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Sonos Arc - Metallic Sound



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I am also hearing this.

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There is an issue here that cannot be chalked up to preference or room size. Was the bass issue that was supposedly solved a result of a more revealing speaker or a less than ideal room? No. A major issue was found that got past all the intelligent folks at Sonos. 

Something isn’t right about the Arc. It sounds small & thin resulting in a harsh sound. It’s almost as if the polarity is off. I don’t want to exaggerate the issue either. It’s tolerable. It just doesn’t sound like a high end product. Sounds cheap. I’d like for Sonos to unbox a unit that they’re shipping out to see if something happened during manufacturing. 
 

 

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Rtings tend to provide much more factually based reviews than other sites considering they test everything and measure results in a more literal sense. I noticed they too mentioned the Sonos Arc tends to sound overly “bright” and even “piercing” at times. I fully agree, sometimes it’s so harsh I find it a bit aggravating like a headache coming on. I had the Playbase before this in the same room and have a Beam in another and this was never an issue.

 

Sonos should find it pretty embarrassing that both the Playbar and Beam scored higher than the Arc. I really hope they can turn this around with some software patches.

Userlevel 5
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Hi folks. We all know that some of us here are still experiencing problem with the Arc and our team are still working with all the reported issue and should be fixed via a future software update.
For now, if the S2 app and speakers are updated, try the basic steps like checking with different contents (TV, Music in Sonos app). If wall-mounted, does removing the speaker from the wall bracket and setting it on a credenza or table improve the issue? Is Trueplay configured on the Arc? Try to enable/disable Trueplay, if there would be any different. Is the bass EQ setting flat or adjusted in some way? If it’s all the same after playing around, try to reboot the Arc or reset to its factory settings. If the issue still persists, call 800-680-2345 from Monday to Friday from 10 am to 9 pm ET for further steps and maybe proceed with replacement as we all want you to enjoy your Sonos products.

Thank you so much for your patience and understanding.  We and the community are always here to help.

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I’m definitely feeling this as well. There is a warmth and depth that seems to be missing in the Arc even when compared to the Beam.

BUT I’ve never had the the Beam and Arc in the same room so wasn’t sure what the dynamic was (the Arc is in a bigger, less enclosed room). But even when you sit close to the Arc and listen, something sounds off, when compared to the Beam.

When I first bought the Beam late last year, I was very impressed with the sound. When I turned on the Arc, I just felt like something was missing.

Note: Unfortunately, I’m also an Android user so cannot use TruePlay. That said, TruePlay wasn’t used on the Beam either.

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Just wanted to chime in as well, same issue that everyone else has described in detail. The highs sound super crisp to the point that it’s almost giving me a slight headache, and this is coming from someone who LOVES treble. I will say I didn’t notice this issue until after I Trueplayed with my iPhone 11 Pro Max. Turning it off and on makes a huge difference. You can immediately hear the tweeters make a crisp “ssssss” when flipping it back on. But while it’s off, it doesn’t exactly sound amazing either. It sounds muffled and less detailed, but nowhere near as harsh.

 

I’m coming from a Playbase in this same room and I have a Beam in another room. While the Arc undoubtedly has a wider sound stage that I am digging, it is totally missing the warmth that both the Beam and Playbase have. Something just isn’t right here because this doesn’t sound like a Sonos product to me.

 

Worth noting I have a 5.1.2 set-up here with Sub Gen 3 and Sonos Ones Gen 2 as rears.

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I spoke with Sonos technical manager today. He said that Sonos is looking into the Bass issue. But wouldn’t confirm that they are looking into anything else. He said that the metalic sound and the high treble “non balanced” sound may just be how the arc is supposed to work. He didn’t quite say that but he would confirm it. He said if I don’t like the Arc sound that I should just return it and go back to the playbar. Which of course I can. He said they are destined differently and this may just be normal. He kept saying that in general Sonos will make updates to the software etc. 

 

This is definitely my worry, that it will just be put down as ‘this is how the ARC sounds’. But there are several issues with that. 

