Sonos Arc Soundbar Review, Specification and Smart Features

Sonos Arc Soundbar Review, Specification and Smart Features


  • Dimensions: 3.4 and H x 45 inches W (x 4.5 inches D).
  • Drivers: 8 elliptical woofers, 3 angled silk-dome
  • Microphone: Four Far-field microphone array.
  • Modes: Adjustable EQ + Night Sound and Speech Enhancement
  • Voice control: Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands.
  • Audio formats: Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby TruHD, DTS Digital Surround, PCM.
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi.

Sonos Arc Soundbar Smart Features

Beyond Dolby Atmos, Sonos Arc soundbar has features like AirPlay, Alexa or Google Assistant voice control, and access to hundreds of streaming audio services. The Arc is a full-fledged Sonos speaker so the company’s standard wireless features, such as support for grouping with other Sonos speakers, are also present.

Like the Beam or Move, the Sonos Arc soundbar features a built-in microphone for voice assistant capabilities. You can use either Alexa or Google Assistant, depending on which you prefer — but you can’t use both at the same time. If you use Alexa, you can also use it to turn the TV on or off or change channels.


The Sonos Arc soundbar is designed to deliver immersive audio performance from just a single sound bar unit. It has Dolby Atmos support for a truly immersive home theater experience. Dolby Atmos uses object-based mixing and upfiring speaker drivers to create the sense that sound is coming from all directions — even above your head.

The Sonos Arc soundbar is aimed at consumers who want premium sound without the added hassle of an AV receiver. The Sonos Arc isn’t an impulse buy, but the soundbar’s performance justifies. It has a cost for people who want a fitting, all-in-one Dolby Atmos audio solution for their living room.

Easy to Setup

On the design front, the Sonos Arc is made of matte black or matte white plastic. Nevertheless, it oozes a premium look and feel. It’s a huge upgrade over the fabric exterior used on Sonos’ old Playbar. Although dust will still stick to it, it’s much easier to wipe off quickly than Playbar’s fabric, which was always a pain.

But at 45-inches, the Arc won’t fit every media console. To get the full benefit of its umpiring speakers. You’ll need to place it on top of a cabinet instead of inside. If you prefer, the soundbar can be mounted on a wall.

To get Dolby Atmos you need to use an HDMI connection between the Sonos ARC soundbar and your connected device — not optical from the TV to the soundbar. Your display or media player must support Dolby Atmos.

The Sonos Arc supports 5.0.2 channels of native audio. This translates to a front left, front center and front right channels, along with simulated rear left and rear right channels. Two upfiring speakers are also integrated to bounce sound off your ceiling during Dolby Atmos playback.

To listen to the soundbar on its own, I paired the Arc with two rear Sonos Arc Play: 1 speakers and a Sonos sub to create a full 5.1.2 system. With dedicated bass and true surround channels. Both The Play: 1 and Sub are sold separately.

All in all, it takes about 10 minutes from unboxing to listening. That has less to do with ARC specifically and more to do with the seamless wireless ecosystem. Sonos has been building over the past decade. It should be noted, but, that the soundbar lacks video support. This means that you can’t feed video from a Blu-ray player or streaming device by the soundbar to your TV.

There’s also an option for TruePlay tuning during setup that will adjust the sound for your specific room size and shape. I initially skipped this to get a feel for the device’s out-of-box sound, but I went back and completed the process the next day. Trueplay tuning definitely changes the sound and the adjustment provides an improvement in my room. Your mileage may vary based on your preference.

The Arc is designed to be used with the Sonos S2 mobile app, making it easy to see what audio format the bar is receiving from your playback source. This feature is especially helpful when you want to make sure the soundbar is properly playing Dolby Atmos audio.

Best Sound Quality

ARC delivers great audio quality with brilliant dynamic range and incredibly detailed sound. Even if used outside of a home theater setting, the Arc is easily one of the best speakers Sonos has made. The Sonos Five may sound a little low due to its larger drivers.

I spent time listening to music directly through the Sonos Arc soundbar app, via AirPlay and using the Apple TV. The source audio obviously makes a difference and if you listen using one of the best music streaming services. Like Tidal for lossless audio streaming, you’ll hear an improvement in clarity and fullness.

However, in each context the arc is able to fade from view. So that only audio is front and center. Instrument placement is distinctive and often feels like I’m right at home with the musician.

The general audio quality for TV shows and movies is equally impressive. The better the source, the more invisible the speaker. Becomes, allowing you to immerse yourself in a show or movie with sound coming from all directions.

It’s incredibly difficult to project the rear audio effects expected from a single soundbar. But the sound easily fills the space in front of you for a wide, 180-degree sound field. And thanks to the soundbar’s umpiring drivers for height effect. You won’t feel like you need satellite speakers, although they can enhance the experience. if you add them.

Arc also has a night mode and speech enhancement features. Night mode reduces harsh sounds for a more balanced and softer listening level. Meanwhile, speech enhancement increases the EQ frequencies associated with the human voice.

Night mode works well, but it’s more of a beauty than a necessary function. Dialogue enhancement comes in handy to bring out more dialogue. But I never found voices hard to hear when using regular mode.

On the downside, like most standalone soundbars, the arc is somewhat lacking when it comes to bass. On its own, it’s very respectable in small rooms, but in large living rooms, it just can’t deliver the deep low frequencies and rumble that a dedicated subwoofer offers. Fortunately, it’s easy to upgrade the system with a wireless Sonos sub, if you decide you want extra bass later.

Dolby Atmos High Performance

While the Sonos Arc’s performance is grand no matter what audio format you listen to, Dolby Atmos support is the soundbar’s explain feature. With this in mind, I spent much of my time with the speaker, focusing on listening to Atmos content from both music. Movies to understand the opportunities it provides.

Dolby Atmos titles are currently available on many top streaming services and Blu-ray Discs Disney. Plus, offers Dolby Atmos on select movies and shows as part of its service at no extra charge. You can buy or rent digital movies through Atmos from services like Apple TV and Vudu.

The Dolby Atmos aims to provide an immersive audio experience that’s more engaging than just regular surround sound. To do this, many Atmos systems, like the Sonos Arc soundbar, have upfiring speaker drivers. These drivers are angled to bounce sound off your ceiling, simulating the effect of audio coming from above your head.

Because the speaker is closer to the right wall in my living room, the Atmos effect is more pronounced on the right. Similarly, the ceiling height of your room will also determine the effectiveness of sound coming from above. TruePlay should help with tuning because it tells the system how big your room is and where the soundbar is relative to the walls.

Some movies, such as “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Black Panther,” and “Baby Driver,” provide great examples of the benefits that Atmos can provide. The fight scene set in the Red Throne Room in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is also a particularly good showing, resulting in an impressive dome of audio.

A lot of added immersion comes in the form of ambient sounds and background effects that fill the room. Try closing your eyes while listening to Atmos movies to really focus on the enhanced effects.

Musically, Grouplove’s “Expectation” is a fun listen on Dolby Atmos, as the format allows it to create a wider soundfield. Albums by The Weeknd, Halsey, and Norah Jones also sound great on Atmos
If you’ve already invested in a smart TV, streaming box or Blu-ray player that supports Dolby Atmos.

A soundbar like the Arc may be the missing piece to complete your home theater setup. If you don’t have a Dolby Atmos source to connect to the Arc, you won’t get the full value of the Sonos Arc soundbar.

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