- The Sonos Arc is often regarded as the best soundbar available today due to its outstanding sound quality and Dolby Atmos power.
- The Polk Audio MagniFi Max is a top alternative to the Sonos Arc, offering room-filling sound with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X technology.
- The Yamaha Audio SR-C30A is a budget-friendly alternative that impresses with its sound quality and multiple sound modes.
- The Sonos Beam Gen 2 is a great alternative for those who value the Sonos ecosystem, offering vibrant bass and crystal-clear dialog.
- The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is the best choice for gamers, providing immersive sound and compatibility with PlayStation and Xbox hardware.
When it comes to the world of soundbars, Sonos has long been at the top of the pack. Thanks to outstanding sound quality and Dolby Atmos power, the Sonos Arc is often regarded as the best soundbar available today. Unfortunately, the price of the Sonos Arc can be a hard sell for many people who don’t need the most advanced soundbar available. For millions of television owners, a non-Sonos Arc soundbar will do just fine.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the best alternatives to a Sonos Arc you can buy today.
- #1 Best Overall: Polk Audio MagniFi Max
- Best Budget-Friendly: Yamaha Audio SR-C30A
- Best Value: Sonos Beam Gen 2
- Best for Gaming: Bose Smart Soundbar 900
- Best Premium: Sony HT-A7000
- Best Voice Commands: Yamaha Audio YAS-209BL
#1 Best Overall: Polk Audio MagniFi Max
- Outstanding room-filling sound
- Standalone subwoofer for plenty of extra bass
- Includes a down-firing wireless subwoofer
- Quick and easy set up
When it comes to a room-filling sound that easily matches the Sonos Arc, the Polk Audio MagniFi Max more than meets the challenge.
Available as a 5.12-channel soundbar complete with a 10-inch subwoofer, the Polk Audio MagniFi Max is a definite winner. As soon as you power on the Max with the right film, the 11-driver array goes to work. Two of these up-firing drivers create a virtual height effect, which helps with the surround sound experience.
Add in left and right tweeters, a subwoofer, and a dedicated center channel, and it’s easy to see why Polk is taking Sonos head-on. Better yet, the Polk delivers with both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X technology. These two cinematic surround sound features introduce plenty of bass to help shake a room.
As a bonus, Polk offers its patented VoiceAdjusted technology to the Max. This tech ensures you hear crystal-clear dialog without affecting any music or sound effects in the background. Plus, you get plenty of extra niceties including a dedicated 10-inch down-firing wireless subwoofer and support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, Chromecast, and Spotify Connect.
|Outstanding room-filling sound
|Might be too long for some at 45 inches
|Standalone subwoofer brings plenty of extra bass
Pick up the Polk Audio MagniFi Max from Amazon today.
Best Budget-Friendly: Yamaha Audio SR-C30A
- Affordable option
- Can be positioned in multiple ways
- Features 4 different sound modes
- Simple setup via HDMI
If you’re looking for a much more budget-friendly alternative to the Sonos Arc, the answer is the Yamaha Audio SR-C30A.
At 23 inches wide, the Yamaha Audio SR-C30A impresses in a big way with room-filling 3D sound. Packed with virtual technologies, the SR-C30A is capable of easily filling up a medium-sized room with plenty of bass. Of course, Yamaha isn’t just about bass as the SR-C30A also adds Clear Voice tech for increased dialog clarity.
Even though it offers a budget-friendly price point, Yamaha impresses with four different sound modes. Between standard, stereo, 3D, and movie and game, you have plenty of options. You can even combine two modes in 3D movie mode and create a virtual sound that feels like the whole room is full of speakers.
Late-night movie watchers will enjoy an adaptive sound that keeps dialog crystal clear, even at low volumes. This works whether the Yamaha is set up horizontally or vertically which makes it adaptable to any entertainment center setup.
|Fantastic sound for a budget-friendly price
|No Dolby Atmos support
|Can be positioned in multiple ways
|Does not include remote
Grab the Yamaha Audio SR-C30A from Amazon right now.
