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Sonos Arc - Metallic Sound



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I have had a Sonos Playbar for 8 years and the sound sold me on Sonos! Decided to upgrade to the Arc as I was so impressed with the Playbar that on paper the Arc was a no brainer. I had the privilege of having both sound bars hooked up and comparing the 2 almost side by side (Arc in my living room connected to TV and Playbar in kitchen used for music only now) the sound and feel of the two are very different. I cannot say one is better than the other only different. The Playbar to me had more feel to the bass and a warmer sound over all compared to the Arc. The Arc seems more defined and fared better at louder volumes especially with the bass which the Playbar’s bass had issues at volumes above 65 IMO.

 

Music was compared by setting the 2 speakers up as a system so I could play the same songs simultaneously from the same source (Qobuz Hi Res Audio 24bit 48kHz). My ears preferred the Playbar but the Arc sounded great! The Arc truly excels at Dolby Atmos content and I much preferred it over the Playbar for all TV related viewing. I do not seem to be having the issue of the “thin” “metallic” sound as others are describing. Only issue I had was an annoying popping/crackling sound that began midway through a movie which was resolved by unplugging the speaker and plugging it back in. No issues since.

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Just curious are most people, specifically those with sibilance and harsh treble using Trueplay? I have a surround setup with the Arc + Sub + Play 1’s and I find the default EQ to not be bright at all and in fact a little flat and boring. Definitely not anything I would consider bright. Turning on and using Trueplay however with my iPhone X, wife’s iPhone XS or 2017 iPad results in a very bright and harsh sound. All bass (sub is great) and a lot of bright high end and not a lot of midrange or overall warmth in the sound. Retuning with my wife’s very old iPad Mini (probably like a 2014 model or so) however resulted in much better sound that I’m happy with it. 
 

This doesn’t just apply to the Arc. Trueplay results in a brighter, different sound with my other Sonos speakers too so I retuned them all with the old iPad Mini. I think the Arc soundstage just amplifies it even more. So I think the device used for tuning makes a difference which I didn’t believe at first when I read it here until I found one that worked well. 
 

If people are finding the non Trueplay default EQ overly bright though, can’t say I have that issue.

 

Of course. We just spent $800+ so you better believe we’re exhausting every option to get it to sound right. 

 

Mine is going back to Sonos. I truly believe there is a bad batch of these out there. 

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Upon the first trueplay attempt post update, the sonos app crashed after the “sit where you watch” phase of trueplay. I reran trueplay and it went through fine. In my experience, sound seems somewhat better, but still brighter than I would like.  
I look forward to further fixes and tweaks by Sonos. 

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Ok, third post on this thread. I finally sat down and re-tuned with an iPhone 6 running 12.0.2 (previously ipad pro 11” and iPad Air 2). I also decided to just sit on the couch and wave the phone around a bit rather than walk around. 

This is the first time I feel like the life wasn’t sucked out of the sound, and there is now some ok midrange. I can actually listen to music without it being distracting. I’ve only been through a few songs, but I’m more and more convinced that the right EQ can produce a good sound from the arc.

That doesn’t mean I’m ready to say I’m totally happy with it, and I’m still mulling over a return. I don’t like the lack of communication from Sonos. A few simple thing would go a long way:

  1. At least acknowledge how the arc sounds very different from other sonos speakers, that this is very disappointing to many customers, and open a dialogue about what can be done. 
  2. Talk about what, if any, investigation is going into why trueplay seems to be producing wildly different results. 
  3. Talk about providing more control over the system. Trueplay + Bass/Treble is fine for a default mode, but why not have an advanced mode with a proper manual EQ? Even if that would take a while to build, just say it’s coming. 

Totally agree, the sonos manager introduced himself however long ago and then never came back with anything since, more indication of what is going on in the background would put a lot of people at ease. @Scott - Sonos (11 days to be exact)

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Ok, so I updated and trueplayed several times. Using iphone 11 pro for trueplaying results in a tinny and hollow sound that sounds terrible. The iPhone 6s produces a better sound signature, but I am still not happy with Arc’s sound signature. There is still a significant difference between trueplay attempts, and I had to do multiple rounds before I got a sound that was passable. However, in all cases the high frequencies are still too sharp, and the SSS sounds are too pronounced. I know that the S sounds are there, but I expect a better balance. When I A/B test scenes between Arc and airpods, the airpods give a much more enjoyable sound signature (the high frequencies are softer and nicer to hear).  
 

As an example, take the opening minute of Hamilton on Disney plus. The way the narrator says “silence all cellphones” is very bothersome when listened to on Arc, whereas when I use airpods it is much nicer sounding. 

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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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Yeah we need an update.. ive been waiting 3 months for a fix  :(

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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? 


Haha…

 

Well, #1 can be explained by defective hardware at least.

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@Simon B 

Hi can you find out what is going on regards to this issue, its all gone very quiet from Sonos on this thread, but other threads are being replied to even tho this and the bass issue thread are much bigger.

