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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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Anyone do any AB testing with sources? I just went back and forth between my iPhone8s and MacBook Pro, both via Airplay2 and get totally different sound profiles, specifically on the high end. The playback from my MacBook Pro was overly bright and exaggerated on the high end. 

Interesting.  Did you check whether it sounds the same on your iPhone between AirPlay2 and Sonos app?  Also, whether the EQ is turned on in AirPlay2 on the iPhone or the Mac?

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This is what I predicted. People are trying to explain: like this is what is supposed to sound like and Sonos wil not fix this. 
 

all because Sonos is dead silent about this problem. Not give us an answer if it will be fixed/ tuned or not. 
 

I have a 100 day return period. But for me this way all the fun is gone.  Really thinking of returning the arc ASAP.  Then I can move on. Maybe try Bose soundbar 700.

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This is what I predicted. People are trying to explain: like this is what is supposed to sound like and Sonos wil not fix this. 
 

all because Sonos is dead silent about this problem. Not give us an answer if it will be fixed/ tuned or not. 
 

I have a 100 day return period. But for me this way all the fun is gone.  Really thinking of returning the arc ASAP.  Then I can move on. Maybe try Bose soundbar 700.

That’s not what I think.  I think there is an issue, but I think it’s a complex one.  Mainly because I have some sound experience and it sounds great to me…. but rtings.com clearly did a comprehensive test and found issues.  Many other experienced reviewers are completely satisfied with the sound, while others here are clearly having a difficult time.

I hope those of you with an issue find an answer - I can imagine how frustrating it would be to hear constant exaggerated sibilance.

Maybe this kind of experience will prompt Sonos to break their “simple” philosophy and provide a band equalizer.

I have been a Sonos fan for years, own all there products. Always bragged to all my friends and family how it just works and sounds good consistently. However, the arc is the first time I have been let down. I have the arc hooked up to a new Sony a9g through earc, with a sub and two s1 speakers. While the arc has plenty of volume, it’s harsh not typical traditional good sounding Sonos. I will be returning tomorrow.

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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.

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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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I use trueplay. To my ears, brightness and harshness is there even without trueplay. It’s more pronounced with trueplay. I have Arc + sub + 2 sonos ones. 
I tried trueplay with various devices: iphone 11 pro, ipad air latest gen, iphone 6s. The latter was the best, but still too harsh.

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I use trueplay. To my ears, brightness and harshness is there even without trueplay. It’s more pronounced with trueplay. I have Arc + sub + 2 sonos ones. 
I tried trueplay with various devices: iphone 11 pro, ipad air latest gen, iphone 6s. The latter was the best, but still too harsh.

Exactly same setup and experience as me 

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Maybe there is a bad batch. Mine sounds great after 2-3 weeks daily use. Arc + surrounds + sub. Replaced a Beam 5.1 system, which replaced hardwired Denon AVR and NHT 5.1 speakers. 

The Arc-anchored Sonos system much better than the Beam, and while not getting as really loud as well as the AVR-based system the quality of sound is more or less on par for me. 

Atmos is effective in my usage  as well.

Userlevel 2
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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. 


Oh I get it believe me. I retuned with 4 different devices after all so I’m exhausting all options as well. Overall, I’m happy now but wasn’t initially. With Trueplay off it sounds lifeless, with it on way too bright until I found the one iOS device that gave me a tuning I liked.

 

The 45 day return window is pretty solid thankfully if you’re not happy and gives people enough time to really test it out and maybe for Sonos to fix or update the tuning based on initial user feedback.

Userlevel 2

This is what I predicted. People are trying to explain: like this is what is supposed to sound like and Sonos wil not fix this. 
 

all because Sonos is dead silent about this problem. Not give us an answer if it will be fixed/ tuned or not. 
 

I have a 100 day return period. But for me this way all the fun is gone.  Really thinking of returning the arc ASAP.  Then I can move on. Maybe try Bose soundbar 700.

I am thinking of doing the same. Enough with this nonsense. Will buy the Samsung Atmos soundbar

Userlevel 6
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This is what I predicted. People are trying to explain: like this is what is supposed to sound like and Sonos wil not fix this. 
 

all because Sonos is dead silent about this problem. Not give us an answer if it will be fixed/ tuned or not. 
 

I have a 100 day return period. But for me this way all the fun is gone.  Really thinking of returning the arc ASAP.  Then I can move on. Maybe try Bose soundbar 700.

I am thinking of doing the same. Enough with this nonsense. Will buy the Samsung Atmos soundbar

Has its own issues. Good luck!  

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Not sure why this problem is still not acknowledged by Sonos. That harsh treble is just present across all contents I played. 

Feels like I'm still using TV speaker but with better bass. I had occasions I was using TV speaker and I thought I was using the Arc.. that is how bad the sound is to me..

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Not sure why this problem is still not acknowledged by Sonos. That harsh treble is just present across all contents I played. 

Feels like I'm still using TV speaker but with better bass. I had occasions I was using TV speaker and I thought I was using the Arc.. that is how bad the sound is to me..

 

Yup. 

Userlevel 2

This is what I predicted. People are trying to explain: like this is what is supposed to sound like and Sonos wil not fix this. 
 

all because Sonos is dead silent about this problem. Not give us an answer if it will be fixed/ tuned or not. 
 

I have a 100 day return period. But for me this way all the fun is gone.  Really thinking of returning the arc ASAP.  Then I can move on. Maybe try Bose soundbar 700.

I am thinking of doing the same. Enough with this nonsense. Will buy the Samsung Atmos soundbar

Has its own issues. Good luck!  

LOL, man I just can’t seem to catch a break! 

Userlevel 3
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Not sure why this problem is still not acknowledged by Sonos. That harsh treble is just present across all contents I played. 

