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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

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I unfortunately share all your guys experiences. The bass on the Sonos arc is blatantly terrible and it is quite outrageous for a company like Sonos to release such a flawed product at this price. 
 

What I mean by blatantly terrible is that all bass notes on the Sonos Arc sound the same. It is always the same muddy thump without any texture no matter what Song is played. Our Play 5 gen 2 has actual texture and definition in the bass, not so the arc. 
 

The bass is so bad that it always grabs you attention and ruins the whole listening experience.

 

I expect Sonos to come up with a fast and effective solution for this misstep!

 

On a good note: this did bother me to a slightly lesser extent when watching movies. 

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I think you are both missing the point - the issue isn’t an inherent lack of bass (this is to be expected -and if I want more base I’ll get the sub)

The PROBLEM is the bass that is there sounds terrible - like a cheap bluetooth speaker that is pushed past its limits. They released one update and claimed the problem is fixed - it’s slightly better BUT STILL THERE. Doesn’t matter if it is music (any service) or a movie. YES I’ve tried trueplay. Same on or off.

I SHOULD be able to listen at extended volumes without the bass sounding like garbage - it’s loose, it pops, it’s muddy, it’s uncontrolled. It isnt as good as the Beam.

They still need additional work on the DSP and Crossover frequesncies. THATS THE PROBLEM (not a sheer lack of bass).

The only reason I haven’t exchanged my bar yet is b/c there are others that have - and the result is still the same.

I should only have to buy a sub if I want MORE bass - not to FIX bass that sounds like garbage.

 

FACTS! You’ve read my mind. That’s exactly my experience and opinion. 

Hi, I’d also like to report the terrible bass on my new arc. It’s so bad. I have a 5, two one sl’s and an arc with two one sl’s as surrounds. The bass is UNLISTENABLE on netflix. It’s so muddy and distorted. I had it first on my dresser under my tv and then wall mounted it. I cannot believe that an 800 dollar speaker can have bass this bad. Watching ragnarok on netflix, is so distracting with the bad bass. Not even at high levels! I’ve tried trueplay on or off but why am I having to turn trueplay off in the first place. This thing is straight up going back if the issue isn’t fixed and I’ll have nothing good to say about the arc to anyone interested. It has some good qualities, but to be honest for 8 bills this thing is a massive disappointment. Sonos feel free to contact me at my registered email. I hope you do. 
 

Patrick

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Hi @MooseheadPG, thanks for reaching out to the Sonos Community!

I’d recommend reaching out to our Support Team via live chat or phone call regarding this, as they’ll be able to take a closer look at what’s going on with the Arc.

Hope this helps :)

Regarding bass and overall sound quality- for $800, color me extremely disappointed. It’s going right back to Costco. Even at half that price, I’d probably still return it to be honest. My single Gen2 Play:5 in the corner of the room handily blows the Arc out of the water. I’m so unimpressed, I’m not even willing to grab the Beam as a cheaper or comparable replacement. Definitely not hanging around for them to figure a better DSP for the Arc if that’s the current development plan for this product. A cheapo 2.1 soundbar from Vizio is better than this.

 

I’d be an instant buyer if we can get basically two “bookshelf” 5’s specifically for TV. HDMI and/or optical would be great. IMO, that wouldn’t even require a sub. Though, adding the sub would make it a killer 2.1 setup. Could do double duty as music streaming and TV. Seriously, take.my.money.

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The bass got a lot better after I turned off trueplay and increased bass in the eq to compensate!

 

It seems like when trueplay tries to increase bass it also does bleed into the midrange a lot and the hardware of the arc can’t handle that, so the sound hardens up. 
 

 

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Based on my experience Trueplay makes a huge difference to the sound profile for good or bad. It took multiple Trueplay attempts (trying different ways) but eventually I got the sound I'm happy with.

There are multiple variables for doing Trueplay so my advice would be to try it few times. Searching this forum would get you few advices.

My suggestion to Sonos for simplifying Trueplay and making it more seamless is- include/sell a mic like few other companies do to use for Trueplay tuning. And put up a separate guide to Trueplay the soundbars as the standard way of roaming around the whole room didn't give me the best results for Arc.

 

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I just added two Sonos One SL surround speakers to my Sonos Arc. I’ve been using the Arc without surrounds for about 2 months prior. I don’t have a Sub.

Before adding the surrounds the bass produced by the Arc was full, deep and balanced. I had my EQ bass setting on 5 and it sounded incredible. After adding the One SLs the bass sounds pretty bad. It now seems to be mostly in the deep lows and it sounds very unbalanced. Both me and my partner think the bass sounds muted and bad.

