The Complete Sonos Arc Buyers Guide

The Sonos Arc is Sonos' best-selling soundbar within their range and is one of most immersive soundbar options on the market right now.

The Sonos Arc’s 11-speaker array combines to ensure this sound bar delivers a complete home cinema surround sound experience from a standalone soundbar. Dedicated upwards, side and front-firing drivers help to deliver three-dimensional Dolby Atmos surround sound with a wider soundstage than any other Sonos soundbar. 

With voice control integration for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, you can easily control your audio without even leaving the sofa. The Arc can also be integrated seamlessly with other Sonos speakers using Wi-Fi connectivity, enabling you to create an entire multi-room home audio system or home cinema.  

The Arc is quick and easy to install too. Simply connect the power cord into mains and the HDMI cable into your TV. Once connected, download the Sonos S2 app and follow the instructions to finalise the setup.

We've put the Sonos Arc to the test to help you decide if it's worth the money and is the best soundbar for your home.

Chapters

  1. Strengths & weaknesses
  2. Price
  3. Design
  4. Audio performance
  5. Should you add rears or a subwoofer to the Sonos Arc?
  6. Additional features
  7. Sonos Arc vs Sonos Beam (Gen 2) vs Sonos Ray
  8. Will there be a Sonos Arc Gen 2 in 2024?
  9. Verdict

Haven't got the time to read? Watch our full Sonos Arc Review & Test

Sonos Arc Strengths & Weaknesses

ARC PNG

Sonos Arc Strengths Sonos Arc Weaknesses

✓ Impressive immersion, depth and clarity for film watching

✓ Dolby Atmos & DTS enabled

✓ Sleek and stylish elliptical design

✓ Easily integrated into a multi-room system

✖ Bass could be boosted on bass heavy tracks

✖ No DTS:X support

✖ High-end price point

Price

Sonos Arc - RRP: £899 (see latest pricing)

During its initial release the Sonos Arc launched at £799. However, following a price adjustment that affected many Sonos products back in 2021, it underwent a price increase and now retails at £899.  

Replacing the Sonos Playbar and Playbase, the Arc now sits as Sonos’ premium soundbar option ahead of the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) and the Sonos Ray

Note: All Sonos products bought with Smart Home Sounds come complete with a FREE 6 year extended warranty, FREE delivery and with 0% finance available. 

Shop Sonos Arc

Design

Sonos-Arc-Lifestyle-Image-Blog

Available in the same colour options as the other Sonos soundbar options on the market. The Sonos Arc is available in both matte black and white, so you can match your soundbar to best suit your room's aesthetic.

The 270º elliptical metal grille is designed to keep the soundbar slim and unobtrusive when it’s under your TV without sacrificing performance and still achieving optimum output from the drivers inside. 

The Arc is Sonos’ largest soundbar in their collection, enabling it to deliver a wide soundstage. At 114cm (45 inches) long, the Arc is best suited to TV screens 55 inches and above.

In terms of useability, we’ve got all of the touch controls we’re used to seeing across all Sonos soundbars on their top panels. These feature controls for volume, play/pause, skip/previous and a microphone privacy button for voice control.

On the rear, you will find the connector panel. The Arc has an ethernet port and a join button, with the HDMI connection and AC power input on the side. 

Sonos-Arc-rear-connector-panel

Internally, the Arc has 11 high-performing drivers made up of 8 supercharged elliptical woofers and 3 silk dome tweeters (The most speakers there have ever been in a Sonos product.)

The Arc’s fully sideways and upward-firing drivers combine to project sound at various angles. Sonos calls this a phased array which enables the Arc to create realistic 3D Dolby Atmos audio that helps to provide a truly immersive surround sound experience.

Audio Performance

Sonos-Arc-Internals

The Sonos Arc is a Dolby Atmos enabled soundbar which delivers impressive, room-filling sound. Its audio separation and detail are a standout feature, whilst vocal clarity, mid-range and higher frequencies are also very impressive. 

Whether you’re listening to music or engrossed in a film, the Arc soundbars audio performance packs a punch to further immerse you in your content. The 114cm long width also helps deliver a wide and expansive soundstage that helps to fully immerse its users in even the biggest spaces.

The Arc’s upwards-firing drivers also add an extra layer of depth when listening to Dolby Atmos tracks by delivering overhead sounds with breathtaking realism. 

Based on our testing with the Arc, we have noticed a slight dip in performance when listening to bass-heavy tracks like Dance or R&B music. The bass delivery is clean and tight, but we do feel it could be improved with a little more oomph in the low end. However, this can be improved slightly by adjusting the bass on the customisable EQ settings in the Sonos S2 app. 

