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Sonos Arc - Metallic Sound


Userlevel 6
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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?

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Best answer by Scott - Sonos 3 July 2020, 00:56

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Userlevel 2

I got the Arc at launch and the dialogue and center channel was very rich and warm. After the update, I was forced to retune because of connectivity issues with rear surrounds and now I’m hearing the same thing. I thought I was going crazy until I found this thread! Tried several times with my iPhone X and iPad Pro 11 (2018) but could not get a warmer dialogue sound. 
 

Sonos please let us know if we can help test anything!

Userlevel 4
Badge +1

I got the Arc at launch and the dialogue and center channel was very rich and warm. After the update, I was forced to retune because of connectivity issues with rear surrounds and now I’m hearing the same thing. I thought I was going crazy until I found this thread! Tried several times with my iPhone X and iPad Pro 11 (2018) but could not get a warmer dialogue sound. 
 

Sonos please let us know if we can help test anything!


Contact Sonos support via phone/email to report your issue. Sonos support is no longer responding here as they’ve let go of a large chunk of their support staff.

Userlevel 5
Badge +16

Hello all,

I can appreciate your frustration with any ongoing audio quality issues you are having with your Sonos Arc.

If you have updated your Sonos software and are still having issues, the questions that @Smilja linked to are still highly relevant. To work out a solution for this we will need some data from those of you that are experiencing this mid-range audio quality issue. This information will help us determine if this is an isolated or widespread experience and if it is due to hardware or software.     

  • What is the source of the media that is being played (TV app, external streaming device, cable, broadcast, DVD/DVR)?  
  • What volume lever do you experience the issue?
  • Is the Arc wall-mounted?
  • 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?

A diagnostic confirmation number from your system while the Arc is playing is key to getting the right information to work towards a solution. You can find information on submitting a diagnostic report here.

If possible, please make a photo where Arc is located and reply to this along with your diagnostic confirmation number. 

Userlevel 2

@Jean C. Thanks for the reply! Understand it is a difficult time for you guys and really appreciate everything you are doing to help make top notch products.

 

Below is my information:

  • What is the source of the media that is being played (TV app, external streaming device, cable, broadcast, DVD/DVR)?  
    • Apple TV 4K connected via eARC to Sony A8H
    • Sonos Arc + 2 x One SL for rear surrounds, no sub
    • Netflix: The Crown Season 3 Episode 2 & 6 with 5.1 output
    • Netflix: The Witcher with Dolby Atmos
    • Apple TV rented movies: Mission Impossible Fallout with Dolby Atmos
    • Apple TV rented movies: Kung Fu Panda 1/2 with 5.1 output
    • Apple TV rented movies: Darkest Hour with 5.1 output
  • What volume lever do you experience the issue? up to 50% volume, have not gone beyond 50% since I am in an apartment building
  • Is the Arc wall-mounted? no, on TV stand below TV, Arc on flat surface and is situated near the edge of the stand with minimal protrusion
  • If wall-mounted, does removing the speaker from the wall bracket and setting it on a credenza or table improve the issue? N/A
  • Is Trueplay configured on the Arc? Yes
    • Tuned Trueplay several times with iPhone X and 2018 iPad Pro 11
    • Living room is rectangular (longer along the wall that TV sits on), dimensions are about 25 feet x 15 feet
    • distance from Arc to viewing position is about 11 feet
    • tried multiple walking patterns:
      • stayed within a 5 feet x 5 feet box of couch
      • walked entire room
      • patterns above + sweeping area directly around the Arc (top / sides / front)
    • seems like 2018 iPad Pro 11 tuning is resulting in slightly warmer dialogue, but there is still thinness, tinny voices with sharp ‘S’’s in the center channel that were not present prior to the upgrade -- voices were full, rich, warm and center prior to the update

Diagnostic number (running 5.1 output): 1689969690

Diagnostic number (running Dolby Atmos): 858732726

 

Let us know if there is any more we can help test and thanks to the folks in this community for working together to collect data.

 

 

Userlevel 4
Badge +4

@Jean C. 

Getting this and the bass issues still after the update - just different material now. For the bass issue eminem without me sounds terrible as does drive on Netflix at 35:00 in at 50-60% filmed here have performed factory reset to no avail:

  • What is the source of the media that is being played (TV app, external streaming device, cable, broadcast, DVD/DVR)?  tidal or netflix or anything
  • What volume lever do you experience the issue? 50-60% up
  • Is the Arc wall-mounted? No
  • 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? Yes but get the same issue with it on and off.

i will add that the very high notes aren’t as harsh as my playbase was (which is a good thing) but it seems to be lacking mids etc and as said seems a bit tinny in comparison.

Userlevel 5
Badge +7

Hello all,

I can appreciate your frustration with any ongoing audio quality issues you are having with your Sonos Arc.