Best Value: Sonos Beam Gen 2
If you are someone who values the Sonos ecosystem, the best Arc alternative is the Sonos Beam Gen 2.
Like the Sonos Arc, the Beam Gen 2 delivers impressive sound quality but does so without the Arc’s premium price tag. Available for hundreds less, you can still enjoy vibrant bass and crystal-clear dialog. The Beam Gen 2 is also ready out of the box with Dolby Atmos technology, which immediately increases the sound quality over competitive soundbars.
One of the best aspects of the Sonos Beam Gen 2 is being able to control everything from the downloadable Sonos app. On top of the app, a few extra bonuses with the Beam include AirPlay 2 and support for voice commands from Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
By utilizing Dolby Atmos, the Beam excels at creating a virtual 3D sound that can easily fill up a large room. Add in a 40% faster chip in the Beam’s Gen 2 hardware and you have much better performance over its predecessor.
|Best-in-class Sonos technology
|Not quite as loud as the Sonos Arc
|Room-filling 3D sound with Dolby Atmos
|Heavier than many competitors
Make sure and grab the Sonos Beam Gen 2 today from Amazon.
Best for Gaming: Bose Smart Soundbar 900
- Features two up-firing speakers
- Sharp looking hardware
- Improves next-gen gaming audio in a big way
- Dolby Atmos soundbar
Gamers who are looking for a soundbar experience that will make PlayStation and Xbox hardware shake have found it with the Bose Smart Soundbar 900.
From the moment the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is plugged in, gamers will feel blanketed in sound. Everything from footsteps to bullets flying overhead in Call of Duty will sound better with the Soundbar 900.
This sound is courtesy of two up-firing speakers that virtually push the sound out of the soundbar in every direction. When you add in Dolby Atmos technology, the quality of this virtual sound increases tenfold. Bose’s Voice4Video technology also helps ensure that dialog in both games and other content is crystal clear.
One of the best benefits of the Bose 900 isn’t its sound, but its beautiful looks. The white looks great against the PlayStation 5 while the black variant perfectly matches the Xbox Series X. When you’re done gaming, you can stream other types of content over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, and Spotify Connect.
|Sharp looking hardware
|At 41 inches in length, might be too long for some
|Improves next-gen gaming audio in a big way
|White goes on sale more than the black variant
The best time to pick up the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 from Amazon is right now.
Best Premium: Sony HT-A7000
- DTS:X, Dolby Atmos, Vertical Surround Sound Engine
- 360-degree sound mapping
- Converts audio to 7.1.2 Ch automatically
- 4K/120 and 8K passthrough for the best visuals and gameplay
If you’re okay breaking open your piggy bank and spending it all on a soundbar, the Sony HT-A7000 is exactly what you want to purchase.
Assuming the price tag doesn’t scare you, the Sony HT-A7000 is regarded as one of the best soundbars available today. When you discover the A7000 offers 360-degree spatial sound, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X virtual sound technologies, it’s easy to understand why the price tag is at a premium level.
Offering a 7.1.2 channel experience, this is about as premium as you can get with a virtual surround sound. This is even more true when you discover the Sony includes both 8K and 4K/120Hz passthrough technology.
One of the best aspects of the Sony is that you can add up to two subwoofers and two rear speakers for a true surround sound experience at any time. These additions make sure the Sony feels right at home in any size room. Best of all, you can set the Sony up with its on-screen user interface in under 2 minutes.
|Outstanding 7.1.2 channel sound
|One of the easiest setup processes
|Adding on surround sound speakers can add up fast
For the absolute best 360 spatial sound, grab the Sony HT-A7000 soundbar from Amazon.