If you want even more, you can always add a Sonos Sub (Gen 3) or Sonos Sub Mini to take control of low-end performance. The cost will vary depending on which subwoofer you go for. However, when you consider the extra bass enhancements and additional processing power afforded for the Arc things do get taken to the next level. 

Want to hear the Sonos Arc for yourself? Skip to 11:27 of our Sonos Arc Review & Test.

Dolby Atmos Enabled - What does this mean?

Dolby Atmos surround sound is arguably the most impactful piece of technology within home cinema. It has become one of the most highly requested features for soundbar users. 

It steps up from Dolby Digital by adding real height channels which enable sounds to be interpreted as three-dimensional objects with no horizontal or vertical limitations. 

It’s a much more complex method of sound distribution, but by using upward-firing speakers to reflect sound off the ceiling, you can expect much more immersive audio. 

To put this into context, if you were watching a film scene with a helicopter flying overhead, the upward-firing driver activates to convey that this was happening directly above you in real time. 

Note: It’s worth being aware that the Sonos Arc also supports Dolby True HD and MAT. These are the uncompressed versions for the distribution of multi-channel audio.

How do i get Dolby Atmos on My Sonos arc?

Sonos-Arc-Dolby-Atmos-Hero

So, you’ve got a Sonos Arc and you’re wondering how to get Dolby Atmos from it. First, you must ensure your TV has an eARC or HDMI-ARC connection.

HDMI eARC is an improvement on the standard HDMI-ARC connection and has a much larger bandwidth, which enables Dolby Atmos. So, if your TV has this type of connection, you’ll be able to automatically experience Dolby Atmos content and other codecs like Dolby Digital Plus, MAT and TrueHD too. 

However, if your TV has a HDMI-ARC connection it may be worth checking your television’s specifications list. Only some TV’s with this connection can pass through Dolby Atmos.

Unfortunately, Atmos isn’t accessible through an optical connection due to the limited space for information to pass through but you can access Dolby Digital audio instead. 

Also, If you’re unsure whether or not you’re listening to Dolby Atmos content at any given moment. Simply check the Now Playing screen of the Sonos S2 app to find out.

New to the app? Check out our complete Sonos S2 App User Guide

My TV doesn't support Dolby Atmos - What now? 

So, you’ve checked your TV’s specifications list, it doesn’t support Atmos and you don’t want to upgrade it either. The maximum capabilities you’ll achieve with the Sonos Arc is 5.1 Dolby Digital by adding a subwoofer and rear speakers.

It’s not the end of the world, the Arc soundbar will still immerse you with its height and side channels. When you’re ready for a TV upgrade, you’ll get a boost for your soundbar too!

Read our Sonos Home Cinema Complete Setup Guide now.

Should You Add A Subwoofer & Rears to the Sonos arc?

 Sonos-Arc-Lifestyle-5.1-surround-sound

If you want a simple one-speaker setup which offers a complete cinema-quality experience, the Sonos Arc alone will tick that box. However, there’s no reason why you have to stop there. The beauty of Sonos is that its users can seamlessly integrate a Sonos subwoofer, a pair of rear surround speakers or both to upgrade to a complete 5.1 surround sound system. 

There are plenty of options out there and there’s no rush. Each element will enhance your listening experience. But we recommend choosing the components that are right for your space, budget and listening preferences.

Adding a Subwoofer

If it’s added bass you’re looking for, Sonos offers both the Sonos Sub Mini and the Sonos Sub (Gen 3) as options to achieve this. Not only bringing bass, depth and realism to your audio experience. Sonos subwoofers are built to take the load of the lowest frequencies from your soundbar and other speakers. Therefore, affording your Arc more processing power to deal with dialogue and mid-range more effectively

Sonos Sub Gen 3 vs Sonos Sub Mini

View Sonos Sub (Gen 3)

View Sonos Sub Mini

Based on our testing, we recommend pairing the Arc with the Sonos Sub (Gen 3) due to its fuller and more expansive bass output. The Sub (Gen 3) delivers truly room-filling bass that matches the Arc performance-wise and is a killer combination.

On the other hand, the Sub Mini is a competitive option that delivers impactful performance without breaking the bank. It’s an ideal pick if you’ve got a smaller space or are wary of neighbours closeby. 

Want to find out which subwoofer is right for you? Read our Sonos Sub Mini vs Sonos Sub (Gen 3) comparison.

Adding A Pair Of Rears

Sonos_One_lifestyle Sonos Sub Five lifestyle blog

Dedicated surround channels are a great way to heighten your senses and add an extra layer of immersion. Sonos offer a vast selection of choices here but the most popular options are a pair of Sonos One (Gen 2) or Sonos One SL’s. These are the most cost-effective method of adding size-defying sound and enhanced immersion to your home cinema setup. 