If you have updated your Sonos software and are still having issues, the questions that @Smilja linked to are still highly relevant. To work out a solution for this we will need some data from those of you that are experiencing this mid-range audio quality issue. This information will help us determine if this is an isolated or widespread experience and if it is due to hardware or software.     

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

Amazon prime app, sky q, Netflix

  • What volume lever do you experience the issue?

Up to 50% volume

  • Is the Arc wall-mounted?

No on wooden table

 

  • Is Trueplay configured on the Arc?

Yes but made it worse, lowered the Bass and general dynamic of the soundbar

A diagnostic confirmation number from your system while the Arc is playing is key to getting the right information to work towards a solution. You can find information on submitting a diagnostic report here.

If possible, please make a photo where Arc is located and reply to this along with your diagnostic confirmation number. 

Diagnostic number; 1242438100 Sky Q 5.1

Diagnostic number:1511790228 Sky Q Atmos

 

@Jean C. please find my response above, thanks for your help

Userlevel 2

It’s refreshing to see reviews confirming the bass/tin sound issues that the users have been experiencing: Rtings Review

Userlevel 5
Badge +7

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

Userlevel 2
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that review is brutal, and accurate

Userlevel 3
Badge +1

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 3
Badge

 Quotes from Rtings Review 

“The stereo frequency response of the Sonos Arc soundbar is mediocre. It lacks bass, and because of its overemphasized treble, it sounds bright and a bit piercing.”

“The stereo dynamics of this soundbar are quite sub-par. The bar can get very loud, which is nice, but there's noticeable compression in both the bass and treble ranges.”

 

@Jean C. Hope the Sonos team do look into the above concerns. There are also test results provided in their review, if that helps.

Userlevel 1

RTing worded the problem very well. They also mention a lack  EQ setting features. So, i wish a center channel is added.

Userlevel 5
Badge +13

Agreed, they have described my observations very well.

 

The EQ profile of far too bright for my tastes, a very different profile to Playbar and Beam and not in a good way.

Userlevel 4
Badge +1

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.

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.

Yes I agree. Just proceed to return my arc since updated patch also didnt fix medicore sound and lack of bass. Hope product will be updated or redesigned soon so we can consider to buy again. 

Userlevel 4
Badge +4

Random but anyone in the uk was just watching panorama (on iplayer too) today’s episode and Richard biltons voice at around 30% sound horrific others aren’t so bad. It seems marginally better with trueplay off

Userlevel 2

Just watched John Oliver on HBO Max. I have the Sonos Arc with Gen 3 Sub and 2 SL’s and the audio sounded like it came from my laptop speaker. Squeaky, metallic, high pitched (not sure what to call it). It lacks the richness of a modern soundbar. I have updated it to the latest software and trueplayed several times with an ipad after reading the issues with my iphone 11 pro, but still the sound just sucks. I hope Sonos gets its act together and releases an update which addresses this issue. If not, I will be sending all of it back and buying the Samsung Q90R.

 

 

Think I will return my Arc and go back to the Beam. After sitting in front of it I really can’t hear £800 sound quality, really think the Beam sounded better. Been disappointing from day one, will maybe think about trying out the second iteration or later down the line when they actually update their flawed product.

Userlevel 2

@zztop610 @TomMcNally any chance you guys could submit the survey from Jean C above and diagnostics to Sonos? Seeing if we can give them enough data to get a fix in place.  Thanks!

Userlevel 3
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I realize this is for a different problem but if Sonos looks at arc muddy/bottoming out bass related topic as well as post build 58178180 there are multiple examples of arc owners experiences.

Userlevel 4
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I realize this is for a different problem but if Sonos looks at arc muddy/bottoming out bass related topic as well as post build 58178180 there are multiple examples of arc owners experiences.

There answer to me for both issues was rma I said it hardware they ignored my question and proceeded to start the process.

  • 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

 

.

Userlevel 4
Badge +5

Has anyone tried doing full reset on arc and then re-trueplaying? I just did and it sounds considerably better and for the first time the bass from arc alone was impressive, beforehand was flat and over trebly, as soon as the arc came back online before I even trueplayed or added sub/surrounds It sounded completely different. I done the update last week too so god knows what’s going on, but might be worth a go for some people?


Can anyone else confirm this? I’ve received an RMA and updated the speaker right after I unpacked it. The issue is not gone for me.

Userlevel 1
Badge +1

Mine sounds thin and harsh I have the complete 5.1.2 system. Increasing bass and setting the sub to -2 and treble to -8 I could just pass it as an ok system but it gives me a headache every time I watch a 2 hr movie because of the harsh treble. Dialogues are thin so it’s just bass and treble not mid range.

 

i might return it if they don’t update and fix this soon.

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