Tips & Tricks

Understanding Dolby Atmos and Sonos Arc


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One of the most exciting features of the new Sonos Arc is its ability to play Dolby Atmos sound. As with all relatively new technology, it’s understandable that you might feel a little confused when it comes to making sure you have a compatible setup for the feature. 

Head’s up—we’ll be talking about things like “codecs,” and “audio formats” below, but don’t panic. We’re here to make sure you understand why those things are important in setting up Arc to play Dolby Atmos. Rest assured that no matter what you’re listening to with Arc, it’s going to sound great. But to get the most out of Arc, it’s worth ensuring that your system is set up to deliver Dolby Atmos. And, as always, we’re here to help. If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Dolby Atmos (as in “atmosphere”) is a format that allows sound to be heard three-dimensionally —including from above! (Arc achieves this by bouncing sound off of the ceiling). To facilitate this experience, Atmos information is contained within an audio wrapper (known as a codec), which has metadata instructing the audio drivers how to direct the sound within your space. 

Arc-compatible codecs that contain Dolby Atmos include Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and Dolby MAT. Most streaming services that have Atmos content use Dolby Digital Plus, while Blu-rays usually use Dolby TrueHD or Dolby MAT. 

To get Dolby Atmos sound from Sonos Arc, you need to address the following:

  1. Connections. Sonos Arc needs to be connected to your TV with an HDMI cord (one is provided with Arc) via an ARC or eARC port (eARC is required for Dolby TrueHD and Dolby MAT).

  2. Compatibility. Every device that ‘touches’ the audio (e.g. Blu-ray player, Apple TV, Fire TV) needs to be able to pass Atmos on to the next in line—from the source of the content to Sonos Arc. For Blu-ray, the individual discs need to have Atmos content and the player needs to be capable of sending Atmos as well.

  3. Apps. Your app (e.g. Netflix, Disney+) needs to be capable of playing Atmos content via your particular TV. 

  4. Content. Your content needs to have Atmos audio in an Arc-supported codec: Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, or Dolby MAT. 

Some things to note:

  • Not every episode of every show may have Atmos, even if the streaming service supports Atmos.

  • A device (such as your TV or a streaming box like the Apple TV) may support Atmos, but not for all apps running on it. 

  • Some devices may not pass Dolby Atmos by default without making some adjustments to audio settings.

We’re happy to help answer questions, but in some cases you may need to contact the manufacturer of certain devices to check compatibility.

When set up properly, your Now Playing screen in the Sonos app will display the Dolby Atmos logo.

 

 

If you have all of the above set up, but are still not getting Dolby Atmos sound, let us know what you’re experiencing in a new thread or join an existing one and we’ll try to help you address the problem.


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Here is how I confirmed it working on my Vizio P Quantum X 75-G1 with the latest firmware as of this date:

Vudu Vizio app (Important wont work on any other app or external devices) : Avenger’s Endgame UHD (can be purchased on any service and played back on any other service with MyMovies integration).

Set television audio output to : BItstream out (not auto, auto did not work).

Confirmed Video and audio output with the Info button on the TV remote (says Audio Out Dolby Atmos)

Confirmed audio input on Sonos S2 app says Dolby Atmos on the TV playback.

 

Solution: HDFury Box for audio split from Atv or other devices. This wont do.

 

4K Arcana 18Gbps | HDFury.com | Connect and Fix everything in HDMI 

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Cheers. Seems like the built-in Netflix app on my TV doesn't support Atmos. 😭

Check the audio settings on anything that’s feeding the TV set, to be sure they’re sending a Dolby Digital Plus signal for the TV to pass through. Check the TV’s manual to be sure it can pass such a signal. I’ve got a Vizio that will play Dolby Digital Plus from smart apps, but not pass through a Dolby Digital Plus coming in on an HDMI input. 

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Yes, if the source provides it in Dolby Digital Plus, which is carried by HDMI ARC.

Thanks!

 

What's the easiest way to text it? I have Netflix and Disney+ on my TV (Philips 7303 Android TV ~ 2018) and a PS4 but nothing I play displays the Atmos logo in the Now Playing section of the Sonos app.

System - About does show Dolby Digital Plus though.

Yes, if the source provides it in Dolby Digital Plus, which is carried by HDMI ARC.

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To get Dolby Atmos sound from Sonos Arc, you need to address the following:

  • Connections. Sonos Arc needs to be connected to your TV with an HDMI cord (one is provided with Arc) via an ARC or eARC port (eARC is required for Dolby TrueHD and Dolby MAT).