Money Saving Tip: Rears will sync within your existing system. So, you can cut the costs by going for a pair of Sonos One SL’s and leave the voice control down to your soundbar.

VIEW SONOS ONE (GEN 2) PAIR

View Sonos One SL Pair

Other Rear Speaker Options

Note: To use in-wall or Ceiling speakers you will need a Sonos Amp to connect these wirelessly for a completely clutter free setup.

If you want a more in-depth analysis of your surround speaker options read our article. Which Sonos Speaker Should You Choose For Surround Sound Rears

Sonos Arc additional features

The Arc is quick and easy to install, requiring a simple connect the power cord into mains and the HDMI cable into your TV. Once connected, download the Sonos S2 app and follow the instructions to finalise the setup. You can further enhance performance on your Sonos Arc with the below features:

  1. Voice Control Integration 

The Sonos Arc has in-built voice control with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. So, you can sit back, relax and control the soundbar with your voice. Whether you’re turning the TV on and off or shuffling through your favourite playlists, you can do it all without lifting a finger. 

Doesn’t appeal to you? You can also mute the microphone or skip the voice-control setup completely if you don't want to use this feature. 

  1. Limitless Streaming 

In addition to being the perfect support act for your TV, you’ll also be able to stream endless amounts of music, radio, podcasts, audiobooks and more straight to your Sonos speaker. 

Stream directly from either the Sonos app or Spotify connect to play your favourite tracks. If you’re an Apple user, you can make the most of the Apple Airplay 2 to cast audio from your iPhone, iMac or iPad to the Arc too.

  1. Trueplay Tuning Calibration

This is the quickest and most affordable way to give your Sonos soundbar an instant boost. Available only for Apple iOS users on the S2 app. Your soundbar will use test tones to measure how sounds reflect around your room and fine-tune the audio output accordingly. This will ensure your soundbar is tuned to your unique space and provide optimum performance. 

(Android users if you’ve got any friends with an iOS device, invite them over and borrow theirs!) 

  1. Pair Your TV Remote

Automatically pair your existing TV remote for volume control and remove the hassle of having too many remote controllers in your space. 

  1. Speech Enhancement & Night Mode

Vocals can often get lost when listening to your favourite films or shows through your TV’s internal speakers or cheaper soundbar alternatives.Therefore, as with all Sonos soundbars, you can use their Speech Enhancement feature to make vocals easier to hear and add an extra layer of clarity to dialogue. It’s a useful solution if you often use subtitles or are hard of hearing. 

Enjoy a late-night series binge? Night mode will dampen the loudest parts of your audio and enhance the quieter tones to produce a more stable output and make dialogue even clearer. It’s the perfect solution if you’ve got neighbours nearby or just put the kids to bed!

Want to know how to get the most out of your soundbar? Watch our Top 10 Sonos Soundbar Tips below!

Sonos Soundbar COmparison - Sonos Arc vs Sonos Beam (Gen 2) vs Sonos Ray

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Sonos Arc Vs Sonos Ray: 

Sonos’ entry-level and smallest soundbar option is ideal for secondary spaces within the home like a bedroom, gym or office. Understandably, it doesn’t get near the Arc performance-wise due to its form factor, but it’s a brilliant option if you want a Sonos soundbar without the higher price tag. 

The Sonos Ray’s front-facing drivers mean you can recess it into a media cabinet or shelf without compromising its performance. Ensuring users can upgrade their TV’s audio output without necessarily needing to have it on display.  

It’s worth noting that the Sonos Ray doesn’t have voice control or support for Dolby Atmos. It can cope with 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital but it must downmix it into stereo to play it. 

Ultimately, they’re very different soundbars that aren’t necessarily comparable. If you want a straight answer though, the Ray is a great cheaper alternative but you get what you pay for when it comes to the Sonos Arc.

View Sonos Ray

Watch our comprehensive Sonos Ray Review

Sonos Arc Vs Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

Sonos Beam Sonos Arc
Dolby Digital Surround Sound
Dolby Atmos Surround Sound
HDMI ARC Support
HDMI eARC Support
Number of Speaker Drivers 5 11
Upward Firing Drivers
Screen Size recommendation 55" and below 55" and above

Torn between going all out for the Sonos Arc, or saving some money and going for the Sonos Beam (Gen 2)? 

As one of the market-leading compact soundbars on the market right now. It’s easy to see why the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is a popular soundbar option. It can deliver exceptionally detailed and room-filling audio that goes far beyond its form factor and is very hard to beat at its price point.  

