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Sonos Arc - Metallic Sound



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This is my non audio-programmer brain speaking, but when I put my ear up against the Arc, the center channel alone is handling lead vocals in music. To get music mixed for true stereo to do that, there must be processing in place. I wonder if it’s this processing + an overall tuning for movie voices that has lead to such a emphasis on the upper range.  I’m so curious to hear what the Arc would sound like with a “Stereo Mode” feature like I’ve had with other soundbars.

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And just to add. I’m setting my Beam right next to the Arc for side by side testing and across the board, there is a BIG difference in sound on all sources when you compare the Beam and the Arc. In every case, the low end is deeper, smoother on the Beam. The midrange issues I hear are unique to the Arc

 

I’m going to join in on that party. I’m setting up my Beam now to test. 

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Hello @CuzFeeshe,

Thank you for the diagnostic report and welcome to the Sonos Community by the way.

Does your X Box One or TV have an eArc port?

Can you test the Arc directly from the X-box to see if the harshness continues?

  

@Jean C. Unfortunately, no.  I’m using an LG C8 and XBox One S, either of which has an eArc.  However, as mentioned, this is the only example of the “harshness” I could find.  Everything else has been sounding amazing after the initial “bass” fix.

I have some sound engineering experience - I read the 2 threads here before my Arc arrived and I was worried.  I’m fairly critical on sound.  I’m using a beam + sub in a different room.  On the beam I ended up adjusting the bass and treble up to get the sound I liked. On the Arc I actually found playing it with virtually flat EQ sounds better and allows a warmer tone on the midrange.

I am wondering if anyone else hears what I’m hearing with that specific Dolby demo.  The OTHER Atmos demos in that XBox One app sounded phenominal.

 

 

 

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all you have to do is read the RTINGS.com review to see the problem we are all talking about. The question is whether sonos would even recognize the measurements from that review as a problem. Maybe it sounds the way they think it should. I would just like to know that before the 60 day return window is up. 

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.

Update - ran the “bass fix” update and retuned with an old iPhone 6S and the overall sound is certainly better.
 

That said, I swear it slowly reverts back to the awful, piercing treble experience. I just retuned again last weekend after I noticed the treble again and it was improved but is back again. I’m watching Neverending Story with my son and the intro theme is honestly painful at mid-volume (Apple TV 4K, HBO Max). I also noticed through the song that the highs would suddenly cut down a bit and then come back up, then cut down about 7 seconds later??  Maybe it’s just the song or mix on that intro (of all things) but it was very noticeable for me.


Interesting the Rtings review mentioned the piercing highs as well. Guess we’re not crazy!

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@Jean C. My TV has eARC and my Arc still a hash tinny/metallic sound when playing through my AppleTV 4k, Xbox one S or though the TVs built in apps.  
 

I’ve tried trueplay with an older iPhone 6, iPhone 11 Pro and a 2018 iPad Pro.  Nothing helps.  I also still have the bass issue of I disconnect my Sub. 
 

Very disappointed 

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Just an update on my end (I posted here a few days ago).  

After running trueplay with an iPad Air 2 (previously with latest iPad Pro 11”), I think the sound in the midrange improved, slightly less harsh and fuller, but still NOT where I’d like it to be. I have an iphone 6 sitting around I might try. I wish I had a professional mic to measure frequency response.

I can confirm that the issue definitely is present for streaming music and content via hdmi. I do not think it is related to the hdmi source (which is an LG C9 with earc enabled). Not sure where that idea originated. 

I have not had time to run a full diagnostic, but I can if it’s felt that information is actually helping. The thing is, I don’t see much reason to believe it is a ‘bug’ so much as the eq/tuning is just not resulting in a an accurate or pleasing sound. I feel you’d likely need a full range microphone recording to really diagnose. I’m hoping Sonos can potentially work with Rtings and/or other real-world testers to better understand what’s happening. 

I’m still seriously considering a return, and I’ve already had to caution friends who are thinking about diving into the Sonos ecosystem. There is still time to course-correct. 

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I’ve used an older iPad Air and iPhone 11 and noticed no difference

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Just an update on my end (I posted here a few days ago).  