I tried running the TruePlay calibration twice and I played with the EQ. Increasing the bass through the EQ increases the bass output in the very low spectrum but makes it sound worse overall.

This happens both with music and with movies and with pretty much any source (stereo or Atmos).

I’m kind of disappointed after investing in the surrounds and having a worse overall sound.

Seems odd, that’s certainly counter to my experience. Have you contacted Sonos support with a diagnostic, so they can see what might be going on?

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An update on my issue with bad bass after adding SLs as surrounds to the Arc:

I tried removing the surrounds from the app and played some content through the Arc alone. After removing the surrounds the Arc showed up as True Play enabled in the app (I’m assuming it remembers the last True Play configuration from before the surrounds were added). Lo and behold - the sound quality from the Arc was back to normal! Bass sounded great again.

I then added the SLs as surrounds again through the app. True play showed up as disabled. I played some content before running True play and the sound quality was great. Basically, the Arc continued to sound the same as before adding the surrounds. So now I’ve kept it this way: Arc and surrounds but without True Play enabled.

However, I’m really puzzled. Is this an issue with True Play or is this some intentional adjustment by Sonos. Is it possible that Sonos intentionally lowers the bass of the system when surrounds are added? Or maybe a clever ploy to get us to buy the Sub? :)

I understand that Sonos prefers not to allow users to manually configure the parameters of their products and, generally, I think this is a sensible product design decision. But maybe they could allow users to view the parameters in read only mode. That way us power users could try to debug some of our problems and understand better what’s going on.

As with others on this thread, I have the same issue with the Arc and 2 SLs in my system all on 13.2.  No sub. Disabling True Play eliminates the muddy bass sound, but the overall surround sound quality is not as good as with True Play enabled.  I am living with True Play disabled for now but find myself wondering why it is taking Sonos so long to fix the issue. Leads me to believe that it is hardware related and perhaps cannot be addressed with a firmware update. Certainly hope that is NOT the case.

Sonos Team, what is the status here? Can we expect a fix for this in the near future? 

*** Previously posted under - Sonos 2021 Crackle Topic **.

I installed a new Sonos Arc last week of August 2021. This is connected to a 2021 Samsung TU8000 TV. No problem establishing an eArc connection and receiving an Atmos signal via the TV's eArc HDMI input. 

Problem is loud popping sounds when it comes to the throbbing punchy bass. The sound is muddy and bottoming out. Arc just doesnt seem able to handle the bass sounds mostly especially during Atmos and HD5.1 play back. (By the way I don't get any Atmos effects. But that's for another day). The Arc does produce clean deep bass depending on the source. So this is a Signal/Sound  processing problem not a Hardware issue. 

The Tomorrow War on Prime Video is unwatchable due to this issue. Really horrible sound. So there's definitely a Late 2021 Sonos Arc Bass Issue. The bad spots are the mid to deep bass frequencies. 

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Hey Sonos,

Instead of increasing your prices for no good reason apart from greed why don’t you spent some time trying to make your (now even more) ridiculously overpriced products work properly? The sound quality issues described here clearly affects a lot of your unfortunate customers. If you expect people to pay nearly $1000 for a soundbar MAKE IT WORK!!

ADDRESS AND FIX THIS ISSUE ONCE AND FOR ALL! Stop ignoring it.

I was already on the fence about buying any more Sonos products but with your unwillingness to fix issues and now this outrageous price increase you’ve lost me for good.

Hey all,

I would also like to state my disappointment with the sonos arc. I was expecting much more from such an expensive sound bar. Generally the sound is slightly better than my JBL charge 4. I am thinking of returning it for a sonos 5. If I could I would return it for cash and buy something other than sonos. Not worth the money for the sound quality.

 

 

Hey everyone,

I just updated my Arc with dual rears and a sub. My problem is the following : sometimes voices especially the low ones like henry cavill voice in the witcher appears to be distorded or muddy. It seems like voices are baddly handled.

I tried multiple eq settings and trueplay too but still same issues.

Any Ideas ?

