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Soundbar questions - Sonos ARC or?


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Hi all,

Just chasing some advice. The wife wants a soundbar instead of a Hifi. I’d previously tried to placate her by downsizing a separates Hifi to a NAD D3045 (with HDMI ARC), Wiim mini, and some MA Silver 100’s, but now she’s saying she still wants a soundbar.

 

Truth be told, my main issue with TVs is dialogue. Further down the line is surround effects or feeling the couch shake with bass. We have three kids rooms adjoining our main living area so late night TV usually ends in subtitles as it is, but those three kids also don’t mind a movie of a Friday night with a bit of boogie to it.


I was thinking of getting a Sonos ARC. It seems to get good reviews, has night listening and dialogue modes, shouldn’t be too bad for ambient music (which the old system did well) and is about the max budget I’d like to spend. My wife has Sonos in her office so that would simplify that side of things for her. Initially I won’t run a sub. Somewhere down the line I may add the subwoofer.

 

Apparently they are bringing out a new ARC later this year. Are there likely to be any massive upgrades that would necessitate the wait? Some reports are that it’ll be more expensive. Not knowing anything about Dolby DTS etc, are these things something that becomes obsolete, and should I wait for a new one on the basis that it may support newer formats?

 

Or are there any other soundbars I should be considering?

 

Cheers,

Andrew

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If your sources are the TV and movie streaming services, your audio will be Dolby. The lack of DTS in the current Sonos ARC should not affect you.

 

Yes, there are rumours that a new Sonos ARC soundbar will come out at the end of the year with perhaps DTS.  But can you wait?

 

There are of course, many other soundbars.  The Sennheiser Ambeo Plus and Max are probably the best but way over your budget.  Maybe have a look at Samsung?

 

My suggestion is to audition the soundbars with your wife.  Offer her the opportunity to listen and compare.  She may want something small and discrete, but you may want something that sounds good.  I suspect the Sonos ARC will be a good compromise....

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I have a Sonos Arc and Sub in a large open area which was chosen due to WAF restraints much like yours. We use it daily for background music and a little TV. The sound for music is actually surprisingly good, certainly enough quality for me never to want to upgrade it, nice and full sound with the sub in play.

 

Not the same as stereo speakers but thats the compromise isn't it. In a room with walls all around along with the new ERA 300 for the rears its mean to sound pretty good for movies but ive never heard it.

 

Reliability of the Sonos products is top tier too, it never lets me down, just works.

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For TV viewing and the occasional movie the Samsung 990 does a decent job. When on sale they can be had for a good price and includes the sub and rears. Look for the 990c not the b.

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Thanks for all the suggestions!

 

Hi @POV, the current system is pretty minimal as it is, (D3045 and two speakers). I don't think anything short of a sleek/minimalist soundbar is going to placate the wife. I had considered a passive 2-channel soundbar from the likes of Adelaide Speakers but again I don't think it would have the sleek appearance she desires.

 

The reason I was keen on the Arc is that it is designed to run with or without a sub, and there is a reasonably good chance that she will not want a subwoofer. I was thinking I could grab the Arc separately and evaluate that first, and if I'm not happy with the outcome without a sub then I can push that down the line. Ideally I would love an Ambeo Max to be done with it minus a sub, but that is way over budget for this reason. I had a look at the Ambeo plus and even at $2,500 I don't think she'd approve.

 

@Snoopy8, you mentioned DTS and Dolby. That's the stuff I don't understand. This is going to be run off a Samsung smart TV with onboard streaming services; sounds like Dolby processing should cover all my needs then? I was a little worried about the possibility of the current model becoming obsolete somewhere in the near future.

 

Cheers,

Andrew

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1 minute ago, Ruffter said:

Thanks for all the suggestions!

 

Hi @POV, the current system is pretty minimal as it is, (D3045 and two speakers). I don't think anything short of a sleek/minimalist soundbar is going to placate the wife. I had considered a passive 2-channel soundbar from the likes of Adelaide Speakers but again I don't think it would have the sleek appearance she desires.

 

The reason I was keen on the Arc is that it is designed to run with or without a sub, and there is a reasonably good chance that she will not want a subwoofer. I was thinking I could grab the Arc separately and evaluate that first, and if I'm not happy with the outcome without a sub then I can push that down the line. Ideally I would love an Ambeo Max to be done with it minus a sub, but that is way over budget for this reason. I had a look at the Ambeo plus and even at $2,500 I don't think she'd approve.

 

@Snoopy8, you mentioned DTS and Dolby. That's the stuff I don't understand. This is going to be run off a Samsung smart TV with onboard streaming services; sounds like Dolby processing should cover all my needs then? I was a little worried about the possibility of the current model becoming obsolete somewhere in the near future.

 

Cheers,

Andrew


Fair enough mate.   It’s posts like this that make me very grateful for my wife putting up with systems and speakers in every room of the house.  She never complains!

