Sonos arc and gaming latency

  • 21 May 2020
  • 8 replies

Hey, preordered the Arc and am excited.

However, this might be the first Sonos product where I’ve seen “gaming” in the tagline, right there on the splash page for the product. The Beam doesn’t say this.

So, knowing Sonos chooses their words carefully, here is the scenario many users are heading into:

Currently, the Beam with my Gen 1 Ones and Gen 2 SUB on a latest gen Boost has a “barely acceptable” amount of lag with games. I play a few feet away from my Boost on WIFI, not ethernet. I’m on an OLED55CX (lowest input lag in the industry) with an Xbox One X. Games that target 60fps and therefore have low input lag have a noticeable sound delay on trigger pulls, not enough to truly annoy me, but let that slip in S2, or make zero improvement to it, and I would consider that a disappointment for a product also billed as a gaming device. Put on a headset, and the latency is eliminated of course.



  1. Are you improving latency in your stack with the ARC? How? Is it with S2 alone or is the hardware responsible too?
  2. If so, does that mean existing S2 products will see these improvements or are we going to see greater benefits going with Gen 2 Ones and Gen 3 SUB combined with ARC? In other words, are you now utilizing the added hardware processing power to reduce latency?

Currently, modern TVs allow “passthrough” of ATMOS which, in theory, leaves the signal untouched and therefore adds little to no latency to the signal. I can test this by switching my Beam from DD5.1 (supported) to ATMOS passthrough (strangely the Beam accepts this and I hear regular 5.1, albeit unsupported sound) in my Xbox One X and the latency seems to triple. This suggests me that SONOS processing is the latency culprit and there is room for improvement.

Thank you.

8 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

HDMI 2.1/eARC includes LLLM which is auto low latency mode, so that should help with #1. As the Arc is the only device that supports this, it cannot be implemented in older systems so that is a No for #2. I am guessing this is why Gaming is specifically called out in the PR.

Generally speaking the lag on today’s Sonos TV systems is caused by poor engineering in TVs, I have seen nothing to indicate otherwise. This is usually provable by switching from ARC to optical mode, and some TVs add delay to the ARC signal (despite it being digitally identical to the optical signal).

The rtings review specifically calls out how great this TV is on Xbox, you might want to check your TV settings. When connected to the Xbox it should automatically go into Game Mode anyway.

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

FYI the rtings review says: “ With an Xbox plugged in, it automatically enables the Auto Low Latency Mode and it turns on HDMI Deep Color Mode, but you have to enable Instant Game Response first for ALLM to work. “

Thanks, however I’ve done all that and I know about ALLM as I’m a bit of a video nerd. Latency on Beam is still mediocre. I wouldn’t doubt it if LG is partially to blame. I know about deep colour and instant response. All toggled. Done all the Xbox settings too in the Dolby Access app. 

I know the baseline latency is much better on my E7 in the theatre room with my AVRX3600H. It’s a different LG tv for sure, but still an OLED running WebOS so I’m leaning on SONOS to tell me what’s up with their processing stack. 

All ALLM is is a bit of metadata telling the TV to switch into low latency mode, a mode that can be manually toggled into via game mode if you wish, it doesn’t unlock a hidden “even lower latency” mode for audio transport as far as I’ve researched. 

Furthermore Sony has went out of their way to “criticize” Atmos for their upcoming PS5 which leads me to believe they might be supporting DTS:X this time as their go-to for their “Tempest” audio engine. The ARC, a 2020 gaming bar, doesn’t support DTS, and so this might be a huge issue with future PS5 gamers this year. 

So, nothing from SONOS on this topic? Worrying.

Laugh. This is a community forum, not a direct connection to Sonos. I’m amused that you find it ‘worrying’. If you’re interested in a direct connection to Sonos, I would encourage you to contact Sonos Support directly to discuss it.

I suggest the phone folks, they have more tools available because they're on the phone with you, they are available Monday through Friday during business hours. The Twitter support folks are available 24/7.


Userlevel 4
Badge +5

dont believe Sonos when they try to scam you by saying the Arc is a gaming soundbar. It’s not and more than likely you will not be able to get any surround sound from your games, sorry bro. Arc is for watching movies, not games.

As for the Playstation 5’s tempest audio engine - that is designed for headphones, you should use headphones with a Playstation 5, not a soundbar...

Userlevel 7
Badge +20

Scam!  That’s libelous surely? Care to clarify why you say that as it’s a brutal statement when presented without justification.


dont believe Sonos when they try to scam you by saying the Arc is a gaming soundbar. It’s not and more than likely you will not be able to get any surround sound from your games, sorry bro. Arc is for watching movies, not games.