Sonos Arc long-term review: the highs and lows

When I hear about Sonos Arc, I should presume to overexax a bit, a Dolby Atmos enabled soundbar at a price that, while by no means cheap, makes other similarly capable products of decent civilization Is still much cheaper than.

After relocating the house 18 months or earlier, I am spending my time as far as home AV set-up goes. My old house’s fully loaded 7.1 Onkyo-powered surround system is no more – I don’t have space in my new living room to put all those speakers; So I am thinking of the soundbar as a replacement.

Obviously I would never get the accuracy or power of a complete system with a soundbar more than I realized, but practicality is simply to override such things for me – and a good approximation of surround sound would do the trick nicely. May be sufficient. For over a year and a half, the voice coming from my 55-inch Samsung TV has been subsumed by the family members – and even if children complain too much, it is not fair. But what do they know?

Although Senhizer Ambeo – a veritable beast of a soundbar – would be perfect in many ways, there is no way that I can justify spending two grand on one; So I’m impatiently cutting my time to come up with a more economical option.

I almost dipped in with the Sonos Beam (and, as later events suggest, maybe I could do that yet…), but not really my finger to prune it before the Arc was announced. Drawn.

So, sitting at the dining room table that has served as my work desk for most of the lockdown period, I waited for the team to complete their review, fingers crossed.

Following a five-star verdict, and someone (ahem…) suggested that it might actually be a great idea for us to put it through our paces in a real-world, long-term test.

Hopes and lofty ambitions

After reading the reviews and talking to the reviewers, I knew that there were likely to be issues with my set up at home. But you know how it is with these things: Once you get an idea in your head, you just want to solve regardless, and hope that it will eventually heal.

And, to be fair to Sonos Arc, for the most part it really is.

First things first, though. This is a very impressive looking kit. It is definitely a premium in feel and construction. It comes encased in a reassuring solid box, with heavy locking tags that make the whole thing more upmarket. The unit itself is everything you’d expect of a Sonos product – and, despite its undeniably fleshy dimensions, looks quite neat at home under my television.

The set up was a fairly simple affair – which was a huge relief for me, as I had half-heartedly tried to use the Sonos amp as the sound source for my TV last year, and it caused me a bit of trouble (because , I finally found out that there was an issue with HDMI cables I was using). So it was with some malfunction that I plugged the Arc into Samsung’s One Connect box, using the HDMI cable supplied with the soundbar.

A positive handshake

I need not have worried. The Samsung UE55KS9000 immediately joined hands with the Arc via HDMI plugged into the ARC (Audio Return Channel), and everyone felt more confident with the world.

Then it was just a matter of downloading the Sonos app on my iPhone and letting the pair talk their set-up. (Arc only works with the new S2 version of the Sonos app, so you’ll need to download it if you’ve got an inherited Sonos kit and are still on 1.0).

The phone app quickly found the arc, and then set me on the way to setting things up. This is an interesting process that involves, among other things, wafting your phone while walking around the room on which the soundbar beeps, given the dimensions and sound characteristics of the space in which it is supposed to work.

Went through the reasonably fast set up process, we were good to go.

It is safe to say that the Arc was immediately influential. Probably not a surprisingly surprising statement, given that it competed with the speakers of the TV; Still, on instant gratification nonetheless. The voices are properly laid out, and are extremely clear, the sound spread is in a completely different league, and the texture and depth of the bass. It is night and day.

What it is, of course, nor can it ever actually be, is a proper AV amplifier running seven speakers – but as I have already explained, I have now written that as an option. In form, so I am not in any way. disappoint.

One of the issues I have with Samsung is that the volume will vary with the input – so the Sky Q box, for example, would be playing at a comfortable level, but then if the PS4 was booted, So it was always too loud, and the remote control had to crumble.

The arch has removed this irritation for the most part.