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Sonos Arc - Metallic Sound



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Same issue here (Arc and Sub v3) - deeply disappointed in the sound quality right off the bat.  Coming from a decade-old Bose Cinemate GS Series II system, this setup as it currently stands loses out pretty dramatically. 

Out of the box it had a “dull” sound.  Trueplay with an iPhone 11 Pro resulted in this tinny, treble-y sound described by everyone else.  I was going to try Trueplay using the iPad (again, mentioned by others) but apparently support for the 2020 iPad Pro is lacking (receive a network error) so I’m stuck.  The piercing highs are honestly uncomfortable to listen to even at mid-volumes so I turned off Trueplay and bumped the treble and bass a bit to get something halfway decent.  It still emphasizes the highs too much and is lacking mid-range but I’m going with this weak config and keeping my fingers crossed Sonos addresses this before nearing the 45 day window or I’ll be returning it.

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**Updated edit**
 

So I think I figured it out. Spent a lot of time on this.

Its as if the “virtual surround sound” is tuned too high. Think about a cheap sound bar and you select the “virtual surround button.” It creates a “room filling” sound but this also why people are explaining the sound is irritating especially with music. You hear too much of it thus missing out on the warmth and depth of mods. I suspect people with a large room where sound doesn’t bounce off walls don’t have this problem which explains the differing view points.

 

Even when I pair the sub and surrounds I still feel like the arc is trying to do too much electronically to fill the room. Let the speaker do the talking and back down the algorithm for emphasizing “virtual surround sound” 

This does not explain why the vocals are tinny. Center speaker is till direct, facing you. there is no virtual surround with the speech.

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To give some balance to this I’m not finding this at all. I found the beam severely lacking in this regard, to the point that using speech enhancement was horrible, the arc is very transparent and mids are completely transparent and full, and overall sound is fantastic.

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To give some balance to this I’m not finding this at all. I found the beam severely lacking in this regard, to the point that using speech enhancement was horrible, the arc is very transparent and mids are completely transparent and full, and overall sound is fantastic.

Hey @anujgoel83 . What device did you use for the Truplay?

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I true played twice using an iPhone X, the first time I had some setup issues with the arc so decided to redo whilst ensuring to wave above the arc and this yielded a massively better result. Overall sound is more than satisfactory and miles ahead of the beam, though curiously deactivating the sub makes the arc sound pretty terrible, so not sure what this is about as its phenomenal with sub and surrounds

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I true played twice using an iPhone X, the first time I had some setup issues with the arc so decided to redo whilst ensuring to wave above the arc and this yielded a massively better result. Overall sound is more than satisfactory and miles ahead of the beam, though curiously deactivating the sub makes the arc sound pretty terrible, so not sure what this is about as its phenomenal with sub and surrounds

I commented about that on my dedicated thread about TruePlay, https://en.community.sonos.com/troubleshooting-228999/trueplay-tuning-a-variety-of-speakers-playbar-arc-beam-with-newer-iphones-results-in-tinny-sound-6843248

 

I agree that waving the affected iPhones directly over the Arc or esp. the side tweeters results in making the TruePlay tuning sound a bit better, but that’s just a workaround of forcing the iPhone to sample a bunch of treble from small tweeters. It compromises the overall fidelity of TruePlay tuning and still doesn’t sound as “correct” as TruePlay tuning with an unaffected device like a 2nd gen iPad Pro.

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I true played twice using an iPhone X, the first time I had some setup issues with the arc so decided to redo whilst ensuring to wave above the arc and this yielded a massively better result. Overall sound is more than satisfactory and miles ahead of the beam, though curiously deactivating the sub makes the arc sound pretty terrible, so not sure what this is about as its phenomenal with sub and surrounds

I commented about that on my dedicated thread about TruePlay, https://en.community.sonos.com/troubleshooting-228999/trueplay-tuning-a-variety-of-speakers-playbar-arc-beam-with-newer-iphones-results-in-tinny-sound-6843248

 

I agree that waving the affected iPhones directly over the Arc or esp. the side tweeters results in making the TruePlay tuning sound a bit better, but that’s just a workaround of forcing the iPhone to sample a bunch of treble from small tweeters. It compromises the overall fidelity of TruePlay tuning and still doesn’t sound as “correct” as TruePlay tuning with an unaffected device like a 2nd gen iPad Pro.