 

thank you

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Time to move on folks, I’ve resigned myself to the fact it is what it is and to look elsewhere.

If you’re unhappy with your Arc it may be best to sell it on now whilst it commands a higher price due to new units being in short supply.

I guess it’s possible later generations may be engineered differently but if any sound affecting software update was to be released regarding this issue for existing units it would have been done by now I reckon.  

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“The problem is with this, a lot of people need the update yesterday as people will be running to the end of there return windows and what do people do, hope that the update fixes it 100% and are happy with it or return it as its too much of a risk with how much it costs, and even if the update does help it, people may not be happy with it & it will be too late to return.”

That is a big part of the reason I returned mine, not knowing when or if Sonos will correct the problem.  I couldn't take the chance and just went back to my playbar which still sounds fantastic.

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Just got Bose 500 soundbar with the sub 500 for the same price as Arc. There’s no competition whatsoever. Music is miles better, fuller dialogues and sub-bass is awesome, thanks to the sub (compact sub that doesn’t overpower apartment and annoys neighbors). Movies and music both shine. Those who live in apartments and don’t want a Sonos sub, and having sound quality issues could consider this option. ONLY if you don’t care about Atmos. 

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@Jean C. I have a LG c9, I followed your steps reset tv etc but still the same results with the ARC, sound is still very bad. I have also tested my Sonos Beam next to the ARC and find the Beam gives a much nicer warmer sound. ARCs sounding is just to sharp.

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So I finally received a replacement arc today. I’ve set up and tested and the verdict is in….. it’s exactly the same as the old one!!!
 

Same tinny, hallow sound, annoying dynamic range (loud one minute, inaudible the next), different volumes on different channels, doesn’t push out sound to fill entire open plan room, sounds odd and artificial… can clearly tell it’s coming from sound bar which is separate from tv. Basically it’s a bit of a mess. 
 

It’s even more noticeable as I have been using a beam for last week which is a much nicer sound (but smaller soundstage). 
 

ive got a sub + ones as a rears. Squarish room. True play with iPhone 6s and iPad. updated with today’s update. All in all bit of a disappointing saga. 

I want to repeat the great majority of users and Sonos have stated this is not a hardware issue. Replacement doesn't solve the problem ( many reported so) I have seen one user saying it did, and i attribute that to something else (not sure what).

Please @phollin2 check the new updated issued this morning (not that loing ago) you must update the app then the firmware within the app. After that you need to re-truplay! I noticed an improvemen in music. After this I am not sure what was changed or if it is a case of a truplay incosistency fix. But my bar sounds better I can say I am happy with it. If you think it still sound harsh turning down the treble one or two notches can help. 

I just assumed it was a hardware problem as I didn’t expect the ‘upgrade’ from the beam to lead to a significantly worse sound. I really wanted it to be better as well as the beam is lacking a little bit, but the playbar seems a bit dated. I’m kind of invested in Sonos as the Surrounds are hardwired into the wall. If I was starting from scratch I’d look elsewhere. 
 

 

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I found that Trueplay makes a huge difference. I highly recommend running Trueplay again if you are unhappy with the sound. I still think that the sibilance can be improved, but overall the sound is much better now. 

 

Just wanted to add my experience here I believe I also have this issue, using an Arc/sub 3/symfonisks.

Sometimes during dialogue there is a metallic tinny sound, a bit like tin foil being scrunched up. It is not all the time and it is definitely not the source material as it doesn’t happen on other devices.

This seems to have been reported for some time now, is Sonos going to do anything about it?

I have the same problem, during certain dialogues, often the letter “a” or “o” the audio pops and crackles. It often occurs when someone raises the voice in a dialogue. Is there any fix for this? Have had this problem since day one. 

DO NOT disable the WiFi module on the Arc. Has nothing to do with sound quality, but Sub and Rears will no longer work!

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sebas1509 - I didn't realise you had a sub probably made makes all the difference

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has anyone like myself who is also having a major issue with this ‘metallic sound’ maybe been to a shop or round a friends or even had a replacement arc and found another arc not to have this issue?

 

Or the reverse? ie someone that doesn’t have the issue, been to a friends that does.

This as well, will be very interesting to see any peoples feedback here. If i didnt live darn an hour and a half away from my nearest richersounds store, which seems to be the only stores with these on demo, at least anywhere around where i live anyway, i would take my arc to the store and compare against there demo. Anyone feel free on my behalf to do this 😂

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I had taken my Arc to richersounds to compare against there Arc in the demo room, they both sounded the same to me and they guy in richersounds agreed with me that they did, he thought they both sounded very good. My advice is with anyone with this issue who is thinking about swapping for another, do not bother as i promise it will be exactly the same. I know content of certain things is worse than others and only got to test out for a couple of minutes in store. The tech guy in store said to me it was not tinny but just a bright sound profile and a lot of people prefer the bright sound profile and this is maybe why sonos has gone this way with this bar. To me it still sounds tinny however i do get what he means when comparing it to the LG SN11RG in store which sounded very warm and to my ears a lot better, however he said the Arc sounded a lot better than the LG & for this reason i am convinced Sonos WILL NOT rectify this issue as most think it sounds better like this. Obviously its annoying for us who are having this issue, i know room acoustics and different peoples ears will have a lot to play in just to what extreme we are having this issue, but i am just going to live with it for now, i have added x2 surround one SL’s and they seem to help slightly, but on standard content it is still really annoying, i do believe the issue may have gotten slightly better however over the past couple of months with the firmware updates but nothing to write home about, the issue is still there.

