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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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Been following this topic for a while, as it took a couple of weeks before my Arc + Sub arrived.

 

The posts made me quite nervous, but now after 2-3 weeks of using the setup with my LG 55 C9 i can honestly say that i am extremely satisfied with the sound! There is no metallic sounds or harsh voices at all. Music is warm and clear, movies and series sound amazing, especially those with atmos.

 

My dad has a Playbar, and i currently feel that one is slightly warmer/nicer for music, but the Arc blows the playbar out of the water with movies and series.

 

Config details: Trueplayed with an Ipad Air (2019). EQ settings are -3 (Bass) and -3 (Treble) with Sub audio volume at -4 (yes i live in an appartment building)

 

Edit: I know this topic discusses a problem with the Arc, but i feel it is important to highlight that not all Arc’s have this issue, as this topic made me extremely nervous for no reason in the end.

I think this is a person to person problem. I used to say what are people talking about? But tried going to some content suggested and I hear the issue mentioend here the thing is it doesnt bother me much.  I also dont listen to a ton of music on my 5.1 system. But for example, yesterday listening to the new taylor swift songs I can tell how her voice sounds weird. Like a bit harsh. Honestly itdoesnt bother me and if you add the sonos ones in surround full mode they basically mask this.

 

But I can tell how some people would dislike the sound signature of the bar alone due to it being a bit harsh. I only tuned with iphone XR. Also, for movies or TV it really sounds good and I dont have complaints

Well i have also been listening to the new Taylor Swift album quite alot, and also here i do not find her voice weird or harsh at all. Maybe it's because my Treble is at -3? Or the combination with the Sub?

Yes it is the treble, i played with this reducing the treble to -3 masks this. Also do you have sonos ones for surround? The sonos ones when sent to full surround they basically cover a bit the arc per se like they dont have this “issue” so they pump out sound that covers the arc issue. if you turn off the surrounds and toggle it you notice yeah voices sound a bit different. I have the complete 5.1 setup. It is very clear with for example: Taylor swift voice in acoustics, Sia voice as well (they have higher pitched voices being girls so it shows it more clearly.

 

Then again, to me it is not horrendous it doesn't detract much BUT i notice it and i think some might say MAN! this isn’t as warm and full sounding as the playbar was (for music). For movies I think it is nicer as you posted I think it has imprvements that outdo the playbar.

 

My hope is SONOS dials down these high frequencies a bit by tuning the DSP. This will not hurt movies much but improve music giving out a more well rounded soundbar. 

 

I think the issue here is Soundbars are usually not great for music, playbar wasnt amazing but it wasnt bad either (for music) so when people got the arc and noticed it being less warm or full sounding, they are dissapointed. Some people use these soundbars for music a LOT. So I understand this. Also, some are much more sensitive and the high pitch Sssss sounds some voices produce in movies when you accentuate high frequency sounds drive them nuts. For example someone suggested Locke and Key episode 4 minute 2:00. I played that and definitely noticed the Sssss BUT it just doesnt bother me that much.

 

 

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Been following this topic for a while, as it took a couple of weeks before my Arc + Sub arrived.

 

The posts made me quite nervous, but now after 2-3 weeks of using the setup with my LG 55 C9 i can honestly say that i am extremely satisfied with the sound! There is no metallic sounds or harsh voices at all. Music is warm and clear, movies and series sound amazing, especially those with atmos.

 

My dad has a Playbar, and i currently feel that one is slightly warmer/nicer for music, but the Arc blows the playbar out of the water with movies and series.

 

Config details: Trueplayed with an Ipad Air (2019). EQ settings are -3 (Bass) and -3 (Treble) with Sub audio volume at -4 (yes i live in an appartment building)

 

Edit: I know this topic discusses a problem with the Arc, but i feel it is important to highlight that not all Arc’s have this issue, as this topic made me extremely nervous for no reason in the end.

I think this is a person to person problem. I used to say what are people talking about? But tried going to some content suggested and I hear the issue mentioend here the thing is it doesnt bother me much.  I also dont listen to a ton of music on my 5.1 system. But for example, yesterday listening to the new taylor swift songs I can tell how her voice sounds weird. Like a bit harsh. Honestly itdoesnt bother me and if you add the sonos ones in surround full mode they basically mask this.

 

But I can tell how some people would dislike the sound signature of the bar alone due to it being a bit harsh. I only tuned with iphone XR. Also, for movies or TV it really sounds good and I dont have complaints

Well i have also been listening to the new Taylor Swift album quite alot, and also here i do not find her voice weird or harsh at all. Maybe it's because my Treble is at -3? Or the combination with the Sub?