Maybe so, obviously I haven’t tried on an older device, but I can’t say I’m hearing an overly ‘bright’ midrange deficient presentation in any way, which perhaps is more worrying; as surely points to a hardware problem on certain batches?

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I true played twice using an iPhone X, the first time I had some setup issues with the arc so decided to redo whilst ensuring to wave above the arc and this yielded a massively better result. Overall sound is more than satisfactory and miles ahead of the beam, though curiously deactivating the sub makes the arc sound pretty terrible, so not sure what this is about as its phenomenal with sub and surrounds

I commented about that on my dedicated thread about TruePlay, https://en.community.sonos.com/troubleshooting-228999/trueplay-tuning-a-variety-of-speakers-playbar-arc-beam-with-newer-iphones-results-in-tinny-sound-6843248

 

I agree that waving the affected iPhones directly over the Arc or esp. the side tweeters results in making the TruePlay tuning sound a bit better, but that’s just a workaround of forcing the iPhone to sample a bunch of treble from small tweeters. It compromises the overall fidelity of TruePlay tuning and still doesn’t sound as “correct” as TruePlay tuning with an unaffected device like a 2nd gen iPad Pro.

Maybe so, obviously I haven’t tried on an older device, but I can’t say I’m hearing an overly ‘bright’ midrange deficient presentation in any way, which perhaps is more worrying; as surely points to a hardware problem on certain batches?

No, I don’t think it indicates a batched problem. If one is correctly following the TruePlay tuning instructions, you aren’t supposed to wave the phone directly above the Arc. When you do so above or to the sides of the sound bar, you are basically aiming the microphone at treble-only tweeters that generate surround effects. That’s basically just counteracting and masking the newer iPhone microphones attempting to filter out treble.

 

I tried this process with an affected phone and can confirm, purposely bringing the mic closer to the tweeters during the TruePlay process does get rid of some of the bright tinny nature, but it’s still not the same as the TruePlay improvements you get with TruePlay tuning using one of the unaffected devices.

 

In your situation, I'd probably suggest turning off TruePlay and just using the "balance surrounds” feature to equalize, rather than the unscientific approach of forcing TruePlay to listen to some treble up close.

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I true played twice using an iPhone X, the first time I had some setup issues with the arc so decided to redo whilst ensuring to wave above the arc and this yielded a massively better result. Overall sound is more than satisfactory and miles ahead of the beam, though curiously deactivating the sub makes the arc sound pretty terrible, so not sure what this is about as its phenomenal with sub and surrounds

I commented about that on my dedicated thread about TruePlay, https://en.community.sonos.com/troubleshooting-228999/trueplay-tuning-a-variety-of-speakers-playbar-arc-beam-with-newer-iphones-results-in-tinny-sound-6843248

 

I agree that waving the affected iPhones directly over the Arc or esp. the side tweeters results in making the TruePlay tuning sound a bit better, but that’s just a workaround of forcing the iPhone to sample a bunch of treble from small tweeters. It compromises the overall fidelity of TruePlay tuning and still doesn’t sound as “correct” as TruePlay tuning with an unaffected device like a 2nd gen iPad Pro.

Maybe so, obviously I haven’t tried on an older device, but I can’t say I’m hearing an overly ‘bright’ midrange deficient presentation in any way, which perhaps is more worrying; as surely points to a hardware problem on certain batches?

No, I don’t think it indicates a batched problem. If one is correctly following the TruePlay tuning instructions, you aren’t supposed to wave the phone directly above the Arc. When you do so above or to the sides of the sound bar, you are basically aiming the microphone at treble-only tweeters that generate surround effects. That’s basically just counteracting and masking the newer iPhone microphones attempting to filter out treble.

 

I tried this process with an affected phone and can confirm, purposely bringing the mic closer to the tweeters during the TruePlay process does get rid of some of the bright tinny nature, but it’s still not the same as the TruePlay improvements you get with TruePlay tuning using one of the unaffected devices.

 

In your situation, I'd probably suggest turning off TruePlay and just using the "balance surrounds” feature to equalize, rather than the unscientific approach of forcing TruePlay to listen to some treble up close.

