Sonos Arc review: The all-in-one Atmos soundbar to beat

The original Sonos Playbar was a standout merchandise when it appeared on the current market in 2013: It was a major soundbar that provided both of those multiroom songs and a simple one-cable connection to your Television set. Its age has commenced to display in the seven a long time due to the fact, even so, and I’ve developed to like quite a few other Television set speakers greater, which includes Sonos’ own Playbase and Beam. Immediately after a pair of weeks listening to the all-new Sonos Arc, I can report Sonos has as soon as once more lifted the bar. The Arc is simply one of the very best soundbars you can obtain.


  • Great sound for every thing from Dolby Atmos videos to jazz piano
  • All-in-one unit will not require a subwoofer
  • Characteristic-packed which includes voice assistant and multiroom songs

Don’t Like

  • Solitary HMDI eARC port boundaries Atmos
  • Additional expensive than other single-bar opponents
  • No Bluetooth streaming

As terrific as the new $799 (£799, AU$one,399) Arc appears, it is not without having its caveats. If you’re hungering for a soundbar that can do Dolby Atmos, the Sonos’ reliance on a single HDMI port indicates you may require a model-spanking new Television set and even a new set-major box such as the Apple Television set 4K. Luckily, the Arc appears terrific with non-Atmos resources much too, from stereo songs to Dolby Digital surround. It presents crisp sonics and incredibly deep bass for a unit without having a subwoofer.

It really is also not the very best price in Atmos soundbars these days. The fantastic Vizio SB36512-F6 and the new Sony HT-G700 both price tag a lot less and offer a 2nd HDMI input as effectively as a subwoofer. In the meantime the Sennheiser Ambeo may be the very best all-in-one Atmos ‘bar I’ve heard, period, but it charges 3 situations as significantly as the Arc. 

In contrast to the 3 contenders I just pointed out, even so, the Arc performs with Sonos’ excellent multiroom songs technique and it has crafted-in Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant (your get in touch with) for trouble-free of charge voice manage. It also provides a lovely layout, outstanding sound quality and a terrific user working experience. If you’re wanting for a feature-packed soundbar and really don’t require the punch of a subwoofer, the Arc is my new favorite in its price tag range.

Sonos Arc

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Trim single speaker packed with functions

The Arc is extended and sleek at forty five inches broad, three.four inches tall and four.5 inches deep. The curvaceous cabinet arrives in black or white, and it certainly appears to be like and feels like a high quality merchandise, exemplified by a mesh grill and touch-primarily based controls. The speaker has a total of 8 elliptical woofers, which includes upfiring drivers for Dolby Atmos consequences, and 3 “specifically angled” silk-dome tweeters.

The Arc has a four considerably-area microphone array to greater decide up voice instructions when your songs is blaring. As I analyzed the Sonos with a beta version of the Sonos software package, I was not ready to get Google Assistant doing the job, but Amazon Alexa worked just good. The speaker was not ready to listen to above utmost quantity dialog — even when I shouted — but with songs at a normal quantity I was ready to use my talking voice. When compared to other clever speakers it premiums as about ordinary in conditions of “listening” general performance, with the Apple HomePod remaining the very best I’ve analyzed.

Sonos Arc

Contact controls increase to the high-end experience

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As a Wi-Fi primarily based technique the Arc involves onboard wireless as effectively as an Ethernet port. Like other Sonos speakers the Arc involves compatibility with Apple Airplay and Spotify Hook up, and sadly just like the many others it lacks Bluetooth streaming.

The Sonos ecosystem is in the procedure of transferring to version S2, which appears to be like the identical as the past app, but consists of a ton of qualifications adjustments. A single major alter is that people today will never be ready to update their legacy Sonos gadgets including the primary ZonePlayers and the initially Engage in:5, but it also indicates the Arc to is ready use hi-res audio such as Dolby Atmos.

Observe that the soundbar will not involve a actual physical remote manage. Consumers can both decide for their primary Television set remote (utilizing HDMI-CEC manage) or the Sonos app by itself.

A single HDMI, lots of phrases of explanation

A single of the principal “functions” of this soundbar, according to Sonos, is simplicity. It has just one audio connection: a single HDMI port. Buckle in, simply because the factors why that is a possible dilemma are not simple at all.

Initial off, the Arc uses HDMI ARC and its successor eARC to obtain audio from your television, which includes the Dolby Atmos structure. ARC, or Audio Return Channel, is a know-how that enables the TV’s crafted-in streaming apps, and gadgets you link to the Television set, to send out audio to a linked speaker above a single HDMI cable. Fundamentally, you plug the Arc soundbar into your TV’s HDMI ARC port and your other gear into the TV’s other HDMI ports. Then sound from every thing plays although the bar. If your Television set will not have HDMI at all, the speaker also involves an optical input for normal Dolby Digital decoding.

Sonos Arc

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Since it gets audio only through that HDMI port linked to your Television set, the Arc’s Atmos capability is in the end confined by your Television set. If you have a newer 4K Television set then this probably will never be a dilemma. Streamers like the Roku Streaming Adhere As well as, Apple Television set 4K, Amazon Fire Television set Adhere 4K or Nvidia Shield can output Dolby Atmos streams through Dolby Digital As well as utilizing a standard HDMI ARC connection. Hook up one to a newer Television set and it will pass the Atmos stream to your Arc soundbar, if one is offered. 