Yes it is the treble, i played with this reducing the treble to -3 masks this. Also do you have sonos ones for surround? The sonos ones when sent to full surround they basically cover a bit the arc per se like they dont have this “issue” so they pump out sound that covers the arc issue. if you turn off the surrounds and toggle it you notice yeah voices sound a bit different. I have the complete 5.1 setup. It is very clear with for example: Taylor swift voice in acoustics, Sia voice as well (they have higher pitched voices being girls so it shows it more clearly.

 

Then again, to me it is not horrendous it doesn't detract much BUT i notice it and i think some might say MAN! this isn’t as warm and full sounding as the playbar was (for music). For movies I think it is nicer as you posted I think it has imprvements that outdo the playbar.

 

My hope is SONOS dials down these high frequencies a bit by tuning the DSP. This will not hurt movies much but improve music giving out a more well rounded soundbar. 

 

I think the issue here is Soundbars are usually not great for music, playbar wasnt amazing but it wasnt bad either (for music) so when people got the arc and noticed it being less warm or full sounding, they are dissapointed. Some people use these soundbars for music a LOT. So I understand this. Also, some are much more sensitive and the high pitch Sssss sounds some voices produce in movies when you accentuate high frequency sounds drive them nuts. For example someone suggested Locke and Key episode 4 minute 2:00. I played that and definitely noticed the Sssss BUT it just doesnt bother me that much.

 

 

Hi,

What are your settings for surround sound when watching movies? Cheers.

 

 

Just received a reply from Sonos after a bit more back and forth about the issue. I sent them a link to this thread as well, and this was their reply: 

“Thank you for getting back to us. I will be happy to assist you.

I've taken a look into the Community thread that you shared with us and what you're experiencing seems to be a known issue that we are currently working on. At the moment there aren't any fixes or workarounds but it is being worked on. 

In the mean time I'd like to ask a few questions just to be sure this is in fact the known issue that you're dealing with.

What volume are they experiencing the issue at?

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?

Is the Bass EQ setting flat or adjusted in some way”

 

So, I’ve replied back with those answers but I’ve adjusted every setting available in seemingly every way possible and my Arc is still a constant SSSSSSSSS fest. Hopefully they really are working on a solution here and will have an update for us all soon. 

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Just received a reply from Sonos after a bit more back and forth about the issue. I sent them a link to this thread as well, and this was their reply: 

“Thank you for getting back to us. I will be happy to assist you.

I've taken a look into the Community thread that you shared with us and what you're experiencing seems to be a known issue that we are currently working on. At the moment there aren't any fixes or workarounds but it is being worked on. 

In the mean time I'd like to ask a few questions just to be sure this is in fact the known issue that you're dealing with.

What volume are they experiencing the issue at?

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?

Is the Bass EQ setting flat or adjusted in some way”

 

So, I’ve replied back with those answers but I’ve adjusted every setting available in seemingly every way possible and my Arc is still a constant SSSSSSSSS fest. Hopefully they really are working on a solution here and will have an update for us all soon. 

This is the generic response they are sending out. However they have been consistent saying they are working on this issue through responses to support and Scott commented a while back. I do find frustrating the lack of updates. But no need to hope they are working on this, because that has been confirmed multiple times.

I think this is just trickier than people think. They cant just adjust the high frequency peak without considerable testing because they: 

  • dont want to introduce any other issues
  • need to make sure the solution is now consistent for trueplay variations and true play and true play off
  • most solutions in processing might affect other frequencies as well ( even if slightly) so they need to check that is not being compromised as a result

I also speculate they are just fixing the general DSP because some people said they still heard bass issues. I think those of us who decide to wait will need to be a bit patient to make sure they get it all right and make us happier. The last thing we want is a rushed update and other complaints.

It sounds disturbing, waiting for my sub to pair with my Arc.  At the same time I have read about so many who think it works when sub takes over the sub work.  How can it be so different!

There are two separate issues. The sub is fantastic with the low frequencies. I do not have any problems with muddy or problematic bass. This thread, and the problem I am experiencing is with overly exaggerated high frequencies, or lack of midrange. Many TV characters are constantly “shrieking” and “hissing”, for lack of a better term. 
(I find there is a difference between different shows or movies. Some shows are better mixed, in which case the problem is less bothersome. Perhaps this is related to how the AGC is configured on the Arc?)

Totally agree with this, just when you think you have it sounding right then watch something else it sounds terrible again.