I have tried turning off trueplay and balancing as you suggest, but it always sounds massively better with it active. By saying waving above arc, I meant for a brief time during the process, perhaps 5 seconds or so

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I true played twice using an iPhone X, the first time I had some setup issues with the arc so decided to redo whilst ensuring to wave above the arc and this yielded a massively better result. Overall sound is more than satisfactory and miles ahead of the beam, though curiously deactivating the sub makes the arc sound pretty terrible, so not sure what this is about as its phenomenal with sub and surrounds

I commented about that on my dedicated thread about TruePlay, https://en.community.sonos.com/troubleshooting-228999/trueplay-tuning-a-variety-of-speakers-playbar-arc-beam-with-newer-iphones-results-in-tinny-sound-6843248

 

I agree that waving the affected iPhones directly over the Arc or esp. the side tweeters results in making the TruePlay tuning sound a bit better, but that’s just a workaround of forcing the iPhone to sample a bunch of treble from small tweeters. It compromises the overall fidelity of TruePlay tuning and still doesn’t sound as “correct” as TruePlay tuning with an unaffected device like a 2nd gen iPad Pro.

Maybe so, obviously I haven’t tried on an older device, but I can’t say I’m hearing an overly ‘bright’ midrange deficient presentation in any way, which perhaps is more worrying; as surely points to a hardware problem on certain batches?

No, I don’t think it indicates a batched problem. If one is correctly following the TruePlay tuning instructions, you aren’t supposed to wave the phone directly above the Arc. When you do so above or to the sides of the sound bar, you are basically aiming the microphone at treble-only tweeters that generate surround effects. That’s basically just counteracting and masking the newer iPhone microphones attempting to filter out treble.

 

I tried this process with an affected phone and can confirm, purposely bringing the mic closer to the tweeters during the TruePlay process does get rid of some of the bright tinny nature, but it’s still not the same as the TruePlay improvements you get with TruePlay tuning using one of the unaffected devices.

 

In your situation, I'd probably suggest turning off TruePlay and just using the "balance surrounds” feature to equalize, rather than the unscientific approach of forcing TruePlay to listen to some treble up close.

I have tried turning off trueplay and balancing as you suggest, but it always sounds massively better with it active. By saying waving above arc, I meant for a brief time during the process, perhaps 5 seconds or so

Yeah that’s unfortunate. I don’t think this has to do with hardware batches. I have also seen that waving the device above the Arc to capture the up-firing tweeters just for a few seconds does balance the soudn a bit with an affecting phone. But it still is nowhere near as proper sounding as tuning with an unaffected older device.

 

Could it be better than TruePlay Off? Very possible, but this adds such an unscientific factor in that I don't think we should consider this a solution. How much you bring the TruePlay tuning mic within close range of the soundbar has dramatic effects on the end result of the tuning, both for the better and for the worse.

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I true played twice using an iPhone X, the first time I had some setup issues with the arc so decided to redo whilst ensuring to wave above the arc and this yielded a massively better result. Overall sound is more than satisfactory and miles ahead of the beam, though curiously deactivating the sub makes the arc sound pretty terrible, so not sure what this is about as its phenomenal with sub and surrounds

I commented about that on my dedicated thread about TruePlay, https://en.community.sonos.com/troubleshooting-228999/trueplay-tuning-a-variety-of-speakers-playbar-arc-beam-with-newer-iphones-results-in-tinny-sound-6843248

 

I agree that waving the affected iPhones directly over the Arc or esp. the side tweeters results in making the TruePlay tuning sound a bit better, but that’s just a workaround of forcing the iPhone to sample a bunch of treble from small tweeters. It compromises the overall fidelity of TruePlay tuning and still doesn’t sound as “correct” as TruePlay tuning with an unaffected device like a 2nd gen iPad Pro.

Maybe so, obviously I haven’t tried on an older device, but I can’t say I’m hearing an overly ‘bright’ midrange deficient presentation in any way, which perhaps is more worrying; as surely points to a hardware problem on certain batches?

No, I don’t think it indicates a batched problem. If one is correctly following the TruePlay tuning instructions, you aren’t supposed to wave the phone directly above the Arc. When you do so above or to the sides of the sound bar, you are basically aiming the microphone at treble-only tweeters that generate surround effects. That’s basically just counteracting and masking the newer iPhone microphones attempting to filter out treble.

 

I tried this process with an affected phone and can confirm, purposely bringing the mic closer to the tweeters during the TruePlay process does get rid of some of the bright tinny nature, but it’s still not the same as the TruePlay improvements you get with TruePlay tuning using one of the unaffected devices.

