The Disappointing Arc


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The Sonos Arc is around the corner, but it disappoints in some way.

 

First of all the front is made out of plastic! Plastic - seriously 😒  so it is a long plastic tube, not the nice metal we are used to from Play one and play:5.

 

Second of all the Dolby Atmos sound is not very impressive. Sony, LG and Samsung has better Dolby Atmos Soundbars out there since 2018 and comes with a cheaper price tag.

So the Sonos Arc are beaten by 2 year old products from Sony and Samsung. 

 

And third of all rhe Arc can't decode Atmos sound. So you have to rely on your TV to do it for you. So you need a brand new TV preferable with eARC and Dolby Atmos decoding in order to send the right signal to the soundbar.

 

But on the good side the vocals are better on the Arc compared to the playbar.


11 replies

The Sonos Arc is around the corner, but it disappoints in some way.

 

First of all the front is made out of plastic! Plastic - seriously 😒  so it is a long plastic tube, not the nice metal we are used to from Play one and play:5.

According to media reviews, it does not look or feel cheap.  I doubt it will really matter.

 

Second of all the Dolby Atmos sound is not very impressive. Sony, LG and Samsung has better Dolby Atmos Soundbars out there since 2018 and comes with a cheaper price tag.

So the Sonos Arc are beaten by 2 year old products from Sony and Samsung. 

 

 

Where are you getting this information from? The reviews I’ve seen have said nothing of the sort.  I’m not saying someone didn’t review and make that statement, just don’t know where it’s coming from.

 

 

And third of all rhe Arc can't decode Atmos sound. So you have to rely on your TV to do it for you. So you need a brand new TV preferable with eARC and Dolby Atmos decoding in order to send the right signal to the soundbar.

 

 

This is inaccurate.  The Arc needs to receive the Atmos format from the TV either in the DD+ codec via ARC, or TrueHD codec via eARC.  The TV isn’t decoding anything, just passing it through from an HDMI source or from it’s internal smart apps. Perhaps that’s what you meant...passthrough, rather than decode.

 

 

But on the good side the vocals are better on the Arc compared to the playbar.

 

 

Hey Danny. 

First of all I have heard it and seen it by myself (I have a friend that is a journalist) 

Your friends review is out.  A lot of text so I must admit I didn’t read it all, but overall, thought it was pretty thorough.  Good to see some differing opinions than other reviews I’ve seen, yet still reaffirming other aspects. 

 

I'm not saying it sounds or look bad but it doesn't deliver the same Atmos quality as the other products. And that's a fact! I will buy it my self but I was a bid disappointed to be honest. 

 

 

I read the part of the review stating that the Arc didn’t handle overhead sounds.  Being that other reviews did not make that claim, either the other reivewers did not notice, or the difference in room testing was done in made the difference.  Or perhaps other soundbars your friend compared to arre designed to handle your friend’s room better than the Arc is...don’t know.  

 

I doesn't look cheep but it feels cheep in my opinion. Iron would have been more appealing.

 

 

I think you mean aluminum.  I don;t think you could get good sound quality with iron, plus it would be much more expensive and heavier.

 

 

You are not correct regarding decoding. The Arc CANT decode Atmos. So you have to rely on your TV to decode Atmos and send Atmos sound to your Arc. Let me give you an example. 

 

 

Perhaps this is semantics.   In the review where this is mentioned, TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus, the two codecs that can contain Atmos format audio that Sonos is compatible are stated.  Odd.  With these two codecs, I don’t see how the TV is decoding anything, it’s just passing through.

If decode, in your mind refers to the fact that the Arc can’t take an HDMI input directly, then sure, but I would not refer to that as ‘decoding’

 

If you have a Apple TV 4K that will send dolby Atmos sound to your TV and your TV can't decode Atmos or passthrough then you won't receive Atmos sound. 

