Sonos Arc + Sub + 2 One's setup dissapointing - Replacement suggestion?

andreihanea88

Novice Member
Hello,


I've recently upgraded my living room audio setup from a Sony HT-ZF9 which was ok but the Dolby Atmos was not that present. Because I already owned 2 Sonos One gen 2 i've decided to buy a sonos arc and a sonos sub which i have paired with the Ones for a full home theater. After many trueplay calibrations I am a little bit disappointed of the sonos Arc. I feel that the middle notes are harsh and overall it sounds metallic and not natural and also the atmos is not that present as in many reviews. Another issue is that the only option is in white, the black option is out of stock everywhere and I feel that the white color distracts attention from movies by just sitting there under the screen. Anyway overall i am dissapointed of the sound i hoped it will be groundshaking and mindblowing and the atmos will be present but it seems just like an average 5.1 sound system. I've discussed with the retailer and they are willing to offer me full refund and I have one week to decide. My question is if there are any similare issues with Sonos Arc and if you could recommend me another setup at a similar price (1000-1500 EUR) that is really good and makes atmos present. I was looking at JBL 9.1 and Samsung HW-Q90R but any suggestion is welcomed.

Thanks!
 

BeefS2

Active Member
I don’t own a Sonos arc, but i did read that some people are having problems with using newer iPhones for truplay. They end up getting that metallic sound you are talking about. It might be worth trying with an older iphone if you can. How tall are your ceilings? Are slanted?

For alternatives at the moment I think your choices are the LG sn11rg, Samsung q90r, and jbl bar 9.1. The Sn11rg and q90r are similar. From my experience the sn11rg’s rear speakers are better and do a better job with Atmos, while the q90r has a more balanced sound with more clear dialogue. They’re both pretty great and would give you good height fx. The jbl 9.1 also sounds great with good Atmos fx, but I’d rather set my rear speakers and leave them. You can do that with the bar 9.1, but it kind of defeats the purpose of detachable speakers. The soundstage is more narrow too. Samsung is releasing their new flagship soundbar, the q950t, in the next few weeks. It looks excellent, but maybe not drastically different than the q90r. Eventually in the fall the Klipsch bar 54 is coming out, which looks like it could be worth waiting for
 
Last edited:

Tegs200

Active Member
Hello,


I've recently upgraded my living room audio setup from a Sony HT-ZF9 which was ok but the Dolby Atmos was not that present. Because I already owned 2 Sonos One gen 2 i've decided to buy a sonos arc and a sonos sub which i have paired with the Ones for a full home theater. After many trueplay calibrations I am a little bit disappointed of the sonos Arc. I feel that the middle notes are harsh and overall it sounds metallic and not natural and also the atmos is not that present as in many reviews. Another issue is that the only option is in white, the black option is out of stock everywhere and I feel that the white color distracts attention from movies by just sitting there under the screen. Anyway overall i am dissapointed of the sound i hoped it will be groundshaking and mindblowing and the atmos will be present but it seems just like an average 5.1 sound system. I've discussed with the retailer and they are willing to offer me full refund and I have one week to decide. My question is if there are any similare issues with Sonos Arc and if you could recommend me another setup at a similar price (1000-1500 EUR) that is really good and makes atmos present. I was looking at JBL 9.1 and Samsung HW-Q90R but any suggestion is welcomed.

Thanks!
All I can think.of I'd it's either your Trueplay set up or something wrong as mine is outstanding and better than the so called best SN11 which I owned and replaced with this set up so im not sure what to suggest because I'm pretty sure you all ready own the best Soundbar set up so the only way is a dedicated av system.
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
I would love a shootout between these 2020 soundbars. I know which one will be inthe bottom for movies.
 

keithwiggins

Well-known Member
I don’t own a Sonos arc, but i did read that some people are having problems with using newer iPhones for truplay. They end up getting that metallic sound you are talking about. It might be worth trying with an older iphone if you can. How tall are your ceilings? Are slanted?

For alternatives at the moment I think your choices are the LG sn11rg, Samsung q90r, and jbl bar 9.1. The Sn11rg and q90r are similar. From my experience the sn11rg’s rear speakers are better and do a better job with Atmos, while the q90r has a more balanced sound with more clear dialogue. They’re both pretty great and would give you good height fx. The jbl 9.1 also sounds great with good Atmos fx, but I’d rather set my rear speakers and leave them. You can do that with the bar 9.1, but it kind of defeats the purpose of detachable speakers. The soundstage is more narrow too. Samsung is releasing their new flagship soundbar, the q950t, in the next few weeks. It looks excellent, but maybe not drastically different than the q90r. Eventually in the fall the Klipsch bar 54 is coming out, which looks like it could be worth waiting for
The beosound stage will offer you far better soundquality. The drawback might be that the atmos effects may not be as good ( sound quality on atmos is quite room dependant in many ways)
T3 just voted it there soundbar of the year, amazing bass, dynamics. clarity, no harshness., I appreciate opinions are like As*holes , the final arbitrator will be your ears but the Sq not far of the Ambeo at half the price, try to get a listen, good luck.
 

