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Sonos Arc: Lack of DTS a problem?


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As I wait for my Sonos Arc to arrive, I’m thinking about all of this way too much. I think I’ve been cooped up at home too long and putting together my first Sonos system is giving me a new project to obsess over. ;-) 

Question: For those Sonos veterans who have put together 5.1 systems for their Beam / Playbar, has the lack of DTS support been an issue for you? And, if so, how have you gotten around it? Have you ever run into a situation where you simply weren’t able to get any audio because of lack of DTS support? 

Thanks in advance for any input! 

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Best answer by McMurdeR 16 June 2020, 22:46

Due you play a lot of blu ray disks? If so, the answer unfortunately is yes, as a lot of them, and even a small number of DVDs are have audio encoded in DTS format.

One key thing that almost everone ignores is that Sonos relies on the TV to pass the track over to the speaker. Precious few TVs can pass-through DTS, and if yours doesn't then its a moot point - you'll end up with stereo regardless of what the soundbar supports.

There are workarounds. Some blue ray players and consoles can transcode the tracks to Dolby on the fly - that's the easiest solution, athough I've found that the PS4 can only do it when using optical output.

I personally rip every disk I buy and transcode the DTS tracks to dolby. I've put the files on a plex server and the disks go in the attic - hard copy formats are slowly on the way out, like it or not. I never leave the couch as a bonus.

If you don't watch many blu rays its a non issue.

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I long ago abandoned disk based media for streaming, so I’ve not encountered DTS in a while.  

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Same here. Can’t remember last time I had to use DTS for anything. 

most older blu-ray HD disks that I got are ended under DTS family codecs, and about 1/3 of my 4K blurray are coded under DTS. depending on the blu-ray player, Samsung’s OG (and OPPO) 4k blu-ray will decode DTS and re-encoded in DD(+) for Beam/Arc. though this is not an auto switch, before I play a DTS disk, I would have to manually go into sounds to turn on the re-coding to DD. 

Sonos has mentioned that multichannel PCM will be offered via firmware update for Arc, so that means you can set your 4k blurray player to output multichannel PCM (if your TV has eARC) and you can unlock some power of Arc that way. or you can keep your blurry player as bitstream and no coding, then have your TV does the coding if your TV supports DTS.

Those are two ways to get around. unfortunately, Beam (what I got) is only capable of 2 channels PCM. so if I let my TV (LGC9) to decode DTS, then it will only send 2.0 PCM to beam. as my TV doesn't re-encode DTS to DD+ on the fly. hence I end up using my Samsung to do the on the fly encoding to DD(+). 

hope that help :)

 

 

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Interesting Topic.

previously I had LGB6 + Playbar + Xbox.

Xbox set to bitstream Dolby and TV set as digital audio optical with DD output. No issue with DTS blue ray. They were transcoded by Xbox from DTS to Dolby.

now I moved to Arc and LG B9.

eARC connection, same setup on Xbox and LG TV set to digital audio ARC passtrough to Dolby.

I’m no more able to hear DTS because seems that someone in the chain do not convert anymore to DD.

Does someone have the same issue?

 

thanks

Perfectly happy with my Sonos speakers and I Sonos fan. But lots of older media on my NAS and on disc is DTS. So not having DTS on the Sonos Arc -is- an issue for me

Then again by not buying the Sonos Arc, I stay away from that issue. 

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Due you play a lot of blu ray disks? If so, the answer unfortunately is yes, as a lot of them, and even a small number of DVDs are have audio encoded in DTS format.

One key thing that almost everone ignores is that Sonos relies on the TV to pass the track over to the speaker. Precious few TVs can pass-through DTS, and if yours doesn't then its a moot point - you'll end up with stereo regardless of what the soundbar supports.

There are workarounds. Some blue ray players and consoles can transcode the tracks to Dolby on the fly - that's the easiest solution, athough I've found that the PS4 can only do it when using optical output.

I personally rip every disk I buy and transcode the DTS tracks to dolby. I've put the files on a plex server and the disks go in the attic - hard copy formats are slowly on the way out, like it or not. I never leave the couch as a bonus.

If you don't watch many blu rays its a non issue.

​​​​​

 

 

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Due you play a lot of blu ray disks? If so, the answer unfortunately is yes, as a lot of them, and even a small number of DVDs are have audio encoded in DTS format.

