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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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I just bought an ARC as an upgrade from the Beam Gen 1 and seem to be having the same issues. Hopefully someone can give me a definitive answer.

regardless of trying to tune using Trueplay including sitting in the same place, not turning my iPhone upside down etc, I still can’t get a “warm” sound. The audio is very precise but seems to have a bright effect. Watching content with dialog from a man that I know has a deep warm voice, it sounds thin. It’s like using the tv speakers. Low bass noises are good but it just lacks mid range. I’ve changed the EQ bass and treble setting but nothing works.

What am I doing wrong ? My old Beam had more warmth to the sound than the new Arc. Does it have to be “run-in” for a while to get the mid range working?

I just bought an ARC as an upgrade from the Beam Gen 1 and seem to be having the same issues. Hopefully someone can give me a definitive answer.

regardless of trying to tune using Trueplay including sitting in the same place, not turning my iPhone upside down etc, I still can’t get a “warm” sound. The audio is very precise but seems to have a bright effect. Watching content with dialog from a man that I know has a deep warm voice, it sounds thin. It’s like using the tv speakers. Low bass noises are good but it just lacks mid range. I’ve changed the EQ bass and treble setting but nothing works.

What am I doing wrong ? My old Beam had more warmth to the sound than the new Arc. Does it have to be “run-in” for a while to get the mid range working?

It’s difficult to comment without being able to hear it… So you maybe best to submit a system diagnostic and note or post it’s reference back here and then contact/chat with the Sonos Support Staff via this LINK and see if they can see any issues with the device.

I’ve sent the diagnostics. Here is the reference 1985465114.

I’ll contact support tomorrow 

I’ve submitted the diagnostic reference 1985465114. I’ll contact support tomorrow and see what they say.

Decided to return the Arc and keep my Beam for now. At least until Sonos sort out the Arc sound or I decide to get a Bose or similar. Such a shame …..

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So, I see the post on the home page about a “Clarity upgrade” for the Arc. After 40 pages of complaints about the sound quality, especially the rampant sibilants, I am starting to reconsider my planned October purchase of an Arc+sub+surrounds.

Has this newly hatched upgrade helped anyone who has had this problem? Should I stay or should I go?

So, I see the post on the home page about a “Clarity upgrade” for the Arc. After 40 pages of complaints about the sound quality, especially the rampant sibilants, I am starting to reconsider my planned October purchase of an Arc+sub+surrounds.

Has this newly hatched upgrade helped anyone who has had this problem? Should I stay or should I go?

Last post here in the thread (before yours) was a month ago, so maybe that helps to answer your question?… if not, just stick around anyway.😀

You’ll always find those in support and those against, but the real answer here is to just try things for yourself, as there is a Sonos 100-day returns policy and money back guarantee in any case.

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I have Playbar, Sub and Surrounds. Read too much bad press about the Arc to warranty upgrading at the moment.

Even there newest update 14.12?, has multiple complaints about the Sub.

At least they've nearly sorted the 14.06 Surround connectivity problems out.

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So, I see the post on the home page about a “Clarity upgrade” for the Arc. After 40 pages of complaints about the sound quality, especially the rampant sibilants, I am starting to reconsider my planned October purchase of an Arc+sub+surrounds.

Has this newly hatched upgrade helped anyone who has had this problem? Should I stay or should I go?

Last post here in the thread (before yours) was a month ago, so maybe that helps to answer your question?… if not, just stick around anyway.😀

You’ll always find those in support and those against, but the real answer here is to just try things for yourself, as there is a Sonos 100-day returns policy and money back guarantee in any case.

Yep, last post here was a month ago alright, but I just got here! I expect to stick around!😊

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So, I see the post on the home page about a “Clarity upgrade” for the Arc. After 40 pages of complaints about the sound quality, especially the rampant sibilants, I am starting to reconsider my planned October purchase of an Arc+sub+surrounds.

Has this newly hatched upgrade helped anyone who has had this problem? Should I stay or should I go?

 

This metallic sound is an ancient topic now, I think it was improved over time, but also I think a lot were making rash statements about it sounding bright when the ARC, like any speaker needs time to “bed in”

Thats my experience anyway, as when I first purchased, mine sounded bright “metallic” sounding but over time it improved and I no longer get that problem, (perhaps firmware improved it) but Im pretty certain “bed in” helped a lot.

14.12 bought other issues. There is thread on here discussing it.

