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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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The more I hear someone trying to justify the Arc's poor sound quality and making excuses for Sonos ,the more it makes me angry.  There is really no good reason to put out a new product, have many complaints and returns but offer no explanation what is wrong and what can or cannot be fixed.  I believe it is a hardware issue and Sonos doesn't know exactly what to do about it.  If it was only a matter of tweaking Trueplay it would have been done by now.

Ok “bonedaddy” you say bad sound quality yet many Sonos customers are happy and reviewers give it glowing reviews. So Maybe theres something OFF here. some bad units? Some bad tuning? both? software bug? Manufacturing versions? I am not sure.

No one here is justifying bad sound quality. The issue is some people say its bad some others say its good. But you do you. I know this thread is about a specific issue. And that needs to be addressed it is not OK that so many users are having this issue. SONOS needs to step up. No one is defending them

Agreed on not trying to justify bad sound quality. Arc was my first Sonos purchase (I have a house full of wonderful HomePods that I’m totally spoiled by, both individuals and in stereo pairs). I think part of the issue may be the number of variables involved. For example, when I first got my Arc I was relatively disappointed. Not only was I experiencing the muddy bass sound but because of the shape of my room there was no way I was going to get any of the virtual surround envelopment. It sounded fine, but not amazing. I’ll freely admit that I don't think that the Arc, by itself, justifies the $800 purchase price - especially when compared to the amount of HomePods I could get for that and the sound quality available from them. 

That having been said, after adding the Sub 3 and a pair of One SLs, I think the Arc SYSTEM (strong emphasis there) is an absolutely amazing collection of speakers and I love it dearly. Working together, they create what I consider to be a pretty awesome sonic experience - for both movies and music (though, admittedly, I think movies are definitely the Arc System’s forte). Combined with ease of setup, ability to combine with my HomePods via AirPlay 2, app control, etc., the Arc System has become a pretty quickly become beloved part of my equipment. 

Now, here’s where those variables come into play. I’m no longer talking about an $800 soundbar. I’m talking about a $2000 home theater system. If Arc was a product unto itself, I probably would have returned it as it was fine, but not worth the money (to me). Combined with everything else, I think it makes an amazing little home theater system that well justifies the total expense.

And while I’m not dismissing the very legitimate possibility that there could be true hardware issues at play, I’m guessing that things like what I’ve described above may well be accounting for some of the wild swings in opinion about the Arc. Because Arc is changed dramatically by adding on additional pieces (I, personally, think the Arc shouldn’t be sold without the Sub because it transforms the sound so much). 

For what it’s worth. 

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All these magazines that gave this product a great review should be boycotted!!!!! 

Come on, everyone, let’s keep our heads and our cool. This isn’t some conspiracy and lots of people, myself included, quite like our Arc setups. Which explains the website reviews and the overall quite glowing consumer reviews on Amazon and Best Buy.  

The Arc is not a bad product despite the experiences some people have had / are having and we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you’re having issues with the Arc for whatever reason, I strongly recommend returning it and getting something you’ll be happy with. Life’s too short to live with bad sound. Or if you really, really want the Arc, then hold on to it and wait for Sonos to issue updates that may “fix” the issue or, better yet, return it, watch the boards, and re-buy it once things seem corrected to your satisfaction. 

But all of this “these reviews must be paid,” “worst soundbar ever,” “let’s boycott magazines”…. this is all just bordering on silliness. We’ve all paid a lot for this gear and if you’re unhappy I get that. If I didn’t like my Arc or was experiencing terrible issues I would have already boxed mine up, sent it back, and been on the hunt for something else. 

There are bigger problems in the world than this - and this is fixable one way or the other. 

I tried saying something like this but have been singled out by some who claim Im a SONOS Defender ( is that a job, if so do I get paid..?? Waiting for my paycheck ) anyways, I totally agree with you and this is the reason I pitched in to comment on to someones post asking what to do or how to summarize this thread because they were interested.

 

There is some people that are very happy with their arcs, some others have some issues but think it is a matter of tweaks and some group that vocally says its trash and the worst soundbar ever!!! (not making it up look up WORST in this community forums and you’ll find some posts. Strangely theres a wide standard deviation here. But my advice is if you are excited for the Arc no need to wait a year or read 1001194 posts here. Try to get one and try it out! If you dont love it return and look for something else.

 

For those of you worried your return hasn't gone smoothly I understand the frustration witht the state of SONOS support right now, and shame on you SONOS for cutting support now, but at the same time the current state of the world is crazy and most companies have very long wait times ( my friend waited 3 hours tot alk to an airline the other day) but I seriously doubt sonos is gonna deny your return because you waited for them to get back to you. Open a support ticket before your return period ends, so you can reference this ansd say you tried to return. 

