Arc Surround and Atmos mix is not balanced

  • 10 January 2022
  • 3 replies

I’ve noticed several people complaining about how the speakers are functioning in surround and Atmos setups. I’d like to start a discussion to verify my observations. I find that without exception, all surround content has poor audio balancing. Especially when it comes to the balance of dialogue (center channel) and music/effects (all other channels.) 

As an audio professional, I understand that much of the quality of the balance is determined by the creator of the content (Mixing engineers). Also, I understand that more recent movies have higher effects levels. Nonetheless, even when playing classic, award wining movies, even those that won awards for sound mixing, the dialogue levels are ridiculously low. I have experimented with Arcs, Beams, Amps… it doesn’t matter. Any configurations has low dialogue. I have tried adjusting settings. Even with the modes to lower loud sounds and chance speech make little difference. I would love some other insight into this and see if we can get Sonos to address it.

3 replies

Userlevel 7

I have the Arc/Sub/Play:1s setup and I feel like the sound is very balanced in my living room especially with Dolby Atmos and any multichannel content. I rarely have issues hearing dialogue, and when I do, turning on the Speech Enhancement feature solves the problem. If I ever have issues with sound effects drowning out the dialog, I sometimes turn on the Night Sound feature to lower the dynamic range of the audio mix. Night Sound is especially helpful when watching stereo content.

Have you run Trueplay tuning? Have you adjusted the Surround Audio levels?

And to be honest, when I run into issues with a particular program and all of the things that you mention, my expectation is it is the sound engineer who mixed the original program who is at fault. My TV and Sonos system plays what it is given. If the data presented to it is poorly mixed from the beginning, I don’t expect clever engineers from Sonos to fix that. 

Have you run Trueplay tuning? Have you adjusted the Surround Audio levels?

Thanks for the reply @GuitarSuperstar 

Based on your activity, you either work for Sonos or have quite a bit of time to research the topic. I am an installer and can assure you I’ve done enough tests and tuning to verify that the center channel is not properly balanced. The fact that the drivers are so close together understandably adds an extra challenge for Sonos to overcome.


If you have interest, I would propose we pick a known well-mixed movie that has heavy effects but also clear dialogue and do some measurement tests. 

Let me know if you are interested and I’ll suggest a movie.


@Airgetlam yes, some content is poorly mixed but having to adjust setting to get clear dialogue should not be a regular occurrence.