One key thing that almost everone ignores is that Sonos relies on the TV to pass the track over to the speaker. Precious few TVs can pass-through DTS, and if yours doesn't then its a moot point - you'll end up with stereo regardless of what the soundbar supports.

There are workarounds. Some blue ray players and consoles can transcode the tracks to Dolby on the fly - that's the easiest solution, athough I've found that the PS4 can only do it when using optical output.

I personally rip every disk I buy and transcode the DTS tracks to dolby. I've put the files on a plex server and the disks go in the attic - hard copy formats are slowly on the way out, like it or not. I never leave the couch as a bonus.

If you don't watch many blu rays its a non issue.

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. After playing around with it for a few days, it’s effectively a non-issue. Would I like for it to support DTS so that I don’t have to think about it at all? Absolutely - it’s been a pain in the butt to have to even consider what problems lack of compatibility would cause. Realistically, though, I haven’t run into a situation yet where it’s caused a true problem.

Like you, I moved to Plex quite a while ago and haven’t looked back. I ripped all my DVDs / Blu-rays and even sold all of the DVDs (kept the Blu-rays, though, as backups). Now it’s just so much handier to have every movie I own available via Plex no matter where I am. And Plex happily (and automatically) transcodes audio on the fly if it runs into something the Player can’t play or doesn’t understand. So DTS-MA automagically becomes Dolby Digital Plus to the Sonos Arc (via Apple TV). 

I’m in the process of re-ripping my Blu-rays to make sure I get all of the audio formats available (I’d foolishly transcoded formats like TrueHD down to regular 5.1 AC3 originally to save space). Plus, that way when I get HDFury’s upcoming little magic box that will let me feed eARC to the Arc, I’ll have full TrueHD (and sometimes Atmos) to the Arc. 

 

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So that’s true that PS4 and Xbox one are no more able to transcode on the fly.

I tried also to connect ARC to TV via optical adapter to my B9 tv (passtrough both DTS and Dolby Digital) but I’m no more able to have audio converted on the fly

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Due you play a lot of blu ray disks? If so, the answer unfortunately is yes, as a lot of them, and even a small number of DVDs are have audio encoded in DTS format.

One key thing that almost everone ignores is that Sonos relies on the TV to pass the track over to the speaker. Precious few TVs can pass-through DTS, and if yours doesn't then its a moot point - you'll end up with stereo regardless of what the soundbar supports.

There are workarounds. Some blue ray players and consoles can transcode the tracks to Dolby on the fly - that's the easiest solution, athough I've found that the PS4 can only do it when using optical output.

I personally rip every disk I buy and transcode the DTS tracks to dolby. I've put the files on a plex server and the disks go in the attic - hard copy formats are slowly on the way out, like it or not. I never leave the couch as a bonus.

If you don't watch many blu rays its a non issue.

​​​​​

 

 

Hello mate, thanks very much for your reply, could I follow up on this (and welcome comments on this from others too). I have been over this well-travelled ground having had a PlayBar… (check out mu last post about this: https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/dts-dolby-5-1-on-playbar-2015-edition-6731191 --sorry I never came back to read the replies!) my solution then was to buy a BD-player which transcoded to DD on the fly, however, I lost the best quality of sound and was stuck with Stereo or 5.1 not lossless HD Audio. A lot is made of whether this is noticeable or not, my opinion is that it is noticeable usually with speech. In a scene with background music or ambient sound, the audio is very hard to pick up; this was a big issue with the PlayBar.

 

Having committed to the Sonos eco-system even though I was annoyed about the lack of DTS-HD support, I bought the Arc. My solution this time round is to create lossless copies of by BDs to play via a Hard Disk-based device. I was doing this anyway but it may well assist me now with the Arc.

 

As before, most (and I think its 80% or more) BDs are encoded using DTS-HD-MA or DTS-5.1; so I cant play this unless its stereo on the Arc. I am now testing converting the audio into FLAC using MakeMKV. Do you have any experience of this? I can’t find any posts about this and I am sure I must be wrong because such a solution must have been picked up by others.

 

This way, if I am right, I get the lossless Blu-Ray picture and lossless sound, channels preserved, for play through Sonos Arc. From what I have read, DTS-HD can be losslessly converted to FLAC (see https://losen.win/articles/convert-dts-hd-ma-truehd-lpcm-to-flac-is-it-worth-it/convert-dts-hd-ma-to-flac.html) so this solution should work.

