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Sonos Arc - Metallic Sound



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Slightly disagree, the metallic treble sound u mentioned is already present even without Trueplay. While Trueplay calibration do give inconsistent result, i think the Sonos team should first focus on fixing the Arc to sound great out of the box.

Fair point. The speaker sounds downright atrocious without Trueplay. I would return it on the spot if there was no way to make it sound good.

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My Arc arrived last night, and sadly I too am suffering from this issue.

Upon performing Trueplay calibration with an iPhone XS, and firing up the speaker for the first time, I was extremely disappointed to hear the miserable sound quality. It’s like the midrange is totally absent, and the treble/presence is harsh and extremely exaggerated -- cymbals sound almost like static, “s” sounds cut through everything else, etc. It also sounded like the “center channel” was missing… the sound seemed too directional out of the hard left and hard right, rather than uniformly filling the room.

Arc is setup standalone, with no other speakers.

We previously had a Beam in this room, and the sound from that was so much better... full midrange, warmth, perfect balance. Hard to believe an $800 speaker with such glowing audiophile reviews could be so miserable in person. If this can’t be fixed, I’m going to return this thing.

Here’s the thing though… I’m suspicious that this metallic treble sound and missing midrange is a Trueplay bug, or a compatibility issue with certain iPhone models doing the calibration, rather than a flaw with the speaker itself. I re-calibrated Trueplay using my wife’s iPhone 11, and the sound quality is much improved. It’s still not as good as the Beam… the midrange is still off, and it sounds like the center channel is still missing, but the trashiness of the treble is much improved.

I’m tempted to try recalibrating with an iPad, just to see what happens, but I’m afraid of making it worse and not being able to get it back. I wish I could save different Trueplay calibrations.

@Ryan S please let me know how I can help the Sonos team fix this issue!

 

Slightly disagree, the metallic treble sound u mentioned is already present even without Trueplay. While Trueplay calibration do give inconsistent result, i think the Sonos team should first focus on fixing the Arc to sound great out of the box.

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Here’s the thing though… I’m suspicious that this metallic treble sound and missing midrange is a Trueplay bug, or a compatibility issue with certain iPhone models doing the calibration, rather than a flaw with the speaker itself. I re-calibrated Trueplay using my wife’s iPhone 11, and the sound quality is much improved. It’s still not as good as the Beam… the midrange is still off, and it sounds like the center channel is still missing, but the trashiness of the treble is much improved.

 

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’m tempted to try recalibrating with an iPad, just to see what happens, but I’m afraid of making it worse and not being able to get it back. I wish I could save different Trueplay calibrations.

https://en.community.sonos.com/setting-up-sonos-228990/suggestion-save-multiple-trueplay-tunings-6843198

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My Arc arrived last night, and sadly I too am suffering from this issue.

Upon performing Trueplay calibration with an iPhone XS, and firing up the speaker for the first time, I was extremely disappointed to hear the miserable sound quality. It’s like the midrange is totally absent, and the treble/presence is harsh and extremely exaggerated -- cymbals sound almost like static, “s” sounds cut through everything else, etc. It also sounded like the “center channel” was missing… the sound seemed too directional out of the hard left and hard right, rather than uniformly filling the room.

Arc is setup standalone, with no other speakers.

We previously had a Beam in this room, and the sound from that was so much better... full midrange, warmth, perfect balance. Hard to believe an $800 speaker with such glowing audiophile reviews could be so miserable in person. If this can’t be fixed, I’m going to return this thing.

Here’s the thing though… I’m suspicious that this metallic treble sound and missing midrange is a Trueplay bug, or a compatibility issue with certain iPhone models doing the calibration, rather than a flaw with the speaker itself. I re-calibrated Trueplay using my wife’s iPhone 11, and the sound quality is much improved. It’s still not as good as the Beam… the midrange is still off, and it sounds like the center channel is still missing, but the trashiness of the treble is much improved.

I’m tempted to try recalibrating with an iPad, just to see what happens, but I’m afraid of making it worse and not being able to get it back. I wish I could save different Trueplay calibrations.

@Ryan S please let me know how I can help the Sonos team fix this issue!

I actually disabled TruePlay entirely and that 

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!

Follow up: I disabled Trueplay entirely and manually adjusted the EQ and the sound is far, far better. The mids are there again. The only issue is that the crossover is not as robust without Trueplay, so there is muddiness in that mid-range and a loss of clarity on the high end. 

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For Arc + Sub gen 3 to isolate the issue being trueplay, I tried re-tuning using my iphone 5, honestly there were some improvements but overall I am still disappointed and it does not look like Sonos will be able to fix all these with software updates. I am considering returning this and infact waiting for vizio elevate and probably will give that a chance this time. Since Sonos has not replied to my emails through support and they seem to have buried themself and seem lost. 

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FWIW - I think the TruePlay explanation may well be true.  If you want to screw-up your old playbar then re-tune it with a new iPhone XS-Max.  I have playbar, Sub (gen 2) and 2 SL1s in the rear.  When S2 came out I re-tuned.  All week my wife has been complaining about the dialog quality on movies.  Music was also bright.  Then I re-tuned with a gen1 iPad Pro and is sounds great again!

