With that, here are a few things you should know about soundbars. You’re looking for something that’s both stylish and easy to set up—yet you’re also looking for strong, immersive, and detailed sound. Sonos or Bose’s single-piece soundbars might be the ideal option.
Both Sonos Arc and Bose 900 are exceptional soundbars that offer great audio performance. With minor differences, how would you know which soundbar would be the right choice for your home theater? This article helps you identify the similarities and differences between the soundbars so that you can compare them and select the one that best suits your audio system.
Differences Between Sonos Arc and Bose 900
The table below shows the specifications of the two soundbars so that they can be quickly compared. We will compare these 5.0.2 channels soundbars from different perspectives such as design, build quality, audio performance, connectivity, control and features.
Both soundbars are stylish, but the Sonos Arc has a unique cylindrical design compared to the Bose 900. Whilst the Sonos Arc is a little too lengthy for some TVs, it has a more sustainable design, in my opinion. This is because the curvature of the Sonos soundbar ensures an optimum audio response. On the other hand, the Bose 900 is really classy with its glass top panel, but it has the risk of reflection and dust being collected on top of it.
The Sonos Arc has a great build quality but the Bose Smart 900 has an excellent build quality. The plastic used in the bose soundbar feels more premium than that used in the Sonos soundbar. Both soundbars have wall mounting options.
Sonos Arc offers limited connectivity options compared to Bose 900. Sonos Arc has connections for HDMI, optical, Ethernet, HDMI eARC. Whilst Bose 900 has all these connectivity options, it also offers Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, which is very convenient for wireless streaming.
The Sonos Arc is almost entirely controlled via the Sonos App. It can be controlled by the TV remote in terms of volume adjustments, but everything else need to do through the app. The Bose uses an app as well, but it also includes a separate remote, which is even more convenient. Both apps are easier to use, but Sonos seems more convenient.
In terms of audio performance, the Sonos Arc definitely performs better than the Bose 900. Firstly, it has a better bass response; the bass is more impactful and deep. To fully enjoy the bass using Sonos, you’d need to adjust the EQ settings. Both supports Dolby Atmos. The Sonos Arc also has more drivers than the Bose 900 soundbar. Dialogue clarity in both the soundbars are equally great. Sonos has an option for Night mode for more convenient movie time.
The Sonos Arc offers more versatile features than that of the Bose 900. The Sonos has a Dialogue enhancement feature, night modes, adjustable EQ settings, Trueplay software technology, far field microphone array all for easy user experience.
The elegant Sonos Arc are beautiful to look at as much as they perform exceptionally. These soundbars may be a little expensive, but they are definitely worth the money you will invest in them. It has a number of features such as voice assistants, multiroom music and different connectivity options that make them truly versatile soundbars to use. If you are an audiophile, looking for true Dolby Atmos experience incorporated in an easy to use and setup soundbar, then the Sonos Arc are a superb choice.
What’s inside the box?
Inside the box there includes the active Sonos Arc soundbar itself, 6.5′ AC power cord, 5′ HDMI cable, 4.5″ HDMI-to-optical adapter and a guide for starters.
Design and build quality
The Sonos Arc is a sleek and stylish looking cylindrical soundbar that comes in two available color designs- black and white with a smooth matte finishing. These gorgeous soundbars are almost made up of entirely plastic, its center composed of plastic mesh and it’s both ends are covered in plastic grille. But the plastic doesn’t feel cheap. In fact, the soundbar looks like it has a high build quality and gives a premium impression at first glance.
The Sonos Arc has dimensions of 3.4 x 45 x 4.5 inches, which means that it is quite long and is specifically designed for the larger TVs. This soundbar is also quite heavy, weighing around 13.78 lbs. The minimal looking soundbar includes a multi-driver array design with eleven high-performance drivers and eleven Class-D amplifiers. The Sonos Arc is equipped with three precisely angled silk-dome tweeters for clear high frequencies, eight elliptical woofers for rich bass response and eleven class D amplifiers for dynamic audio with minimum distortion.
The front of the soundbar includes the Sonos logo in bold, whilst the top surface holds the control panel. There are touch sensitive control for play or pause as well as volume adjustments. At the right of the panel is a microphone button and LED lights, which show whether the soundbar is listening for Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands. At the back of the soundbar there are connectivity ports including an Optical Audio In, HDMI ARC and Ethernet port.
The Sonos Arc soundbar can be used as either a standalone soundbar or can be paired up with an optional Sonos wireless powered sub or optional wireless surrounds.
The soundbar features Dolby Atmos surround sound thanks to the upward firing speaker drivers that act as height channels. The Sonos Arc is compatible with Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby TrueHD but it does not support does not support DTS, DTS-HD, or DTS: X.
The Sonos Arc soundbar can be connected to the TV via several different connection options. Although it does not offer any analog audio outputs for connection, it allows connection via HDMI eARC, HDMI ARC, and the HDMI-to-Optical adapter. The soundbar offers wireless Wi-Fi connectivity, which can be obtained through either the home’s existing Wi-Fi network or SonosNet proprietary wireless mesh network technology. The Sonos Arc also features an Ethernet port, and it offers a wide variety of radio station streaming ranging from iHeartRadio, Pandora, SonosRadio, TuneIn and SiriusXM. This is not it; it also offers online movie streaming services such as Apple Music, Amazon music, Youtube and Google Play.
Sonos also incorporates Trueplay Tuning technology for Apple users. This technology optimizes the sound according to placing the soundbar. That means it includes auto audio calibration. Trueplay app with the combination of Sonos app uses the microphone in your Apple iOS 11.0+ device to identify the room placement and fine tunes the device for optimum performance. The Sonos S2 application can make audio adjustments i.e. E.Q settings can be adjusted, speech enhancement options are available and night sound can be enabled to reduce the intensity of the audio.
