Sonos Arc Review

Amazing Audio With Smarts

Sonos Arc Review
Sonos logo

Sonos Arc

Brutalist Review Style (Version 2)

As TV’s get smaller, the audio is the area that suffers the most. There is only so much sound you can pump out when you’re only working with less than half an inch of space. There are many options out there for people that love a minimal setup, and love audio, but few sound as good as the Sonos Arc soundbar. This flagship TV audio solution from Sonos puts other soundbars to shame and, looking at the features, it is easy to see why.

Sonos has long stood as one of the best audio you can buy for your home. With their module nature, you can slowly invest to build out the perfect system, and when they sound as good as they do, it is a sound investment in quality sound for your home. As technology evolves, so has Sonos, bringing the latest and greatest to the range of products they have on offer.

The Sonos Arc feels like the evolution of all their experience, bringing some of the best TV audio you can experience without diving into some truly expensive offerings. While the Sonos Beam is a great option for smaller rooms, the Arc brings a cinematic experience to the living room in a minimal package, making the onboard TV speakers seem truly horrible in comparison.

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Out of the box, the Sonos Arc looks stunning in any setup. The simple design and clean lines make it fit modern furniture as well as classic tastes perfectly, blending in perfectly while managing to maintain a level of polish few audio devices manage. The Arc is a much bigger offering than the Beam or the now older Playbar, measuring 45 inches with the speaker grill covering most of the front visible area, making it built to bring audio to larger 65’’ and up TVs.

Inside the Arc, you will find three tweeters for high tones and eight woofers for midrange and lower bass sound. With the ideal setup of your couch right in front of your TV and the Arc, you will have four of the drivers aiming directly at you, two positioned out the left and right sides, and two of them send sound upward. This arrangement allows the Arc to simulate a surround sound environment, and can reproduce surround from movies or games encoded with Dolby Atmos.

“Out of the box, the Sonos Arc looks stunning in any setup. The simple design and clean lines make it fit modern furniture as well as classic tastes perfectly…”

You, sadly, will need to ensure you have an HDMI eArc port to take full advantage of what the Sonos Arc has to offer. While there are plenty of soundbars on the market that don’t need this port to fully function, it sadly is a requirement to experience all Dolby Atmos has to offer. Thankfully, most TVs made in the last few years should have this standard, although you should confirm before purchasing.

Much like all the new Sonos products, you can tune your system with the Sonos app, provided you have an iPhone or an iOS-based device. The process sends a bunch of tones into the room, and as you walk around your room as the app directs, it changes how the audio is delivered to try and give the best experience possible. Honestly, in our test environment, I did not notice all that much difference from before the test to after, but it already sounded amazing before I even ran the test, so that only makes sense.

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The Sound of Games and Movies

The Sonos Arc is limited compared to a full wired system, simply due to the fact it can only do so much with the speakers it has onboard. Even with this limitation, the Arc manages to blanket a standard size room in audio, and give enough height to the sound to fully immerse you in the media you are enjoying. There are only so many options to enjoy the full extent of what Dolby Atmos has to offer, but if you have an Xbox Series X, you should have a few titles on Game Pass that should let you see what it can do.

For testing, I jumped right into Forza Horizon 5, and got to see just how immersive games could be with the Sonos Arc. I felt pulled into the game world, with the engine and cars zooming past at over 100MPH, it was easy to get lost in the experience. Jumping into Dune, the sounds of Arakas came to life, pulling me into the cinematic universe, and feeling the power and majesty of the sands and battle I was watching. Even the music of Encanto came to life as I dove in to experience how Dolby Atmos could elevate already enjoyable media.

“With more living rooms becoming the centre of entertainment and the smart home, Sonos has wisely integrated both Alexa and Google Assistant (Although you will need to choose one) and Siri via AirPlay.”

The Sonos Arc has a very clean sound, giving nuance to the highs, mids, and lows, but due to its size, you won’t get the window shattering bass that some people know and love. This is where the module nature of Sonos feels so welcome, I was able to add a Sonos Sub to the mix with little effort, and immediately the room had a new level of richness, clarity, and impact. While Forza Horizon 5 sounded amazing with just the Arc, once I threw in the Sub into the mix, the game world came to life in a whole new way. While not necessary, for anyone who wants the full home theatre experience, the Sub is a worthy investment.

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More Than Movies and Games

While the Sonos Arc is amazing at delivering audio, it is built to listen as well. With more living rooms becoming the centre of entertainment and the smart home, Sonos has wisely integrated both Alexa and Google Assistant (Although you will need to choose one) and Siri via AirPlay. Using your voice, you can do many fun commands, including turning off your TV, changing the volume, or adjust playback as needed. The Arc’s four far-field microphones pick up your voice even over the sound of movies or games, and I found it very easy to set up and use provided you are already a part of the voice assistant ecosystem.

Through the Sonos app, you can also dive into any of the music series Sonos supports. Currently, it supports the most widely used options, so from Spotify to YouTube Music, you should have no issue diving into music while you enjoy some TV off time. The audio profile is very natural sounding, giving most songs a clear, crisp sound that should appeal to most audio lover’s sensibilities. It is by far some of the best music you will hear out of a smart speaker, without question.

Costing $799 USD, the Sonos Arc is an expensive offering, but one that delivers a lot for that price tag. With the attention to detail, the pure sound quality, and the design and look of the Arc, you would be hard-pressed to find a better option on the market. While you can find a ‘decent’ soundbar for under $200, few offerings can deliver fantastic audio that immerses you into the experience like the Arc. For anyone looking for the best soundbar experience possible, there are no other speakers that can hold a candle to what the Sonos Arc brings to the table.

Final Thoughts

Brendan Frye
Brendan Frye

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