Sonos Launches Arc, its premium smart soundbar

As well as Arc , Sonos has announced updates to the SUB, Five and has trailed its new app all launching in June.

Sonos says Arc represents its most immersive home cinema experience yet. The company is certainly pushing more marketing muscle and promotional assets into this project than ever before, so suffice to say this is very important launch for the company.

The audio headline is the inclusion of Dolby Atmos compatibility with Arc’s multi-directional speaker array, the product can also adjust to deliver within a Dolby Atmos field if other Sonos speakers are involved moving towards acting more as a centre channel.

Sonos says Arc builds on its innovations in home cinema, with software-driven audio that immerses listeners in detail, crystal clear dialogue and impressive bass, featuring the aforementioned support for Dolby Atmos.

Billed as more than a soundbar, Sonos says Arc brings accomplished sound to anything users care to stream, tuned for what’s playing from the TV to music, podcasts and radio when the TV is off. Powered by Sonos’ new sound experience platform, Arc is designed to make home cinema easy with loads of choice in what to listen to, how to control, with the option to expand the system.

Audio ambition

“Home has never played a more important role in our lives and we’ve always been about making the home more enjoyable with great sounding products and new experiences. Arc brings the sounds of our favorite shows and artists to life like never before,” says Patrick Spence, Sonos CEO. “Our goal is to make any room you have a television a place you can easily enjoy all of the great streaming video and music that exists today. Arc illustrates our commitment to brilliant sound and premium design, and sets a new standard for soundbars.” More content is being streamed in homes around the world, now in even higher resolution sound. Today, more than 25 video streaming services are serving Dolby Atmos content, making home cinema experiences more accessible.

Sonos Arc has been created as a premium, smart soundbar, delivering an ultra-wide soundstage and impressive bass. Eleven drivers, including two that are upward firing for ‘3D audio’, are in place to deliver an immersive experience.

The product has been tuned in partnership with Oscar-winning mixing engineers, and Arc adjusts its sound profile through software, based on the home cinema set-up and what’s playing, whether stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, or Dolby Atmos.

Listeners can refine Arc’s sound in the Sonos app with features including Speech Enhancement to further clarify vocals, Night Sound to temper loud explosions, and an update to Sonos’ Trueplay tuning technology, adjusting Arc’s acoustic profile based on the room, accounting for horizontal and vertical sound that comes with 3D sound. Trueplay is still only available via apple portable products, and whilst its understandably difficult to build a reliable platform for the myriad of Andriod mics out there, perhaps a dedicated mic for pro users would not go a miss?

Arc, available in matte black and matte white, features a 270° rounded plastic grille for a better looking product and one that suits its multi-directional array. Arc can sit in front of a standing TV or be mounted to the wall with a separate custom designed wall mount.

A simple connection through HDMI eARC or ARC keeps set-up simple. Built on Sonos’ next generation S2 software platform, Arc can be controlled from the new Sonos app, an existing TV remote, voice using Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant, and Apple AirPlay 2. While Arc delivers plenty of sound on it’s own, adding Sonos Sub and a pair of One SL surrounds offers a more immersive experience, says the maker. Arc replaces Playbar and Playbase in the Sonos line-up and is available globally on from June 10.

More updates

Alongside Arc, Sonos has introduced two updates for premium sound in the home. Sonos Sub (Gen 3) and Sonos Five, replacing Play:5 (Gen 2), bring increased memory and faster processing power while delivering the same sound experiences customers have come to know.

Sonos Sub has been a long-time favourite for added bass when wirelessly connected to a Sonos speaker. Adding Sub optimises the lower frequencies for richer and more dramatic sound.

The new Sub brings the same design and bass, available in both black and white for $699. An update to Sonos’ most powerful speaker for music, Sonos Five delivers the same sound and acoustic architecture as Play:5.

True to its predecessor, Sonos Five fits in any space with versatility. Use as a standalone speaker horizontally, or pair two Fives in the upright position for detailed stereo separation.

An enduring design that Sonos says continues to fit perfectly into any space, Sonos Five is available in black with a black grille and, for the first time, white with a white grille. Both these speaker updates are also available from June 10.

New app

Starting June 8, Sonos customers will also be able to download the new Sonos app, delivering an upgraded software platform that will power the next generation of products and experiences from Sonos, including Arc, Five, and the third generation Sub.

The three new products will run exclusively on the new app, so if you have them, you definitely need to upgrade the 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 simpler for customers to search for content, control sound, and personalise the experience with new features starting with saved room groups. Customers will download the new app and easily transition their system to the new platform, says the maker as all favourites, services, and settings will be saved.

So, combining Dolby Atmos, with probably the most popular speaker form on the planet right now (soundbar scores very high on number of internet searches) is Sonos onto a winner?

There is certainly lots of real estate in terms of content that can move right into this space, including the company’s own Sonos Radio platform, so lets see how it does.

If you have any thoughts, let us know.

Look out for a review of the Arc coming soon on this website.

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