Definitely not the worst and trash soundbar like people have claimed. Arc has its issues that can be unacceptable to some people depending on their taste. Personally, I like fuller dialogues as opposed to treble boosted clear and forward. As Sonos is not communicating clearly, there was no way for me to know whether it’s a software issue or just the way it is meant to be. Dialogues also tended to be much quieter where I had to raise the volume constantly, but it made the action scenes very loud which was unacceptable. Bass was plenty but wasn’t clean at all (Maybe my HomePod has spoiled me). I accepted the lack of pass-through ports and LPCM/DTS support, but I could not compromise the sound quality. Overall, my $199 HomePod was performing better than Arc for me in my room setting. Clear and fuller dialogues, cleaner bass, and consistent volume. Arc’s L/R separation was not noticeable for me and my TV also did not support Atmos. Hence, I did not feel it was worth my money. Let’s see if that changes in the future. In the near term, I don’t think it will.

Mine is trash. Maybe yours is better. Everyone who has listened to it says it’s very bad so it’s not subjective. My standard tv sound is better quality. It’s actually offensive!!!  I guess some might be defective. But when Sonos won’t engage it’s hard to comment. 

Don’t know what else to say but I think you have a defective unit. I legit turned off my sub and rears watched a movie, then turned off the arc and used my TV speakers ( mind it I have an OLED, not the latest and greatest, but the flagship of that year) and I have no idea how anyone caan say the TV speakers are better. I understand the comment about voices being forward and that not being his preference, that I can understand. For me I do prefer that because it is much more intelligible, and clear. I have experienced a couple of movies where the mixing wasnt ideal and sounds like shooting were too loud compared to other things. But I do not think this is Arc related.

Regardless I want to reiterate! SONOS needs to look into this either give users more control about the center channel and highs, fix the Trueplay were some phones are making the issue worse instead of correcting for it. And additionally step up their support immeditely. Not fair some people want to return and are unable to. 

To the person that said SONOS is not an airline, I am aware. But they have indeed being hit hard by covid. They laid off like 10 percent of the workforce and support centers are reduced due to covid regulations etc. You cant have an office full of callers at the moment!! I’ve seen this across different companies as well. Not defending them more like trying to understand what is going on. I understand it is frustrating and they have to step their game up ASAP. I must say this is not representative of how the company is (in general before these moments). 

 

To the Homepod situation, homepods are $300 if you stereo pair them they are quite capable especially for music. And I think theyd sound better than the arc. I know there is discounts to $200 now since theyre older. Homepods also sound better than sonos ones. So I don’t find it hard to believe you say they sound better than the Arc especially for music I’d assume so. For movies of course you wont get surround sound, you wont get atmos, you wont get speech enhancement and for many I think they’d prefer a sonos system!

Surround doesn’t matter if the front soundstage is weak. Couldn’t care less about Atmos as I still think it’s a gimmick. You probably know that. My Homepods have fuller and louder dialogues than the Arc, so I never use speech enhancement. Bass is also much cleaner compared to Arc on its own (2 4-inch woofers) . Of course has airplay 2 and much better voice pic-up mics, and All this for $400 (half the price of Arc). Anyway- I am not here to promote HomePods.

Hope Sonos fixes all their issues. For $799, this product should do wonders, not get destroyed by half priced Homepods lol. 

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All I can tell you is i own and love all my Sonos products until now.  Playbar, sub, and 4 play 1’s. Many of us were extremely excited to read about the Arc the HDMI input and Atmos.  And after reading all the glowing professional reviews I expected to at least get as good of sound quality from the Arc as I do my playbar, and hopefully much better considering it’s $800.  But this is just not the case.  Could it be the S2 trueplay implementation is bad?  Sure, but why doesn't Sonos say something? The covid excuse only goes so far.  Maybe production took a hit but the Arc was already well on it’s way to becoming a product before covid,  That’s what leads me to believe it is more of a hardware problem, but who knows?

I’m disappointed in the Arc and i’m disappointed in the way Sonos isn’t addressing these issues.   

That’s all  

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All I can tell you is i own and love all my Sonos products until now.  Playbar, sub, and 4 play 1’s. Many of us were extremely excited to read about the Arc the HDMI input and Atmos.  And after reading all the glowing professional reviews I expected to at least get as good of sound quality from the Arc as I do my playbar, and hopefully much better considering it’s $800.  But this is just not the case.  Could it be the S2 trueplay implementation is bad?  Sure, but why doesn't Sonos say something? The covid excuse only goes so far.  Maybe production took a hit but the Arc was already well on it’s way to becoming a product before covid,  That’s what leads me to believe it is more of a hardware problem, but who knows?

I’m disappointed in the Arc and i’m disappointed in the way Sonos isn’t addressing these issues.   

That’s all  

That’s a very reasonable and rational statement. I don’t have a Playbar, nor have I ever heard one, so I can’t compare the Arc to it. If Arc is both more expensive and worse sounding (to you) than a previous product, you’ve got every right to be disappointed. 