Built with three front-firing and two side-firing drivers, the Beam is capable of delivering three-dimensional Dolby Atmos surround sound too. However, due to its noticeable lack of upwards-firing drivers, the Beam relies on innovative psychoacoustic technology to simulate overhead sounds virtually which, when compared with the Sonos Arc, is a noticeable downgrade.  

Sonos-Beam-Gen-2-Soundbar-Hero-Black

Other than that, both soundbars do share a lot of similarities like Apple Airplay 2 and voice control capabilities so you won’t be missing out in this department. 

As a general rule of thumb, we recommend the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) for smaller to medium sized spaces. Whilst the Arc delivers a more immersive and expansive soundstage that is better suited to large or open plan living areas. So, if you’re limited on space you simply may not need it. 

If you’re looking for a space and money saving soundbar option the Beam is worth considering. However, if you want the best of the best, the Arc is the way to go. If you're still unsure we do delve much deeper on this comparison on our Sonos Arc vs Sonos Beam (Gen 2) comparison video. 

View Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

Too much choice? Watch our Sonos Soundbar Buying Guide Now! 

Vs Sonos Playbar

Sonos-Playbar-Vs-Sonos-Arc

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Sonos Arc is how does it stack up against its predecessor the Sonos Playbar? Naturally, you get a lot of more innovative technology from the Arc and although the Playbar does still deliver impressive performance from its 9-driver array, you won’t be able to experience Dolby Atmos or voice control abilities and it struggles to compete with the modern approach to audio from the Arc.

The Playbar is a much larger, rectangular soundbar that doesn’t have the same aesthetic flair as the Sonos Arc either. It’s not necessarily a bad piece of tech, it just lacks the modern edge that you see from a lot of soundbars on the market at the moment. 

Should We Expect A Sonos Arc (Gen 2) in 2024?

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Disclaimer: Anything mentioned here is purely speculation and doesn’t represent what we’re going to see from Sonos in 2024.

The Sonos Arc remains to be the premium option in Sonos’ soundbar collection. However, after the addition of the Sonos Ray in June 2022 and the updated Sonos Beam (Gen 2) in October 2021. It begs the question, is the Sonos Arc due an upgrade soon? 

The jury is still out on this one, but there are a few happenings that may hint towards another Arc option being thrown into the mix. We’ve already seen soundbars being developed by Sonos consecutively for the past two years. But, when you consider the success of the Sonos Beam (Gen 2), it’s natural to assume that we may see a second iteration of the multi-award-winning soundbar soon. 

Truthfully, we can’t see a complete refresh of the Arc being on Sonos’ radar in 2024. It’s still relatively young in its lifecycle and competes very well in the current market so there is no need for a refresh right now.

However, over in the US, we have already seen a Sonos Arc SL launched. So, it would make sense to see this sort of technology being brought over to the UK soon. The Arc SL works similarly to Sonos One SL in the sense that it has a full range of specifications, apart from voice control integration

Admittedly, this isn’t as exciting as a brand new piece of technology. However, a mic-less version of this soundbar would cut the cost slightly and who doesn’t like saving a little bit of money, right?

Enjoyed our prediction? Why not watch last year's Sonos 2023 Predictions - What to Expect video!

Our Verdict

It’s hard to argue with the Sonos Arc when it comes down to pure performance. It’s an exceptional Dolby Atmos soundbar that is ideal for every application and looks great too. Whether you’re listening to your favourite tracks, watching the latest blockbuster or binge watching a new series, the Arc will undoubtedly take your experience to the next level. 

Arguably the best soundbar at its relative price point, the Sonos Arc is not going to leave you wanting more when it comes to bang for your buck. Straight out of the box, the Arc offers exceptionally dynamic, accurate and clear audio that is head and shoulders above its fellow Sonos soundbar counterparts. 

When it comes to bass, this is an area we would like to have seen an improvement. However, when you consider the overall connectivity of the Sonos ecosystem, there’s always the option to add a subwoofer in the future if you’re desperate for more impactful bass.

Ultimately, the Sonos Arc is a great option for a lot of people, if you really want to go for something better performance-wise, you’re going to have to be prepared to break the bank.

Other uSeful Content

Video: Sonos Soundbar Buying Guide 2023: Spend Wisely!

Video: Sonos Arc vs Sonos Beam (Gen 2): Closer Than We Thought?

Video: Sonos Arc vs Beam (Gen 2) & Sub Mini: Which To Buy

Video: Top 10 Sonos Soundbar Tips (Ray, Beam & Arc)

Blog: Sonos Home Cinema: The Complete Setup Guide

We hope you find this helpful, but of course, we realise that purchasing a new soundbar is a big decision, so we are more than happy to assist with any queries you may have.

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