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Sonos Arc Muddy/Bottoming out Bass


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Beyond thrilled to receive the new Sonos Arc. True played my room and I have loudness on as well connected to LG B8 using Tidal and Spotify. Most of the sound range is phenomenal, aside from the bass. At even half volume the woofers are extremely muddy and sound terrible. Not sure if this is because I have under two hours of use but I wasn’t expecting to have to break-in the speaker. I own set of speakers next to it in the same room (KEF LS50W) and the difference is night and day. There have also been posts on Reddit regarding this issue. It is interesting given no reviewers have mentioned this issue but more than a few recipients have. Has anyone else experienced similar issues? Turning loudness off helps but it is disappointing for such a highly anticipated product. 

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Best answer by Scott - Sonos 3 July 2020, 01:04

Hello everyone. I’m a product manager at Sonos. Thank you for sharing your experiences with Arc. The development team is monitoring this community and listening to your feedback. 

As we do with all Sonos products, we’ll continue to improve the experience for Arc through numerous software updates into the future. Last week we issued our first update (12.0.1) to fix a bug some customers were experiencing with low-frequency distortion at higher volumes. 

If you have specific music tracks or timestamps for TV shows and movies that you want to bring to our attention, please use this form. It is helpful if you can submit a diagnostic when you’re listening to the content. Instructions for doing so can be found here.

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Userlevel 5
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@Ryan S  Thoughts? I haven’t ordered the sub, would be disappointed if this happens to the bass

Userlevel 3
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Same issue here. Have a sub so didn’t notice yesterday. Disconnected the sub today to test the arc solo and bass is bad. Especially with music. So sad. 

Same issue here.

Userlevel 2
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I agree I am disappointed with the arc as a music speaker.  The play 5 2nd gen that was standing in the same place as the arc is now is a much better music speaker.  

The bass without the sub is terrible at anything but low sound levels

Userlevel 4
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I was hoping to not have to rely on a sub for bass given I’m in an apartment and do not want to not annoy the neighbors. 

Userlevel 5
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If this happens to me, it’s gonna be back in the box real quick. $799 after all.

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@ftm, how would the Arc be as a music speaker if this problem with the Arc’s bass wasn’t there? Did you try it at lower volumes with music? Thanks!

Userlevel 3
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@ftm, how would the Arc be as a music speaker if this problem with the Arc’s bass wasn’t there? Did you try it at lower volumes with music? Thanks!

At low volume it sounds no better than the beam it replaced. Just a wider sound stage. 

Userlevel 5
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@ftm, how would the Arc be as a music speaker if this problem with the Arc’s bass wasn’t there? Did you try it at lower volumes with music? Thanks!

At low volume it sounds no better than the beam it replaced. Just a wider sound stage. 


Why none of the reviews mentioned this? It’s like they were paid to say good things. Mine arrives on 12th. Let’s see how it goes.

Userlevel 7
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Hi everyone, we’d love to look into this more, but we’ll need some more details to look into it better. Have you noticed this sort of sound from all sources of audio or just music? If it’s just music, does that mean all music services you’ve tried, or certain ones?

Does it sound better with Trueplay turned off?

How is the Arc set up currently? Do you have it open on a table, wall mounted, is there a surface above it? The more details, the better.

Thanks! We’ll try and get to the bottom of this together.

Userlevel 7
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@ftm, how would the Arc be as a music speaker if this problem with the Arc’s bass wasn’t there? Did you try it at lower volumes with music? Thanks!

At low volume it sounds no better than the beam it replaced. Just a wider sound stage. 


Why none of the reviews mentioned this? It’s like they were paid to say good things. Mine arrives on 12th. Let’s see how it goes.

No reviews are paid by us to say good things. That’s not something we’d do. But every home is different, and your living room may look very different from a reviewer’s living room. Audio, especially the low end, can be affected by what’s in the room, and the architecture. Though this seems to be related to the volume and choice of tracks, most reviews have their own list of tracks or sources to use and it’s possible they just didn’t notice any trouble then. Hard to say since we’re still gathering information.

Userlevel 2
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I was on Reddit just wanted to get on this list as well when there is resolution. I love it with the sub but damn previous reviews were way off.

Same issue here. The beam it replaced sounded better. I have a white arc and two symfonisk lamps for surround. Hope this can be fixed with firmware.

Userlevel 2
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@ftm, how would the Arc be as a music speaker if this problem with the Arc’s bass wasn’t there? Did you try it at lower volumes with music? Thanks!