 

Is this true? So even though my TV doesn’t support eARC I can get Atmos using Sonos Arc connected via HDMI ARC?

I have an older Sharp Aquos that is not eARC.  Would I be able to pick up an Atmos capable a/v receiver that handles all of the device inputs, sends the newer sound codecs to a SONOS Arc and the picture to the TV?  Apologies if an overly simple question - I’m new to all of this.  I’d like to pick up the Arc, but not if I can’t realize the full sound experience.  Thanks.

Please disregard...I think the eARC Arcana plus a switcher is the cheaper answer.

I have an older Sharp Aquos that is not eARC.  Would I be able to pick up an Atmos capable a/v receiver that handles all of the device inputs, sends the newer sound codecs to a SONOS Arc and the picture to the TV?  Apologies if an overly simple question - I’m new to all of this.  I’d like to pick up the Arc, but not if I can’t realize the full sound experience.  Thanks.

Arcana is officially entering production.  You can still pre-order now: https://hdfury.com/product/4k-arcana-18gbps/

FYI: If your TV does not have an eARC Arcana solves the problem.

And lipsync problems! 👍

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Arcana is officially entering production.  You can still pre-order now: https://hdfury.com/product/4k-arcana-18gbps/

FYI: If your TV does not have an eARC Arcana solves the problem.

One of the most exciting features of the new Sonos Arc is its ability to play Dolby Atmos sound. As with all relatively new technology, it’s understandable that you might feel a little confused when it comes to making sure you have a compatible setup for the feature. 

Head’s up—we’ll be talking about things like “codecs,” and “audio formats” below, but don’t panic. We’re here to make sure you understand why those things are important in setting up Arc to play Dolby Atmos. Rest assured that no matter what you’re listening to with Arc, it’s going to sound great. But to get the most out of Arc, it’s worth ensuring that your system is set up to deliver Dolby Atmos. And, as always, we’re here to help. If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Dolby Atmos (as in “atmosphere”) is a format that allows sound to be heard three-dimensionally —including from above! (Arc achieves this by bouncing sound off of the ceiling). To facilitate this experience, Atmos information is contained within an audio wrapper (known as a codec), which has metadata instructing the audio drivers how to direct the sound within your space. 

Arc-compatible codecs that contain Dolby Atmos include Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and Dolby MAT. Most streaming services that have Atmos content use Dolby Digital Plus, while Blu-rays usually use Dolby TrueHD or Dolby MAT. 

To get Dolby Atmos sound from Sonos Arc, you need to address the following:

  1. Connections. Sonos Arc needs to be connected to your TV with an HDMI cord (one is provided with Arc) via an ARC or eARC port (eARC is required for Dolby TrueHD and Dolby MAT).

  2. Compatibility. Every device that ‘touches’ the audio (e.g. Blu-ray player, Apple TV, Fire TV) needs to be able to pass Atmos on to the next in line—from the source of the content to Sonos Arc. For Blu-ray, the individual discs need to have Atmos content and the player needs to be capable of sending Atmos as well.

  3. Apps. Your app (e.g. Netflix, Disney+) needs to be capable of playing Atmos content via your particular TV. 

  4. Content. Your content needs to have Atmos audio in an Arc-supported codec: Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, or Dolby MAT. 

Some things to note:

  • Not every episode of every show may have Atmos, even if the streaming service supports Atmos.

  • A device (such as your TV or a streaming box like the Apple TV) may support Atmos, but not for all apps running on it. 

  • Some devices may not pass Dolby Atmos by default without making some adjustments to audio settings.

We’re happy to help answer questions, but in some cases you may need to contact the manufacturer of certain devices to check compatibility.

When set up properly, your Now Playing screen in the Sonos app will display the Dolby Atmos logo.

 

 

If you have all of the above set up, but are still not getting Dolby Atmos sound, let us know what you’re experiencing in a new thread or join an existing one and we’ll try to help you address the problem.


A fix for lack of earc.

report interest so the product gets off

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/195-soundbars/3153792-hdfury-arcana-earc-adapter-sonos-arc-bose-700-soundbars-4.html#/topics/3153792?page=1
 

I have an LG Projector with ARC. If I connect a Fire TV Cube I get Atmos from Disney Plus, Prime, Tidal, Netflix and Movies anywhere. Not from Appletv app that is not compatible.

