What's the best layout for Arc Atmos performance?

  • 28 April 2021
  • 1 reply

I've got to admit, I'm a little disappointed with the Atmos performance of my Arc. My room seems like it is perfect for the way that the Arc bounces audio to simulate height speakers, but I don't really hear any discernible difference between 5.1 and Atmos sources - certainly not in terms of height and the sound bubble effect that Atmos is meant to bring.

The room is 3.8m wide, and 3m to the back of the couch, with a ceiling height of 2.6m. Arc is on a tv unit, at about the same height as the seats (45cm from ground).

I'm playing Atmos sources via the AppleTV+, Disney+ and Netflix apps on a 4K Apple Tv, using a HD Fury Arcana to split this out to the Arc. The Sonos app shows the Atmos logo when playing back the appropriate sources, so I'm confident its definitely Atmos content.

I've tried several things to try and improve the height effect, but have had no joy so far. Every time I've tweaked positioning, I've re-run Trueplay.

  • What's the ideal placement for the Arc in terms of distance given my room size? Currently it sits towards the back on the tv unit, at a distance of 2.6m from the seating position. Should it be nearer the front of the unit?

  • I've tried to change the Arc angle by using small plastic risers at the back to try and get the ceiling bounce to focus on the couch, but can't find any angle that makes the height discernible.

  • Is it possible the seating position is actually too close to the Arc, and that the height speakers are bouncing behind the couch? Is there a calculation that can be made to triangulate the bounce position based on the upfiring speakers, seating distance and ceiling height?

  • Is there anything else that can be done to improve the Atmos effect? As it stands currently I'm considering selling on the Arcana and just resigning my Arc to 5.1 only (which does sound amazing) rather than worry about Atmos, but that feels like a waste.

And one final thing ... which is the better placement for my Play:1 rears? Currently I have them in Rears Behind layout below (facing directly forward towards the screen), but I suspect Rears Side would be a preferred layout. In that position should they be angled pointing directly towards the couch, at a 45 degree pointing into the room, or facing the screen?


Any help/advice very much appreciated.

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1 reply

Userlevel 7

Because the Arc uses two upward firing drivers to bounce the sound off of the ceiling, height effects from Dolby Atmos audio are usually going to be very subtle and sometimes non-existent. Upward firing speakers from a soundbar will never be as convincing as actual in-ceiling speakers. But there are a few small adjustments you can make to get the most out of your Arc.

  1. Move the Arc to the front edge of your console.
  2. If possible, move the couch closer to the Arc about a foot. Ideally you want to be seated between 6-8 ft from the Arc.
  3. Place the surround speakers behind you and at an angle facing the couch:

Be sure to redo Trueplay tuning after making these adjustments.

You may also consider getting a Blu-ray or UHD player. Lossless Dolby TrueHD/Atmos audio from a Blu-ray disc is far more convincing than lossy Dolby Digital Plus/Atmos audio from a streaming service.