Aryn86

Well-known Member
If you want solidly pronounced Atmos (outside of ceiling speakers) you will have to get something with front and rear upward firing drivers. Depending on your budget and room size the 3 obvious options are the Q90r from Samsung, SN11 from LG and the JBL Bar 9.1

I've just recently ordered the Bar 9.1 as I got it for a good price and with my room being smaller the adjustability of fully wireless rears is something that will be a game changer for me.
 

quattr0

Member
Hello,


I've recently upgraded my living room audio setup from a Sony HT-ZF9 which was ok but the Dolby Atmos was not that present. Because I already owned 2 Sonos One gen 2 i've decided to buy a sonos arc and a sonos sub which i have paired with the Ones for a full home theater. After many trueplay calibrations I am a little bit disappointed of the sonos Arc. I feel that the middle notes are harsh and overall it sounds metallic and not natural and also the atmos is not that present as in many reviews. Another issue is that the only option is in white, the black option is out of stock everywhere and I feel that the white color distracts attention from movies by just sitting there under the screen. Anyway overall i am dissapointed of the sound i hoped it will be groundshaking and mindblowing and the atmos will be present but it seems just like an average 5.1 sound system. I've discussed with the retailer and they are willing to offer me full refund and I have one week to decide. My question is if there are any similare issues with Sonos Arc and if you could recommend me another setup at a similar price (1000-1500 EUR) that is really good and makes atmos present. I was looking at JBL 9.1 and Samsung HW-Q90R but any suggestion is welcomed.

Thanks!
Might want to add Nakamachi to your list.....I've been reading around, most folks love Nakamachi purchases.
 

keithwiggins

Well-known Member
Hello,


I've recently upgraded my living room audio setup from a Sony HT-ZF9 which was ok but the Dolby Atmos was not that present. Because I already owned 2 Sonos One gen 2 i've decided to buy a sonos arc and a sonos sub which i have paired with the Ones for a full home theater. After many trueplay calibrations I am a little bit disappointed of the sonos Arc. I feel that the middle notes are harsh and overall it sounds metallic and not natural and also the atmos is not that present as in many reviews. Another issue is that the only option is in white, the black option is out of stock everywhere and I feel that the white color distracts attention from movies by just sitting there under the screen. Anyway overall i am dissapointed of the sound i hoped it will be groundshaking and mindblowing and the atmos will be present but it seems just like an average 5.1 sound system. I've discussed with the retailer and they are willing to offer me full refund and I have one week to decide. My question is if there are any similare issues with Sonos Arc and if you could recommend me another setup at a similar price (1000-1500 EUR) that is really good and makes atmos present. I was looking at JBL 9.1 and Samsung HW-Q90R but any suggestion is welcomed.

Thanks!
What did you decide to do? Another Arc owner has just moved over to the Beosound stage but appreciate his reasons for the change will be different to yours.

There are a great many soundbars out there, topflight products from samsung and lg are pretty good and one respondent mentioned Nakamichi but thats not available in the UK, but supposed to be very good.

in my view there are 2 camps when it comes down to soundbars, mass produced which offer every feature available , these are generally replaced every year with supposedly better models, this is fine but impacts the inherent value of your purchase and deliberately creates upgrade envy, which is fine if you have deep pockets vs the more audio phile orientated products from sennheiser blusound b&w , b&o etc, these products wont do as much and or cost more, but are more finely focused on sound quality .
they are not replaced as frequently and are sw supported for years, nothing wrong with either choice, there is no right or wrong, just desire.
 

quattr0

Member
One chap on here preferred it to the Q90R. Have you read the review for it by Steve?
I guess depending where you're at, there seems to be issue with newer batch of JBL 9.1 so might take that into consideration. There's another user with Q90R issue as well but the suggestion/fix is to switch to different wifi channel.

Edited: ok i can't link to Amazon feedback but you could read it there.

 

SmAShY

Well-known Member
There were some issues early on but most seem fixed now. There's 3 different threads here for the JBL 🤦‍♂️
 

quattr0

Member
I just realized this is Europe thread. My bad. For US users, the review was posted in May 2020.



Camelot One

3.0 out of 5 stars Great potential for truly wireless surround sound, but currently with some serious bugs
Reviewed in the United States on May 20, 2020
Verified Purchase
Short summary: The completely wireless surround speakers make the JBL Bar 9.1 a unique product that COULD be perfect for my needs. But there are some trade-offs and significant bugs. I am hopefully JBL will fix the bigger issues with a firmware update, but as it sits today, I plan to return it for a refund.