If Instead of the FireTV I connect my 4K appletv, there is no immersive sound in options and I can’t get Atmos. I can in my LG TV but not in my projector. The AppleTV does not let me on settings tuen on Atmos.

What could be the reason? If Fire can do it, this is obviously a problem of the AppleTV device or codecs…

 

Thanks

The reason is the ATV uses the multichannel LPCM codec and the Arc does not yet support that format, but sonos staff have said they may (will?)  release an update to support LPCM .. so it’s a case of changing the Apple TV sound-out format to Dolby Digital 5.1 until the Arc firmware is updated.   

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Yes, that’s pretty much what the whole thread about HDFury’s device here is all about. 

Will I need a splitter like Vertex/Vertex2 in addition to the new product called “ARCANA” to achieve this?
 

 

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I have an LG Projector with ARC. If I connect a Fire TV Cube I get Atmos from Disney Plus, Prime, Tidal, Netflix and Movies anywhere. Not from Appletv app that is not compatible.

If Instead of the FireTV I connect my 4K appletv, there is no immersive sound in options and I can’t get Atmos. I can in my LG TV but not in my projector. The AppleTV does not let me on settings tuen on Atmos.

What could be the reason? If Fire can do it, this is obviously a problem of the AppleTV device or codecs…

 

Thanks

Okay, I will just go along with the majority then, that the standalone Arc is 5.0.2 and the old Playbar, Beam etc; are 3.0. Thanks Danny.👍

Not really what I was going for, but ok.

I just stated their formats as described in the arstechnica article... 

www.google.com.au/amp/s/arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/05/the-sonos-arc-is-the-long-awaited-playbar-update-with-dolby-atmos-support/%3Famp=1

Okay, I will just go along with the majority then, that the standalone Arc is 5.0.2 and the old Playbar, Beam etc; are 3.0. Thanks Danny.👍

 

Not really what I was going for, but ok.  I guess I would say that it might be time to stop looking at the number designation.  The Arc is going to give you a better experience than the playbar.  And it’s get’s better when you add rears and sub.  What designation it is at what stage really does matter, just what the experience is.

 

I think that expecially holds true as we are getting more Atmos contect, where it’s not so much about number of speakers as it the experience of getting the sound from the right place.

 

I’m not seeing the case that a ‘standalone’ Arc would be referred to as a 5.0.2 setup? I would class it, in a similar vein, as a 3.0.2 system and perhaps state that it handles the two pseudo rear channels and that the ‘5 phased array channels’ referred to are the Arc’s FR, FL, Center and 2 height channels.

 

 

the impression I got is that a standalone Arc will play rear channels, bouncing them off the side walls  to give somewhat of an appearance that audio is coming for the side/rear….in the same way the upfiring speakers give the appearance of audio coming from above.  I don’t think Sonos wants to advertise this as fully 5.0.2 so as not to mislead customers into thinking the Arc is just as good alone, isn’t compatible, or couldn’t benefit from bonding with rear surround speakers.   I don’t think there’s a good way to say that the rear channels are there, but not as good as real rear channels...if that makes sense.

 

I think the point to consider is that the Arc is going to provide a better, fuller, more surround like experience by itself that a Beam/Playbar/Playbase does by itself.  Whether the Arc alone sounds better than those other options with rear sounds...don’t know.

Okay, I will just go along with the majority then, that the standalone Arc is 5.0.2 and the old Playbar, Beam etc; are 3.0. Thanks Danny.👍

 

I’m not seeing the case that a ‘standalone’ Arc would be referred to as a 5.0.2 setup? I would class it, in a similar vein, as a 3.0.2 system and perhaps state that it handles the two pseudo rear channels and that the ‘5 phased array channels’ referred to are the Arc’s FR, FL, Center and 2 height channels.

 

 

the impression I got is that a standalone Arc will play rear channels, bouncing them off the side walls  to give somewhat of an appearance that audio is coming for the side/rear….in the same way the upfiring speakers give the appearance of audio coming from above.  I don’t think Sonos wants to advertise this as fully 5.0.2 so as not to mislead customers into thinking the Arc is just as good alone, isn’t compatible, or couldn’t benefit from bonding with rear surround speakers.   I don’t think there’s a good way to say that the rear channels are there, but not as good as real rear channels...if that makes sense.

 

I think the point to consider is that the Arc is going to provide a better, fuller, more surround like experience by itself that a Beam/Playbar/Playbase does by itself.  Whether the Arc alone sounds better than those other options with rear sounds...don’t know.