 

 

AppleTV seems to be an odd case, and I don’t fully understand it personally.  From what I’ve heard, non-Apple apps, like Netflix or Disney +, are in DD+ which will pass through the TV via ARC.  Apple’s apps are in Dolby MAT, which requires eARC, but there are some TVs that will convert/decode this signal to DD+ and thus will work over ARC.  I have not spent much time trying to understand this too much, as I don’t have AppleTV myself.

From your friends review:

 

 

To further complicate things there are two ways to pass-through Atmos via eARC: 
  • Bitstream: The receiver decodes the audio
  • PCM with metadata (Dolby MAT 2.0): The player decodes the audio

 

I believe bitstream is referring to DD+ or TrueHD?   I also am not quite sure what ‘the receiver’ is.  Is that the TV?  If so, odd choice of words since receiver is usually referring to an AVR, which is not present here.  I also don’t think ‘decode is the right word here.  ‘Player’ is the Arc, right?  If so, I think that part is correct, but as said above, not always, which is something also stated in the paragraph below what I stated above.

 

 

The review will be available within the next few days on: 

 

https://www.flatpanelshd.com/

 

Again, I like the review.  Very informative and detailed.   I’m going to balance it with other press reviews though, and I’m not following exactly what is said regarding codecs.

Userlevel 7
Badge +20

Wow, you’re already dismissing and dissing it without having seen it in the flesh or heard it in operation.  That’ some tough crowd!

The Sonos Arc is around the corner, but it disappoints in some way.

 

First of all the front is made out of plastic! Plastic - seriously 😒  so it is a long plastic tube, not the nice metal we are used to from Play one and play:5.

 

Second of all the Dolby Atmos sound is not very impressive. Sony, LG and Samsung has better Dolby Atmos Soundbars out there since 2018 and comes with a cheaper price tag.

So the Sonos Arc are beaten by 2 year old products from Sony and Samsung. 

 

And third of all rhe Arc can't decode Atmos sound. So you have to rely on your TV to do it for you. So you need a brand new TV preferable with eARC and Dolby Atmos decoding in order to send the right signal to the soundbar.

 

But on the good side the vocals are better on the Arc compared to the playbar.

 

Cite, please?  Because there is no way you could know this without reading it somewhere (and some of what you “know” is demonstrably incorrect). 

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

yea - strange post being it says about opposite of anyone who has reviewed the ARC and poster makes no indication he is some kind of early reviewer or beta tester that would actually have one of these in hand to make any type of claims.

Userlevel 5
Badge +7

Hallo. 
As you can see RTINGS.com review is also out. And they also says that the Arc is a bit disappointing with a low score of 6.7 especially the Arc in Stereo Frequency response. 
See also the comparison with the Samsung with the score of 8.3.

 

https://www.rtings.com/soundbar/reviews/sonos/arc#page-test-compared

Okay. And? What are you trying to get at here? That some site ran a bunch of tests, and came up with a number that was lower than the number for something else? Cool….

 

That same site has apparently tested the Arc + Sub + Surrounds and had this to say: 

https://www.rtings.com/soundbar/discussions/cifgZ1DF9rU6FUDu/results

Some quotes: 

When we tested the Sonos Arc, we left the EQ settings to their defaults, which is what we do with every soundbar we test. With the default settings, the full setup is scoring much worse than the bar alone. One of the main reasons for this is that our scoring system compares the frequency response to our Harman-derived target curve. We felt that this wasn’t very representative of how the bar sounds in person, so we decided to try and determine the best settings to bring the bar closer to our curve.

It’s almost like a bunch of frequency tests aren’t the best indicator of how good a speaker actually sounds to a human being….

 

subjectively, the full setup on the Arc is one of the best-sounding Soundbars we’ve tested, even without these adjustments.

Emphasis mine. 

 

One of our main goals with testing the full setup was to answer the question of which soundbar is better, the Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers, or the Samsung HW-Q90R.

Love a good battle royale. 

 

Overall, we found that the sound is very similar between the two, but depending on your exact usage, one might be better than the other. The Sonos has a wider soundstage, and the real surrounds can be more immersive. On the other hand, the Q90R is purpose-built for a TV/Home Theater system, with HDMI inputs, eARC support, and DTS support.