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What a relief for me to stumble across this topic. I thought I was the only one thinking the Arc was such an expensive disappointment… Sounding really flat, distorted base from 40% volume and up, weird soundstage from the rears (2x One’s). Truplayed with a iPhone Xs.

I’ll follow this thread.

Is there any form of recognition or acknowledgement from Sonos yet? Definitely returning the Arc within 30 days when there is no solution available.

Yes, Sonos have said they are looking at these issues, the bass issue was reported as their priority.

 

Other issues mentioned on this thread are going to be looked at, they have been asking for diagnostic reports to assist.

What a relief for me to stumble across this topic. I thought I was the only one thinking the Arc was such an expensive disappointment… Sounding really flat, distorted base from 40% volume and up, weird soundstage from the rears (2x One’s). Truplayed with a iPhone Xs.

I’ll follow this thread.

Is there any form of recognition or acknowledgement from Sonos yet? Definitely returning the Arc within 30 days when there is no solution available.

Just wonder if this metallic sound comes at whatever volume or just when playing very loudly?

Seems to be the case at all levels of volume, at least for me anyway. Really hope they fix this and will be ready to return it if I don’t hear any update on progress soon. Will definitely be skeptical about buying Sonos products at launch or even at all now to be honest.

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Just wonder if this metallic sound comes at whatever volume or just when playing very loudly?

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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!

Same here! It’s really mind blowing that a firmware practically DOA.. dead on arrival! 
sonos said they had their plate full fixing other items on the arc. Probably fixing the bass issue first… then they will look into this issue. I’ll prob end up returning my arc to Sonos and buy it
again done the road when/if they get they get around to finishing this product. Yes this seem like an unfinished product...and now they are working to finish it once it was released. 

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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Hi everyone, I just read the whole topic briefly and yes there is something off with the Arc, I am so disappointed and I am returning it next week.

I was waiting for it to replace the Beam in a 5.1 setup which was ok but definitely the weak link in this setup. 
The Arc arrived and noticed the Bass issue right away, it also sounds bad for music with the centre channel almost dead in some songs, vocals come out on the side and do not come straight at you, I have also had some movie scenes where sound effects were almost muted and voices really low, music comes on and it shakes the whole room. On a side note my TV isn’t Atmos compatible.

It is not tuned properly and what really gets me is how a lot of people say it sounds amazing, maybe when you have an Atmos compatible TV or I don’t know but I have enough of trying to figure out why what where who.
In Australia it retails at AUD$1400 so this is not possible for me to justify having a sound bar costing so much and having such a unbalanced sound.

i love my Ones, love my Play 5 but for home theatre Sonos is not for me. Adding to this no HDMI input which is also asking for a new TV to get the full potential and you never stop spending money.

I am taking Sonos the Amp route, don’t care so much about Atmos and at least I will have something great for music at the same price….I mean I hope! 
In the end if you’re not happy it’s just not the right product for you

 

Good luck guys

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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 husband's 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? 

@Heilo the Dog I noticed the exact same thing. TruPlay done with iPad Pro did bring down those harsh trebles, albiet with compromised details. Then I redid the TruPlay again with my iPhone XS, and no surprise - the harsh and metallic treble came back. I plan to repeat this process multiple times to validate our hypothesis.

 

So I repeated the Truplay again with both iPad Pro and iPhone XS. I can confirm that harsh trebles go away with iPad Pro Truplay, though it does not sound as detailed and clear. Vocals sound like they are using mask. iPhone Truplay did bring the clarity back, but the “highs are too high” scenario came back with lacking mid-ranges. 

I think the enhanced truplay that Sonos is implementing might be a culprit here. This is specifically affecting iPhones. @Ryan S Can you forward this to the team if you think it’s worthwhile? Thanks!

UPDATE

So today I had a friend let me use his iPhone 8s to try a calibration and I can’t believe what a difference it made. It’s much warmer and more full sounding (like my previous playbar sounded). I have a theory that there is an issue  with the microphones on the newer iOS devices that is causing this terrible trueplay effect. I saw someone mention how a mesh screen can impact a frequencies ability to pass through. Waterproof mesh materials also affect frequency passthrough effectiveness. Will be interesting to see how exactly this gets fixed. I almost wished they would support some third party Bluetooth mic or sell an accessory that would do the tuning. Then the android people could also benefit. 

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I am praying the beta update fixes the sound or I will just end up packing up the ARC and the Sub and sending them back next week.

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The Arc sounds much better in movies to my ears than the Playbar. It has a wider soundstage even if the actual atmos effects aren’t great.

 

Music playback sucks though. No two ways about it. It sounds tinny and totally lacking any punch even with the sub. The Playbar and Beam are infinitely better for music.

I am also noticing similar sound issues on arc soundar i.e. distorted bass at high volume and voice goes very thin during movie. Additionally music quality is not great vs sonos one speakers. I believe expected software fix is for distorted bass but not for other reported issues.  Also can software fix address so many issues which we are experiencing or it is soundbar speakers?

You know, the Beam did not have any of these issues...

I am also noticing similar sound issues on arc soundar i.e. distorted bass at high volume and voice goes very thin during movie. Additionally music quality is not great vs sonos one speakers. I believe expected software fix is for distorted bass but not for other reported issues.  Also can software fix address so many issues which we are experiencing or it is soundbar speakers?

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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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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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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.

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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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**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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