  1. The sound I’m hearing from the arc is not, in my experience (as a former snobby audiophile), just a sound ‘signature’, but rather a very lacking and inaccurate reproduction of the source. 
  2. An accurate and flat frequency response is not always the primary goal of a speaker or sound system. Often, especially with brands like Sonos, the goal is just a pleasing and ‘impressive’ sound. My arc is achieving neither. My personal taste as always scewed towards accuracy and detail over warmth and ‘richness’, but this is not that. 
  3. Even if Mr Sonos himself (/s) came over to my house, listened to my arc setup, and said “Yeah, that sounds as it should.”, it’s WAY different from what Sonos has established their products sound ‘like’. An audio brand generally cultivates a particular style, and then tries to ensure their products complement each other and fit into that style. This is especially important when the various components are often all playing together. If they think the arc is working correctly, they should have created new brand for it. 
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Just put my Beam back into the system and can confirm that it’s more pleasant to listen to than the Arc with music. That’s crazy. 

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  1. Best Buy Arc sounds better than Amazon Arc
  2. Called Sonos support- wasn’t happy and but, the Arc fixed itself the next morning.
  3. Electricity went off and Arc is fixed when it came back on.
  4. Disabled wifi and now, the Arc sounds good now.

Please tell me you people are joking, right? 

Userlevel 5
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Yeah good to see a review has been done properly and confirm the issues we are all having

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that review is brutal, and accurate

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Having the exact same issue. I believe there’s an issue with the Trueplay calibration when done via an iPhone (at least me and my husbands iPhone 11). Tries tuning with a first generation iPad Pro and the results were much better. That incredibly harsh, metallic trebly heavy sound is gone. Can anyone else see if this works better for them. 

I’m really starting to believe that the Sonos S2 app needs to be corrected. it seems that people are having issues since the Sonos app update.

I agree. I updated from a Playbar to the arc and I like the the sound of the Playbar for music much more. The Playbar had a warmth with music.  The arc sounds very “tinny”. Lacks the midrange and has no warmth. I have tried many configurations: Moving the sub, adjusting the loudness, equalizer etc.  nothing has helped.  I like the clear dialogue for movies but the harshness in the music has me wanting more. 

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So.... The question... Are all arc's affected, and is it just that some people don't mind or hear it (hard to believe) or are there units that simply sound better than other?

I am contemplating whether to get the arc or not, but I am unsure right now…

The fact that there is no more feedback from Sonos is worrisome to say the least, it makes me believe they're letting it be as it is, which means probably no arc for me.… 

This is a problem, I have a beam with sub right now (and two one's as rears, and a five gen2 in the kitchen) but the beam just doesn't really does it for me in the music department. With  the Arc now no longer being an option, there is no real alternative from Sonos right now.... 

This might mean i'd might have to say goodbye to Sonos altogether, I don't think there will be another soundbar added to the product line anytime soon....

 

 

 


@MJAhoud It is probably a combination of people just hearing things differently and/or being more sensitive to certain things. When you go shopping for components there are speakers and amps/receivers that can be bright or warm (why a lot of people liked tube amps), my component system had a warm receiver and warm speakers, it took a lot of shopping and some returning (internet was in it’s infancy then). Not every person is the same. There is a well know speaker company where the running joke used to be “No highs, no lows, it must be ****.”
 

The Arc is marketed as a sound bar for movies and part (if you wish) of a home theater system, it does that fairly well. It is not a full blown stereo meant to play a dance party. We have all become used to having a product do everything good (not great) that many become frustrated when something doesn’t do everything great and only does one thing well, in this case movies/tv. I could see the Arc being designed to be brighter in order to do dialog in movies. Also a lot of people just don’t know any better and will live with the hot new thing, you see this with certain brands of automobiles.
 