Netflix seems to be the best for me

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Just received a reply from Sonos after a bit more back and forth about the issue. I sent them a link to this thread as well, and this was their reply: 

“Thank you for getting back to us. I will be happy to assist you.

I've taken a look into the Community thread that you shared with us and what you're experiencing seems to be a known issue that we are currently working on. At the moment there aren't any fixes or workarounds but it is being worked on. 

In the mean time I'd like to ask a few questions just to be sure this is in fact the known issue that you're dealing with.

What volume are they experiencing the issue at?

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?

Is the Bass EQ setting flat or adjusted in some way”

 

So, I’ve replied back with those answers but I’ve adjusted every setting available in seemingly every way possible and my Arc is still a constant SSSSSSSSS fest. Hopefully they really are working on a solution here and will have an update for us all soon. 

This is the generic response they are sending out. However they have been consistent saying they are working on this issue through responses to support and Scott commented a while back. I do find frustrating the lack of updates. But no need to hope they are working on this, because that has been confirmed multiple times.

I think this is just trickier than people think. They cant just adjust the high frequency peak without considerable testing because they: 

  • dont want to introduce any other issues
  • need to make sure the solution is now consistent for trueplay variations and true play and true play off
  • most solutions in processing might affect other frequencies as well ( even if slightly) so they need to check that is not being compromised as a result

I also speculate they are just fixing the general DSP because some people said they still heard bass issues. I think those of us who decide to wait will need to be a bit patient to make sure they get it all right and make us happier. The last thing we want is a rushed update and other complaints.

The problem is with this, a lot of people need the update yesterday as people will be running to the end of there return windows and what do people do, hope that the update fixes it 100% and are happy with it or return it as its too much of a risk with how much it costs, and even if the update does help it, people may not be happy with it & it will be too late to return.

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“The problem is with this, a lot of people need the update yesterday as people will be running to the end of there return windows and what do people do, hope that the update fixes it 100% and are happy with it or return it as its too much of a risk with how much it costs, and even if the update does help it, people may not be happy with it & it will be too late to return.”

That is a big part of the reason I returned mine, not knowing when or if Sonos will correct the problem.  I couldn't take the chance and just went back to my playbar which still sounds fantastic.

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“The problem is with this, a lot of people need the update yesterday as people will be running to the end of there return windows and what do people do, hope that the update fixes it 100% and are happy with it or return it as its too much of a risk with how much it costs, and even if the update does help it, people may not be happy with it & it will be too late to return.”

That is a big part of the reason I returned mine, not knowing when or if Sonos will correct the problem.  I couldn't take the chance and just went back to my playbar which still sounds fantastic.

Yeah good decision as there is some risk in keeping it as there is no guarantee they will fix the sound to

your liking. 

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Just received a reply from Sonos after a bit more back and forth about the issue. I sent them a link to this thread as well, and this was their reply: 

“Thank you for getting back to us. I will be happy to assist you.

I've taken a look into the Community thread that you shared with us and what you're experiencing seems to be a known issue that we are currently working on. At the moment there aren't any fixes or workarounds but it is being worked on. 

In the mean time I'd like to ask a few questions just to be sure this is in fact the known issue that you're dealing with.

What volume are they experiencing the issue at?

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?

Is the Bass EQ setting flat or adjusted in some way”

 

So, I’ve replied back with those answers but I’ve adjusted every setting available in seemingly every way possible and my Arc is still a constant SSSSSSSSS fest. Hopefully they really are working on a solution here and will have an update for us all soon. 

Sadly, my Sonos support rep didn’t offer as much insight. Simply that my Arc is working as intended. 

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New app version and system update just dropped. 
Could it be addressing this issue? 

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Updated, let’s see.

 

hopefully a “what’s new” will be released

 

App store did not say very much in the release notes

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Updated, let’s see.

 

hopefully a “what’s new” will be released

 

App store did not say very much in the release notes

What version? The app wont really fix anything besides the possible supposed trueplay issues.

But I don’t see any updates. I see 12.0.2 as 3w ago. And also, the fix would be a firmware fix so check updates in the app

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Updated, let’s see.

 

hopefully a “what’s new” will be released

 

App store did not say very much in the release notes

What version? The app wont really fix anything besides the possible supposed trueplay issues.

But I don’t see any updates. I see 12.0.2 as 3w ago. And also, the fix would be a firmware fix so check updates in the app

After you update the app it says a system update is available and asks you to update your system. 

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Version 12.0.3

 

App and System updates

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Version 12.0.3

 

App and System updates

You are correct just updating the system. Unclear what the improvements are? I expect them to comment in one of the threads explaining.