Best Voice Commands: Yamaha Audio YAS-209BL
- Easy setup with HDMI or Optical cable and automatic subwoofer connection
- Wireless subwoofer for deep bass and flexible placement. Center unit-36-5/8 × 2-1/2 × 4-1/4 inches, Subwoofer-7-1/2 × 16-1/2 × 16 inches
- Clear voice for enhanced dialogue clarity
- Alexa built-in for voice control of your sound bar, playing music, listening to news, setting alarms and timers, asking questions, controlling smart home devices, and more
- With Alexa, playing music is as simple as asking for a song, artist, or genre from Amazon music and more
Should you want a soundbar that easily handles voice commands so you can sit comfortably on the sofa, the Yamaha Audio YAS-209BL is the right choice.
Support for Amazon Alexa is one of the best reasons to grab the Yamaha Audio YAS-209BL. Alexa makes it easy to ask for today’s top headlines, set an alarm, or control other smart home devices.
Of course, the YAS-209BL isn’t just good for voice commands. Built-in support for DTS:X enables a standout virtual 3D surround sound that delights at this price point. Multiple speakers and a built-in subwoofer pair with the wireless standalone subwoofer for room-filling sound.
This sound can be from a movie, show, or even from music. Alexa makes it easy to ask for a song, artist, or genre for Amazon Prime Music subscribers. Non-Amazon Prime music subscribers can still stream over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi using the downloadable Yamaha app.
|Easy voice commands with Amazon Alexa
|No Dolby Atmos support
|Excellent feature-to-price ratio
|No remote control included
If voice commands are at the top of your soundbar wishlist, the Yamaha Audio YAS-209BL should be on your Amazon wishlist.
How to Pick the Best Sonos Arc Alternative: Step-by-Step
When you want to pick up a Sonos Arc alternative, there are a few considerations to factor in:
At $899 MSRP, the Sonos Arc is undoubtedly one of the more expensive soundbars on the market. If you are looking to pick up an alternative, there is a good chance price is a big factor. The good news is that there are a lot of great Arc alternatives priced well under the $899 number. Of course, you can find more expensive options if you are looking for a different feature set. Ultimately, you need to determine how big a factor price is for your soundbar needs.
If you are looking at the features on the Sonos Arc, you will discover almost immediately how feature-rich it is. In many cases, you can find a comparable set of features including Dolby Atmos, voice commands, using your smartphone as an app, and more. There is no question the Sonos Arc is full of a lot of great technologies. However, plenty of competitor soundbars can claim similar feature sets. If anything, the Sonos Arc can claim especially good looks, but most of the features can be found elsewhere.
At 45 inches in length, the Sonos Arc is undoubtedly on the longer side of soundbar sizing. The good news is that the larger length here helps lead to better sound and features. However, not everyone has room for a 45-inch soundbar, so you definitely want to look at how much space you have available for a soundbar before making any purchase decision. Whether you are looking to place a soundbar below a TV or mount it on a wall, size will matter in a big way.
What to Know Before Buying a Sonos Arc Alternative
The reality is that there isn’t a whole lot you have to know before buying any Sonos Arc alternative. Outside of the features named above, with the added possibility of how stylish the Sonos Arc hardware is, the feature set of the Sonos is fairly well-matched with other brands. Sony, Yamaha, Bose, and Polk Audio can all match and, in some cases, exceed Sonos’ quality with the Arc.
Before buying any Sonos Arc alternative, it would be helpful to make a list of the exact features you want. Whether it’s Dolby Atmos or voice commands, outline what you need and then shop around to see which alternative soundbars match your list.
Using Sonos Arc Alternatives: What It’s Like
The reality of using a Sonos Arc is that you can also find some great alternatives. Ultimately, the Sonos Arc might be regarded as the “best” soundbar, but it’s not the only good soundbar. All of the soundbars listed here produce great sound quality. Each soundbar delivers clear dialog for sound even though some are better than others. Last but not least, both Sony and Polk have a similar setup process as Sonos, which goes a long way for ease of use.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Joni Hanebutt/Shutterstock.com.