Either Sonos designed the Arc to be bright/harsh, the Arc sounded fine to them and they don’t see a problem, they realize there is a problem that affects a certain group of people and they don’t know how to fix it, or they just don’t care that a minority are bothered by it. They did however release a product with a bass issue, which they later fixed. A broader EQ may solve the problem for a majority of the minority that are complaining about harsh treble. Only being able to adjust the bass and treble is some pre-2000 car stereo crap.

I bet three 5’s, two 1’s, and a sub would be a outstanding all around 5.1 and music set up, but it’s not really possible or cost effective, and at that point you may as well go wired. 

I drug two of my speakers and sub out to use for music and my gf is annoyed that they are “cluttering up” the room. lol  

I’m not going to throw Sonos under the bus, the Arc (with sub) delivers what it is supposed to with tv/video, I won’t tell someone not to get one, I’m just really sensitive to bright/harsh highs. Heck, it’s probably just fine for music for most people! Look at all, the people running around with the earbuds that come with your phone and those things sound pretty lousy.  It does a lot of things well and is lower profile, better than tv speakers by far, if it is worth the price is subjective. I’ll admit, it IS the best looking soundbar out there and it does work.

Obviously, every speaker sounds different and everyone experiences sound quality differently, but seeing the amount of post about this issue makes saying "a small amount of people have a problem" a little bit of an understatement. I choose Sonos after listening to playb5 gen 2 and a pair of one's  because of the sound signature (tight and clean, with lots of detail). I would expect a company that advertises getting "the whole Sonos ecosystem" to at least try to unify that sound signature, as they have done with the playbar for example.... Ev

By the way, the arc is promoted as "The premium smart soundbar for TV, movies, music, gaming, and more", not just a TV soundbar...

 

 

 

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Sounds like Rtings agrees that the Arc is a trainwreck in its current state.  There’s no excuse for Sonos releasing the Arc prematurely with so many issues.  I’m sure it CAN be tuned to sound better vs. its current state, but Sonos shouldn’t have rushed to release the Arc before it was ready.  Sonos deserves thousands of returns, poor sales and bad reviews as a result.  Hopefully they learn their lesson.

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I’ve played with my ARC+sub every way possible and the mids are still lousy with music. The Arc is tinny and hollow, sort of sounds like a 80-90’s portable stereo (not the boom box). It get’s worse the higher the volume, to get some sort of lower mids you have to turn it up, then the sound seems to get muddled like the ARC is overwhelmed. 
Source seems to play a part; Music off my phone via AirPlay isn’t not good, music (XM, Amazon) through the Sonos app is eh, same with music off YouTube off my TV’s app. It’s a sound bar, I’m not expecting rattle the house music, but this is really poor, my truck’s OEM stereo sounds better, not kidding.

 

The ARC (w/sub) is pretty good with movies and tv shows, unfortunately not $800+$700 good. I wanted the clean wireless look in my house and could live with this being tv/movie only, but not at the cost. I’m going to return them and maybe if Sonos corrects this I’ll repurchase. A broader EQ would have been a help, but maybe that would have just shown a design problem instead of leaving people to wonder. 

Upgraded from the beam in a 5.1 setup and the only content that sounds better is either stereo mix older tv/movie content or Atmos content (although not as much as I would expect). 
 

Music is significantly inferior on almost every front even with the sub.

 

Truplay was run on an iPhone XS

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All these magazines that gave this product a great review should be boycotted!!!!! 

Come on, everyone, let’s keep our heads and our cool. This isn’t some conspiracy and lots of people, myself included, quite like our Arc setups. Which explains the website reviews and the overall quite glowing consumer reviews on Amazon and Best Buy.  

The Arc is not a bad product despite the experiences some people have had / are having and we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you’re having issues with the Arc for whatever reason, I strongly recommend returning it and getting something you’ll be happy with. Life’s too short to live with bad sound. Or if you really, really want the Arc, then hold on to it and wait for Sonos to issue updates that may “fix” the issue or, better yet, return it, watch the boards, and re-buy it once things seem corrected to your satisfaction. 