Feels like I'm still using TV speaker but with better bass. I had occasions I was using TV speaker and I thought I was using the Arc.. that is how bad the sound is to me..


+1 same experience here....

Userlevel 2
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Maybe there is a bad batch. Mine sounds great after 2-3 weeks daily use. Arc + surrounds + sub. Replaced a Beam 5.1 system, which replaced hardwired Denon AVR and NHT 5.1 speakers. 

The Arc-anchored Sonos system much better than the Beam, and while not getting as really loud as well as the AVR-based system the quality of sound is more or less on par for me. 

Atmos is effective in my usage  as well.

Did you find sound harsh on initial set up? I have the same set up as you which l bought a few days ago.l am wondering if indeed a running in period is required.

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Meanwhile at Sonos headquarters..” Sh*t, this topic about tiny, harsh treble isn't dying out by itself...what to do? keep silent or not?….”

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Have you ever been in a room where the audio, be it music or a movie soundtrack, sounds really “tinny” or “crisp”? It’s what we refer to in the industry as “bright”. Taming bright speakers is a big deal if you want to maintain clarity without achieving a harsh or unruly sound. While a loudspeaker can be responsible for this, it can also be the effects of a room. A room can also “muddy” the sound by creating a reverberant effect that reflects the sound back into itself over and over again. Most rooms aren’t large enough to create an actual echo, but if they are made of concrete, hard surfaces and lots of glass, the effects can be detrimental to your listening enjoyment.

http://www.audiogurus.com/learn/speakers/taming-bright-speakers/902

 

Userlevel 3
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Have you ever been in a room where the audio, be it music or a movie soundtrack, sounds really “tinny” or “crisp”? It’s what we refer to in the industry as “bright”. Taming bright speakers is a big deal if you want to maintain clarity without achieving a harsh or unruly sound. While a loudspeaker can be responsible for this, it can also be the effects of a room. A room can also “muddy” the sound by creating a reverberant effect that reflects the sound back into itself over and over again. Most rooms aren’t large enough to create an actual echo, but if they are made of concrete, hard surfaces and lots of glass, the effects can be detrimental to your listening enjoyment.

http://www.audiogurus.com/learn/speakers/taming-bright-speakers/902

 

IF (and thats a big IF) the room is part of the problem, shouldn't trueplay make it sound better? Now trueplay makes it sound worse...

Userlevel 3
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Have you ever been in a room where the audio, be it music or a movie soundtrack, sounds really “tinny” or “crisp”? It’s what we refer to in the industry as “bright”. Taming bright speakers is a big deal if you want to maintain clarity without achieving a harsh or unruly sound. While a loudspeaker can be responsible for this, it can also be the effects of a room. A room can also “muddy” the sound by creating a reverberant effect that reflects the sound back into itself over and over again. Most rooms aren’t large enough to create an actual echo, but if they are made of concrete, hard surfaces and lots of glass, the effects can be detrimental to your listening enjoyment.

http://www.audiogurus.com/learn/speakers/taming-bright-speakers/902

 

IF (and thats a big IF) the room is part of the problem, shouldn't trueplay make it sound better? Now trueplay makes it sound worse...

 

Thinking about this...its obvious trueplay is broken (new ios devices especcialy), so fixing treuplay could potentially resolve in a less bright sound in these kinds of enviroments…..

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IF (and thats a big IF) the room is part of the problem, shouldn't trueplay make it sound better? Now trueplay makes it sound worse...

No IFs, a room will definitely make a difference to sound. If you ever walk into an empty unfurnished room, its sounds very different when you walk in again when its carpeted and furnished.

If too much sound is bouncing around it will smear imaging and in many cases cause the overall sound to be bright and fatiguing. The trend amongst speaker manufacturers is to make speakers that are already too bright (to make them sound more "exciting" during sales demos) so in a room with too much sound reflection, these speakers can be extremely irritating. Certain wall surfaces such as glass or drywall which are popular in modern condo style apartments are atrocious when it comes to treble information and in many cases will echo because there are so many reflections. This destroys imaging as well as intelligibility of speech and transients. Drums especially can blur together so badly that you can't hear individual notes anymore. Voices can have terrible "esses".

 

https://www.planetofsoundonline.com/pages/fixing-your-room-acoustics

If Trueplay is making your setup worse, I would try another Trueplay, and focus on the area you are listening, and if possible try another (older) iDevice.

Userlevel 3
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Not sure why this problem is still not acknowledged by Sonos. That harsh treble is just present across all contents I played. 

Feels like I'm still using TV speaker but with better bass. I had occasions I was using TV speaker and I thought I was using the Arc.. that is how bad the sound is to me..

 

Izy1987: you're description of the problem is very recognisable. Could you describe you're room? Large open space, hard floor, etc…?

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Not sure why this problem is still not acknowledged by Sonos. That harsh treble is just present across all contents I played. 

Feels like I'm still using TV speaker but with better bass. I had occasions I was using TV speaker and I thought I was using the Arc.. that is how bad the sound is to me..

 

Izy1987: you're description of the problem is very recognisable. Could you describe you're room? Large open space, hard floor, etc…?

 

Fairly large living room. Square layout. Flooring not sure (feels like marble or granite).  No curtain or carpet. 

My room setup is not really optimal, but I do expect decent audio quality.

My desktop speaker costing 1/3 of the Arc's price performs better in the same environment.

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Fairly large living room. Square layout. Flooring not sure (feels like marble or granite).  No curtain or carpet. 

My room setup is not really optimal, but I do expect decent audio quality.

Can you try another Trueplay? I got best results just waving up and down along the sofa, rather than waving around whole room, make sure you remove iPhone cover and check mic for dust/fluff:

https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/optimum-trueplay-6842990

 

 

 

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