Longer review:
First and foremost, you should understand that the 9.1 in the Bar 9.1 name is just that, a name. This isn’t a 9.1 surround sound unit; it is a 5.1.4. (5 main signal drivers, 1 subwoofer, 4 Atmos/DTS:X effect drivers)

You should also know that JBL is shipping different accessories depending on location. The US version I received from Amazon came with the main sound bar, 2 wireless/rechargeable surround speakers, 1 subwoofer, 2 power cables (bar and sub), 1 HDMI cable, and the wall mount hardware for the bar itself. Unlike the UK version, mine did NOT include the magnetic cover end caps for the charging ports, USB micro charging cables, or wall mount hardware for the surround speakers. I don’t need any of those things, just pointing it out because so many of the online review sites mention it including these extra accessories.

I was not able to test the eARC because my 2017 model Sony TV doesn’t support it. Instead, I am feeding the Bar 9.1 with an HDMI cable from my nVidia Shield TV (2019 version) into the HDMI IN on the bar, then an HDMI out to the TV. With this setup, I am able to get Dolby Atmos and DTS:X on the Bar 9.1 when playing media from Kodi and Amazon Prime Video. (Disney+ is currently blocking Atmos due to coronavirus bandwidth issues) I don’t have a Netflix subscription to test with.

Almost immediately I ran into some serious issues and limitations with the Bar 9.1. For starters, I couldn’t get it to complete Auto Calibration. The older Bar 5.1 had an external mic input you could use for calibration. Plug the mic in, set it in your preferred seat, and let it do it’s thing. JBL decided to eliminate that option for the 9.1 and rely solely on a mic built into the soundbar itself. Auto-Calibration requires 2 steps, first you put the surround speakers next to where you will sit so they can send audio to the soundbar mic, (step 1) then you move them to where they’ll be placed for surround sound and repeat the test. (step 2). Despite multiple attempts and moving the surround speakers all over my living room, I couldn’t get it to complete step 1. And obviously, it won’t let you start step 2 until step 1 is complete. There is absolutely no way to manually calibrate it. The remote gives you Low, Medium, High options for the Rear channel level and Atmos effect, as well as 1-5 volume settings for the sub. But there is no way to set individual channel levels or distance. So if Auto-Calibration fails, you are just stuck. I was eventually able to get it to complete both steps by moving the soundbar about 4’ in front of my TV and placing the speakers up on some tall stands. Obviously, this did not give me a proper calibration for the room, but it at least confirmed the hardware wasn’t defective.

I’ve also had the issue than in 10 days with it, there have been 3 times I’ve gone to turn it on and found it completely unresponsive to the remote and the buttons on the bar itself. Each time I had to pull the power cord for a few seconds before it would come back to life.
I sent an email to JBL support detailing the problems and everything I had tried. 4 days later, I received a most unhelpful reply back. I’m pretty sure someone ran the calibration section of a foreign language manual through Google Translate. Nothing new, just a completely messed up version of what I’d already read in the English manual. 3 more emails back and forth like that before I realized I was never going to get help from them.

And a final complaint is that they’ve stripped away a lot of the features you would normally find on a soundbar in this price range. (or even a lot less) There is no EQ of any kind. As mentioned above, no way to manually set individual speaker levels or distance. There aren’t any user-selectable sound modes such as Action, Movie, Music, etc. There is a Night Mode option, but it gets reset every time the bar is turned off, and you can only access it by holding Mute for 5 seconds then Volume down. There are a couple of other long press, multiple key combinations, all of which you’ll only find on internet forums. They aren’t documented in the manual at all.

It isn’t all bad though. Even without being correctly calibrated, the bar sounds pretty good in my living room. The volume is there, the quality of the sound is there, even the surround sound effect isn’t too bad. It’s really just the Atmos sound lift that is noticeably out of sync. And I’m hopeful this is something JBL can fix with new firmware. The completely wireless surround speakers are extremely convenient if you don’t have a good way to permanently mount your surrounds. Dialog can be a bit muffled with a stereo signal, but not too bad. I haven’t had any issues with it on 5.1 channel (and above) content. It is certainly better than it was on the older Bar 5.1. The sub has plenty of punch for everything I've thrown at it.

I’m convinced this COULD be a really amazing sound bar if they can work out the auto-calibration and power problems. I can live with everything else. My guess is, Corona virus shut-downs cut short a lot of the last-minute testing, and they started shipping before they’d worked out all of the bugs. I’m going to wait until the very end of my Amazon return period to give JBL a chance to fix the issues with a firmware update. But JBL support has proven to be a complete waste of time, so if the Bar 9.1 isn’t working right by the end of my return window, it is going back.
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Tegs200

Active Member
The beosound stage will offer you far better soundquality. The drawback might be that the atmos effects may not be as good ( sound quality on atmos is quite room dependant in many ways)
T3 just voted it there soundbar of the year, amazing bass, dynamics. clarity, no harshness., I appreciate opinions are like As*holes , the final arbitrator will be your ears but the Sq not far of the Ambeo at half the price, try to get a listen, good luck.
That's not actually true as I listened to a Beo Sound Stage and it's no better than my Arc Bundle IMO , it might be better than the Arc my itself but not with the Sub and Ones.
 

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