 

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I own over 30 sonos speakers 7 tv's each one has a beam and my 135 inch screen projector screen has an Arc, I got to say it's the worst speaker sonos made. Regardless of the money factor the beam sounds way better in pretty much everything you throw at it. I'm happy I found this thread as I felt I'm loosing my mind, I tried to mount it over and under the screen , tried to tune it using ipad but nothing, the ARC sounds like a cheap speaker  specifically when dealing with voice from any source. Sonos please fix it or admit you have a shitty product and replace it for us . Side note I own it for enough time for it to bed in or whatever it needed to do and over the past year no improvement was made to my hears

I own over 30 sonos speakers 7 tv's each one has a beam and my 135 inch screen projector screen has an Arc, I got to say it's the worst speaker sonos made. Regardless of the money factor the beam sounds way better in pretty much everything you throw at it. I'm happy I found this thread as I felt I'm loosing my mind, I tried to mount it over and under the screen , tried to tune it using ipad but nothing, the ARC sounds like a cheap speaker  specifically when dealing with voice from any source. Sonos please fix it or admit you have a shitty product and replace it for us . Side note I own it for enough time for it to bed in or whatever it needed to do and over the past year no improvement was made to my hears

These online reviews can’t all be wrong. Perhaps it’s your ((h)ears🤔?), or your setup/environment...

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I own over 30 sonos speakers 7 tv's each one has a beam and my 135 inch screen projector screen has an Arc, I got to say it's the worst speaker sonos made. Regardless of the money factor the beam sounds way better in pretty much everything you throw at it. I'm happy I found this thread as I felt I'm loosing my mind, I tried to mount it over and under the screen , tried to tune it using ipad but nothing, the ARC sounds like a cheap speaker  specifically when dealing with voice from any source. Sonos please fix it or admit you have a shitty product and replace it for us . Side note I own it for enough time for it to bed in or whatever it needed to do and over the past year no improvement was made to my hears

These online reviews can’t all be wrong. Perhaps it’s your ((h)ears🤔?), or your setup/environment...

Rting.com was the only source I trusted in your list and it was actually the review which triggered my sonos Arc purchase , apparently they also do paid reviews as my hears works just fine and environment that works for beam should work for the ARC, thank you for the educated reply. 

Rting.com was the only source I trusted in your list and it was actually the review which triggered my sonos Arc purchase , apparently they also do paid reviews as my hears works just fine and environment that works for beam should work for the ARC, thank you for the educated reply. 

I have both the Beam (gen2) and Arc …and the Arc’s sound is superior when placed in the same Living Room here. If it’s not your environment …and/or Trueplay/EQ customisation hasn’t resolved the sound issues for you, then have you considered your Arc might be faulty, or whatever device is connected and sending the audio to it?

You can always go onto submit a Sonos diagnostic report from the ‘Settings/Support’ area of the Sonos App. Make a note of the reference generated and when practicable, contact/chat to Sonos Support Staff about the matter via this LINK and see what they can suggest to resolve your matter.

Paid or unpaid reviews - my earlier post was just pointing out a small random sample from a good ‘many’ reviews online that all speak very favourably when it comes to the Arc …and many Arc users have posted to say the same thing too. 

However we all hear things differently, I guess …and if the Arc is not faulty and the audio output is simply inot to your own liking, then you’re probably best to sell it on and replace it with something you are satisfied with.

I’m sure the folks at rtings would be happy to be paid by the manufacturers for their review process. ;)

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I recently purchased two Arc soundbars. Bought the second one because I changed my mind on the color option. I gave both a go and found the same issue with both bars…that is the dialogue is incredibly forward and shrill to my ears. I find the dialogue is so loud and so forward that it makes it very difficult to enjoy the speaker, in fact it’s even causing ear fatigue and pain ¼ way through a movie. 

I’m coming from a PlayBar paired to a Sub Mini and 2 Play Ones as rears. So that is my baseline of comparison as well as a more decked out system in our living room that is a 5.1.2 Atmos Receiver setup. 

I want to raise the volume up to a decent level but I find when I do the dialogue is just so present and ear piercingly loud and shrill. It was exhausting to my ears after as little as 20 min. I tried making adjustments the next day. I turned off the dialogue enhancement. Turned down the Treble. I still was feeling like my ears where hurting as I was still feeling a lingering ear pressure / discomfort from the prior days run of less than 30 min listening to action sequence at the end of Rogue One. 

