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Sonos Arc - Metallic Sound


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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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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.

I have done a bit more digging hence the edit seems the surrounds were helping a bit with the bass!! Apologies for that but it is definitely sounding better than it has before, tbh I thought it soundedvbetter before the latest update 

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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.

I have done a bit more digging hence the edit seems the surrounds were helping a bit with the bass!! Apologies for that but it is definitely sounding better than it has before, tbh I thought it soundedvbetter before the latest update 

I agree up until 50% the old update sounded far better to my ears. Above that was obviously horrible. Now we seem to have the crippled release...

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Are you listening, Sonos?

PS: I submitted my diagnostics a long time ago.

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Are you listening, Sonos?

PS: I submitted my diagnostics a long time ago.

No, they are not listening. It’s quite sad :(

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I don’t know if I’d want to buy this much in hardware from a company that just axed a large number of people that might have been supporting said hardware.

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Please Sonos hear us out help us to get more complete EQ settings. Most of us will be very satisfied. 

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Any news on this issue yet? Has anyone spoken to support directly on the phone and had an indication a fix is in the works ?

@Jean C. any update.

thanks

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@Jean C. I’m a bit different here… I’m new to the forum, have just replaced a $5000 full dolby atmos/surround system with the Arc (in order to appease my wife by simplifying the living room)…. and for some reason have zero problems.  Sounds amazing.

HOWEVER, I was playing around with the Dolby Atmos app on my XBox One, which has Atmos demos in it, and found a single demo that seems to highlight a harsh, metallic sound in the sibilance of the woman narrators voice that I didn’t hear in my prior system.  Mind you… this is the ONLY example I’ve had with my Arc so I thought it might be helpful.

  • What is the source of the media that is being played (TV app, external streaming device, cable, broadcast, DVD/DVR)?   XBox One.
  • What volume lever do you experience the issue?  Almost all volumes
  • 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? N/A
  • Is Trueplay configured on the Arc? Yes

In order to replicate, add the “Dolby” app onto an XBox One, and under “Demo Content” choose “Atmos Explainer”.  The highs in the sibilance are pretty harsh.

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@Jean C. I’m a bit different here… I’m new to the forum, have just replaced a $5000 full dolby atmos/surround system with the Arc (in order to appease my wife by simplifying the living room)…. and for some reason have zero problems.  Sounds amazing.

HOWEVER, I was playing around with the Dolby Atmos app on my XBox One, which has Atmos demos in it, and found a single demo that seems to highlight a harsh, metallic sound in the sibilance of the woman narrators voice that I didn’t hear in my prior system.  Mind you… this is the ONLY example I’ve had with my Arc so I thought it might be helpful.

  • What is the source of the media that is being played (TV app, external streaming device, cable, broadcast, DVD/DVR)?   XBox One.
  • What volume lever do you experience the issue?  Almost all volumes
  • 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? N/A
  • Is Trueplay configured on the Arc? Yes

In order to replicate, add the “Dolby” app onto an XBox One, and under “Demo Content” choose “Atmos Explainer”.  The highs in the sibilance are pretty harsh.

Id advice you take a diagnostic report shortly after playing this content (less than a few mins) and inclyde it in your report

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Hello All,

Sorry for the delay, I have only just now been able to review this thread and taken a quick cursory glance at the half dozen or so diagnostics submitted (thank you for those).

The one commonality that I’m seeing on all of these reports is that the ARC status on the Arc (I know) is either disabled, blocked, or inactive. 

Have you examined the CEC settings on your TVs (and for good measure made sure that the Arc is in the HDMI/ARC port)?

If you do a full reboot of your TV (unplugging it fully from power/plugging it back in) change anything in the audio settings or quality?   

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@Jean C. 

Here is a diagnostic after playing the Dolby Atmos demo above on XBox One.

704248715

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Hello All,

Sorry for the delay, I have only just now been able to review this thread and taken a quick cursory glance at the half dozen or so diagnostics submitted (thank you for those).

The one commonality that I’m seeing on all of these reports is that the ARC status on the Arc (I know) is either disabled, blocked, or inactive. 

Have you examined the CEC settings on your TVs (and for good measure made sure that the Arc is in the HDMI/ARC port)?

If you do a full reboot of your TV (unplugging it fully from power/plugging it back in) change anything in the audio settings or quality?   

 

Hi all! This is my first post. I found this thread after searching the web to see if others were disappointed with their new Arc’s. My new Arc replaced a Beam in my home theater system. The primary reason I was replacing the Beam was because of how it handled music. I was never happy with it. The highs were just too harsh/thin/brittle for my ears. I don’t experience this with the Play 5 in my office at all. I realize these products are tuned for specific roles but I also owned the Playbar which was fantastic with music. 

 

I believe the product should sound good without extra processing, just like my Play 5 does, but I’ve done everything to try and improve the sound of my Arc with no success. I have Trueplay tuned several times, adjusted EQ and Loudness, with no success. I also believe our ears need several days to adjust to a new sound. I gave the Arc several days and I’m still not happy. I don’t believe I have an improvement over my Beam for music which is wild. I’m at the point where I’m ready to start a return. 

