The American manufacturer Sonos has announced that it is updating its multi-room range with the Sonos Five connected speaker and the Sonos Arc soundbar. The latter is a big innovation as it is the first Sonos speaker to include Dolby Atmos.
Sonos Arc: the first Dolby Atmos Sonos soundbar
A pioneer of multi-room audio, the American manufacturer Sonos has excelled since its inception in 2002 in providing high-performance and user-friendly products with consistently refined designs. Sonos speakers are true references in multi-room audio thanks to a highly sophisticated app. Available from June 10 for €899, the new Sonos Arc replaces the Sonos Playbar and completes the manufacturer’s multi-room soundbar range, which already includes the Sonos Playbase and Sonos Beam. With the Sonos Arc, the manufacturer offers a more versatile system that, for the first time, is Dolby Atmos 5.0.2 compatible. To accurately spatialize the various sound effects, the Sonos Arc soundbar uses 11 Class D digital amplifiers to power the same number of drivers. There are three silk dome tweeters paired with 8 elliptical drivers that reproduce the mids and lows. Two are positioned on the sides of the soundbar and another two are positioned on the top to reproduce Dolby Atmos effects. The Arc soundbar can also be paired with the Sonos Sub wireless subwoofer to enjoy 5.1.2 audio reproduction.
Sonos Arc: TruePlay calibration
Like all of Sonos’ other soundbars, the new Sonos Arc benefits from the proprietary Sonos TruePlay calibration system to adjust the sound based on the acoustic properties of the room. However, this technology requires an Apple device (iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch) to work. It works by using the microphone of the mobile device on which the Sonos app is installed to calibrate the sound produced by the soundbar according to its environment. This ensures that the sound is always optimal, regardless of where the Sonos Arc is located in the room.
Sonos Arc: HDMI ARC
As its name suggests, the Sonos Arc soundbar is equipped with an HDMI ARC input. Other than the Ethernet port, it is the only connector on this Sonos soundbar. It receives the soundtrack of the program being viewed from any source connected to the television. The vast majority of audio formats, such as Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, PCM and Dolby Atmos, are supported. It is important to note, however, that an eARC compatible TV is required to enjoy Dolby Atmos. Conveniently, if your television isn’t HDMI ARC compatible but has an optical digital output, Sonos includes an optical/HDMI adaptor with the Sonos Arc. Lastly, the Sonos Arc supports the CEC protocol so it can be easily controlled using the TV’s remote control.
Sonos Arc: streaming and multi-room
True to the traditions of the American manufacturer, the Sonos Arc soundbar benefits from advanced streaming features so that it can be used as a true wireless speaker. Thanks to its dual WiFi and Ethernet controller, it can easily be connected to your local network so you can play your shared music, but also web radios and online musical services like Apple Music, Deezer, Qobuz, Tidal and Spotify Connect. It is also possible to access several thousand webradios thanks to the integration of TuneIn. Finally, the Sonos Arc can be used in a multi-room environment with several Sonos or AirPlay 2 compatible devices. This multi-room functionality also allows you to create a true wireless 5.1.2 channel home theater system by combining the Sonos Sub subwoofer with Sonos One or Sonos One SL connected speakers.
Sonos Arc: Google Assistant
The Sonos Arc soundbar is very easy to use. It can be controlled using the remote control of the TV it is connected to, via the mobile app, and even vocally. To do so, it features multiple long-distance microphones and integrates Google Assistant. It is therefore possible to play your favorite playlist, change tracks, adjust the volume… simply by asking. It is also possible to control the various connected objects in your home via the soundbar. Naturally, the Sonos Arc’s microphones can be deactivated to ensure your privacy.
Sonos Five: new design and optimized processor
Sonos also took advantage of the Sonos Arc announcement to introduce its new high-end multi-room speaker, the Sonos Five. The successor of the iconic Sonos Play:5 (2015), the new speaker, which is available from May 10 for €579 incorporates all of the key features of the Sonos Play:5 while providing a fresh design and increased processing power to make it easier to use. The acoustic components of the Sonos Five remain the same, with six drivers: three for the highs and three for the lows, powered by the same number of Class D amplification modules. Like its predecessor, the new Sonos Five can be positioned horizontally (to increase the sound range) or vertically (for a smaller, more intimate sound field). It can also be paired with a second Sonos Five speaker to create a 2.0 system providing true stereo sound. Naturally, the TruePlay calibration that was launched with the Sonos Play:5 is maintained with this new version. It can be used with a single speaker or with two speakers in stereo mode.
Sonos Five: streaming and multiroom
The Sonos Five’s network functions also remain unchanged. It features the same six WiFi antennas and Ethernet connector to easily connect it to the local network and the internet. Once connected, the speaker is controlled via the Sonos CONTROLLER app, the same as other Sonos equipment. This app provides access to a multitude of streaming services such as Deezer, Spotify, Qobuz and Tidal, but also Amazon Music, Google Play, Fnac Jukebox and Rhapsody just to name a few. You can also access Internet radios. The Sonos Five features a mini-jack audio input so that you can connect a DAP or any other source with a headphone output.
Like all of Sonos’ products, the Sonos Five speaker can be added to a Sonos or AirPlay 2 multi-room system to play music throughout your home. Once each speaker is connected to the local network, it’s very easy to play the same music everywhere or to create different musical atmospheres in each room. The different listening zones and audio streaming can be very intuitively managed directly via the app.
New Sonos app
To accompany these two new devices, Sonos is also going to update its control app. This update will include a new user interface with a simplified track search, as well as new options for customizing the sound restitution. It will also be possible to create and save different room and multi-room setups. This new update is available from June 8, 2020. It can be used with all older Sonos devices except for the first generation Sonos Amp.