@Scott - Sonos @Krishma M Does this 12.0.3 update target this issue?

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Version 12.0.3

 

App and System updates

"Performance enhancements and improved reliability."

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Ok: I want to start by saying I am not a person that is super sensitive to this issue. I updated the app and firmware then played songs I had played this morning. for some reason to me it sounded worse like more lifeless. BUT then i re-truplayed with my same phone iphone XR and now to my ears it sounds better than it did before the update. The high pitch sounds arent bad (less noticeable to me ) I turned treble to -1 and i think it is perfect now. The bass also seems a bit more present. It could be truplay variability. Maybe this is placebo so please update and RETRUPLAY!!! and let us know

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@oriboaz  btw before this update: I played that scene you talked about on the arc and then airplayed to a homepod. I think you shouldnt point at one content to blame. This is because this Sssss could be mic related. On the homepod I can clearly hear the Sssssss as well when she speaks. I think the reason the Arc shows more of an issue there is because it goes higher frequencies so it can be a bit harsh but I need to try it again after this update. Update and retune and lets see

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So I finally received a replacement arc today. I’ve set up and tested and the verdict is in….. it’s exactly the same as the old one!!!
 

Same tinny, hallow sound, annoying dynamic range (loud one minute, inaudible the next), different volumes on different channels, doesn’t push out sound to fill entire open plan room, sounds odd and artificial… can clearly tell it’s coming from sound bar which is separate from tv. Basically it’s a bit of a mess. 
 

It’s even more noticeable as I have been using a beam for last week which is a much nicer sound (but smaller soundstage). 
 

ive got a sub + ones as a rears. Squarish room. True play with iPhone 6s and iPad. updated with today’s update. All in all bit of a disappointing saga. 

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So I finally received a replacement arc today. I’ve set up and tested and the verdict is in….. it’s exactly the same as the old one!!!
 

Same tinny, hallow sound, annoying dynamic range (loud one minute, inaudible the next), different volumes on different channels, doesn’t push out sound to fill entire open plan room, sounds odd and artificial… can clearly tell it’s coming from sound bar which is separate from tv. Basically it’s a bit of a mess. 
 

It’s even more noticeable as I have been using a beam for last week which is a much nicer sound (but smaller soundstage). 
 

ive got a sub + ones as a rears. Squarish room. True play with iPhone 6s and iPad. updated with today’s update. All in all bit of a disappointing saga. 

I want to repeat the great majority of users and Sonos have stated this is not a hardware issue. Replacement doesn't solve the problem ( many reported so) I have seen one user saying it did, and i attribute that to something else (not sure what).

Please @phollin2 check the new updated issued this morning (not that loing ago) you must update the app then the firmware within the app. After that you need to re-truplay! I noticed an improvemen in music. After this I am not sure what was changed or if it is a case of a truplay incosistency fix. But my bar sounds better I can say I am happy with it. If you think it still sound harsh turning down the treble one or two notches can help. 

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Ok, so I updated and trueplayed several times. Using iphone 11 pro for trueplaying results in a tinny and hollow sound that sounds terrible. The iPhone 6s produces a better sound signature, but I am still not happy with Arc’s sound signature. There is still a significant difference between trueplay attempts, and I had to do multiple rounds before I got a sound that was passable. However, in all cases the high frequencies are still too sharp, and the SSS sounds are too pronounced. I know that the S sounds are there, but I expect a better balance. When I A/B test scenes between Arc and airpods, the airpods give a much more enjoyable sound signature (the high frequencies are softer and nicer to hear).  
 

As an example, take the opening minute of Hamilton on Disney plus. The way the narrator says “silence all cellphones” is very bothersome when listened to on Arc, whereas when I use airpods it is much nicer sounding. 

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So I finally received a replacement arc today. I’ve set up and tested and the verdict is in….. it’s exactly the same as the old one!!!
 

Same tinny, hallow sound, annoying dynamic range (loud one minute, inaudible the next), different volumes on different channels, doesn’t push out sound to fill entire open plan room, sounds odd and artificial… can clearly tell it’s coming from sound bar which is separate from tv. Basically it’s a bit of a mess. 
 

It’s even more noticeable as I have been using a beam for last week which is a much nicer sound (but smaller soundstage). 
 

ive got a sub + ones as a rears. Squarish room. True play with iPhone 6s and iPad. updated with today’s update. All in all bit of a disappointing saga. 

I want to repeat the great majority of users and Sonos have stated this is not a hardware issue. Replacement doesn't solve the problem ( many reported so) I have seen one user saying it did, and i attribute that to something else (not sure what).

