of disposable income to spare can afford.

    Sonos as a company always target the premium end of the market and that’s a find objective, I just wish more people buying in the $3-500 range had an option (perhaps a entry level version could help grow interest in Sonos headphones and features, battery life and more could help draw customers to the flagship device in the range.

    Another opportunity is for Sonos to address the lack of pre-set EQ options. With a headset so focused on sound quality, it seems like a strange omission to not have a basic ‘Rock, Pop, Podcast’ EQ settings.

    In a future generation, I would love to see touch controls on the outside of the earcup. While the Ace offers auto-play detection when you place them on your head, this only works when they are turns on. If you remove the headphones, place them on the desk, or around your neck, and they go to sleep, they you then need to press the power on button to wake them back up.

    I would love to see Sonos add the ability for the headphones to detect movement, or the touch of your hands and that to trigger them to turn on, so simply by picking them up they turn on and placing them on your head resumes playback.

    My final complaint is likely a unique situation to me, but it took me longer than it should to get the headphones to connect to my Sonos app. Connecting to Bluetooth was a breeze, but I couldn’t get them to connect to the Sonos app. Thankfully support pointed me in the right direction, which was to check the app permission and sure enough at some stage, I had blocked its ability to see Nearby devices. The app didn’t prompt me to re-allow when attempting to pair, so that would be helpful to anyone finding themselves in my situation, understanding that most would simply install Sonos and approve all permissions.

    Price and Availability

    As mentioned earlier, the Sonos Ace headphones are available in Australia for A$699.

    This places them firmly in the premium headphone category, competing with other high-end offerings from brands like Sony and Bose. Apple’s AirPods Max come in at a staggering A$200 (A$899) more expensive, so in that context, these look like a bargain.

    While the price might be a barrier for some, it’s important to remember that you’re not just paying for the headphones themselves but also for the Sonos ecosystem and the seamless integration with other Sonos products.

    The headphones I reviewed were the white design, but they are also offered in black, there is actually a Sonos Ace (Pair) being sold where you and a loved one can save A$70 off the regular price. In this bundle, you can either have both white, both black or one of each colour.

    There are no accessories, however I think Sonos would be smart to make a headphone stand.


    The Sonos Ace headphones mark a successful entry into the headphone market for Sonos. They deliver on their promise of exceptional sound quality, a comfortable fit, and a range of features that cater to diverse listening needs.

    The overall experience of living with these headphones is fantastic, one that looks and feels premium, but most importantly sounds premium. The feature list is representative of the hard work done by Sonos designers and engineers and I suspect this will be the first of many headphones form the company.

    If you’re a discerning listener who values audio fidelity, comfort, and a seamless integration with your Sonos home theatre system, the Sonos Ace headphones are a worthy investment. They might not be perfect, but they represent a strong foundation for Sonos to build upon as they continue to expand their presence in the personal audio space.

    Finally I wonder if Sonos has an opportunity to delight existing customers, allowing them to have an easy way to take music playing around their house and transfer it to their Sonos Ace headphones. At the moment they devices are treated independently and the ‘play everywhere’ feature doesn’t extend to the Ace headphones.

    This is a great first product in the headphone category from Sonos, so if you have the budget, I strongly recommend you check them out.

    For more information, or to pre-order, you can head to

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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