 

I would welcome comments from people more experienced on this subject. I essentially want as close to lossless audio and video as possible so transcoding into other formats (mp4 etc) is not a runner. Disk space no object!!

 

Regards

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In answer to my own quest above, having tested this throughly, multi-channel FLAC is not supported either :unamused:  (Sonos say they support FLAC but no mention of channels: https://support.sonos.com/s/article/79?language=en_US). Multi-channel FLAC is down mixed to stereo by the Arc. So that’s not a runner.

 

The DTS debate is a long-standing one, Sonos claims there’s no demand for DTS-support; something I find hard to believe on supposed a cinema system… when the vast majority of high-def cinema content (ie BDs) is encoded in DTS… that said, at the price-range of the Arc, rarely are Atmos and DTS-HD both supported (I only found one or two that did). In comparison, the Arc does still provide better value for money. Once you add the cost of the sub and rear speakers, however, it's far more expensive with far too few features when compared to the competition in the same price bracket.

 

Its not just multi-channel FLAC, or DTS, but even multi-channel PCM which is not supported  (see https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/multichannel-pcm-on-arc-6840185). You do start to wonder whether the technical design team are actually having their coffee in the morning or whether the herd buying into Sonos really only cares about streaming music, so Sonos can produce comparably substandard stuff (from a technical POV).

 

Back to the drawing board!!

 

 

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The DTS debate is a long-standing one, Sonos claims there’s no demand for DTS-support; something I find hard to believe on supposed a cinema system… when the vast majority of high-def cinema content (ie BDs) is encoded in DTS…

I’ve given this a lot of thought and, even though I’m brand new to Sonos, I think there’s a lot of Apple in their mentality, for better and worse. Both companies are clear on who they are, what they want to accomplish, and how they intend to go about it. They are willing to push the market forward with new technologies and ways to enhance the user experience, but are ruthless in ditching (or simply never supporting) features that they feel don’t support their core mission regardless of how a vocal minority of their fans may feel about it. 

While we home theater fanboys (and fangirls) would greatly prefer for Sonos to support DTS because it rounds out the codec assortment and keeps maximum flexibility with all of our legacy stuff, Sonos quite correctly has their eyes on the disc-less, streaming future where DTS just isn’t a thing. Atmos and/or Dolby Digital Plus is, which is what the Arc very clearly expects to receive.  

Same thing with HDMI-ARC vs. eARC. They’re making a (probably correct) bet that eARC will be on a majority of TVs in the future and that that will make the Arc (and future Sonos home theater products) even easier and simpler for the average consumer to hook up quickly and have great sound. And they’re almost certainly right. We home theater fans are drawn to the Arc system for the same reasons that regular consumers will be - it looks great, it sounds great, it’s easily expandable, it’s simple to hook up, it’s simple to use, it’s simple to stream music to, etc. Even though this is my first Sonos system, I’m an immediate fan for all of those reasons and more. 

But it doesn’t do everything that we hoped that it would in order to make it a “perfect” home theater system for us (DTS support, additional HDMI ports for greater flexibility, ability to add up to 7.1.2 channels, etc.). And Sonos doesn’t care because though Arc greatly appeals to us, it’s not built for us. It’s built for the person who has no idea what DTS is. It’s built for the person who would probably never put together an AVR system in the first place. It’s built for the person who ditched DVDs (much less Blu-rays) for streaming a long time ago. It’s built for the person who wants to pull the thing out of the box, hook up two cables, and be enjoying great sound in 5 minutes. And it’s going to be absolutely perfect for those people. 

And for us enthusiasts who want all of the benefits that Arc/Sonos brings to the table but wants even more? We’ll figure out workarounds as we always do. HD Fury has already gotten orders for nearly 500 units of their Arcana adapter (https://www.hdfury.com/product/4k-arcana-18gbps/) so that users with non-eARC TVs can get full range audio out of their external devices. Which is awesome and I’m one of those pre-orderers. We’ll rip our Blu-ray collections onto hard drives and create Plex servers to serve those files up to our streaming boxes (one more thing a regular consumer would never even consider doing). And we may even buy more flexible capable equipment to make all of this work (e.g., I love my TV, but am considering augmenting with an Nvidia Shield in order to get TrueHD/Atmos from my BD rips over Plex once my Arcana arrives). 

