Sonos Arc wall mount: How to fit outlet and low-voltage behind the mount?

  • 6 August 2020
  • 31 replies
  • 13672 views

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The Sonos ARC wall mount is installed flush against the wall, providing that "floating" sensation to the ARC. The mount has a bump in the center, precluding approximately ½" and 5" wide, most likely to avoid interference with an outlet placed right behind. See picture then questions:

Since the ARC is only 3.5" tall and an outlet is 3 ¼" tall x 5" wide, it seems the entire center area of the wall mount is occupied by the outlet. But what about the HDMI and Cat6 wires, it seems if routed from above or below they would be visible; from the sides they would interfere with the flush mount. And what about the slack of the power cable, where do we hide it?

Some recommend to just drill a small hole behind the mount and fish the power+HDMI+Cat6 wires from the media cabinet below, however this is not code-compliant (power cords are not in-wall rated). Others recommend to get a recessed mini-outlet with line and low-voltage, however these multi-purpose outlets use Romex electrical wires which are also not code-compliant in NYC either.

Am I missing something or is the ARC design flawed for NYC code?


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31 replies

I don’t have an answer for you, but I’m eager to see responses from others. I’ll be doing a similar install next month.

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I don’t have an answer for you, but I’m eager to see responses from others. I’ll be doing a similar install next month.

I called Sonos Support, but they didn't even understand the question, they were clueless.

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This is turning out to be a huge, code compliant, problem. 
An Arc investment, especially with the extra outlay for the wall mount, and the slick photography of wall mounted Arcs, is not compatible with an electrical outlet behind the mount, especially with little space and a six foot power cord.

Really frustrating. Running the cord behind the wall for three or four inches, a spur, then using the outlet behind the TV would make things a breeze. Code, however :(
 

I’m hoping that folks have a solution for this new product. So easy with the Playbar—just place directly under the TV. No can do with the Arc and it’s two upward-firing Atmos drivers.

 

Awaiting any suggestions eagerly. Thx 

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This is turning out to be a huge, code compliant, problem. 
An Arc investment, especially with the extra outlay for the wall mount, and the slick photography of wall mounted Arcs, is not compatible with an electrical outlet behind the mount, especially with little space and a six foot power cord.

Really frustrating. Running the cord behind the wall for three or four inches, a spur, then using the outlet behind the TV would make things a breeze. Code, however :(
 

I’m hoping that folks have a solution for this new product. So easy with the Playbar—just place directly under the TV. No can do with the Arc and it’s two upward-firing Atmos drivers.

 

Awaiting any suggestions eagerly. Thx 

I am sure I can engineer a solution to make this code-compliant in NYC/Chicago but it would require extensive drywall work to build a soffit, which in turn requires more wall depth not always available. And it would limit the application to new construction and full remodels only.

I spoke to many industry peers and they are amazed how the ARC wall mount design excluded NYC/Chicago (two large markets) from compliance. Leniency is becoming the norm in the US.

But what amazes me the most is that Sonos is not even responding to my inquiries much less to this thread. 

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@btoursonos, wouldn’t a Hubbell “JLOAD” RJ600 do the trick?  That’s if I understand your problem to be mounting (hiding) a single duplex outlet sideways with a split high/low voltage divider & metallic connectors:

https://hubbellcdn.com/catalogpage/Premise_Catalog_R46_CatPage.pdf

(By the way (not that you asked!-), depending on the depth of your TV mount, you might want to offset the Sonos Arc from the wall or else move it vertically farther away from the TV.  Even with the forward angle of the upward-firing drivers, at only 2” away it must reflect off the TV before it gets to the ceiling.  Of course at only 6” below, the reflections from the main front-firing speakers off the dresser are a problem too!  To me, Arc is not a good Master Bedroom solution with typical close-quarters.  If this isn’t an MBR, then consider allowing more “breathing room” in your TV living area, so the sound doesn’t get “muddy” by accident.)

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@btoursonos, wouldn’t a Hubbell “JLOAD” RJ600 do the trick?  That’s if I understand your problem to be mounting (hiding) a single duplex outlet sideways with a split high/low voltage divider & metallic connectors:

https://www.mc-mc.com/ASSETS/DOCUMENTS/ITEMS/EN/Hubbell_RJ600_Brochure.pdf

(By the way (not that you asked!-), depending on the depth of your TV mount, you might want to offset the Sonos Arc from the wall or else move it vertically farther away from the TV.  Even with the forward angle of the upward-firing drivers, at only 2” away it must reflect off the TV before it gets to the ceiling.  Of course at only 6” below, the reflections from the main front-firing speakers off the dresser are a problem too!  To me, Arc is not a good Master Bedroom solution with typical close-quarters.  If this isn’t an MBR, then consider allowing more “breathing room” in your TV living area, so the sound doesn’t get “muddy” by accident.)