 

In your situation, I'd probably suggest turning off TruePlay and just using the "balance surrounds” feature to equalize, rather than the unscientific approach of forcing TruePlay to listen to some treble up close.

I have tried turning off trueplay and balancing as you suggest, but it always sounds massively better with it active. By saying waving above arc, I meant for a brief time during the process, perhaps 5 seconds or so

Yeah that’s unfortunate. I don’t think this has to do with hardware batches. I have also seen that waving the device above the Arc to capture the up-firing tweeters just for a few seconds does balance the soudn a bit with an affecting phone. But it still is nowhere near as proper sounding as tuning with an unaffected older device.

 

Could it be better than TruePlay Off? Very possible, but this adds such an unscientific factor in that I don't think we should consider this a solution. How much you bring the TruePlay tuning mic within close range of the soundbar has dramatic effects on the end result of the tuning, both for the better and for the worse.

I agree, the inconsistencies are unsettling. Let’s see what solutions are put out and how that affects things. I’m lucky to be enjoying some great audio, but the lack of a scientific basis or any consistency is not ideal, I.e how will an update that I will have to install affect me if I’m happy with things?

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I’m in the same boat, my friend. For now, those without an army of iPhones lying around can try the technique of gently waving their phone around the tops and sides of the Arc which definitely can go a long way to helping. I tried using this technique and honestly it took me 30-40 minutes of retrying to get a tonal balance that I liked. It’s really frustratingly imprecise and unscientific, and the opposite of the selling point of TruePlay. 

But as you said, in the meantime, if investing this bit of effort gets you satisfactory sound, I think it’s better than sitting around with a soundbar that sounds like a pair of cheap beach speakers.

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I’m in the same boat, my friend. For now, those without an army of iPhones lying around can try the technique of gently waving their phone around the tops and sides of the Arc which definitely can go a long way to helping. I tried using this technique and honestly it took me 30-40 minutes of retrying to get a tonal balance that I liked. It’s really frustratingly imprecise and unscientific, and the opposite of the selling point of TruePlay. 

But as you said, in the meantime, if investing this bit of effort gets you satisfactory sound, I think it’s better than sitting around with a soundbar that sounds like a pair of cheap beach speakers.

Absolutely, like I say, it really does sound impressive as is, but can completely understand your frustration!. Let’s hope in a week from now we are both happy with our purchase!

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So after reading about others having success with Trueplaying older devices, I got a hold of my co-worker’s old iPhone 6 he had sitting in a drawer. All I can say is: wow, the difference is night and day.

 

My 5.1.2 sounds so much more like I was expecting to now with a more balanced, warmer sound similar to the Playbase set-up I had before. The highs aren’t anywhere near as harsh, although I would argue they’re not perfect either. Still a bit sharp and a noticeable lack of mids. Still, I 100% believe the issue is mostly related to Trueplay on newer devices now. Should be pretty easily replicable for the Sonos team.

My first tune sounded great. I moved things around and had to tune it again and it was very bright. I tried tuning again and had the same problem. For a final attempt, I tried using my 3rd gen iPad Pro and it was less bright, but was still not great and the imaging was worse. 

 

Edit: seems I’m not the only one who tried the iPad vs iphone (11 Pro Max) and had the same outcome: https://en.community.sonos.com/troubleshooting-228999/sonos-arc-metallic-sound-6843110?postid=16442638#post16442638

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I don't have any apple product so I can't really try it (might need borrow someone's)

However, I think the main concern is that without trueplay, the default sound of the Arc is bad, which should not be the case.

Trueplay should be improving an already good sound, not fixing bad sound.

On a side note, it's good that there are ways to improve sound quality through software, an indication that its not hardware related.

Im hopeful that this will get resolved soon :)

 

 

 

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I don't have any apple product so I can't really try it (might need borrow someone's)

However, I think the main concern is that without trueplay, the default sound of the Arc is bad, which should not be the case.

Trueplay should be improving an already good sound, not fixing bad sound.

 

 

 

Yeah, I mean TechHive described it in their review as having “thick midrange”. Like… where?! Something isn’t right.

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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 don't have any apple product so I can't really try it (might need borrow someone's)

However, I think the main concern is that without trueplay, the default sound of the Arc is bad, which should not be the case.

Trueplay should be improving an already good sound, not fixing bad sound.

On a side note, it's good that there are ways to improve sound quality through software, an indication that its not hardware related.