 

With that said, thanks for chiming in Jean. I’m hoping a solution is possible before my return period expires. To your question about whether or not CEC settings are configured properly, what I’m hearing from the community is that we all feel like something is missing overall. A harshness or “thinness” is there. With that said, I’ve tried turning CEC on and off and there is no improvement. I’m happy to help in any way I can. 

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CEC is on for me, same as the Beam was… I use it all the time “Alexa, turn off the TV” (as my wife and daughter do not seem to understand that a TV can also be switched off as well as on….. but that is a different problem, that I doubt Sonos can fix 🤓)

 

Cant see why CEC would make a difference, but tested and the Arc still sounds more harsh than Playbar or Beam.

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CEC is on for me, same as the Beam was… I use it all the time “Alexa, turn off the TV” (as my wife and daughter do not seem to understand that a TV can also be switched off as well as on….. but that is a different problem, that I doubt Sonos can fix 🤓)

 

Cant see why CEC would make a difference, but tested and the Arc still sounds more harsh than Playbar or Beam.

Harshness goes when truplayed with older iPhones. But dialogues are still hollow. It doesn’t feel like the center channel has 2 woofers and 1 tweeter. The balance between highs and mids just isn’t there.

Also, my CEC is on. Zero chance that it’s affecting sound quality. 

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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?

  

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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. 

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@Jean C.  Couldn’t people just stream the songs from their device via Airplay and confirm that the Arc sounds metallic/tinny and take the display out of the equation altogether?

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Hello @jkozlow3,

Home Theater audio and streaming music or Airplay music function very differently from each other.

To the best of my understanding this issue is only occurring with home theater audio which indicates a software issue rather than a hardware issue at this time.

If this has not been the case and any audio sourced from the Sonos app or other streaming audio services linked to Sonos was sounding equally bad, it would change the slant of our troubleshooting here.

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Hello @jkozlow3,

Home Theater audio and streaming music or Airplay music function very differently from each other.

To the best of my understanding this issue is only occurring with home theater audio which indicates a software issue rather than a hardware issue at this time.

If this has not been the case and any audio sourced from the Sonos app or other streaming audio services linked to Sonos was sounding equally bad, it would change the slant of our troubleshooting here.

 

@Jean C. 

Interesting - I was under the impression people were having issues with music playback as well (either via Airplay or the Sonos app) - not just via home theater audio. 

 

Hopefully folks will chime in as I know many people have indicated in the various threads here and on Reddit that their older Sonos devices (Playbar, Beam, etc.) sounded better for music as well.

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@Jean C.  Couldn’t people just stream the songs from their device via Airplay and confirm that the Arc sounds metallic/tinny and take the display out of the equation altogether?

Yes. That’s exactly what I have done. HDMI has been disconnected entirely. Music is my primary use so you can understand my disappointment when I realized my Beam sounds as good if not better than the Arc for music playback - and I don’t like the way my Beam sounds with music.

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For me, it’s not just via HDMI, Music also sounds EQ’d to sound very top end heavy and tinny.

 

The Sound profile, from an EQ perspective it more towards what I would expect from built in TV speakers. I expect a sound bar to sound richer and more pleasant. Playbar sounded great as did Beam. Beam had a more narrow soundstage, but given its size that would be expected.

 

Arc sssoundsss like it isss EQ’d with all the high midsss emphasssissed sssso all the harsssshnesss get to be a bit grating ….. the sssame way built in ssspeakersss do. (You get the point)

 

which is one of the reasons people buy external sound bars, yes it is louder that the built in speakers and has surround, but the EQ or sound profile on Arc sounds way thinner and “cheaper” to my ears than Playbar and even Beam.

 

i still have 2 Beams and prefer to listen to music on them than Arc.

 

I love Sonos, have lots of your kit and believe in your products….. there is just something too harsh and cheap sounding about Arc.

 

To be clear, my expectations were not for Arc to be a full pro cinema experience. Given the price, size and reviews I expected Playbar with Atmos. It does not sound anywhere near as pleasing with movies as Playbar or Beam.

 

I really do believe it is an EQ and maybe Phase issue…. I believe you can sort it

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I can confirm that on my system I’m hearing low end issues on playback from streaming, music, and airplay. The midrange is lacking too, especially noticeable on music playback. I am VERY surprised to see that Sonos is just now realizing that everything is sounding bad. Please pay attention Sonos. Read the threads on your own forum. 

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@Jean C. 


OK, so I think we can rule out HDMI as the culprit now.  Sounds like Sonos has a lot of tuning to do on the Arc to make it sound right with music playback as well.

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This issue is by no means exclusively happening with HDMI sources from my experience. Music sounds just as harsh and metallic. And the fact that a notable difference (although not perfect) can be heard when Trueplaying with an older iOS device as many have noted here seems to point to a very different issue. 

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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

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