@tracker Thank you for the recommendations on the clearance, I hear you, but the Interior Designer is forcing me to a 2" clearance (but at the end of the day I will extend it to 4" ;-)

The Hubbell solution you sent is not compliant with NYC/Chicago code, we need to split line and low voltage in two separate wallboxes - or - we need a 2-gang wallbox with metal separators. Welcome to NY!

 

 

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I would love to see Sonos comment on this important topic...

 

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Wait, AHJ **prescribes** a 2-gang wallbox?  Usually code language is more general than that...  So “merely” a metal separator, including 100% enclosure of the wiring (due to the integrated plug design) isn’t enough?  [Edit: The Hubbell sheet *says* divider included with the plug, which would mean it isn’t permanently welded-in, but photo #1 on their website *shows* the box with a metal divider, not the plugs with plastic inserts.  But photo #2 shows a *different* box construction, a sliding insert, thicker i.e. plastic!  So I’d at least buy one, to see if the divider was pre-built-in, unless you already know it has specifically been rejected.]  Inspector-says vs. actual language, love to see the quote…  If a 2-gang wallbox is required then you’re hosed no matter what, because you can’t hide it.  Just screw the TV bracket vertical adjusters down after mounting, as close as possible to the soundbar and the AC cord on the surface of the wall should be invisible up to the TV box.

Designer?  Give up on the sound -- it’s as close to the TV for that integrated look as possible.  Even a B&O “Stage” -- very designer-friendly! -- although it’s thicker so it avoids the TV offset, plus angled speakers are in the field so it does not have drivers on the upper edge, nevertheless recommends a greater distance between it and the TV.  Their solution to reflecting off the horizontal surface below is to just sit it on top of the dresser (with 90-degree re-purposed and eq-ed drivers).  Enh.

Yes, @Sonos still needs to address the issue, at the very least to provide a 3” AC cable in the box with that bracket!

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My installer came today. Did a great job. Almost done.

 

First, the speaker must be at least 3” below the TV if wall mounted. Mine’s 3.5 and the difference with another 1.5 inches is pretty incredible. If you can manage 4 to 6, even better.

 

Coming Thursday to put the electrical box behind. He thinks he can organize the extra wire from the long cable to make it invisible, but if I can get a short one, even better.

 

Anybody know the correct model of connector needed? 
 

Here’s the Arc power cable. 
 

 

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3.5” made all the difference, FYI.

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As to the depth of the Arc below the TV, this would seem to depend upon upon how far the TV and how thick it is, off of the wall.  I plan to mount a very thin LG 65” GX model at only 0.8” off wall above the Arc.  Is there a suggested distance below such a setup?  I would imagine a table such as if the front surface of the flat panel is 3” off the wall, the Arc should be 4” below, if the front surface is 2” off the wall, then the Arc should be 3” etc.  The 4” recommended spacing below the flat angel in the documentation is devoid of detail.

 

In my new construction design, I want the soundbar to be just below the LG flat panel, and wi th only 0.8” depth of the GX flat panel, I don’t believe it will impede the upward firing drivers for Atmos?

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Best demo below and recommended 4”. My Sony 65” X950G is pretty flush considering, and the extra 2” made a hell of a difference. Atmos drivers need care 

I’m sure it’s not the ideal solution, but you could use a raceway to hide the wires.  I’ve done that with the Beam and was fairly happy with the way it turned out, after painting to match the wall.  

And keeping the Arc significantly below the TV is not just about the up firing speakers, but accessing the controls on the top.

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If the back surface mounting side the Arc was co-planar with the front surface of the flat panel (with a .8” spacer behind the Arc). Would the Arc need to be below the flat panel by 4” still?  I’m looking for some laws of physics explanation as to the actual dimension variability.  My goal is to clean up the look of the wall by not having a gap between the flat panel and Arc (I know this is subjective as to what looks ‘good’)

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I have a great installer.

Things were going perfectly ‘till we tried to plug in the extra short C7 cable. The standard male will not allow a flush install. Way to go Sonos! 
 

So, jury-rigged for now, with C7 with flat male on its way. 

 

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( For future search-ers on this topic, audiophilia published a follow-up thread here: https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/arc-pro-install-after-three-months-6847482 )

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Arc mounted on thin right angle shelf -- back spaced same as thickness of flat-panel above (0.8”)

I’d like to have the soundbar as close to the TV as possible for aesthetic -- tying to keep the fireplace wall as clean as possible -- sort of have the flat panel and soundbar as one unit.  The 4” spec is still confusing me as to if it is a spec for spatial separatation in general from the screen or purely to insure that the soundbar up-firing speakers are not physically impeded from firing into the ceiling for the full Atmos effect.  Here is a side view of what I thinking of doing with a metal shelf (since there is a fireplace below ~18”) that would have the Arc have a free ‘view’ of the ceiling to fire against for Atmos effects.

 

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Heat management is also a question...any opinions by the group on this concept?

The shelf will be non-combustible (debating this if best to be metal or something (a composite) that doesn’t itself get hot like a hot plate even though it is deflecting the heat away from the flat-panel in so doing).  I have 18” between the fireplace and the bottom of the bracket/shelf.  The shelf will be the same dimension as the Arc.  The flatpanel will be LG GX 65” which is 0.8” thick off the wall when mounted flush.