After running trueplay with an iPad Air 2 (previously with latest iPad Pro 11”), I think the sound in the midrange improved, slightly less harsh and fuller, but still NOT where I’d like it to be. I have an iphone 6 sitting around I might try. I wish I had a professional mic to measure frequency response.

I can confirm that the issue definitely is present for streaming music and content via hdmi. I do not think it is related to the hdmi source (which is an LG C9 with earc enabled). Not sure where that idea originated. 

I have not had time to run a full diagnostic, but I can if it’s felt that information is actually helping. The thing is, I don’t see much reason to believe it is a ‘bug’ so much as the eq/tuning is just not resulting in a an accurate or pleasing sound. I feel you’d likely need a full range microphone recording to really diagnose. I’m hoping Sonos can potentially work with Rtings and/or other real-world testers to better understand what’s happening. 

I’m still seriously considering a return, and I’ve already had to caution friends who are thinking about diving into the Sonos ecosystem. There is still time to course-correct. 

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. 

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Just an update on my end (I posted here a few days ago).  

After running trueplay with an iPad Air 2 (previously with latest iPad Pro 11”), I think the sound in the midrange improved, slightly less harsh and fuller, but still NOT where I’d like it to be. I have an iphone 6 sitting around I might try. I wish I had a professional mic to measure frequency response.

I can confirm that the issue definitely is present for streaming music and content via hdmi. I do not think it is related to the hdmi source (which is an LG C9 with earc enabled). Not sure where that idea originated. 

I have not had time to run a full diagnostic, but I can if it’s felt that information is actually helping. The thing is, I don’t see much reason to believe it is a ‘bug’ so much as the eq/tuning is just not resulting in a an accurate or pleasing sound. I feel you’d likely need a full range microphone recording to really diagnose. I’m hoping Sonos can potentially work with Rtings and/or other real-world testers to better understand what’s happening. 

I’m still seriously considering a return, and I’ve already had to caution friends who are thinking about diving into the Sonos ecosystem. There is still time to course-correct. 

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 unfortunate. Why would they tune the Arc completely differently than the Playbar, Playbase, and Beam that came before it? It sounds so obviously worse. There’s nearly 200 replies in this thread alone about it. And worse yet for Sonos, it sounds cheap. But as we all know, it certainly wasn’t.
 

The experience I’ve had with the Arc is damaging my brand loyalty and the part that’s most upsetting is we are all being super vocal about the issue and doing everything we can to help Sonos recognize it, taking to the proper forums where they want to host the discussion, scheduling calls with Support after waiting weeks for an email response, but yet they are increasingly silent in even admitting there’s an issue. At the end of the day, it feels like no real progress has been made here.

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If they figure out the ongoing bass issue I’ll keep it. I hope they look into pushing the mids a little more or making it sound warmer maybe it’s just personal preference at that point but I really liked the sound of the playbar. Maybe there should be a separate mode for tv vs music.

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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 an update on my end (I posted here a few days ago).  

After running trueplay with an iPad Air 2 (previously with latest iPad Pro 11”), I think the sound in the midrange improved, slightly less harsh and fuller, but still NOT where I’d like it to be. I have an iphone 6 sitting around I might try. I wish I had a professional mic to measure frequency response.

I can confirm that the issue definitely is present for streaming music and content via hdmi. I do not think it is related to the hdmi source (which is an LG C9 with earc enabled). Not sure where that idea originated. 

I have not had time to run a full diagnostic, but I can if it’s felt that information is actually helping. The thing is, I don’t see much reason to believe it is a ‘bug’ so much as the eq/tuning is just not resulting in a an accurate or pleasing sound. I feel you’d likely need a full range microphone recording to really diagnose. I’m hoping Sonos can potentially work with Rtings and/or other real-world testers to better understand what’s happening. 

I’m still seriously considering a return, and I’ve already had to caution friends who are thinking about diving into the Sonos ecosystem. There is still time to course-correct. 

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 unfortunate. Why would they tune the Arc completely differently than the Playbar, Playbase, and Beam that came before it? It sounds so obviously worse. There’s nearly 200 replies in this thread alone about it. And worse yet for Sonos, it sounds cheap. But as we all know, it certainly wasn’t.
 

