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Sonos unveils its first Dolby Atmos soundbar, the Sonos Arc

06 May 2020 | Rasmus Larsen |

Sonos has unveiled its first Dolby Atmos soundbar for a more immersive sound experience. Sonos Arc is also powered by the company's new S2 software platform.

Sonos Arc with Dolby Atmos

Sonos Arc replaces Playbar and Playbase as the new premium soundbar in the company's line-up. It is the Sonos' first speaker product with Dolby Atmos and the first with HDMI 2.1's eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel). Arc is equipped with eleven drivers, including two that are upward firing for overhead Atmos effects. In addition, it has two left/right side-firing units that help deliver a wider soundstage. It has also been a priority to deliver "crystal clear dialogue and impressive bass", the company said.

Sonos Arc soundbar

- "Sonos Arc is a premium, smart soundbar, delivering an ultra-wide soundstage and impressive bass. Eleven high-performance drivers, including two that are upward firing for 3D audio, produce dramatic clarity, detail, and depth. Tuned in partnership with Oscar-winning mixing engineers, Arc adjusts its sound profile through software, based on the home theater set-up and what’s playing, whether stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, or Dolby Atmos." Why now? During a video presentation with FlatpanelsHD, Cullen Harwood, Global Product Marketing Manager at Sonos, explained that it is the "culmination of something we have been working on for a long time", internally known under the codename 'Apollo'. Arc is the first product to be built on the company's new software platform and with HDMI eARC/ARC it can pull Dolby Atmos sound directly from a TV, which "keeps things simple". By Sonos' count there are now more than 25 video streaming services that deliver Dolby Atmos content. Some of the larger ones are Apple TV (iTunes and TV+), Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Vudu. FlatpanelsHD has not had a chance to listen to Sonos Arc yet but we should receive a review sample soon. With the launch, Sonos is entering a market segment where other brands have competed for a few years now, with both cheaper and more expensive Atmos-capable soundbars. LG, Samsung, Sony, JBL, Sennheiser, and Vizio are all selling Dolby Atmos soundbars.

Sonos Arc soundbar

Sonos Arc in multiroom

The soundbar can, of course, also be used in a larger set-up with multiple Sonos speakers including with a pair of One SL as rear speakers, or as a living room solution for music playback. In addition to music services from within the company's own app, it supports Apple AirPlay 2. Sonos Arc can be controlled from the app, a TV remote (via infrared) or through voice commands via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. There are capacitive touch controls on the soundbar. Other features such as Night Mode and Speech Enhancement (via the app) were also highlighted. Sonos Arc will be available in black and white starting June 10, 2020, in the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Spain, Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Luxembourg, Latin America, Singapore, and Hong Kong. It will be priced at $799 USD, $999 CAD, £799, and €899. It can be preordered today on sonos.com. Together with Arc, Sonos is releasing an upgraded version of the Sonos Sub and Play:5, now called Sonos Five. The two products come with the same design and speaker components as their predecessors. They both feature increased memory and processing power. Starting June 10, Sonos Sub (Gen 4) will be available for $699 whereas Five will cost $499.

Sonos Arc soundbar

New app & software platform

With the launch of Arc, Five and the 3rd-gen Sub, Sonos is rolling out its next generation S2 software platform. A new Sonos app will be released on June 8 and the three new products will run only on the new app. - "This new generation app features support for higher resolution audio technologies, evident with the Dolby Atmos experience on Arc, as well as increased security and improved design for easier use. User interface updates make it even simpler for customers to search for content, control sound, and personalize the experience with new features starting with saved room groups," the company announced.

Sonos Arc soundbar

Some existing products are compatible with the new platform and app but not all of them. Legacy products will stop receiving new software features this month but will continue to work. The company is working on a way to split the system into legacy and modern products, it said in January.

Sonos Arc - specifications

Audio

Eleven Class-D digital amplifiers Perfectly tuned to Arc's acoustic architecture. Eight elliptical woofers Ensure faithful playback of mid-range and vocal frequencies in addition to rich bass. Three precisely angled silk-dome tweeters Create crisp high frequencies and crystal clear dialogue. Four far-field microphone array Uses advanced beamforming and multi-channel echo cancellation so your voice assistant can readily respond when activated. Trueplay software Dynamically tunes Arc to the unique acoustics of the room. iOS device required. Adjustable EQ Settings in the app, including bass, treble, and loudness. Speech Enhancement Emphasizes frequencies of the human voice to clarify dialogue. Night Sound Reduces the intensity of loud sound effects. HDMI eARC or ARC A simple connection through HDMI eARC or ARC keeps setup simple while enabling high-quality audio playback.

Power and Networking

Power supply Auto-switching 100-240 V, 50-60 Hz AC universal input. Ethernet port 1 10/100 Mbps ethernet port. Wire directly to your router if WiFi is unreliable. WiFi Connects to your home WiFi network with any 802.11b/g, 2.4 GHz broadcast-capable router. Sonos S2 Download the latest generation of the app to setup and control. Apple AirPlay 2 Works with AirPlay 2 on Apple devices iOS 11.4 and higher. Idle energy usage 4.3 watts of power in idle mode. Infrared (IR) receiver Syncs with your TV remote for streamlined control.

Details

Dimensions - H x W x D 3.4 x 45 x 4.5 inches (87 x 1141.7 x 115.7 mm) Finish Black with matte finish / White with matte finish Status LED Indicates the speaker and microphone status and adjusts based on the ambient light of the room to be visible but not distracting. Capacitive controls Tap to play, pause, adjust the volume, and mute the microphones. Swipe right to skip ahead or left to revisit a track. Weight 13.78 lbs (6.25 kg)
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