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I just setup my new Sonos Arc, Why is it worse than my playbar

  • 27 February 2024
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I’ve had the sonos playbar for years, and i decided to “upgrade it”….  how is it possible it sounds noticeably worse.. very poor bass response, and i need to raise the volume significantly higher for the same desirable sound level in the room….

 

have others felt this level of disappointment? is it just assumed you need to have a subwoofer? when i didn’t need one before?

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Best answer by buzz 28 February 2024, 01:28

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Di you perform a Trueplay?

Volume is just a number.

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I’ve had the sonos playbar for years, and i decided to “upgrade it”….  how is it possible it sounds noticeably worse.. very poor bass response, and i need to raise the volume significantly higher for the same desirable sound level in the room….

 

have others felt this level of disappointment? is it just assumed you need to have a subwoofer? when i didn’t need one before?

 

IMO Playbar sounds better than Arc, particularly at louder volumes. Better is subjective, so go with what you like not the hype.

as an update.. i added a couple sonos 1 speakers i’ve had for years into the room.. and overall the experience of multiple speaks added some addition richness to the sounds… ultimately i think the soundbar was naturally has a better full sound than the arc, but the arc does have very clear mid and high ranges.. sounds great with spoken voices

With respect to the Volume number there is a large class of listeners who equate low numbers and high output with “powerful”. Low end, department store merchandise capitalizes on this by creating a very aggressive Volume control profile. As I walk the isles, I hear people remarking about a “powerful” unit that gets very loud when they just “crack” the control. For me these units are very difficult to control if you want to listen quietly. The units tend to be loud or off.

High end equipment tends to use a gentler Volume profile that allows better control at the lower settings. It’s common when a person in the above class moves up to high end equipment that they feel that the new equipment seems less “powerful” because of the higher number when in fact it is much more powerful.

Another aspect of “loud” is distortion. We tend to keep raising the Volume until distortion becomes obvious — this is then declared as “loud”. In my college apartment we could run at levels that made verbal communication very difficult (with low distortion), yet guests would constantly yell in our ears, with cupped hands, “turn it up” because it didn’t seem “loud” yet. This same crew in another apartment listening to a cheap compact unit that was obviously struggling, never said “turn it up”. Conversation was easy.

In my opinion SONOS is struggling with “loud”. If SONOS changes the Volume control profile to allow better control at low Volumes, then there are complaints of “not as powerful” because the Volume number might be higher for equivalent output. If SONOS leans toward “powerful”, then there are complaints from those who want to listen quietly at night.

The detail of equating distorted with “loud” is tricky with SONOS. In this respect SONOS will never sound “loud” because the units are designed to never enter this high distortion mode. Units will reduce Volume or shut down rather than enter this often destructive mode.

That said, only you know what sounds “best” (to you).

Hi All final update on all of this…

 

I have owned plenty of Higher end sound equipment.. and as i mentioned in the original post, i replaced a SONOS soundbar with a SONOS Arc, anc instantly could tell the ARC was an inferior sounding product… if you take into account a less full sound bass response and range… the mids and highs were fine.. but without bass it sounded weak… I have since solved this by adding some surrounds, and adding a Sub-Mini to the room, and it finally has more of what i was looking for…

but for the record.. the soundbar was a better product than what replaced it.. to my ears

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