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6 Reasons to Avoid a Sonos Arc at All Costs

Sonos arc soundbar speaker

6 Reasons to Avoid a Sonos Arc at All Costs

Key Points

  • The Sonos Arc has a single HDMI input, which may be limiting for users with multiple devices.
  • The soundbar lacks HDMI passthrough functionality, which can be a drawback for streaming devices.
  • The Sonos Arc is priced higher than its competitors.
  • There is no Bluetooth streaming functionality, which may be inconvenient for Android users.
  • Trueplay Tuning, a feature for calibrating the soundbar, only supports iOS devices.
  • The Sonos Arc does not support DTS:X, requiring additional speakers for a full immersive experience.

What are some reasons to avoid a Sonos Arc? The Arc has been a popular choice for soundbar enthusiasts. Users looking for a feature-rich Atmos soundbar have been fans of the device. However, when compared to its competitors, there are some distinct drawbacks.

Before you go investing in a high-end soundbar, it always helps to know what you’re purchasing. You might find that the features of the Arc don’t fit your needs. With so many soundbars on the market today, it can be a bit daunting to figure out which one is the best.

What Is the Sonos Arc?

Premium Smart Soundbar
Sonos Arc Soundbar
$834.99
  • Features Dolby Atmos
  • Enhanced Trueplay tuning technology
  • Support for AirPlay 2 as well as many favorite music streaming services
  • Blends in beautiful underneath a TV
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 03:36 pm GMT

The Sonos Arc is the flagship soundbar for the manufacturer and is one of the best Dolby Atmos solutions on the market. It has a retail price of $899.00, placing it at the higher end of the scale. The Arc is a 5.0.2-channel soundbar. You can turn it into a 5.1.2 configuration, but you’ll need to purchase an additional subwoofer.

Specs

Sonos Arc
Height3.4 inches
Width45 inches
Depth4.5 inches
Weight13.78 pounds
Audio Codecs SupportedPCM, Dolby Digital, Digital Plus, Atmos, TrueHD, Multichannel PCM,
Room CalibrationTrueplay
InputsHDMI, Optical Audio
Wireless ConnectivityWi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2

Reason #1: It Only Has a Single HDMI Input

reasons to avoid a sonos arc
The input options for connecting your devices are quite limited with the Sonos Arc.

You would think that with a flagship soundbar, you’d have a full complement of inputs. However, Sonos has opted to keep things streamlined with a single HDMI and optical audio input. Now, if you’re using the Arc with a single television, this might not be a huge deal. However, if you’ve got multiple devices you want to use, this could be an issue.

The single HDMI is one of the best reasons to avoid a Sonos Arc. It is lacking in connectivity, at least in terms of physical ports. There are other soundbars in a similar price range that come with a full suite of ports to connect as many devices as you want.

Reason #2: No HDMI Passthrough

There is no passthrough functionality for the Sonos Arc. Now, not every user is going to need to utilize HDMI passthrough. But for streaming devices and the like, it is one of the easiest ways to get the full functionality out of your device. Newer TVs aren’t likely to have many issues, as you’ll have an eARC option of some sort. This helps with connecting gaming consoles and streaming devices. However, if you have an older TV, this is one of the best reasons to avoid a Sonos Arc.

Reason #3: Priced Higher Than Competitors

Pricing isn’t everything. That said, the Sonos Arc is one of the most expensive options in its particular price bracket. There are a number of other Dolby Atmos soundbars with similar functionality at a lower retail price.

When you consider the other drawbacks, it does beg the question if the steep $899 price tag is worth it. Soundbars from the likes of Vizio and Samsung come with more ports, passthrough, and additional functionality that the Sonos Arc sorely lacks. If price is a concern, then this is one of the key reasons to avoid a Sonos Arc.

Reason #4: No Bluetooth Streaming Functionality

reasons to avoid a sonos arc
You can’t transmit audio to the Sonos Arc through Bluetooth.

Bluetooth streaming isn’t an ideal fit for most listening. However, it is a great feature to have, especially with the advent of lossless wireless audio codecs. Sadly, the Sonos Arc has zero means to connect all mobile devices to stream audio.

You have the option of Apple AirPlay 2, but that is exclusive to iOS devices. This leaves Android users out in the cold. Now, it isn’t unusual to have a preferred mobile operating system, as has been seen with numerous soundbars and TVs. If you’re an Android user, this is one of many reasons to avoid a Sonos Arc.