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@Paul A @Kyle A @Krishma M 

 

Hello could one of you give us an update on this thread, we need to know if this issue is being worked on? When we could see an update etc etc ?

thanks

Hi folks! Just to let you know that we have received the reports and working on resolving this. We’ll surely let you know once the fix has been done. Appreciate all your patience. If you any other concerns, please let us know. Thanks! 

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Good to hear some is working on it.

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How is there still no real progress on this… ugh.

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Just updated to 12.0.2, WOW, didn’t have massive complaints before but this is a huge step up, much warmer mids and Bass is markedly improved

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Just updated to 12.0.2, WOW, didn’t have massive complaints before but this is a huge step up, much warmer mids and Bass is markedly improved

Isn’t 12.0.2 an “App Only” update?

 

My Arc and all other speakers are still saying 12.0.1

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I didn’t actually update to 12.01.1 before to be fair, and I did accidentally remove surrounds so re trueplayed (iPhone X), mids are hugely different

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Ahhh that makes sense then 👍

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Just updated to 12.0.2, WOW, didn’t have massive complaints before but this is a huge step up, much warmer mids and Bass is markedly improved

Are you suggesting there is an update available? 

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I think may have been my misunderstanding, as I didn’t update to latest os, but have experienced a HUGE boost, I think the arc is particularly sensitive to trueplay tuning, perhaps owing to the undoubtedly bright sound signature 

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I think may have been my misunderstanding, as I didn’t update to latest os, but have experienced a HUGE boost, I think the arc is particularly sensitive to trueplay tuning, perhaps owing to the undoubtedly bright sound signature 

:point_up_tone2: I also feel like there is a trueplay problem. Arc is deliberately bright, which overly emphasizes high frequencies. Personally, I find this makes it very difficult to watch TV. 

The Arc’s sound signature is highly trueplay dependent. I have to do many trueplay adjustments until I reach something decent-sounding.

 

I want to love my Arc as much as I do my other Sonos devices. But with its current sound signature I cannot. I really hope and believe that there isn’t a bad-batch of Arcs, and that my Arc isn’t a dud! 
 

So, Sonos, please get this fixed as soon as you can! 

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@Paul A @Kyle A @Krishma M 

 

Hello could one of you give us an update on this thread, we need to know if this issue is being worked on? When we could see an update etc etc ?

thanks

Hi folks! Just to let you know that we have received the reports and working on resolving this. We’ll surely let you know once the fix has been done. Appreciate all your patience. If you any other concerns, please let us know. Thanks! 

Could you comment on the issues that many are having with customer service?

You received a sub return from me on 26 June and I am still awaiting a refund. I have had no response to emails I have sent to customer service.

I have been waiting 3 weeks to set up an exchange on my presumed faulty arc with no joy. You last emailed me a week ago promising you were looking into setting up an exchange, but nothing since and again no reply to emails I have sent to chase up.

I am disappointed with the arc - but the current customer service response is even worse. I am sure you will understand that I am currently ~£1300 out of pocket. 

 

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@Paul A @Kyle A @Krishma M 

 

Hello could one of you give us an update on this thread, we need to know if this issue is being worked on? When we could see an update etc etc ?

thanks

Hi folks! Just to let you know that we have received the reports and working on resolving this. We’ll surely let you know once the fix has been done. Appreciate all your patience. If you any other concerns, please let us know. Thanks! 

 

Thanks for the update. It's assuring to know that this issue is acknowledged and the team is already working on it. 

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I for one am quite satisfied with my Arc, the only thing that I would like to highlight are the settings in the S2 app under Surround Audio.

 

Theres TV level & Music level, for some reason music sounds A LOT better when the Music level setting is set to -5 rather than on 0. Is it supposed to act like this?

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@Paul A @Kyle A @Krishma M 

 

Hello could one of you give us an update on this thread, we need to know if this issue is being worked on? When we could see an update etc etc ?

thanks

Hi folks! Just to let you know that we have received the reports and working on resolving this. We’ll surely let you know once the fix has been done. Appreciate all your patience. If you any other concerns, please let us know. Thanks! 

Thanks for the update, fingers crossed on what the Sonos technical team working on can put this issue to bed.

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I for one am quite satisfied with my Arc, the only thing that I would like to highlight are the settings in the S2 app under Surround Audio.

 

Theres TV level & Music level, for some reason music sounds A LOT better when the Music level setting is set to -5 rather than on 0. Is it supposed to act like this?

Hello Magony, l have mine set at this too.What do you set it to watching tv/movies? I have mine plus 15.

 

 

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I for one am quite satisfied with my Arc, the only thing that I would like to highlight are the settings in the S2 app under Surround Audio.