Im hopeful that this will get resolved soon :)

 

 

 

Can not agree more. Arc should sound great out of the box without truplay. It’s good that Sonos is aware of these issues and willing to fix them as soon as they can. They dorelease dozen soundbars every year, so I am sure the Arc will get good attention for years to come. 
 

 

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So after reading about others having success with Trueplaying older devices, I got a hold of my co-worker’s old iPhone 6 he had sitting in a drawer. All I can say is: wow, the difference is night and day.

 

My 5.1.2 sounds so much more like I was expecting to now with a more balanced, warmer sound similar to the Playbase set-up I had before. The highs aren’t anywhere near as harsh, although I would argue they’re not perfect either. Still a bit sharp and a noticeable lack of mids. Still, I 100% believe the issue is mostly related to Trueplay on newer devices now. Should be pretty easily replicable for the Sonos team.

I’ve read lots of times that the Playbase has a bit wee sharp sound to it in other reviews. However, almost every reviewer on YouTube loved the ARC, but was a bit lacking in bass, or they claim the ARC doesn’t have enough bass. 

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**Updated edit**
 

So I think I figured it out. Spent a lot of time on this.

Its as if the “virtual surround sound” is tuned too high. Think about a cheap sound bar and you select the “virtual surround button.” It creates a “room filling” sound but this also why people are explaining the sound is irritating especially with music. You hear too much of it thus missing out on the warmth and depth of mods. I suspect people with a large room where sound doesn’t bounce off walls don’t have this problem which explains the differing view points.

 

Even when I pair the sub and surrounds I still feel like the arc is trying to do too much electronically to fill the room. Let the speaker do the talking and back down the algorithm for emphasizing “virtual surround sound” 

This does not explain why the vocals are tinny. Center speaker is till direct, facing you. there is no virtual surround with the speech.


 

Tuned with an iPhone X and iPad Pro 11. Both sounded tiny.

Tuned With an old iPhone 7 and sounded much better.

side note: I think the arc TRUEPLAY accounts for ceiling height? I Seemed to have much better results staying close to the arc and listening room instead of walking all around the entire room. (I.e. kitchen area) 

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Is there any progress on this issue. I will be trying to run the Trueplay again with iPhone . I hope it improves things a little. Highs are really sounding harsh to me despite dialing down the treble through the Equalizer. So with all those atmos format trying and testing, I now have issues with Bass, treble and trueplay. I am disappointed to be honest.

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Is there any progress on this issue. I will be trying to run the Trueplay again with iPhone . I hope it improves things a little. Highs are really sounding harsh to me despite dialing down the treble through the Equalizer. So with all those atmos format trying and testing, I now have issues with Bass, treble and trueplay. I am disappointed to be honest.

Does turning off TruePlay result in the sound being more bass heavy and less treble harsh?

 

If so, either try tuning with a device older than the iPhone X, or alternatively try to wave the phone close to the top of the Arc and the sides of the Arc for 5-10 seconds out of the 1 minute.

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Is there any progress on this issue. I will be trying to run the Trueplay again with iPhone . I hope it improves things a little. Highs are really sounding harsh to me despite dialing down the treble through the Equalizer. So with all those atmos format trying and testing, I now have issues with Bass, treble and trueplay. I am disappointed to be honest.

https://en.community.sonos.com/troubleshooting-228999/trueplay-tuning-a-variety-of-speakers-playbar-arc-beam-with-newer-iphones-results-in-tinny-sound-6843248?postid=16443159#post16443159

Ryan has passed all the diagnostics to the team and he mentioned that someone is looking into it. But it’s expected that they will only start working on the fix once the bass distortion issue is fixed by the software update (“to come as early as next week”).

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Is there any progress on this issue. I will be trying to run the Trueplay again with iPhone . I hope it improves things a little. Highs are really sounding harsh to me despite dialing down the treble through the Equalizer. So with all those atmos format trying and testing, I now have issues with Bass, treble and trueplay. I am disappointed to be honest.

Does turning off TruePlay result in the sound being more bass heavy and less treble harsh?

 

If so, either try tuning with a device older than the iPhone X, or alternatively try to wave the phone close to the top of the Arc and the sides of the Arc for 5-10 seconds out of the 1 minute.

I tried doing a TruePlay using an iPhone 7 and the brightness has subsided somewhat. I will keep listening to see if I like this sound signature across songs and movies.

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