But all of this “these reviews must be paid,” “worst soundbar ever,” “let’s boycott magazines”…. this is all just bordering on silliness. We’ve all paid a lot for this gear and if you’re unhappy I get that. If I didn’t like my Arc or was experiencing terrible issues I would have already boxed mine up, sent it back, and been on the hunt for something else. 

There are bigger problems in the world than this - and this is fixable one way or the other. 

Userlevel 4
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New app update and firmware update. Just updated

Hi All.

It’s a relief that Sonos has identified the bug that’s causing the bass distortion in Sonos Arc. Thank you @Ryan S for working with the Sonos Communty to identify the problem quickly.

Having said this, I believe that Sonos still needs more work to make the Arc sound as it was advertised. Currently, multiple people on Reddit including myself are reporting the highs being too high which sort of feels “harsh”. This improve the speech clarity and brings out details in the movies, but the warmth in speech is lost because the voices sound thin and metallic (for eg. actors I know having heavy voices don’t sound heavy). I was expecting the mid-range to be a lot better considering the Arc has 8 woofers. 

I have tried TruPlaying twice without success (Turning TruPlay off produces muffled sound). Adjusting the treble also did not help much. Loudness turned on and off does not make a big difference either. May be, this is how the Arc is tuned?!

 Anyone else feels that Arc is over-emphasizing the highs with compromised mids?

I also am having a huge issue with the highs being too emphasized. I have been measuring the performance of my Sonos Arc and am seeing a huge flat response in the range from about 375hz to 1khz. There is just nothing really there. No movement on a spectrum analyzer, and the sound lacks any warmth to it. I fiddled with the EQ settings and managed to get a slight gain in that range by turning down the Treble and turning up the Bass, but it overall is very, very cold-sounding. To listen to this for long periods of time is actually quite irritating. Podcasts and other streamed audio dialogue is painful. Sonos, can we get a fix for this ASAP? 

Thanks!

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If TruePlay really made that much of a difference, then Sonos should advertise their products as iOS only. The Arc’s default should be great sound.

 

Also, TechHive issued a second review, where they described it as thin. But it still confounds me all the positive press the Arc received before release. 

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I do hope this gets the same attention as the bass problem. The harsh sound is actually causing more discomfort to me than the muddy bass. 

My family members have also feedback that the Arc sounds weird (i think they didn't want to say it's bad seeing how much I paid for it..)

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CEC is on for me, same as the Beam was… I use it all the time “Alexa, turn off the TV” (as my wife and daughter do not seem to understand that a TV can also be switched off as well as on….. but that is a different problem, that I doubt Sonos can fix 🤓)

 

Cant see why CEC would make a difference, but tested and the Arc still sounds more harsh than Playbar or Beam.

Userlevel 4
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What I am experiencing is a harsh sound, with very pronounced “SSSSS” sounds throughout any video that is playing. It’s not that the arc is creating sounds that are not there --- it is just amplifying the SSSSS part. (I listened to the same video via a different speaker, such as the beam, and I can pick out the SSSSS, but it is much smoother and pleasant on the beam). 

I get this problem over HDMI ARC from my TV and also when sound is pushed to Arc via airplay 2 directly via the Apple TV 4K.

I have tried trueplay tuning with various Apple devices: iPhone 11 Pro, iPad Air (latest generation), iPhone 6S. I’ve done various trueplay “dances”, neither  of which seems to alleviate the problem. My system is a full 5.1 system, including a sub and two one SLs. The TV has HDMI ARC but not HDMI eARC, so all sound coming to Sonos Arc is Dolby Digital 5.1 

I do hope that Sonos fixes this very soon! I love the Sonos brand, and until now I have been a fierce Sonos advocate. I am very hopeful that this is just a software issue and that very soon Sonos will be able to fix it!

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I am using 2017 iPad Pro truplay profile and still having hard time liking the speech. It’s just hollow with no warmth and depth. Next target after fixing the truplay?  
 

Feature request: ability to EQ the center channel independently.

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