It would be ok but not as good as a play 5.  I would have expected to at least match the play 5.  Like mentioned on reddit it sounds like the bass drivers can't handle it. 

I also tried the movie Unbroken via Netflix (5.1) and the machine guns in the aircraft at the start were causing all sorts of issues with the bass sound.  This was one if the movies that a review recommended too.

For info its mounted on a solid wooden cabinet and has been tuned with trueplay.

Music was via spotify and the room is rectangular 

 

 

 

Userlevel 4
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Hi Ryan, 

Thank you for the prompt review and response! Here are my details and findings: 

There is what sounds like woofer over excursion and bass muddiness with all sources. I noticed it first on Tidal and Spotify and then heard it as well on my LG native apps as well including Netflix and on my Apple TV 4k. This includes dolby atmos content coming through the ARC port on my TV. I have my Sonos Arc connected with HDMI to the ARC port on my LG and it permits atmos over HDMI 2.0. Turning loudness on or off makes a small difference at the volume level where the effect is noticeable but regardless it starts around half volume. I have my Arc on a table that my TV is on as well, no wall mounting. My room is fairly good for speakers as it is 15x15 with 8ft high ceilings and the Sonos Arc is roughly 5ft from the ceiling. I have true played the device 3x to ensure it wasn’t an issue with my setup and the problem persisted with all three attempts. I have my KEFs flanking the Sonos Arc just behind it (not obstructed) and they have no issues with bass. Furthermore, the Arc is placed roughly 1.5ft from the backwall in an attempt to minimize reverberations from the backwall. Happy to share additional details about my room and setup if needed. Thanks again!

Edit: Very low frequencies are not problematic its more the 50-80hz range where bass drivers experience the most excursion in the frequency response range. If a song test is needed, I recommend Penetrator by Pleasurekraft, it showcases the problem.

 

Userlevel 2
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I do wanna say though the music was exactly as described above I am impressed and delighted in the ability to through sounds from all directions while watching video if you could choose one speaker to add definitely go after sub, not sure rears are needed.

You can also try 6 underground on Netflix. That is where I first noticed it. I experience the issue with any source I use

Userlevel 1
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I’ve had the same experience and have been messing with settings over the past few hours trying to figure this out. Music sounds particularly terrible. Movies have great highs and mids, but the low end sounds muddy and like the speaker is about to blow. 

I have an AppleTV 4K connected to my TCL 65R615. Arc and two Sonos Ones...no sub. Atmos is not supported with my tv so my Atmos content shows Dolby Digital Plus 5.1. 
 

Im baffled. This Arc is replacing the Beam that I’ve been using for close to a year with this same setup. I’m tempted to switch back to the Beam at this point. 
 

 

Userlevel 4
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@gregmelnyk it’s such a shame! The mids and highs are second to none. 

Userlevel 5
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I’ve had the same experience and have been messing with settings over the past few hours trying to figure this out. Music sounds particularly terrible. Movies have great highs and mids, but the low end sounds muddy and like the speaker is about to blow. 

I have an AppleTV 4K connected to my TCL 65R615. Arc and two Sonos Ones...no sub. Atmos is not supported with my tv so my Atmos content shows Dolby Digital Plus 5.1. 
 

Im baffled. This Arc is replacing the Beam that I’ve been using for close to a year with this same setup. I’m tempted to switch back to the Beam at this point. 
 

 

Seems like a widespread issue. Those without the sub haven’t noticed it yet.

Userlevel 3
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To me it’s almost like this thing is stuck in “I’m paired with a sub mode.” The mid level bassline before it really drops low in 6 foot 7 foot by Lil Wayne makes it want to cry. When I add my sub back it it’s great. 
 

and yes I have gone through true play. 

Userlevel 4
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Anyone else get the firmware update out of the box? Could be the issue as well, I’d imagine reviewers would be running a different version which would help explain the discrepancy in reviews vs what we’re hearing 

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One thing I forgot to mention. The overall volume is low as well. With my Beam setup, most movies were acceptably loud within a 42-50% volume range. The Arc is currently at 62% and I’d still consider upping it another 5-10% if I were to sit and watch a full film to get my previous results. 

Userlevel 2
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Same issue here. Bass sounds incredibly distorted and makes music totally unlistenable. 

Userlevel 1
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Same issue here. Bass sounds incredibly distorted and makes music totally unlistenable. 

It cannot be overstated just how unlistenable music is with an Arc and two Ones. 

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