Please @phollin2 check the new updated issued this morning (not that loing ago) you must update the app then the firmware within the app. After that you need to re-truplay! I noticed an improvemen in music. After this I am not sure what was changed or if it is a case of a truplay incosistency fix. But my bar sounds better I can say I am happy with it. If you think it still sound harsh turning down the treble one or two notches can help. 

I just assumed it was a hardware problem as I didn’t expect the ‘upgrade’ from the beam to lead to a significantly worse sound. I really wanted it to be better as well as the beam is lacking a little bit, but the playbar seems a bit dated. I’m kind of invested in Sonos as the Surrounds are hardwired into the wall. If I was starting from scratch I’d look elsewhere. 
 

 

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I just assumed it was a hardware problem as I didn’t expect the ‘upgrade’ from the beam to lead to a significantly worse sound. I really wanted it to be better as well as the beam is lacking a little bit, but the playbar seems a bit dated. I’m kind of invested in Sonos as the Surrounds are hardwired into the wall. If I was starting from scratch I’d look elsewhere. 
 

I find it difficult to believe it is a hardware problem. I really think it is a sound signature problem, and I am very hopeful it will be solved. I am very much invested in Sonos, and I love my speakers. I hope that within a few weeks the engineers will sort things out. I would be lying if I said that I haven’t considered switching to a different sound system. However, on the whole I still have very positive feelings towards Sonos, and I have trust that they will be able to improve and fix these problems. 

What would really help is for Sonos to be more vocal about this. We shouldn’t be left guessing if this issue was addressed in the latest update or not. Sonos should come forward and say if they are tweaking the sound signature, or the way that trueplay is performed. Some more communication with us, preferably from the product guys/engineers in California, would be very very very much appreciated. This will instill a great deal of confidence about Sonos in me. 

Additionally, I really hope that Sonos add an option for multiple trueplay settings. This shouldn’t be required normally, but with the current problems with trueplay, I want to be able to A/B test different trueplay settings, without having to worry that I’ll manage to “ruin” a satisfactory trueplay setting. 

(My neighbors must think that running trueplay is my new hobby, with the number of times I’ve found myself tuning via trueplay). 

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Ok, so I updated and trueplayed several times. Using iphone 11 pro for trueplaying results in a tinny and hollow sound that sounds terrible. The iPhone 6s produces a better sound signature, but I am still not happy with Arc’s sound signature. There is still a significant difference between trueplay attempts, and I had to do multiple rounds before I got a sound that was passable. However, in all cases the high frequencies are still too sharp, and the SSS sounds are too pronounced. I know that the S sounds are there, but I expect a better balance. When I A/B test scenes between Arc and airpods, the airpods give a much more enjoyable sound signature (the high frequencies are softer and nicer to hear).  
 

As an example, take the opening minute of Hamilton on Disney plus. The way the narrator says “silence all cellphones” is very bothersome when listened to on Arc, whereas when I use airpods it is much nicer sounding. 

This is what I mean the mics have issues. I listened to hamilton on the arc was saying OMG this is the tinny issue with the Sss this is bad! and then turns out my brother who know has my playbar said the same hting he noticed the Ssss too much and was bad. And I had to turn the treble down for hamilton. I didntr see other content that had this issue. But that turned out to be related to the mics used for that performance recording. And not the Arcs fault

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Ok, so I updated and trueplayed several times. Using iphone 11 pro for trueplaying results in a tinny and hollow sound that sounds terrible. The iPhone 6s produces a better sound signature, but I am still not happy with Arc’s sound signature. There is still a significant difference between trueplay attempts, and I had to do multiple rounds before I got a sound that was passable. However, in all cases the high frequencies are still too sharp, and the SSS sounds are too pronounced. I know that the S sounds are there, but I expect a better balance. When I A/B test scenes between Arc and airpods, the airpods give a much more enjoyable sound signature (the high frequencies are softer and nicer to hear).  
 

As an example, take the opening minute of Hamilton on Disney plus. The way the narrator says “silence all cellphones” is very bothersome when listened to on Arc, whereas when I use airpods it is much nicer sounding. 

This is what I mean the mics have issues. I listened to hamilton on the arc was saying OMG this is the tinny issue with the Sss this is bad! and then turns out my brother who know has my playbar said the same hting he noticed the Ssss too much and was bad. And I had to turn the treble down for hamilton. I didntr see other content that had this issue. But that turned out to be related to the mics used for that performance recording. And not the Arcs fault

Nope. Listen to this using earphones, and hear the difference. It’s massive.

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