Thanks all for the constructive feedback!

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[All below IMO of course]  I think audiophilia’s cautionary response to your first message above is true in his/her case, but mis-explained.  The position is important, but more for overall room and seating position; that 4” vertical helped was likely due to where the audience’s ears were placed!  Two things at work: (1) On-axis sound from the forward-firing drivers to the audience’s ears, and (2) the reflection angle for side & up-firing drivers which should in theory also go straight to the ears.

You might find the YouTube video from Peter Pee where he actually checks the up-firing angle and calculates reflection, then measure your own ceiling height and sofa offset.  You could shim the shelf to get it close to optimum but that messes with the direct sound angle too.  I would rather get the main direct sound aimed at your head(s) and let the other channels fall where they may.  Yes, the sound is expanding from a point source, so it’s not like people will be totally missing out if you don’t, but off-axis the timbre changes.  (As a verification that this matters, consider the many center-channel speakers in L/C/R home cinema systems which have threaded screw feet to tilt the speaker.)  I think good sound is worth more than a clean fireplace wall, if it were my own installation.  Center of screen just below seated eye level, and speaker aimed slightly up.  Yeah, I know this isn’t what you have drawn, and it cannot be.  Even with the horizontal gas-insert style you have drawn, it’s still too high.  Bummer.

As to the heat issue, well, see my flames (ha) above and put the TV elsewhere!  Seriously, though: Conduction, radiation, convection.  Detail the firebox wall to prevent all three from affecting your screen, which is probably more at issue than the Arc.  Convection: you could put an HVAC outlet in the ceiling centered over the fireplace?  Radiation: maybe chrome-plate or polished stainless shelf instead of black anodized?  Conduction: switch to one of those chimney-less gas fireplaces?  Not bloody likely…  Just fix the details behind the drywall, since you’re intent on mounting the screen flat/flush.

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Tracker,

 

Thanks -- it is a combination of constraints and compromises.  

The fireplace is a gas/chimney-less (self venting style).. so I am less concerned about heat from within the chimney as there is none.  It does seem that the 4” spec is written with an assumption that the screen is at seated eye - level which will never be the case in any fireplace install.  I have another more proper madia room in this condo that will be much easier to accommodate (and I will).   It is the ‘above fireplace’ install that many people unfortunately have to do for their great room to ‘work’ that I am trying to solve and in doing so, hopefully help out a lot of other people.  Many people don’t even think about the heat issue...simply put the flat panel above the fireplace where it fits.  Atmos is another new feature that adds some constraints.  It will never be perfect!

 

I’ll look for that YouTube -- thanks for the pointer/suggestion

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@RaleighJim , I once pointed someone to the MantelMount products, which have changed recently.  Was reminded of it by the recent issue of “Sound & Vision”, September 2020, p.16, and https://www.soundandvision.com/content/mantelmount-mm860-motorized-tv-mount-review

The good thing is it allows the TV to descend in front of the fireplace.  The bad thing is that you have to “decorate” the hole of their metal cabinet that’s left behind while the TV is on, which matters in your case with a particularly “clean”, almost Spartan, wall.  Anyway, just another thought.

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Peter Pee’s video on placement really is good.  Pretty much confirms that if the sound bar has a clear view of the ceiling, the atmos effects will be unobstructed. He further gets into optimum placement of the seated  listener and what must be done to optimize the distance.  One excellent tidbit from his video is that the arc should be above ear level so as to not have the upfiring speakers sound reach the listener before the bounced (off ceiling) sound does…. makes a lot of sense to me…

Here is a a link to his excellent video: https://youtu.be/hu8TLAco2tI

 

Still not sure exactly what I will do but I am inclined to mount the arc just below the LG as shown above… but I will experiment and report back here on results and placement.  As I have to be mindful of heat generated, that is the other constraint/variable to mind.  The fact that he recommends the arc to be above ear level for ideal atmos effects is helpful in this regard as it pushes the arc higher in wall where I’d prefer it.

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One item that Peter Pee’s video highlights is that the optimum height for the Arc is above ear level to avoid direct sound from the up firing speakers before it bounces off the ceiling 9what they are intended to do).  This confllcts with locating the flat panel lower on the wall to be at viewing height when seated on a couch (for instance).  Any guidance from the community on how to deal with these conflicting optimizations?  

Would this be easiest to mount?

 

https://www.sbcover.com/in-wall-wires

Has anyone tried just using a PowerBridge recessed cable management system to power their Arc? I’m thinking place the power outlet right behind the Arc and place the power Inlet behind the TV and power it using the outlet already behind the TV…...thoughts?

 

https://www.amazon.com/PowerBridge-ONE-PRO-6-Single-Outlet-Professional-Wall-Mounted/dp/B00HIYAFR4/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=powerbridge+in+wall+cable+management+kit&qid=1605013969&sr=8-4