Hi,

I am so surprised that the bass issue with the ARC is not in any one of the reviews online like Youtube or any other sort of write up. They must have used the Sonos Sub to review. For the most part like everyone else in this thread I thought the Arc would be able to play some sort of bass with clipping/distortion/muddy sound. I was very wrong. When watching any sort of 2.0 programing on YouTube TV, the bass issues were fine. However when watching 5.1or Atmos content I would hear the low bass frequencies get muddy as if one of the speakers went loose. It sounded to me like a cheap car speaker from the 80’s when there was too much bass. When watching Yellowjackets on Showtime with 5.1 some of the music was clipping. I did all the things you are supposed to do like run true play or turn off true play. Normal listening levels for us is around 20%, so not very loud at all and still got the bass issues. On the flip side the ARC compared to our Playbase, the dialog and mid’s are out of this world for a sound bar, just not nearly as good with the bass as the playbase. So to solve the problem and match what all the reviews did in 2020 was I got the Sonos Sub. And yes, it solved the bass issues and the fidelity was even better. What disappointments me is that you really need the sub to deal with the Arc bass issues and that is very pricey. Yes, the ARC paired with a sub is incredible. But i wish I knew the truth ahead of purchasing the ARC. There should be a disclaimer that when a low bass frequency occurs at a certain (low) output that there is an asterisk on any sell sheets or promotional material indicating you will need a sub or you will hear distortions.

It’s hard to reproduce a lot of bass sound when you’re using 3 or 4 inch speakers, as there are in all Sonos sound bars. You can do a bit, but it will never move the amount of air that a normal Sub would. 

Hi,

I am so surprised that the bass issue with the ARC is not in any one of the reviews online like Youtube or any other sort of write up. They must have used the Sonos Sub to review. For the most part like everyone else in this thread I thought the Arc would be able to play some sort of bass with clipping/distortion/muddy sound. I was very wrong. When watching any sort of 2.0 programing on YouTube TV, the bass issues were fine. However when watching 5.1or Atmos content I would hear the low bass frequencies get muddy as if one of the speakers went loose. It sounded to me like a cheap car speaker from the 80’s when there was too much bass. When watching Yellowjackets on Showtime with 5.1 some of the music was clipping. I did all the things you are supposed to do like run true play or turn off true play. Normal listening levels for us is around 20%, so not very loud at all and still got the bass issues. On the flip side the ARC compared to our Playbase, the dialog and mid’s are out of this world for a sound bar, just not nearly as good with the bass as the playbase. So to solve the problem and match what all the reviews did in 2020 was I got the Sonos Sub. And yes, it solved the bass issues and the fidelity was even better. What disappointments me is that you really need the sub to deal with the Arc bass issues and that is very pricey. Yes, the ARC paired with a sub is incredible. But i wish I knew the truth ahead of purchasing the ARC. There should be a disclaimer that when a low bass frequency occurs at a certain (low) output that there is an asterisk on any sell sheets or promotional material indicating you will need a sub or you will hear distortions.

100% my experience. Very dissappointing. 

It’s hard to reproduce a lot of bass sound when you’re using 3 or 4 inch speakers, as there are in all Sonos sound bars. You can do a bit, but it will never move the amount of air that a normal Sub would. 

Nonsense. My 5 year old ms6500 samsung pounded and sounded amazing. There is ZERO excuse for a 900 soundbar to be stomped by a 600 one from half a decade ago. 

Today january 2022 i bought fininally my Sonos Arc. I have read a lot of good reviews especially about the bass performance. But when i installed the Sonos Arc, the bass was very low and crappy. Even when changing the bass level in the EQ, you hear almost no difference between bass level 0 and 10.

loudness is on, tried Trueplay two times, one time with a Iphone13pro and one time with an iPad, but still crappy bass. My Sonos Play5gen2 has  a perfect bass, so now i don’t know how to solve this. Can anyone provide me some tips and tricks, before i sent the unit back?

Amazing bought arc and gen 3 sub yesterday. After listening and reading reviews  Not a single review mentioned about any problems. The sub just does not have any punch at all . Tried reset and re locating the sub. Still no luck . Arc on its on has bass problems as mentioned in above posts. Not even going to bother calling the customer support after reading thro the post. Read topics with promo have issues with sub. Surprisingly even after an year long thread here there are no troubleshooting steps or mention on Sonos support section. Comes across as a bad and poor product marketed as high end product and sold at premium price. this product not worth the hassle after pay so much money.

I have called Sonos Support and they are very helpfull . After some tests and a hard reset my arc is working fine.

so i recommend to give support a call and discuss the issue you have.

good luck.

Could you please share things you did that helped to fix the issue

Hey guys, I was having the exact same bass problems as everyone else, (even with the sub combined with ARC) I ran TruePlay again and that fixed it) I sincerely hope this helps someone else out.

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