Was the review worth it?

The Ace XM5: a smart pair of headphones with natural earplugs for gaming and socialising with friends, family and strangers

Other settings you can change in the app include basic bass and treble EQ, and whether you want the headphones to pause when you remove them, or to answer calls when you put them on.

The feeling of the Ace is very well-made. Pop open the included hard case—something the Airpods Max notably, and very oddly, lack—and you’ll see a sleek pair of over-ears with shiny metal bands and supple leather around the headband. They’re round, traditionally shaped headphones that do nothing to grab anyone’s attention—they look a lot like Sony’s WH-1000XM5.

The company has promised “world-class” quality from Ace’s active noise cancellation and transparency modes, and it made good on at least one of those fronts — but it isn’t ANC. The noise-canceling powers delivered by the Ace are beyond adequate, but don’t get me wrong. Bose doesn’t need to worry about losing its crown. Both it and Sony do better at controlling the outside world. It is the aware mode, which pipes in your surroundings in a natural quality that has really impressed me. It’s the closest any company besides Apple has come to that “feels like you’re not wearing headphones” sensation. The passthrough mode of the Ace will make it useful when travelling to hear announcements or have a quick interaction with someone.

The headphones have physical controls, which I favor over touchpads and swipe gestures. The Content Key is located on the right ear cup. You press it once to play / pause, twice to skip forward a track, or three times to go back. Holding down the Content Key engages TV Audio Swap. Below the slider is a round button that toggles between active noise cancellation and the “aware” transparency mode. On the left ear cup is the USB-C port along with a power / Bluetooth pairing button. The Ace support multipoint Bluetooth, so they can be paired with two devices at the same time. They’ve also got on-head detection and automatically pause your music if you remove them. The battery can last for 30 hours.

Why do so many people love a Sonos audio system? A brief review of the most requested product ever from a big bang, by Patrick Spence

The design is sleek, professional, and timeless, so that it always seems right. It’s a design language borrowed from the “I didn’t see you there” styling of its speakers, and a welcome one in the world of flashy modern cans. Like the speakers, they come in either black or white.

Sonos CEO Patrick Spence told me headphones are its most requested product ever, which likely contributed to this hurried release. But I wish the company had shown more patience. An alternate universe where the Ace arrived a few months later — with all features ready for everyone out of the gate — would have made them land with greater impact. It also would have spared the company and its customers a lot of headaches and made them less likely to use social media. Sonos seems confident that the gamble will still pay off. We will find out soon enough.

There are many reasons why so many people love the Sonos system. When it comes to set-it and-forget-it multiroom audio, the company makes the hardware and software experience easier than anyone. From speakers to soundbars (and even turntables and networked amps), Sonos has taken over the homes of everyone who doesn’t want to drop oodles of cash on a “real” custom-installed system with wires running through walls. In a roundabout way, this makes a somewhat-costly Sonos system feel affordable.

The Sonos Ace Review: Was It Worth It? Or How Much Should I Have to “Agree” to Use a Smart Device?

Every smart device has a set of conditions that you have to agree to before you can use it. We can not read or analyze every single one of these agreements. But we started counting exactly how many times you have to hit “agree” to use devices when we review them since these are agreements most people don’t read and definitely can’t negotiate.

Unfortunately, it has proven inconsistent for me. A few times when holding down the Content Key, I’ve heard a “thunk” sound and nothing happens. When this occurs, tapping the TV Audio Swap button in the app also does nothing — despite the headphones showing as connected. Turning them off and on again is usually enough to get the feature working smoothly again. Tv Audio swap is activated using the Content Key instead of the app. Should I chalk this up to the new Sonos app’s general bugginess? It is worth mentioning and something I will keep an eye on. Sonos spokesperson Julia Fasano described it as “a rare bug that our team is currently aware of and working to address in a future release.”

Right now, I can take or leave the dynamic head tracking. TrueCinema will add a feature that will make you think there are many speakers around you when you watch a movie. But like so much about TV Audio Swap — Android support, wider soundbar compatibility, etc. — TrueCinema is also in the “coming later” column.

Source: Sonos Ace review: was it worth it?

The Ace Headphones: High-performance headphones for casual gaming and game-the-time gamma-ray bursts

The headphones can play any audio that would normally come through your soundbar — and that includes games. The latency is impressively low: it was imperceptible to me when playing a few games of MLB The Show on PS5, where the crack of the bat seemed right on target. I am not a guy who shoots people but I enjoy the gunplay in the game. Rift Apart, and GTA V kept up with what I was seeing on-screen. Competitive gamers might feel differently, but for casual pass-the-time gaming, the Ace are more than up for the job.

The hardware makes a good first impression. The case on which the headphones are made is made from recycled plastic. I worry about bag space for non-folding headphones but they have a nice flat case which makes it easy to take on the go. Inside is a pouch that attaches to the case magnetically: this is where you’ll store the included USB-C and USB-C-to-3.5mm cables. Listening can be done with either cable.

These headphones don’t feature any advanced wireless capabilities for everyday music listening. iPhone owners get the standard AAC codec, while some Android phones can take advantage of Qualcomm’s AptX Adaptive to wirelessly stream music at up to lossless quality. (My Galaxy S24 Ultra isn’t capable of this, so your mileage may vary.) I wish Sony’s more universal LDAC Bluetooth codec had been included for those who really care. It’s easy to get caught up in this stuff, but a headphone’s tuning is more important. But it’s fair to want all the things when you’re paying $450.

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