The pain kicked in again and I had to take Ibuprofen and a Prednisone to get my ears to settle down. (I have prednisone for my ears for flying. I have a history of ear pain from the pressure while flying that is well mitigated by taking 5 mg of prednisone an hour or two before landings).
 

So maybe my ears are somehow more sensitive to the highs of the dialogue…who knows. I do know that I can crank the same system with the PlayBar in place with Zero issues and no ear fatigue or pain. I know that I can crank my Atmos setup in the living room very loud and have Zero ear pain or ear fatigue. 5 speakers in the living room setup are Martin Logan speakers and there’s an SVS Sub as well. 
 

The only other time I’ve had ear fatigue is when I had ELAC speakers as my front stage. They are not very sensitive speakers and so you have to really drive them with quite a bit of power to get them to sing and sound great. I would get fatigued after about an hour of quite loud music listening with the ELAC speakers.

 

I don’t feel like I’m pushing the Arc soundbar unreasonably high or anything and yet I’m having this really unpleasant ear pain and fatigue with the dialogue and highs.
 

I’m going to give it one more shot now that my ears have rested for 4 days. Going to try the Arc again starting with the Treble turned down, with the dialogue enhancement turned off. I want to see if the arc can still sound any good with these restrained settings while also hopefully not causing me ear fatigue or pain.

 

I really want this to work but it sucks this is an issue when the PlayBar setup is quite good and has a rich warm tone to the music and has great rich bass that the Arc just lacks in. 
 

Has anyone found any solution to this problem with their Arc? 

 

 


 

 

I recently purchased two Arc soundbars. Bought the second one because I changed my mind on the color option. I gave both a go and found the same issue with both bars…that is the dialogue is incredibly forward and shrill to my ears. I find the dialogue is so loud and so forward that it makes it very difficult to enjoy the speaker, in fact it’s even causing ear fatigue and pain ¼ way through a movie. 

I’m coming from a PlayBar paired to a Sub Mini and 2 Play Ones as rears. So that is my baseline of comparison as well as a more decked out system in our living room that is a 5.1.2 Atmos Receiver setup. 

I want to raise the volume up to a decent level but I find when I do the dialogue is just so present and ear piercingly loud and shrill. It was exhausting to my ears after as little as 20 min. I tried making adjustments the next day. I turned off the dialogue enhancement. Turned down the Treble. I still was feeling like my ears where hurting as I was still feeling a lingering ear pressure / discomfort from the prior days run of less than 30 min listening to action sequence at the end of Rogue One. 

The pain kicked in again and I had to take Ibuprofen and a Prednisone to get my ears to settle down. (I have prednisone for my ears for flying. I have a history of ear pain from the pressure while flying that is well mitigated by taking 5 mg of prednisone an hour or two before landings).
 

So maybe my ears are somehow more sensitive to the highs of the dialogue…who knows. I do know that I can crank the same system with the PlayBar in place with Zero issues and no ear fatigue or pain. I know that I can crank my Atmos setup in the living room very loud and have Zero ear pain or ear fatigue. 5 speakers in the living room setup are Martin Logan speakers and there’s an SVS Sub as well. 
 

The only other time I’ve had ear fatigue is when I had ELAC speakers as my front stage. They are not very sensitive speakers and so you have to really drive them with quite a bit of power to get them to sing and sound great. I would get fatigued after about an hour of quite loud music listening with the ELAC speakers.

 

I don’t feel like I’m pushing the Arc soundbar unreasonably high or anything and yet I’m having this really unpleasant ear pain and fatigue with the dialogue and highs.
 

I’m going to give it one more shot now that my ears have rested for 4 days. Going to try the Arc again starting with the Treble turned down, with the dialogue enhancement turned off. I want to see if the arc can still sound any good with these restrained settings while also hopefully not causing me ear fatigue or pain.

 

I really want this to work but it sucks this is an issue when the PlayBar setup is quite good and has a rich warm tone to the music and has great rich bass that the Arc just lacks in. 
 

Has anyone found any solution to this problem with their Arc? 

 

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Yes..suffered with same issue. With 14.12 this shrill metallic sound is greatly reduced...prior to 14.12 always felt I am listening to raw electronic signals whenever someone talks and instrumental sounds so metallic too...now it is kind of ok after 14.12..but still terrible sssshhhh sound with voice is causing discomfort.


 

 

 

Just bought the Arc + Sub3, after having a demo in RicherSounds in the UK. I thought it sounded metallic in the store but the sales guy said it was due to the height of the demo room.