Just my 2¢, for what it’s worth. 

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I completely agree with you!! It's enthusiasts truly innovating on this front. The only thing I would say is that both Apple and Sonos, though laudable in many ways, get it seriously wrong with their closed thinking: Sonos with their refusal to adopt HDMI and stick with the antiquated optical port on the Play Bar was the equivalent of Apple refusing to support the USB port. Best of luck!

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Having committed to the Sonos eco-system even though I was annoyed about the lack of DTS-HD support, I bought the Arc. My solution this time round is to create lossless copies of by BDs to play via a Hard Disk-based device. I was doing this anyway but it may well assist me now with the Arc.

As before, most (and I think its 80% or more) BDs are encoded using DTS-HD-MA or DTS-5.1; so I cant play this unless its stereo on the Arc. I am now testing converting the audio into FLAC using MakeMKV. Do you have any experience of this? I can’t find any posts about this and I am sure I must be wrong because such a solution must have been picked up by others.

This way, if I am right, I get the lossless Blu-Ray picture and lossless sound, channels preserved, for play through Sonos Arc. From what I have read, DTS-HD can be losslessly converted to FLAC (see https://losen.win/articles/convert-dts-hd-ma-truehd-lpcm-to-flac-is-it-worth-it/convert-dts-hd-ma-to-flac.html) so this solution should work.

 

I assume you mean you’re ripping using MakeMKV and then converting using something like Handbrake (since MakeMKV doesn’t do any sort of conversion)? 

I’m in the process of doing full, non-compressed rips of my Blu-rays using MakeMKV to a large NAS as well. My primary method of viewing from there is via Plex on TV. 

In my experience, Plex (on TV at least - can’t speak for other platforms) automatically transcodes Dolby TrueHD to FLAC (Audio: Transcode (TrueHD - FLAC), and for DTS-MA, it simply (and interestingly) reads the file as “Audio: DCA” without any transcoding. From there, the Arc sees both as “Dolby Digital Plus 5.1.” 

I will be very interested to see what the result of that same test is when I get the Arcana is part of the chain. And I’m still holding out hope that a future TV or tvOS version will allow TrueHD passthrough. 

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I assume you mean you’re ripping using MakeMKV and then converting using something like Handbrake (since MakeMKV doesn’t do any sort of conversion)? 

I’m in the process of doing full, non-compressed rips of my Blu-rays using MakeMKV to a large NAS as well. My primary method of viewing from there is via Plex on TV. 

In my experience, Plex (on TV at least - can’t speak for other platforms) automatically transcodes Dolby TrueHD to FLAC (Audio: Transcode (TrueHD - FLAC), and for DTS-MA, it simply (and interestingly) reads the file as “Audio: DCA” without any transcoding. From there, the Arc sees both as “Dolby Digital Plus 5.1.” 

I will be very interested to see what the result of that same test is when I get the Arcana is part of the chain. And I’m still holding out hope that a future TV or tvOS version will allow TrueHD passthrough. 

No, not converting them; Im using MKV to create BDMV containers and keeping 1:1 copies of the discs. I play these using a system called Zappiti which is amazing. However, I heard about Plex after I bought it!! Is Plex an app on AppleTV? I’ll have to check that out but not keen on buying another box.

After my FLAC tests failed, I am testing out transcoding manually using MVKToolNix and a Windows programme which extracts the DTS-HD and converts it to TrueHD. I’ve just created one test file and will try it out. TBH your solution sounds the best of a bad situation though DD5.1 not as good as DTS-HD.

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I completely agree with you!! It's enthusiasts truly innovating on this front. The only thing I would say is that both Apple and Sonos, though laudable in many ways, get it seriously wrong with their closed thinking: Sonos with their refusal to adopt HDMI and stick with the antiquated optical port on the Play Bar was the equivalent of Apple refusing to support the USB port. Best of luck!

I can’t speak to what Sonos has done in the past, but, if anything, the complaints on the Apple side of the tech world are usually that they’re TOO aggressive in dropping old technology in favor of something new. I’ve been an Apple user long enough to remember the uproar that happened when they dropped the old ADB ports in favor of USB for the very first iMac. And ditching the floppy drive. And then CD/DVD drives. Then the headphone jack on the iPhone / iPad. Most recently the decision to drop support for all 32 bit programs with the newest version of macOS. Next up will be dropping Intel support in favor of Apple Silicon processors. The list goes on. 