The experience I’ve had with the Arc is damaging my brand loyalty and the part that’s most upsetting is we are all being super vocal about the issue and doing everything we can to help Sonos recognize it, taking to the proper forums where they want to host the discussion, scheduling calls with Support after waiting weeks for an email response, but yet they are increasingly silent in even admitting there’s an issue. At the end of the day, it feels like no real progress has been made here.

Ya. They’ve lost lots of goodwill with me. My impressions was that they made great quality stuff. But now it just seems trial and error. Last week they released new firmware for the bass but that still didn’t fix the issue and they are back trying to fix it. Just throwing darts at a board. I feel like we bought a kickstarter project. 

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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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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. 

I got a playbar on its way. I don’t even think I’ll be using the S2 app. Just gonna stick with was what works

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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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@BMF, ​​@arpatil1 & @shane_sd,

CEC can come into play if it is somehow blocked or preventing the Arc from receiving the correct audio codec. 

That the ARC status had been consistently reading as blocked/inactive/disabled tells me that something might be amiss in how the Tv is communicating to the Arc.

The quickest way to remedy this would be to completely reboot the TV and then see what format the TV is passing on via the HDMI/ARC or preferably eARC port. 

If your TV doesn’t support eARC, try setting the TV audio format to Dolby Digital+ and see if it makes a difference. 

The TV is definitely sending DD+ where appropriate, but the harshness is still there irrespective of codec or source, ie natively streaming music HDMI playing DD+, DD5.1, DD2.0 or PCM.

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published yesterday, the reviewer has also reviewed the beam:

https://www.soundandvision.com/category/soundbar-reviews

Outstanding music and movie sound
Impressive rendering of height information
Solid bass for standalone soundbar

I don’t get why there is such a difference of opinion of sounds coming from the Arc? Could it be the environment, eg speaker placement, room size/dimensions?

 

Same issue here with my wall-mounted Arc (+ Sub Gen3 + 2x One SL for surround). Already contacted customer support by phone, sent diagnostics reports, went through all the hoops of unplugging hdmi, power cable, restarting the tv (LG C9), different sources, eARC on/off, selecting pass-through/automatic, selecting automatic/dolby digital plus on my tv audio settings, etc...but to no avail. Nothing helped. Still experiencing the same (sometimes painful) piercing highs with a lot of hiss sounds, especially when people talk and barely any mids. Music playback has the same issue by the way.

Trueplay (iPhone X) actually makes it even worse, and without Trueplay everything sounds dull. Nothing close compared to the raving reviews online which talk about full range audio.

Something is definitely off with the tuning on the Arc. I hope Sonos will take the time to look into this and fixes this asap.

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I also have an LG C9. That’s like four people on this thread. Anyone else have an LG tv?

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Although the RTINGS.com review appears to not have used an LG TV, so I think it’s just a problem with the sound signature itself, as opposed to some sort of error unique to the people on this thread.

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I have a Samsung TV and as Music streamed directly from the Arc, not involving any TV, still sounds harsh…. I assume it is the sound signature of the Arc.

 

hopefully it can be warmed up by Software to be closer to the other Sonos speakers.

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I also have an LG C9. That’s like four people on this thread. Anyone else have an LG tv?

I have a B7, and overall sound is sublime. Definitely seems like a faulty batch of hardware 

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Just looked don’t know why I didn’t earlier at the build date of my arc- March 2020 - I can’t imagine the reviewers had earlier builds than 3 months prior? It hadn’t even been announced at that point.

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I also have an LG C9. That’s like four people on this thread. Anyone else have an LG tv?

I have a B7, and overall sound is sublime. Definitely seems like a faulty batch of hardware 

Did you have a Beam or playbar etc before? I really noticed the difference when comparing to my Beam.

 

Just looked don’t know why I didn’t earlier at the build date of my arc- March 2020 - I can’t imagine the reviewers had earlier builds than 3 months prior? It hadn’t even been announced at that point.

Where abouts did you find your build number? 

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