After finishing setup in my 4m x 4m x 2.3m living room, with carpet and other soft furnishings, the sounds is… metallic and shrill. Movies I know well sound odd. There seems to be a clear gap in the midrange. Voices have no timbre. As and Ts sound harsh. TrueSound doesn’t help at all.

This is running 14.20.1; I was hoping I’d be running and old SW version and upgrade would fix this, but no.

It seems to be worst with 7.1TrueHD audio. And the volume is all over the place; action sounds can fill out the midrange, but they become super loud, so need to be turned down. Moments later, during conversation, I’m reaching for the remote to turn up the speaker so I can hear what they’re saying. I really don’t want to be surfing the remote with everything I watch.

Switching to 5.1 seems to help a little, but not enough to be a good “fix”. Turning off the sub doesn’t help much either.

At the weekend I’m going to grab a Beam for a comparison, but I’m 90% sure this £1600 speaker combo will be returned next week. I did my research and all the reviews said Sonos was a clear winner in the tests, but honestly my Bose SoundLink Mini seems to provide better midrange over Bluetooth than this “market leader”.

If anyone has a fix for this I’m sure the community would love to hear it. And I’d love to hear what people moved to if they’re happy after returning their Arc.

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Just bought the Arc + Sub3, after having a demo in RicherSounds in the UK. I thought it sounded metallic in the store but the sales guy said it was due to the height of the demo room.

After finishing setup in my 4m x 4m x 2.3m living room, with carpet and other soft furnishings, the sounds is… metallic and shrill. Movies I know well sound odd. There seems to be a clear gap in the midrange. Voices have no timbre. As and Ts sound harsh. TrueSound doesn’t help at all.

This is running 14.20.1; I was hoping I’d be running and old SW version and upgrade would fix this, but no.

It seems to be worst with 7.1TrueHD audio. And the volume is all over the place; action sounds can fill out the midrange, but they become super loud, so need to be turned down. Moments later, during conversation, I’m reaching for the remote to turn up the speaker so I can hear what they’re saying. I really don’t want to be surfing the remote with everything I watch.

Switching to 5.1 seems to help a little, but not enough to be a good “fix”. Turning off the sub doesn’t help much either.

At the weekend I’m going to grab a Beam for a comparison, but I’m 90% sure this £1600 speaker combo will be returned next week. I did my research and all the reviews said Sonos was a clear winner in the tests, but honestly my Bose SoundLink Mini seems to provide better midrange over Bluetooth than this “market leader”.

If anyone has a fix for this I’m sure the community would love to hear it. And I’d love to hear what people moved to if they’re happy after returning their Arc.

Did you compare with the Beam? Same problem?

Did you compare with the Beam? Same problem?

Yep. The Beam sounded so much worse in my space that I boxed it back up and returned it within the hour.

I’ve kept the Arc. After doing more research, I made a few changes:

  1. I found that if I used my older 12” iPad (before the newer apple processors) for the Trueplay tuning I had much better results.
  2. My room is arranged with the TV on the wall and Arc directly beneath that on a shelf, with a sofa mid-way through the room facing it, then a dining table behind that, between the sofa and the far wall. When I ran the Trueplay I made sure that I didn’t walk further than than the back of the sofa, about half-way in the room. That helped a lot, especially since we generally watch TV on the sofa and not while dining.
  3. I’ve since added 2 Ikea Symfonisk picture frames to the “back” wall behind the dining table, and it has made quite a difference. Can definitely recommend if your budget accommodates it. In store I tested the frame against the lamp and bookshelf speaker, and it was by far the best sounding. The lamp was ok, but the bookshelf speaker sounded cheap and boxy – definitely one to avoid.
  4. Finally, I tweaked the EQ: Bass +1, Treble -1, Loudness ON. For Surround Audio I changed: TV Level +2, to account for the distance from the Symfonisks to the back of the sofa.

I’m pretty happy with the setup now: Arc + Sub(G3) + 2x Symfonisk Frames. There’s much less high-pitched annoyances from dialogue, deeper voices have some of their timbre back.

Unfortunately I’m still having to “ride the remote” for certain TV shows & most movies, maybe a little more than I did with my Bose system, but the improved 5.1 and 7.1 sound makes up for it.

It would be great if I could normalise the loudness a little more. Watching action movies/programmes (eg. Marvel), the volume can jump a lot in a very short space of time between quiet dialog and loud music/effects. I’m a little concerned for neighbours. Maybe Volume Limit would help in this case? I’ve reduced it a little but haven’t noticed an impact yet. Need to test it more.

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