Suitable room size and shape for Sonos Arc?

  • 12 September 2020
  • 7 replies

Hello everyone, 

I have been eyeing the Sonos Arc for a few weeks now, and after much research, I have come to the conclusion that my TV (an LG B8) should work, and I am close to pulling the trigger. 

There is however one thing holding me back. I have read that in order to get the best performance from the Arc, you should ideally have a relatively square small living room, and I have…not quite that. 

So I was hoping to get a sense of, how well the Sonos Arc would work in my living room which is on these pictures below. Can I expect the surround effect to work reasonably well, or will the height of the ceiling and size of the room swallow the sound?

I have two spare Play:1’s, which I plan to use as rear speakers, but due to the price-tag, I plan to hold off on the Sub for now. 

Thank you so much in advance for your input - I really appreciate it





Best answer by tracker 14 September 2020, 11:34

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7 replies

Userlevel 5
Badge +13

Hi @RasmusBang, welcome to the Sonos Community! Thanks for sharing your set up with us and it’s amazing. 

Appreciate your interest in the Sonos product as well. You can always place your speaker or Arc specifically in your desired location. You can tune your Sonos speakers with Trueplay and we are confident that you will love your Sonos Arc, however, if you are unsatisfied for any reason, simply get back to us for the return process. 

We can also wait here with other user’s experiences that they can share with us. 

Here’s more about the Sonos Arc and how to reach out to Sales for better recommendations. 

Let us know if this helps. We and the community are always here to help.

Userlevel 4
Badge +6

Yikes!  Normally I would call @Krishma M ‘s answer unhelpful, i.e. “try it and see...”  But in this case, that’s the right answer: You have a concave bay window vs. an open-end, a ceiling slanting *across* the listening area (at two different slopes to boot), and irregular/cut-out reflective surfaces mostly everywhere (despite a rug, sofa, and window shades)!  So forget about simple reflections of surround channels off the side walls & height channels off the ceiling. 

You also apparently have a budget for beer (worried about the price tag of a Sub) and a taste for champagne (Bang & Olufsen Pentas in the study area, a BeoLab 35 under the TV, and are those BeoVox CX70’s in the dining area?).  Except for your heating bill, I am *totally* jealous!!! -- and being equally unhelpful, sorry... 

So yeah, you are probably right that it isn’t going to work, but “try it and see” whether TruePlay can make anything at all of its measurements, and definitely stretch to buy a Sub too, even though just one isn’t enough to give theater realism to your huge volume.  At the very least, the Sonos Arc + Sub will have a bit more power than the BL35, but it might be spreading it across multiple channels, leaving you with about the same impression at your sofa as you get now.  But having Play:1 surround speakers, even wimpy ones in a large area, will make more of a difference than you might imagine.  Absolutely set them up before running TruePlay.  I might even order a Beam to simply do the front channels without the reflective channels and rely solely on the Play:1’s for surround.  It sounds simpler to me, but who knows what will work…  Also the cheaper Beam will give you $400 spare to make the price of the Sub less of a bite.  Just plan on doing the setup, test listen, and tear-down, returning one of the front speakers, and maybe the sub if you can bear to let it go, during Sonos’s return window for your country.

The obvious alternative for you is unappealing: A used B&O Stage, even if you could get one for a reasonable price, will have the same problem with side-ish/upward-ish -firing speakers, and no surrounds and no TruePlay to at least try to make sense of the room.  (Stage would have more bass and maybe not need the sub so much though.)  Another option available to you is to get a used BeoSystem 3 and move the Pentas beside the wall cabinet and route center channel to both left & right channels of the BeoLab 35, leaving you with simple L/C/R in the front, and not even trying to get surround or height reflections.  You might, in that case, get a BeoAmp1 and drive the dining room speakers as (slightly inadequate and mis-positioned) rears. 

Having any surround, even bad surround, really is transformative if you intend to watch movies -- as is a subwoofer, IMO.  But if you watch mostly concert videos, Pentas as L/R of a simple L/C/R setup will sound better.

Anybody rocking vintage equipment will not like the wastefulness of buying more than you need on a credit card and then returning what you don’t like or cannot afford.  But get over your scruples and try both ways of running the Sonos setup, Beam vs. Arc, *and* with/without Sub, even though you plan to return of some -- or all -- of it.  Truly, @RasmusBang , I am jealous of your living quarters and hope you get sound you can live with!

Thank you so much for your thorough and very helpful answer @tracker! You are almost right concerning my current setup (the B&O Pentas and the CX70’s). However looks are deceiving, as the soundbar under my TV is unfortunately not a BeoLab 35, but merely an old and not particularly good Sony soundbar (an HTCT260), which is also why I figured it was time for an upgrade. 

It is a good point about merely springing for a Beam rather than an Arc, and let the rear speakers (coupled with Sub), do the heavy lifting. On that note, would a Playbar work as well or better than a Beam? I’m seeing a lot of them for sale, as people are upgrading to the Arc.

And thanks for the kind words about the place. Other than the TV and speakers, the credit completely goes to my wife :D


Userlevel 4
Badge +6

I don’t know about Playbar vs. Beam.  Hope someone else replies.  The one thing you don’t get with a used PlayBar (or a used Gen2 Sub) is buy-and-return privilege. 

Sounds like you hope not to move the Pentas over to the TV, but my comments about L/C/R are mostly true even if you do L/R only and rely on “phantom center”.  The Pentas sound very good, *and* have a reasonable amount of bass.  No surround decoding like the Sonos, without a BeoSystem 3 or 4, alas.

So… anybody else?!??  Is there a thread here about Beam vs. Playbar?

Yes, you’re very right about me being stuck with it, if I buy a 2nd hand Playbar (and sub) - that is definitely something to consider, although it should be possible to get some good comparisons between the two. 

As for moving the Pentas - I actually haven’t though about that. I think I’ll need to dig a little deeper into what is possible and what isn’t with the specific models that I have, and what I might need to go out and buy, in order to get it working

Userlevel 4
Badge +6

[Sorry, forum wouldn’t let me edit after a reply.  Here’s the thread:


Great! Thank you so much!!