Reason #5: Trueplay Tuning Only Supports iOS

Calibrating your soundbar for your room is a must. You never know what sort of reflections and resonance build-ups can occur before testing. Now, Sonos has provided Trueplay, which allows you to calibrate the Arc as needed, regardless of acoustic treatment.

If you’re an Android user, you’re left out once again. Trueplay room tuning requires the use of a support Apple iOS device. There isn’t any way to calibrate the device for your room if you’ve got an Android smartphone. As such, it is just one of many reasons to avoid a Sonos Arc.

Reason #6: There Is No DTS:X Support

Now, you could spend all day arguing the merits of Atmos vs. DTS:X. However, in 2023, it doesn’t make much sense for a soundbar to lack compatibility for DTS:X. The Dolby standard allows for 5.1.2 or 7.1.2 configurations, without the need for specialized speakers.

The Sonos Arc comes with Dolby Atmos as its primary method of delivering immersive sound. To get the full experience, you’ll have to purchase additional speakers to really increase the sense of specialization. For some users, this might be a bridge too far, especially given the already steep price tag.

Alternatives to the Sonos Arc

Here are three of our favorite alternatives to the Sonos Arc.

Bose Soundbar 900

Best Overall
Bose Smart Soundbar 900
$699.00
  • Two custom-engineered upfiring dipole speakers 
  • Exclusive Bose Voice4Video technology
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, and Spotify Connect
  • Bose TrueSpace spatial processing
  • Built-in Google and Alexa
  • Noise-rejecting microphones
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01/16/2024 12:23 pm GMT

Bose’s Soundbar 900 is priced at the same $899.00 MSRP as the Sonos Arc. However, Bose has packed a great amount of functionality into its soundbar. You have wireless streaming via Apple AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth.

You’ve only got access to a single HDMI and optical audio port, like on the Sonos Arc. It is Dolby Atmos compatible, which is a given at this price range. You can expand your sound experience further with modular additions, like a subwoofer.

VIZIO Elevate

Best for Surround Sound
VIZIO Elevate
$801.37
  • 18 high-performance speakers
  • Adaptive Height Speakers automatically rotate to optimize your audio experience.
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
  • 4 upfiring speakers
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01/16/2024 03:53 pm GMT

The VIZIO Elevate comes in at $100 cheaper than the Sonos Arc but features additional rear speakers and an included subwoofer. It is a 5.1.4-channel soundbar, with a more accurate soundstage when considering audio spatialization.

Unlike the Sonos Arc, the Elevate comes with full support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, meaning you’ve got options for your media of choice. The frequency response is impressive, as well, registering at 30Hz up to 20kHz when utilizing the included subwoofer.

SAMSUNG HW-Q800C

Our Pick
SAMSUNG HW-Q800C
$677.99
  • Deep. 5.1.2 Ch. with True Dolby Atmos sound
  • Powerful up-firing speakers, acoustic beam, and strong woofers
  • Built-in voice assistant, adaptive sound, AirPlay 2
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01/16/2024 04:07 pm GMT

The HW-Q800C is a more expensive soundbar than the Sonos Arc but comes with some extra features to make up for it. It’s packaged with a wireless subwoofer, meaning you’ve got an impressive bass response for surround media.

The HW-Q800C also comes with full support for Bluetooth audio, as well as wireless Dolby Atmos. Samsung’s soundbar also comes with DTS:X support, which makes it a flexible pick regardless of the media chosen. Samsung’s game mode is also seriously impressive and can make gaming a truly immersive experience.

Closing Thoughts

The Sonos Arc is an impressive soundbar, but when placed next to its competitors, it lacks crucial functionality. Users rave about the Sonos Arc, but it isn’t the best choice if you’re using an older TV or you’re looking to use Bluetooth devices to stream audio. If you can look past that, it might be a great fit. However, the lack of Android support for room calibration is a serious drawback.

Reasons to Avoid a Sonos Arc
1. It only has a single HDMI input.
2. There is no HDMI passthrough.
3. It is priced higher than its competitors.
4. There is no Bluetooth streaming functionality.
5. Trueplay Tuning only supports iOS.
6. The Arc has zero support for DTS:X.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Sonos Arc support room calibration?

Yes, you can use the Trueplay app to calibrate the soundbar to your room.

What sort of immersive audio does the Arc support?

It can use Dolby Atmos.

Can I stream audio from my Android phone to the Arc?

No, the Arc has zero Bluetooth functionality.

What sort of HDMI port does the Arc have?

It has a single HDMI eARC port.

Can the Arc connect wirelessly?

It can use Apple AirPlay 2 or Wi-Fi signals to connect.

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