The Sonos Arc, currently one of the home theatre soundbars that has generated the most buzz among consumers, is going to be the focus of today’s review. The Sonos Arc, priced at 1 lakh rupees is the newest addition to the company’s line of high-end home audio products, features a number of cutting-edge technologies that, when combined, produce a soundscape that is simultaneously vibrant and encompassing.
Because of its high-quality music, gorgeous appearance, and compatibility with a wide variety of devices, the Sonos Arc has garnered a great deal of attention from those who are knowledgeable about audio.
The Sonos Arc will serve as the primary topic of discussion throughout this evaluation, during which an in-depth analysis of the product’s features, capabilities, and overall value will be provided. Come along with us as we investigate the Sonos Arc and find out if it really is as good as the hype indicates it is. If you are a home theatre enthusiast or simply want better music from your TV, this is the article for you.
Build And Design
The Sonos Arc Soundbar is a stylish and cutting-edge addition to any home theatre. Its 45-inch width makes it better suited for use with larger TVs than the Sonos Beam. The speaker is offered in two different colors—black and white—and features a sleek matte finish. The numerous speakers and tweeters are concealed behind a seamless acoustic fabric that covers the soundbar’s front. The LED light at the top of the Sonos Arc serves as an indicator and can be used to adjust volume, play/pause, and mute the microphone. An Ethernet connector, an HDMI port, an optical audio port, and a power input can all be found on the soundbar’s rear.
The Sonos Arc can be used on a tabletop or affixed to the wall; a wall-mounting kit is included in the box for the former option. The soundbar can be easily added to an existing home entertainment system because it is compatible with a wide range of third-party mounting brackets. The Sonos Arc’s upward-firing drivers are one of its most distinctive design elements, allowing for Dolby Atmos and 3D sound. The Trueplay function of the soundbar utilises your phone’s microphone to assess the acoustics of the listening space and optimise the soundbar’s output accordingly.
Once set up, the Arc’s 273-degree screen conceals the front-mounted and upward-firing speaker array from view. A driver protected by a shield is located at both ends. The Arc’s svelte appearance is a result of its curved design, which conceals the fact that it measures in at 8.5cm in height. It’s highly improbable that would be high enough to obstruct the view of your TV screen, but it could potentially interfere with the signals sent by your remote. At least it would if not for the built-in IR transmitter that is always on and performs perfectly in our tests.
LEDs illuminate the Arc’s own status light through four openings above the understated Sonos logo (fun fact: there are 76,000 holes in all the grilles combined). Most of the time, these LEDs are turned off, and even when they are on (to change the volume, for instance), their brightness is adjusted based on the level of natural light in the room.
Embedded in the frame is a touch-sensitive “play/pause” ‘button,” with two additional touch panels on either side for optional audio control. The microphone button and a single LED that shows whether the Arc is tuned to Alexa or Google Assistant speech commands can be found on the device’s right side. The Sonos Arc is a high-quality soundbar that looks and sounds fantastic thanks to its meticulous construction and thoughtful design.
On the base of the Arc is where you’ll find not only the power jack but also the HDMI interface, which is the only one of its kind. An optical adapter is included for users with older TVs, but for the very best audio clarity, the functionality of the HDMI and ARC (Audio Return Channel) ports is recommended instead.
Actually, in contrast to the first generation Beam and the Ray, the Arc is equipped with support for eARC, which stands for enhanced audio return channel. This enables it to process Dolby Atmos signals of a higher quality when they are produced by televisions that are capable of doing so. According to Sonos, more than 25 different streaming services (just to mention a few: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Apple TV) now offer users the ability to access content that is encoded in Dolby Atmos.
In addition, streaming of Dolby Atmos can be done without the use of eARC. It is possible to broadcast Atmos using either Dolby Digital+ or, more ideally, the superior Dolby True HD format. While the first one can use a regular ARC connection, the second one cannot. eARC is a technology that allows higher bit rate Atmos sound to be passed from an external source, such as a 4K Blu-ray player or Xbox, through the TV, and on to the Arc. This is done in order to compensate for the current state of streaming services, which all use Dolby Digital+ for the Atmos soundtracks they provide.
It goes without saying that functionality in television is essential. To get the most out of the Dolby Atmos and True HD surround sound experience, you need a screen that supports eARC and has pass-through capabilities. Even if your Screen supports eARC or ARC, it does not guarantee that all Atmos-compatible streaming applications will function properly on it.
After putting the Arc through its paces with a diverse selection of high-quality televisions, we can state with confidence that your results may differ depending on the make and model of your television as well as its age. Dolby Atmos streaming is indicated in the Now Playing section of the Sonos app, and the format can be confirmed in the About My System menu. We were able to get True HD Atmos from our Oppo UDP-203 Blu-ray player to play through the Arc as well as Dolby Atmos from the TV’s native applications after doing some tinkering with the options on the TV itself.
