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Home / Features / Sonos wireless headphones details surface as launch nears

Sonos wireless headphones details surface as launch nears

Full details on the upcoming noise-cancelling wireless Sonos headphones due in June 2024

A patent drawing showing two potential designs for Sonos heaphones

Sonos has long made some of the top wireless speakers around and the multi-room specialist continues to break new ground for its range. So, why hasn’t it done the same with wireless headphones?

Based on leaks and comments from the company itself I think it’s nailed on we’ll get noise-cancelling Sonos headphones in June 2024 – read on for more on for the full details.

Sonos has been busy over the last 18 months or so. It unveiled an affordable new soundbar in the Sonos Ray in late 2022. The Era 300 and Era 100 were launched in early 2023, with the former bringing support for spatial audio Dolby Atmos tracks.

The Sonos Move 2 then debuted in September 2023. Now, a pair of noise-cancelling wireless headphones sure looks to be on the horizon for early June 2024, priced at $449.

Read on as we tell you all the latest gossip about the potential Sonos wireless headphones release date, price and specs.

When will Sonos headphones appear?

We first heard whisper of Sonos headphones way back in 2019, where a fall release date was rumoured. They are apparently codenamed ‘Duke’.

Company CEO Patrick Spence had pledged to deliver two new products every 12 months. It turns out that would begin with the Sonos Roam, which also looks set to be updated in early 2024 with Sonos’ latest-generation controls.

Then, on 19 December 2023 Sonos teased the headphones on Threads – the graphics seem to point to the new product having two earcups to us. The invitation link is to sign up for more info.

In February, Bloomberg suggested June was now locked in for launch, and that a price have been set at $449. That date has now been confirmed by Spence during the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference (as per Digital Trends) in March:

“What we said at our last earnings call in February is that it will be in our fiscal [third quarter],” he said. “And we have no update on that. It continues to be fiscal Q3 from where we are.” And that means from June onwards.

Reportedly there was a delay due to complications with the software.

Now the headphones have appeared on the Bluetooth SIG database (basically they’re getting certified that they work with other Bluetooth devices). In the listing, the headphones are referred to as S49, which we guess is an internal product code. They have the latest Bluetooth 5.4 version.

Sonos was relatively late to the Bluetooth party. It only started to add it to devices in 2019 with the launch of the Sonos Move. But all its recent speakers have it and as you’ll read below, I expect the headphones to have both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on board.

How long has Sonos been working on headphones?

The June date is, however, later than planned, on account of some software gremlins that needed exorcising, and at a price that’ll directly compete with the likes of Apple’s AirPods Max (plus incoming AirPods Max 2) and the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones.

Interestingly the report also suggests Sonos has a party speaker in the works, along with a pair of wireless earphones.

Sonos has been working on headphones for quite some time. A 2022 LinkedIn post from VP of global marketing Pete Pedersen revealed the firm was looking to hire a new ad agency to aid in “creating a new category for an established brand” as part of the “most ambitious projects in our history.”

Then there was a long wait for an update. But Patrick Spence gave a clear update during a 2023 earnings call:

“[2024] is the beginning of a multi-year product cycle where we expect to reap the rewards of our R&D investments,” Spence told investors. “This cycle begins with our entry into a new multi-billion dollar category in the second half of the year that will complement our current offering, delight customers and drive immediate revenue.”

Headphones sure qualify as a “multi-billion dollar category”. Spence went into more detail, saying Sonos expected to generate “over $100 million from new product introductions” in 2024 this year [fiscal 2024], with “this exciting new product accounting for a large portion of this revenue in the second half.”

With that info, I’m circling summer 2024 as the likely launch date. Some were suggesting an April/May timeframe, though June is the most likely candidate.

How much would Sonos headphones cost?

Based on recent reports and the money estimates mentioned in the late 2023 earnings call, it’s likely Sonos will target a $449/£449 price point. It’s one Apple helped bring out of the audiophile world and into the mainstream with the AirPods Max (the second-gen of which we are expecting soon). Personally, I think the leaked price – between $400/£400 and $500/£500 is a good shout.

Sonos typically rivals Bose on price for its wireless speakers, and as our Bose Quietcomfort Ultra Headphones review highlights, the Business Class flagbearer also carries a high price point. This would bump them above the superlative Sony WH-1000XM5 – which we think are the best of the best on-ear headphones right now – and keep with Sonos’ premium price ethos.

Very early reports from Bloomberg had Sonos undercutting the competition, saying such a product would launch in the US at $300 – around £220 before tax. That was long before the AirPods Max arrived and changed what Joe Public was willing to pay for a pair of premium headphones, though. Fast forward to 2024 and Bloomberg suggests they could launch for between $400 and $500.