To summarise believe it or not this issue we are having, most people PREFER this sound profile and for this reason there will not be an update to FIX this issue, i do however believe in future updates that they will improve on this issue we are having to give a bit more of a neutral sound to make everyone happy, but due to probably 90% or over of people that are happy with this, not much is going to change. Of course this is just my opinion, but an opinion that makes sense in Sonos’s case anyway. My advice is if your un-happy with the sound profile of the arc, return it if you cant live with it because there will be no FIX for this issue.

Just to clarify i have this tinnyness issue and its really annoying but i think i am happy to live with it for now as it is not hurendous and who knows i might get used to it and like it (unlikely) but you never know. I have tried other soundbars and none on the market work quite as flawlessly as this ARC minus the tinniness.

  • What is the source of the media that is being played (TV app, external streaming device, cable, broadcast, DVD/DVR)?  

         - TV app Netflix, Amazon Prime, Tidal,   

           Spotify,Youtube 

 

  • What volume lever do you experience the issue?

          Above 40%. Testet it at 80% got even worse

 

  • Is the Arc wall-mounted? 

          Yes 

 

  • If wall-mounted, does removing the speaker from the wall bracket and setting it on a credenza or table improve the issue?

          No it has the same problems

 

  • Is Trueplay configured on the Arc?

         Yes. 

 

 

          Diagnostic number : 1453398813

 

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I bought the arc two days,and l have tried everything to get rid of this harshness and tinny sound in the audio.I am very disappointed at the 

moment with the product,and l hope Sonos will address this problem. I wonder does the soundbar need a “running in” 

Do we wait for a fix or send it back???
 

I m thinking about sending it back just can’t wait for 6 months for a fix lol

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Mine is updated and I still get a popping sound.  While watching interstellar, a minute and 30 seconds in when they show the ship re-entering earth, it starts popping and crackling.  Atmos generally sounds great, but that popping sound is annoying and ridiculous for an 800 speaker.

Just curious… what source are you watching Interstellar from? What do the popping noises sound like?

 

I just listened to this on Netflix (via Apple TV 4k, outputting Dolby Digital 5.1). It sounds great. Whatever cracking there is actually sounds like it should be there (it’s only on the surrounds, and to me sounds like objects breaking or falling. Adds to the surround experience beautifully). Having said that, the woman at the 1:10-1:25 mark sounds overly sibilant and bright. She sounds very hissy to me. The word “else” is especially harsh and whistley, for lack of a better term. 
 

As a test, I turned off the sub and surrounds, and listened to the 1:30 scene again. I can understand why you may think there is some cracking, because the sounds come from the front. However, I think it’s just that the Arc can’t throw around the surrounds too well. 

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I must admit in most viewing I have not heard this tinniness, I have had some tinny sound in some content but Im unsure if it was just the content.

The content I have have had this tinny sound is-

Point Break 4k, a scene when they was talking in the back of the van, sounds very tinny.

Netflix Dirty John, the woman's voices at times sound really tinny also, both these examples could be the content though.

 

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I just assumed it was a hardware problem as I didn’t expect the ‘upgrade’ from the beam to lead to a significantly worse sound. I really wanted it to be better as well as the beam is lacking a little bit, but the playbar seems a bit dated. I’m kind of invested in Sonos as the Surrounds are hardwired into the wall. If I was starting from scratch I’d look elsewhere. 
 

I find it difficult to believe it is a hardware problem. I really think it is a sound signature problem, and I am very hopeful it will be solved. I am very much invested in Sonos, and I love my speakers. I hope that within a few weeks the engineers will sort things out. I would be lying if I said that I haven’t considered switching to a different sound system. However, on the whole I still have very positive feelings towards Sonos, and I have trust that they will be able to improve and fix these problems. 

What would really help is for Sonos to be more vocal about this. We shouldn’t be left guessing if this issue was addressed in the latest update or not. Sonos should come forward and say if they are tweaking the sound signature, or the way that trueplay is performed. Some more communication with us, preferably from the product guys/engineers in California, would be very very very much appreciated. This will instill a great deal of confidence about Sonos in me. 

Additionally, I really hope that Sonos add an option for multiple trueplay settings. This shouldn’t be required normally, but with the current problems with trueplay, I want to be able to A/B test different trueplay settings, without having to worry that I’ll manage to “ruin” a satisfactory trueplay setting. 

(My neighbors must think that running trueplay is my new hobby, with the number of times I’ve found myself tuning via trueplay). 

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