Building on a reputation for exceptional home sound systems, Sonos makes a grand statement with the new Sonos Arc. Purpose-built to maximise Dolby Atmos, the next-generation device represents the pinnacle of Sonos’ soundbar lineup and is a necessary evolution from the pioneering Playbar and good-value Beam.
Years in development, Arc has been crafted to deliver fully immersive Dolby Atmos the way it was intended, featuring 11 high-performance drivers — 8 custom elliptical woofers and 3 tweeters — each individually positioned to swiftly move sound across a room. The result: an ultra-wide soundstage taped with pristine clarity and detail, dramatic depth, and impressive bass response.
When listening, I found the sound to be rich and realistic across both entertainment and music, really opening up the idea of Dolby Atmos and echoing the technology’s ability to recreate the cinematic experience.
The audio profile, brimming with crisp textures and defined by authenticity, can be enhanced even further with the addition of Sonos’ new third-generation Sub, taking Arc’s arrangement from a 5.0.2 to 5.1.2 system, and again with other dedicated surrounds like a pair of Sonos One SLs as the rear speakers.
Sonos’ adaptive TruePlay smart technology can be used to calibrate Arc to maximise performance as a function of its environment. It’s this flexibility which exemplifies Arc’s value, coupled with other thoughtful inclusions like an optical converter for use if your television doesn’t have a modern eARC HDMI port.
Arc’s seamless design is essential to its exceptional performance. Whether it’s in a sophisticated black or white colourway, the all-aluminium body curves into a cylindrical shape, sporting a sleek aesthetic perfectly aligned with Sonos’ reputation for design-forward build quality. Touch-sensitive sound and playback controls sit on top of the bar, alongside a mic switch so the efficient integration with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa can be toggled off for complete privacy.
76,000 precision holes cover the single plastic grille for optimum sound quality, highlighting the exacting technique of CNC drilling, which was employed alongside thermoforming to achieve Arc’s very specific form.
With a length of 45-inches and a weight of 13.8 pounds, Arc is quite long when compared to Sonos’ previous soundbars. As such, it would look best with a 55-inch television or larger, with enough flexibility so it can look just as good on a media unit or wall-mounted. The latter is especially impressive, given Arc uses magnets to detect its position and adjust acoustics accordingly.
It’s almost impossible to find fault with the Sonos Arc. Whether it’s using intelligent features like Night Sound to temper the volume of big explosions or wrapping you in its expansive sound field, it’s a perfectly poised extension of what Dolby Atmos is supposed to sound like — a true gift to home cinema.