 

 

 

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I’m just slightly confused, as I (and a good many other users here in the community) have often classed (and referred to) a ’standalone’ Sonos Beam and PlayBar, which each do a similar thing with the two rear channels, as being a 3.0 system, when no surrounds/sub are bonded.
 

I’m not seeing the case that a ‘standalone’ Arc would be referred to as a 5.0.2 setup? I would class it, in a similar vein, as a 3.0.2 system and perhaps state that it handles the two pseudo rear channels and that the ‘5 phased array channels’ referred to are the Arc’s FR, FL, Center and 2 height channels.


Not hugely important, but It would be nice to get some clarification perhaps🤔? I also didn’t think it was just the two side-facing speakers (only) that just handled the rear (pseudo) channels, but that’s maybe my misunderstanding from some things that I’ve read and heard about the Arc.

Haha, I think you are very confused. 😉  

Some articles are wrong, for example, calling Arc+2 rears +Sub 7.1.2

This article has the right info though:

https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/05/the-sonos-arc-is-the-long-awaited-playbar-update-with-dolby-atmos-support/%3famp=1
”In general, Sonos refers to the Arc as a 5.0.2 arrangement—with five horizontal surround channels (left, center, right, left surround and right surround) and the two height channels for Atmos content—that converts to 5.0 sound when Atmos isn't in use. Prior Sonos soundbars are 3.0, but like those, you can pair the Arc with Sonos One or One SL speakers as dedicated surrounds and a Sonos Sub as a subwoofer. “

 

 

 

 

 

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https://professional.dolby.com/categories/soundbars/

In numbers such as 5.1.2 and 7.1.2, the first digit represents the number of simulated traditional surround speakers; the second, a subwoofer; and the third, upward-firing speakers supporting Dolby Atmos.

I’m just slightly confused, as I (and a good many other users here in the community) have often classed (and referred to) a ’standalone’ Sonos Beam and PlayBar, which each do a similar thing with the two rear channels, as being a 3.0 system, when no surrounds/sub are bonded.
 

I’m not seeing the case that a ‘standalone’ Arc would be referred to as a 5.0.2 setup? I would class it, in a similar vein, as a 3.0.2 system and perhaps state that it handles the two pseudo rear channels and that the ‘5 phased array channels’ referred to are the Arc’s FR, FL, Center and 2 height channels.


Not hugely important, but It would be nice to get some clarification perhaps🤔? I also didn’t think it was just the two side-facing speakers (only) that just handled the rear (pseudo) channels, but that’s maybe my misunderstanding from some things that I’ve read and heard about the Arc.

I’m not sure what the dynamics are, just going by what has been said in the forum by Sonos guys. 

jgatie,
 

I didn’t think the two Arc’s side facing speakers only were designed to operate as the pseudo rear channels .. I thought those speakers were to ‘mainly’ help expand the front L/R sound stage, but as mentioned I did think that the rear channels were merged into the Arc speakers that were playing the front left and right channels when surrounds were not being used.

If it’s just the two side facing speakers only, then I didn’t realise that the rear audio was confined just to those, I thought it included other FL and FR speakers too. 
 

So if that is the case, then I accept I was mistaken.

ah right, then I must be mistaken again. I thought you had to ‘expand‘ the system and add two rears and sub to get the full 5.1 surround sound as mentioned in the Arc’s online manual. I have attached and highlighted the section I saw.

 

“Full” is a relative term.  Front speakers using audio tricks to simulate surrounds is always going to be inferior to physical surrounds positioned behind the viewer.  I myself would not call simulated surrounds as “Full” 5.1.  OMMV.

Standalone, I assume it’s a 3.0.2 system (FL, FR, Cent + 2 height channels) ...although there maybe some sort of algorithm to merge sound from the rear channels to the front when the surrounds are absent?🤔


The side facing speakers I’m sure are geared to simply also play the FL/FR channels and help broaden the sound stage.

 

To get the full atmos sound surround though, you ideally need the rear surrounds and sub.

Not so. Stand alone the Arc is 5.0.2. The side firing woofers tries to give reflected LR and RR. 

 

when the physical surrounds are bonded, then the side firing woofers will be used to help with the left and right channels. 

ah right, then I must be mistaken again. I thought you had to ‘expand‘ the system and add two rears and sub to get the full 5.1 surround sound as mentioned in the Arc’s online manual. I have attached and highlighted the section I saw. (Edit: I did previously mention though about the two rear channels possibly being merged to the Arc when it’s setup without surrounds).