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15 minutes ago, Ruffter said:

 

@Snoopy8, you mentioned DTS and Dolby. That's the stuff I don't understand. This is going to be run off a Samsung smart TV with onboard streaming services; sounds like Dolby processing should cover all my needs then? I was a little worried about the possibility of the current model becoming obsolete somewhere in the near future.

The Samsung TV can't do DTS and movie streaming can't do DTS.  Dolby is the dominant format today.

 

Samsung may change one day; they have been criticised for a long time but have not budged !  Streaming services are unlikely to.  

 

Your chances of being obsolete are very very small...  

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I personally wouldn't consider a Sonos arc or any sound bar without a sub unless you are going for a big one like the AMBEO.

 

Theres a reason 90% come with a sub, they sound shite without them, even the kids will be disappointed when its movie time.

 

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@aussievintage The two reasons I was looking at the ARC is it is designed to be run with or without a sub, and that she uses Sonos at her work so having that same ecosystem at home will be an easy transition for her on the tech front.

 

My plan was to try the soundbar alone, as that is what my wife is thinking will suffice. I anticipate it won’t be that great but I don’t think I can prove that point without going through the rigmorale of demonstrating so. I suspect we will use that for a bit of time, realise it’s not up to snuff somewhere down the line, and then add on a sub at a later date. I had a look at the other ones, the Samsung 990c on current sale looks a good alternative. But from what I can see the sub is an integral part and it will sound especially bad without it.

 

Might be a case of grabbing the current ARC and seeing how we go…


Very jealous @POV, it’s not my wife’s cup of tea unfortunately. 

 

Cheers,

Andrew

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WAF dictated we get an ARC without a sub. We compromised by me being allowed two Sonos Ones (replaced now with Era 100) as surrounds. I have to put the surrounds in the cupboard when guests are coming 🥴

 

Sound-wise the ARC is good but not great. Dialog is OK but could still be boosted a little. Nothing close to my Dirac setup AVR in the HT.

 

Setup is a breeze and it sounds good from anywhere in the room. Looks are great. The Sonos OS is amazing too. 

 

Overall I'd recommend the ARC as a compromise if you aren't allowed powered speakers..

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I have the Sonos arc without the subwoofer in our bedroom with 55 lg oled for the past 3 years. It is wall mounted below the tv. It is set and forget for the tv and my wife is very happy with sound clarity and ease of use. Also use it for background music. For about 1k and the slim form factor it  is really good. 
 

For our living room tv setup with 65 oled tv I have  been auditioning for a new sound bar setup. Current settled on the Naim Muso 2 which is 1.8k. Also looked at  the Ambeo/B&O/Krix passive speakerbar but the tonality playing  music with the  Naim won me over. I may consider trialling the Sonos arc with subwoofer and eras rears for an atmos setup down the track.

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7 hours ago, Ruffter said:

Very jealous @POV, it’s not my wife’s cup of tea unfortunately. 

 

 


Not my place to offer marital advice…but can’t you just talk to her, explain that sound quality is important to you and that you don’t want a mediocre soundbar?  I get the concept of WAF but surely you should get a say in the matter as well!?

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On 22/01/2024 at 2:14 PM, gat474 said:

For TV viewing and the occasional movie the Samsung 990 does a decent job. When on sale they can be had for a good price and includes the sub and rears. Look for the 990c not the b.

I recently purchased the Samsung 990C which is a long soundbar and 2 wireless surround speakers and a woofer for around 1150 (often on sale). 

 

I previously had an old sonos playbase which was rubbish in comparison, i know the sonos arc would be better than that one.  The clarity of the centre channel on the Samsung is fantastic.  You can up/down the volume of specific channels to your liking.  For TV and 5.1 music on tv this is fantastic. 

 

Of course it would never replace my 2 channel system for pure music vinyl/digital.

 

The only caution i would state is that the sound bar is quite long, if you do not intend to wall mount it

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Haha, it's all good @POV. I previously decoupled my stereo from the TV in the lounge to a sitting room. I get full control over the stereo, but she gets to dictate the TV room. It is the only TV in our household so we shall see what happens. As I said, I'll go the single bar by itself first, however I am guessing even she will be disappointed, and we will end up with a sub. It may even be a Sonos sub mini.

 

Cheers,

Andrew 

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1 hour ago, Ruffter said:

Haha, it's all good @POV. I previously decoupled my stereo from the TV in the lounge to a sitting room. I get full control over the stereo, but she gets to dictate the TV room. It is the only TV in our household so we shall see what happens. As I said, I'll go the single bar by itself first, however I am guessing even she will be disappointed, and we will end up with a sub. It may even be a Sonos sub mini.

 

Cheers,

Andrew 


Guaranteed to get approval for the subwoofer if you do this straight out of the box:

 

treble to max

bass to min

loudness off


😂

 

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