Sonos has ultimately presented us with an advanced level of the Playbar, and it’s really stunning. Not only by its shape but also by sound quality. The Sonos Arc Soundbar has an upgraded design, advanced features, and cosmic sound. Like the Beam, it only has one HDMI port, which may sound offensive to some. Though, if you have a TV that supports eARC passthrough, you are all set to enjoy the Dolby Atmos audio here. Furthermore, Arc automatically adjusts if you want to expand your system.
The modern Sonos Arc soundbar is possibly the most significant flex of the company’s design, engineering, and technological improvements that we’ve seen yet.
Sonos Arc Soundbar
The Sonos Arc is specially created to associate with the 4K TVs. At 114cm, it is a little wider than a standard modern 49in TV and proportionally best matched with a 55in model. It’s also notably broader than the outgoing Playbar (90cm).
The Playbar was intended to operate in two adjustments, depending on whether it was wall-mounted or fixed on a piece of furniture, but we noticed that it sounded more competent wall-mounted. The curvy pattern assists conceal the Arc’s dimensions and makes it look smooth, but its height dimension of 8.5cm is not negligible.
The Arc’s own status light comprises LEDs that shine through four holes above the exact Sonos logo (there are 76,000 holes in all the grilles combined). By default, these LEDs remain off most of the time and their illumination is tailored to the ambient light in the room even when they are lit.
The touch-sensitive play/pause ‘button’ is fixed into the frame and flanked by two context-sensitive touch panels that you can use to control volume if you use them at all. To the right are the microphone button and a single LED that shows whether the Arc is listening for Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands.
At the rear side of the Arc are the power socket, an ethernet connection for wired networking, and a single HDMI port. An optical adapter is added for those with more traditional TVs, but the purpose is that you use HDMI and use the ARC (Audio Return Channel) functionality to get the sound from your TV to the Arc.
In fact, unlike the Beam, the Arc supports eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), so it can control Dolby Atmos signals from TVs that can output it. Sonos regards that there are now over 25 streaming apps that carry content in Dolby Atmos (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Apple TV, to name just four), so it’s becoming frequently popular.
It’s necessary to note that eARC isn’t necessary for Dolby Atmos transmission. Atmos can be carried using either the Dolby Digital+ format or the higher quality Dolby True HD. A standard ARC connection can handle the former but not the latter.
Obviously, your TV’s features are relevant here. To get True HD Dolby Atmos, your TV requires to not only support eARC but also have pass-through functionality. And just because your TV has eARC or ARC doesn’t mean every one of its streaming apps that should carry Atmos actually will.
The Arc’s Dolby Atmos soundfield is produced by 11 Class D digital amplifiers that power 11 custom drivers. Sonos attributes to the Arc’s composition as 5.0.2, which apparently doesn’t add up to 11 but makes more sense if you consider it as using its 11 drivers to try to replicate the soundfield of a five-channel surround sound system with no subwoofer and two height speakers.
The Arc uses its array of speakers to bounce sound off your walls and ceiling to produce a 3D audio effect and the soundfield is once again tailored to your room using Sonos’ Trueplay technology.
Sonos Arc Price
The Sonos Arc is priced at £799 ($799, AU$1399) and is available to pre-order now, for delivery from 10th June.