However, although more recent Samsung phones are able to stream Atmos content from both internal and external sources, the older Samsung Q7F that we still have lying around is unable to do so. In a nutshell, an earlier screen has a greater chance of being compatible with the Atmos surround sound format. This would not be a problem if the Arc had more HDMI inputs, which would enable it to receive audio directly from an external source without having to go through the TV; however, doing so would make the setup more complicated and less streamlined.
The Dolby Atmos sound system in The Arc is powered by 11 Class D digital amplifiers and features 11 customised speakers. The Beam houses a total of nine drivers, eight of which are generated from the elliptical woofers (four along the front, two on top, and one at each end), and three of which are silk-domed tweeters built into the front, with two firing diagonally into the room. The elliptical woofers are arranged as follows: four along the front, two on top, and one at each end.
Sonos has designated this configuration as 5.0.2, which does not add up to 11, because the Arc employs its eleven drivers to mimic the surround sound of a five-channel system with no bass and two height speakers. Although there are rumours that a new miniature Sub that is lesser in power will soon be released, if you have a Sub Gen 3 in your system, you are already at the top.
By transforming the ceiling and the walls into additional speakers, the collection of speakers in The Arc enables a surround sound experience that can be experienced from any angle. Once again, the soundscape is customised to be the ideal size for your space by the Sonos Trueplay technology. In spite of the fact that it has an additional stereo layer, setting up the soundbar is exactly the same as setting up any other Sonos speaker. It will play a number of test tones, and your iOS device will pick them up (Android devices are still not supported).
The Sonos app also contains controls for adjusting the bass and treble levels as well as turning off the Loudness function, but it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever use them. If you don’t want the kids to wake up, you can use Night Sound, which reduces the volume of the bass and dynamics, and Speech Augmentation, which tries to amplify the volume of the speaker’s voice. The most recent Sonos S2 technology is the only one that can be used with the Arc, which was introduced in June of 2020. Because some of the older Sonos products aren’t even marginally compatible with S2, you’ll need to upgrade everything else to S2 before you can use the Arc. This is because some of the older Sonos products were released before S2.
If you have the Sonos Arc, you won’t even need to launch the Sonos app to listen to your music. AirPlay 2 is now recognised as a playback device by the most recent versions of Spotify and Tidal for iOS, enabling you to stream virtually any music file from your iOS device. Because of the four far-field microphones that are mounted along the chassis, voice command through Alexa and Google Assistant is feasible at any volume.
In addition, the Arc’s built-in HDMI-CEC communication allows it to automatically power on and switch to the TV audio when your television is turned on. The intensity of your Arc can be adjusted using the remote control of your TV, and you can also activate the TV by simply speaking into the microphone. By connecting a Google Chromecast or an Amazon Fire TV stick to your television, you will be able to use voice commands to locate particular content on your screen (using an HDMI cable).
The sound quality of the Sonos Arc is exceptional, and it offers a complete and enveloping soundstage that will appeal to audiophiles as well as moviegoers. A full-range, dramatic sound is produced by the soundbar’s 11 high-performance speakers, two of which fire upwards. The soundbar also features two drivers that fire downwards. One of the most impressive aspects of the Sonos Arc is that it is compatible with Dolby Atmos and a variety of other 3D audio formats. As a result of this, the subwoofer has the ability to create the illusion that you are in the middle of the action, with sound approaching you from all directions.
But the Sonos Arc is so much more than just a powerful music system that it defies categorization. In addition to this, it offers an unprecedented level of sharpness and specificity, which makes it possible to hear every note, phrase, and sound effect with a level of accuracy that is unrivalled. Every tone, but particularly those in the middle and higher ranges, is crystal clear and detailed without becoming grating or intrusive. This is true across the entire tonal spectrum.
Another feature that sets the Sonos Arc apart from the competition is the fact that it does not require an additional speaker to be set up. Your music and videos will have more depth and power as a result of the soundbar’s integrated bass drivers, which are powerful and accurate. They produce a sound that is full and robust.
The sound quality of the Sonos Arc is exceptional, and it also comes with a wide variety of customization options that you can experiment with to fine-tune the playback to your personal preferences. You are able to adjust the soundbar’s EQ settings, volume, and other parameters via the Sonos app to better meet your preferences. The Sonos Arc delivers a listening experience that is robust, immersive, and detailed to a level that can satiate the requirements of the most demanding audiophile. The sound quality of the Sonos Arc is truly extraordinary.
The Arc’s small but well-controlled bass and slight lack of directness to music are our only real gripes with it. It delivers one of the most immersive Dolby Atmos experiences we’ve ever heard from a speaker, and it does so at a very reasonable price. The Sony HT-A7000 and the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar are its only genuinely superior alternatives, but they are also extremely expensive.
The Arc’s skills go beyond those of a regular speaker in other respects as well. This Bluetooth speaker can be operated by speech or an accompanying app, plays music from virtually any streaming service, and can even be combined with other Sonos devices to create a 5.1 surround sound system or a multi-room system.
When a multifunctional device hits the market, people take note. The fact that, over two years after its release, it is still a top contender in its market speaks volumes about its outstanding quality. Reassure yourself; the Sonos Arc is a top-notch piece of gear.