Kind of interesting to see in that last quote that they seem to be comparing the SOUND of the Sonos to the FEATURES of the Samsung.

 

 

Userlevel 4
Badge +6

The whathifi review of the Arc says otherwise. They gave it 5 stars (highly recommended). Maybe you should read that. 

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The Sonos Arc is around the corner, but it disappoints in some way.

 

First of all the front is made out of plastic! Plastic - seriously 😒  so it is a long plastic tube, not the nice metal we are used to from Play one and play:5.

According to media reviews, it does not look or feel cheap.  I doubt it will really matter.

 

Second of all the Dolby Atmos sound is not very impressive. Sony, LG and Samsung has better Dolby Atmos Soundbars out there since 2018 and comes with a cheaper price tag.

So the Sonos Arc are beaten by 2 year old products from Sony and Samsung. 

 

 

Where are you getting this information from? The reviews I’ve seen have said nothing of the sort.  I’m not saying someone didn’t review and make that statement, just don’t know where it’s coming from.

 

 

And third of all rhe Arc can't decode Atmos sound. So you have to rely on your TV to do it for you. So you need a brand new TV preferable with eARC and Dolby Atmos decoding in order to send the right signal to the soundbar.

 

 

This is inaccurate.  The Arc needs to receive the Atmos format from the TV either in the DD+ codec via ARC, or TrueHD codec via eARC.  The TV isn’t decoding anything, just passing it through from an HDMI source or from it’s internal smart apps. Perhaps that’s what you meant...passthrough, rather than decode.

 

 

But on the good side the vocals are better on the Arc compared to the playbar.

 

 

Hey Danny. 

First of all I have heard it and seen it by myself (I have a friend that is a journalist) 

 

I'm not saying it sounds or look bad but it doesn't deliver the same Atmos quality as the other products. And that's a fact! I will buy it my self but I was a bid disappointed to be honest. 

 

I doesn't look cheep but it feels cheep in my opinion. Iron would have been more appealing.

 

You are not correct regarding decoding. The Arc CANT decode Atmos. So you have to rely on your TV to decode Atmos and send Atmos sound to your Arc. Let me give you an example. 

If you have a Apple TV 4K that will send dolby Atmos sound to your TV and your TV can't decode Atmos or passthrough then you won't receive Atmos sound. 

 

The review will be available within the next few days on: 

 

https://www.flatpanelshd.com/

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Hallo. 
As you can see RTINGS.com review is also out. And they also says that the Arc is a bit disappointing with a low score of 6.7 especially the Arc in Stereo Frequency response. 
See also the comparison with the Samsung with the score of 8.3.

 

https://www.rtings.com/soundbar/reviews/sonos/arc#page-test-compared

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

I’ve had a SL10YG and a Samsung Q90r, now have the ARC. For general Tv viewing I find the ARC the best at that but for films in Atmos or even 5.1 the q90r sounded much more immersive. I am still hoping Sonos keep working on the updates for it and make it better at the moment for me it’s a mediocre soundbar,  I may have had a different opinion about it if I had not had the Q90r but comparing it it’s not as good.

i returned  the Q90r just as the ARC had come out as I have sonos all round the house so wanted to keep in the eco system, plus I did think it would match the sound of the Q90r.

Userlevel 1
Badge +1

I am using the Arc with a complete 5.1 setup. I had some brightness issues which I fixed by true playing with an older device. I believe every connected product may have some bugs or issues which gets sorted with time. It depends on the manufacturer if they are willing to support their product and for how long. With Sonos, we know that they back their products. How as a company it differentiates from others is by their close integration. Samsung, Sony, LG launch their systems every year, and you either upgrade the entire unit or be happy with yours. I only have experience with Bose Soundbar and my experience with their updates havent been good. If I had a playbar or playbase with Sonos Sub and surround play 1. For me to move to Arc, all I would have to do is swap the Soundbar and remainder of the system works with it. There are pros and cons to every system and we have to pick our compromises. 

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