The Future of the Arc

  • 13 September 2023
  • 4 replies

Userlevel 7

I authored the above discussion about 2 years ago. However, I think it's still relevant (as far as basics) and appropriate for this group.

Sonos has since pushed out a few updates to the Arc and introduced a speaker (Era 300) that can be used as rears x 2 to complete the Dolby Atmos experience. I've added dual subs to my setup.

As the Arc is pushing the 5 year mark what improvements do you believe are needed (if any) to keep the Arc as a viable Dolby Atmos speaker/soundbar?  It’s too early to discuss changes/improvements to the Era 300; and the Era 500 is still just a rumor. Even if it were introduced it might be overkill as a surround much like the Fives are in some situations.

My improvement to the Arc would be a better center channel for dialogue. I’m not sure how pass-through would be a need other than a “me too” versus the competition. More licensed Codes might be a request? The more drastic move would be to ditch the Arc and introduce left/center/right separates? I don’t see that happening… then who’s to say? There was a time when only I believed there’d be a speaker like the Era 300. I say that based upon discussions of the pass in this community. 😂

Take a look at my original post and please leave your comments on it and that which I have just put forth in this group discussion. Looking forward to your thoughts!


4 replies

An immediate improve, not requiring any hardware redesign, would be more control over center channel (dialog) output. Yes, I know that the purists would eliminate all content balance controls, assuming that the uninformed rest of us would just muck up the director’s intent, but the director does not have access to current room conditions or listener auditory capability. Yes, TruePlay can somewhat compensate for varying room conditions, but it’s clumsy to retune for drapes open/closed and impossible to accommodate for any potential hearing loss or room noise. (TruePlay requires a quiet room while it executes.)

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The Center channel volume control would be far and away my number one update.

Something I’ve seen others mention is the ability to play stereo TV from the Arc and the Surrounds, like Full Mode for music.

Maybe a Party Mode where the Atmos speakers get added to the L/R channels for a bit more volume when not playing Atmos content.


Four things I would like to see are…

  • Front center channel adjustment
  • Left/Right channel ‘balance’ adjustment 
  • Ability to schedule Night Sound/Speech Enhancement ON/OFF daily
  • EQ settings for TV audio and separate EQ settings for Music.

I’m not sure how pass-through would be a need other than a “me too” versus the competition.


While I agree that using HDMI-ARC/eARC to receive audio is the best way to go, the reality is that this is poorly implemented in a lot of TVs and that many of these issues could be resolved, or worked around by providing an HDMI passthrough feature. It would also serve to increase the customer base slightly for projector users.  I mean, the HD Fury Arcana is a pretty popular device despite it’s high price and limited feature set, and it would be completely unnecessary if a Sonos Arc had a passthrough.  I understand that it may increase the cost, but I think it would be worth it to customers and support not having to chase down as many issues.

And I would be on board with better dialogue control, and the option to play stereo in rear speakers with TV stereo sources.  Add scheduling and conditions for this as well.

II would want an  Arc v2 to have bluetooth and aux input as well, since this seems to be standard for Sonos now.  It would certainly remove the ‘sting’ of buying expensive Era 300s only to find that bluetooth/aux is turned off when used as surrounds.  And if Sonos headphones come out, I would want the Arc to be able to send audio to the headphones for those with hearing issues or when you just need to watch TV in silence.


That said, if Sonos does come out with separate front left and right speakers that doesn’t involve the Arc, then I’ll likely be ditching the Arc anyway.