It has been a long time coming, but finally, Sonos has made the push into Dolby Atmos home theatre audio. The companies first Dolby Atmos product comes in the way of the Sonos Arc, a $999 CAD Soundbar that is set to replace the Playbar, their previous high-end soundbar option. Sonos is also discontinuing the Playbase, the under-the-TV speaker as of today, leaving only two options moving forward for home theatre audio, this new Arc, and the Beam.
The Arc is said to be one of the most advanced speakers to date, featuring eleven class-D digital amplifiers, eight elliptical woofers and three angled silk-dome tweeters. There are also four far-field microphones allowing the Arc to use a virtual assistant such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
As with most soundbars, the center channel focuses on dialogue clarity, allowing you to hear what is being said within a movie or other media. The left and right channels, along with the surround and up-firing speakers, work to increase a sense of immersion and spaciousness of the audio building a full soundscape. As with all Sonos products, the Arc is built to play music, delivering neutral audio on the ultra-wide soundscape the speakers on offer within the device.
The Arc can play PCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Atmos Audio. DTS and mulichannel PCM are not support on the device. The Arc will also adjust based on the audio on offer, so if there is no Atmos in the current media, the system will adapt with up-firing speakers adjusting accordingly.
As with the Beam, the Arc will feature Sonos TruePlay technology to tune the speaker based on the room. The Arc will, however, take into account the height of the room in its room profile to help refine the Atmos playback. Sadly, as has been the case for a while, you will need an iOS based device with the app installed to take full advantage of the TruePlay calibration due to the wide range of speakers and mics available on Android-based phones and tablets.
As with the with the Sonos Beam, the Arc comes with an HDMI e-arc port on the back of the device for connection with the TV, although there is an optional optical audio adapter should your TV not support the newer standard.
The Arc now stands as the top-end of the Home-theater options from Sonos. As is true of past soundbars, for optimal audio, the Arc will work best when paired with stereo rear speakers, and a Sonos Sub to get the full spectrum of audio Sonos can deliver. The Sonos Arc can be pre-ordered at Sonos.com for $999 CAD ($799 USD) and will launch on June 10, 2020.