A drawing of Sonos wireless headphones

What will the design be like?

Several Sonos headphone patents spotted online include references to the potential design of such a product, and hints about what features it might offer.

The one that really kickstarted the Sonos headphones rumour mill was spotted by Protocol way back in August 2020 and brings to light a USPTO filing with images showing off a couple of different over-ear and wireless design options. Though because Sonos has clearly been working on the headphones for some time, I think these images shouldn’t be taken as a definitive guide as to what they will look like. The design will have surely changed.

Most the features detailed in the documentation won’t surprise those familiar with the wireless headphone market. They’ll likely offer ANC (active noice cancellation). Plus there will surely be support for a range of voice assistants including Sonos Voice Control and a USB-C charging port. They will unsurprisingly be available in black and white, just like other Sonos gear.

Sonos bought startup company Mayht in 2022; the Dutch firm was developing speaker transducers that could create huge sound using tiny components, while also keeping power consumption in check. I think that sounds ideal for a pair of headphones, right?

How will they work with other Sonos devices?

What’s really interesting about the headphones is how they will integrated with other Sonos gear when in your home. And hey presto, the USPO filing details integration with existing Sonos setups.

This is something called Sonos Swap. This would see the Sonos headphones move playback to your local hi-fi system when you return home. So as soon as you take off the cans, it ‘hands off’ to your local system so the same tune (or podcast) is playing in your house.

As the patent says:  “For example, if a particular piece of content play is currently playing on the wireless headphone, a swap changes the playback to play that piece of content on one or more other playback devices on the local network.”

This kind of feature absolutely screams Sonos. The company is known for the slick multi-room software that complements its speakers to make whole-home audio dreams a reality.

It’s also reported that the headphones will stream content from any TV that is connected to a Sonos soundbar.

Will they have Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi integration is the more intriguing bit. It would enable the headphones to stream music directly from the internet (rather than through an intermediary Bluetooth device). Reportedly the headphones will prioritise Wi-Fi when possible.

Therefore it would enable lossless playback at 24-bit/192kHz. This was picked up by Digital Trends by way of an August 2021 German patent application.

Sonos wireless headphones could include Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth

According to this documentation, the solution for how to cram the necessary Wi-Fi kit into the headphones could be to place the antennae in the ear cups.

The problem is how to pack in the extra hardware without compromising on aesthetics. This patent suggests there would be a connecting wire through the headband “almost twice the diameter of a typical headband cable in a Bluetooth-only headphone”

Are Sonos headphones being developed in the UK?

A very intriguing development happened in late 2021, with the acquisition of Scotland-based headphone maker RHA Audio (its website remains active). Sometimes companies like to hide behind other company names to obfuscate ownership. But that’s not the case here.

The UK Companies House website now lists RHA renamed as Sonos Scotland. And we have heard from a source that there is a lot of activity at its offices. The directors are now listed as three American Sonos representatives. An accountant, a lawyer and Maxime Bouvat-Merlin, who is the chief product officer at Sonos.

It doesn’t take a huge leap to surmise that headphones are very much in Sonos’ future. RHA’s website says that “We are a team of around 50 people based in Glasgow, UK, who believe that technology should connect people.” And while we don’t know how many people are currently working for Sonos in Scotland, we have heard from a source in the tech industry that the location is very much involved in active product development.

As Sonos itself told Protocol in response to the above USPTO filing. “As a company founded in innovation, we’re always working on different ideas and innovations that can help the world listen better. We continue to make investments in our strong patent portfolio with dozens of new patents each year.” So watch this space.

What else will Sonos do in 2024?

As we mentioned above I’m expecting a new version of the Sonos Roam, boasting longer battery life and complete with the new controls and volume slider that we’ve seen on the recent Era devices and the Sonos Move 2.

Rumours also suggest that Sonos will launch a TV set top box in 2024 or 2025, though details on that seem a lot more scarce than for the headphones. We know from a Protocol report from early 2022 that Sonos has been recruiting people to work on a Home Theater OS which will most likely have third-party apps. In terms of a device, it would most likely be in the same realm as a Fire TV streamer which means it would be competing with some serious rivals. Though, there’s no reason the OS couldn’t appear in future Sonos TV products like soundbars.

Speaking of soundbars, the Sonos Arc is also set to get an update in 2024. Could that have the Home Theater OS integrated? It’s also been suggested that the future Arc could use the Mayht tech we talked about above.

Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home

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