That’s a major “if,” even so, in portion simply because not all streaming gadgets support Atmos on all solutions. In addition if you have an more mature 1080p Television set then you will never get Dolby Atmos at all — your Television set demands to be built from 2016 onwards to be ready to passthrough Dolby Digital As well as.

In the meantime 4K Blu-ray calls for an even newer Television set, one that supports eARC, to supply Atmos to the Arc. That’s simply because 4K Blu-ray employs a better-bandwidth version of Atmos than streaming solutions, one that only performs above eARC. If Dolby Atmos is of utmost value to you, in particular if you have a library of 4K Blu-ray discs, then you will require a 2019 or later on Television set with an eARC port to get the Arc to play Atmos with each supply.

Sonos Arc

The app tells you when you’re finding Atmos.

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And there’s a further Atmos wrinkle: setup. A 2019 Sony X950G Television set I utilised for screening did not support eARC by default — I continue to had to futz all around with the Television set menu for it to pass Dolby Atmos. You may require to test your individual handbook on how to get this to work.

I did value that the Now Participating in web page of the Sonos app displays a Dolby Atmos symbol when it detects both a Dolby Digital As well as or Dolby TrueHD-primarily based immersive stream, so at minimum there’s an straightforward way to convey to when you’re finding Atmos.

Enjoyable sound and stunning bass

I utilised the Sonos Arc with a number of distinctive TVs — the Sony X950G Liquid crystal display, the Samsung D8000 plasma, the Samsung 6 series Liquid crystal display — in two distinctive rooms. I observed that the sound of the place, a lot more so than the HDMI abilities of the Television set, dictates how excellent the speaker appears. If you want utmost surround and height consequences you will require a square or rectangular place with the soundbar positioned at one end. A single of the areas in which I listened to the Arc was the corner of an irregularly shaped place and there were being practically no width consequences. Your mileage may change.

You may require a newer Television set to listen to Atmos consequences and see that Dolby symbol in the Sonos app, but if you really don’t have a newer Television set, you might not even miss out on Atmos. I listened to a host of distinctive materials above a pair of weeks — from Television set exhibits to videos to Dolby Atmos Songs to movie online games. In all cases, the Arc sounded outstanding and well balanced if most likely a tiny reticent in the treble — very little that tweaking the onboard EQ could not correct. In contrast to with the bass-shy Sonos Beam, I in no way felt like I essential a subwoofer with the Arc. This is a single speaker that can thump.

I in contrast the Sonos Arc head-to-head against the Sony G700 and it should really have been no contest — the Sony has a wireless sub and a separate HDMI input, ensuring complete Atmos compatibility. The winner was not so clear-lower, even so. The Arc sounded a ton a lot more open than the boxy Sony, and in particular excellent with tunes like Adele’s Sense My Enjoy. Other soundbars can tend toward brassiness on this observe, but the Arc’s sound was quick and infectious — it sounded reasonable from even the following place.

Furthermore when I switched to Sonos’ new Brittany Howard-curated radio station. Charles Mingus’ piano on Myself When I Am Genuine sounded a lot more organic than on any other soundbar that I can remember, enable alone one without having a subwoofer.


Ty Pendlebury

Gotye’s Hearts A Mess had the Arc throwing its voice all around quickly, with the strings coming from the corner of the place and snare drums from the curtains. Who demands a observe with 360 Reality Audio when you can listen to this? Certain it is significantly a lot more chaotic, but it is just as satisfying. The Arc just isn’t the very best alternative for so-termed deep listening, it is a lot more of a fun reasonable. The song did sound a tiny a lot more alongside one another on the Sony and a lot more impacting much too — it sounded like singer Wally De Backer was building his pleas straight to me. 

When listening to videos above my time with the speaker I was continually astonished by the quantity of deep-end heft the Sonos was able of. It would sound greater with the sub, confident, but you really don’t require it. 

I in the beginning had issues tracking down a Dolby Atmos stream of Max Mad: Fury Road, but I finally observed one with the Vudu app on the Apple Television set 4K. In the opening scene, as the credits rolled and disembodied voices danced about the place, both of those the Sony and the Sonos provided crisp dialog and a tremendous-broad soundstage. The Sony had a lot more authority on the deep notes of the Charger’s engine but sound consequences were being a lot more localized all around the speaker with no serious height info. The Sonos sent a greater sense of back-to-entrance movement as the pursuing War Boys lept above the camera on their bikes and autos.

Sonos Arc

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Really should you obtain it?

The Sonos Arc is now the firm’s most expensive merchandise, but it presents sound quality and benefit that none of the other Sonos soundbars can match. Though the Arc may not be truly worth the up grade from the Playbase (which also had terrific bass) it is truly worth contemplating for both of those entrepreneurs of the Beam and the Playbar. Even if you really don’t use the Dolby Atmos functions, the soundbar presents an outstanding feature set and terrific sound for each other type of written content — from jazz to rock to action videos. 

In contrast to the Beam, you really don’t require to increase the new Sonos sub (which then tends to make that collective package all around $one,one hundred) and that tends to make the Arc greater price total. Certain, you can obtain soundbars that offer separate subs and a glut of functions but none ooze the sophistication or the sonic clarity of the Sonos Arc. If your shoplist involves a single “clever” sound bar that does Dolby Atmos, then the Sonos Arc is the product to defeat.