 

Theres TV level & Music level, for some reason music sounds A LOT better when the Music level setting is set to -5 rather than on 0. Is it supposed to act like this?

Hello Magony, l have mine set at this too.What do you set it to watching tv/movies? I have mine plus 15.

 

 

I have my TV level set to 0, I find that if I set it higher, the volume becomes higher but that’s it. At least with the Music level I saw a difference in bass and mids.

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I for one am quite satisfied with my Arc, the only thing that I would like to highlight are the settings in the S2 app under Surround Audio.

 

Theres TV level & Music level, for some reason music sounds A LOT better when the Music level setting is set to -5 rather than on 0. Is it supposed to act like this?

Hello Magony, l have mine set at this too.What do you set it to watching tv/movies? I have mine plus 15.

 

 

I have my TV level set to 0, I find that if I set it higher, the volume becomes higher but that’s it. At least with the Music level I saw a difference in bass and mids.

I tested this and I see no difference when set to -5

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I for one am quite satisfied with my Arc, the only thing that I would like to highlight are the settings in the S2 app under Surround Audio.

 

Theres TV level & Music level, for some reason music sounds A LOT better when the Music level setting is set to -5 rather than on 0. Is it supposed to act like this?

Hello Magony, l have mine set at this too.What do you set it to watching tv/movies? I have mine plus 15.

 

 

Plus 15 for tv/movies?  Whoa!  

This is my first post and I apologize in advance if this isn’t helpful.
 

In my living room I have a Beam, Sub gen2 and two Ones connected to the S2 app. I replaced a Beam with an Arc yesterday and I experienced the same issues listed here. Muffled bass out of the box and sharp highs after True Play (with iPhone XS Max). It just sounded bad overall. 
 

There were some helpful comments in this thread and a video online that made me try retuning True Play with an OLD iPad mini. I did that this morning and it worked. The arc sounds like a different product, with music and video.
 

Last night I turned the treble down to -5 with Speech enhance on to be able to watch “Bates Motel” on Netflix and “Warcraft” on FX (via Apple TV 4K). Today After retuning True Play treble is at 0 and speech enhance is off and it sounds so much better. 
 

Thanks for the helpful posts! 

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This is my first post and I apologize in advance if this isn’t helpful.
 

In my living room I have a Beam, Sub gen2 and two Ones connected to the S2 app. I replaced a Beam with an Arc yesterday and I experienced the same issues listed here. Muffled bass out of the box and sharp highs after True Play (with iPhone XS Max). It just sounded bad overall. 
 

There were some helpful comments in this thread and a video online that made me try retuning True Play with an OLD iPad mini. I did that this morning and it worked. The arc sounds like a different product, with music and video.
 

Last night I turned the treble down to -5 with Speech enhance on to be able to watch “Bates Motel” on Netflix and “Warcraft” on FX (via Apple TV 4K). Today After retuning True Play treble is at 0 and speech enhance is off and it sounds so much better. 
 

Thanks for the helpful posts! 

Yes, but this is not good experience. I had to run trueplay multiple times, and I am still unhappy with the sound on some programs. I have become acutely aware of mixing problems in shows in the process. 
 

Even after I am happy with the sound signature in one program, I might watch another that is far too bright with very harsh high frequencies. The experience is unpleasant. It is as if the midrange is missing. This never happened with the beam! 

 

I really have high expectations from the Arc, and I eagerly await for Sonos to fix the sound signature.

 

 

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This is my first post and I apologize in advance if this isn’t helpful.
 

In my living room I have a Beam, Sub gen2 and two Ones connected to the S2 app. I replaced a Beam with an Arc yesterday and I experienced the same issues listed here. Muffled bass out of the box and sharp highs after True Play (with iPhone XS Max). It just sounded bad overall. 
 

There were some helpful comments in this thread and a video online that made me try retuning True Play with an OLD iPad mini. I did that this morning and it worked. The arc sounds like a different product, with music and video.
 

Last night I turned the treble down to -5 with Speech enhance on to be able to watch “Bates Motel” on Netflix and “Warcraft” on FX (via Apple TV 4K). Today After retuning True Play treble is at 0 and speech enhance is off and it sounds so much better. 
 

Thanks for the helpful posts! 

Yes, but this is not good experience. I had to run trueplay multiple times, and I am still unhappy with the sound on some programs. I have become acutely aware of mixing problems in shows in the process. 
 

Even after I am happy with the sound signature in one program, I might watch another that is far too bright with very harsh high frequencies. The experience is unpleasant. It is as if the midrange is missing. This never happened with the beam! 

 

I really have high expectations from the Arc, and I eagerly await for Sonos to fix the sound signature.

 

 

I did return mine for this reason.  I’m sure Sonos will get to grips with the issues.  I’m just too impatient and expected it to be sorted right out of the box.  Plus I would always have the thought that I needed to buy the sub to get the best out of the system.

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