And yeah, it can be annoying, and for many it’s a bridge too far which I totally get. But, just like with the Arc / Sonos, there’s comfort in being in an ecosystem where, for the most part, everything just works. And it does what I need. And I enjoy it. And it’s beautiful and well thought out and well put together with minimal mess and fuss, even if you’re paying a premium for it. 

Again, many parallels between the two. ;-) 

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In answer to my own quest above, having tested this throughly, multi-channel FLAC is not supported either :unamused:  (Sonos say they support FLAC but no mention of channels: https://support.sonos.com/s/article/79?language=en_US). Multi-channel FLAC is down mixed to stereo by the Arc. So that’s not a runner.

 

The DTS debate is a long-standing one, Sonos claims there’s no demand for DTS-support; something I find hard to believe on supposed a cinema system… when the vast majority of high-def cinema content (ie BDs) is encoded in DTS… that said, at the price-range of the Arc, rarely are Atmos and DTS-HD both supported (I only found one or two that did). In comparison, the Arc does still provide better value for money. Once you add the cost of the sub and rear speakers, however, it's far more expensive with far too few features when compared to the competition in the same price bracket.

 

Its not just multi-channel FLAC, or DTS, but even multi-channel PCM which is not supported  (see https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/multichannel-pcm-on-arc-6840185). You do start to wonder whether the technical design team are actually having their coffee in the morning or whether the herd buying into Sonos really only cares about streaming music, so Sonos can produce comparably substandard stuff (from a technical POV).

 

Back to the drawing board!!

 

 

Totally agree , my 12 years old Bose system is able to play DTS while the latest Arc is unable to is totally not hearing customers. I found it the hard way today while playing my Blu-ray Disc on ps3 to pass DTS via my TV and Sonos App provided a message stating they don’t support DTS And the DTS-HD MA was translated to stereo 2.0 🤷‍♂️ . I had opened another thread asking the question if I was doing it wrong but found this thread to be useful .

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Hi everyone, I have managed to spend a good 100 hours on this and found a decent work around: https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/the-definitive-dts-hd-sound-work-around-for-the-sonos-arc-6844784

My guess is there is customers that have looked into the Arc but bought something else that supports both dts and dolby. 

I wonder why Sonos don't want those customers too? 

Would it be wrong to say hey, we have everything in one Bar, quality that works with every possible scenario, but NO. stream you movies or go home says sonos

 

One thing we can be sure of - this is a deliberate strategy.  Presumably Sonos does not think this hits sales enough to justify any additional costs.  People have been complaining about lack of DTS support since the Playbar was launched.  Sonos still didn’t include DTS on the Beam.  Complaints continued with the Beam, they still didn’t include it on the Arc.

It seems clear that Sonos sees the future as downloads and streaming, with physical media gradually disappearing.  That puts them in the same camp as Samsung, who stopped manufacturing Blu-Ray players a couple of years back.

I don’t have the information to form a view on whether Sonos’ strategy is the right one, but if they weren’t persuaded of the case for DTS when the Playbar launched, if seems even less likely they will change that view now.

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I’ve bought an arc and am moving away from disc media so for me it’s not too much of an issue. 
 

however I did by an Xbox one s to be used as a 4K blu Ray player with my LG C9 and arc because it has the ability to encode dts to DD5.1 so problem solved anyway. 

Well, I download some movies to the PC and many are DTS

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Well, I download some movies to the PC and many are DTS

Illegally? If so Apple TV decodes to DD5.1 so using plex It should decode DTS played via plex to DD5.1

Well, I download some movies to the PC and many are DTS

Illegally? If so Apple TV decodes to DD5.1 so using plex It should decode DTS played via plex to DD5.1

What about streaming torrent files? Real debrid, haven't found any method, even plex don't transcode this type

 

 

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@Evander With the right settings Kodi (found here https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/will-the-playbase-work-with-shield-tv-6769550), for example on an Nvidia Shield, will transcode DTS to DD 5.1

@Evander With the right settings Kodi (found here https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/will-the-playbase-work-with-shield-tv-6769550), for example on an Nvidia Shield, will transcode DTS to DD 5.1

Issue is arc don't use optic, uses Hdmi

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