The Sonos Arc also includes a built-in microphone with voice control. Voice control functions are supported by Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This feature lets you sit back, relax and enjoy a hands free control of your music.
The Sonos Arc soundbar delivers a solid bass response with its eight elliptical woofers. The midrange has a balanced tone and sounds warm and airy. The bass is perfectly complimented with the crisp and controlled treble, which is delivered by the silk dome tweeters. The soundbar won’t require a separate bass to go with it since the bass it delivers is already punchy and sufficient.
The soundbar does quite a great job with movies. The bass response is thunderous, and the soundstage is large enough for the audience to feel truly immersed in a cinema experience. When music is played, it is detailed and rich. The stereo separation is remarkable, the vocals and instruments can clearly be distinguished without a sweat. Although most musical genres sounded great, orchestral music sounded a bit flat with these soundbars.
Whilst most soundbars claim to be Dolby Atmos compatible, many cannot live up to the expectation of the immersive surround sound experience. In case of Sonos Arc, it is quite the opposite. The soundbar have been designed meticulously. It is not only the front firing speakers’ placement that creates a three-dimensional audio experience but also the curvature of the internal wave guides. Sonos has crafted its soundbar in such a way that it delivers a Dolby Atmos experience that few soundbars can deliver.
What we liked about the soundbar
- The soundbar offers excellent surround sound with Dolby Atmos that delivers an immersive cinematic experience.
- The Sonos Arc is a very stylish soundbar. The design is minimal with the right details and controls.
- The bass response delivered by the soundbar is dynamic and punchy that no external subwoofer will be required.
- The soundbar includes a wide range of useful features such as voice assistants, built-in microphone and different audio modes for customized audio experience.
What we disliked about the soundbar
- The Sonos Arc soundbar does not support DTS, DTS-HD, or DTS: X.
- The soundbar does not offer Bluetooth streaming.
- These soundbars have a single HMDI eARC port which limits Atmos.
- The Sonos Arc are expensive soundbars.
Bose Smart 900
The Bose Smart 900 is a 5.0.2 channel soundbar that delivers a neutral and balanced audio response with impressive technology such as PhaseGuide technology to ensure an immersive soundstage. The speakers look and feel premium thanks to the impeccable craftsmanship in its design. Not only that, it has a number of features that makes it really great to use. Overall, the Bose Smart 900 is a great soundbar for movies and music.
What’s inside the box?
The packaging includes the active Bose Smart 900 soundbar, 5′ AC power cord, 5′ Optical digital cable, 58″ HDMI cable. It also includes a remote control with 4 “AA” batteries. There is also an ADAPTiQ headset. Extra components include safety guide, instructions and a cleaning cloth to clean the soundbar.
Design and build quality
The Bose Smart 900 soundbar has a very standard design- you might think that you have seen these soundbars before. It has a sleek and simple design, and it is available in two different color options- black and arctic white. The soundbar has excellent build quality– it is composed of mostly high quality plastic.
At the sides of the Bose soundbar, there are metal grilles which cover the drivers inside the soundbar and keep them protected. At the bottom of the sounbar, there are rubber feet which helps to keep them in position. However, the top of the Bose 900 comprises a glass plate, which adds more to the beauty of the soundbar. Although this gives the soundbar a classy touch, there is always the risk of dust and fingerprints collecting on the surface.
At 41.1 inches in length and weighing 12.68 lbs, the soundbar is quite a large and heavy one. At either ends of the glass sheet, there are a set of openings that look like racetrack-like oval holes, which help the audio from the drivers to be emitted. The dynamic soundbar has seven built-in speakers. Each of these speakers are positioned separately and angled upwards to direct the sounds into the ceiling and create an immersive audio response. There is also a center channel driver which is built especially for dialogue clarity functions.
The front of the Bose Smart holds the Bose logo, whilst the back has a number of limited connectivity ports. It includes an ARC port which can be used to connect to the TV. There is also an ‘ADAPTiQ’ port for the headset.
The Bose Smart 900 uses a number of special technologies which help to achieve an immersive sound. The Proprietary PhaseGuide technology works by directing beams of multi directional sound through the tiny transducers to make it seem like sound is coming from all around you. QuietPort technology is included in ports that uses a piece of resistant screen to reduce turbulence in audio transmission. TrueSpace Technology can be used to heighten the Dolby experience by offering immersive audio response.
The Bose Music App can be used with the headset for the ADAPTiQ technology to calibrate the audio by customizing the sound according to the acoustics of the room in which the soundbar is placed.
The soundbar offers wired and wireless connections to your home network. It includes an Ethernet R-J45 jack and built-in, dual-band (2.4/5GHz) Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n). The Smart 900 is also Bluetooth compatible. The wireless connectivity allows the user to stream audio through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast, Apple Airplay 2, and Spotify Connect.
With the built-in Bluetooth, it is possible for the user to wirelessly playback music through music streaming apps and other audio that has been stored in their smartphone, pc or laptop. It also includes a special feature called Bose SimpleSync which allows the user to pair a member of the Bose Home Speaker family with a single Bose SoundLink portable Bluetooth speaker or a Bose noise canceling headphone for playback of the same audio signal.
The Bose Smart 900 also includes a universal Bluetooth LE remote control. The remote control is designed with a seamless elastomer keypad with backlight and is aluminum accent. It can be used to control the TV, Blu-ray player, or cable/satellite box. Since Bose also supports IR commands, if anyhow the remote is lost, it can be substituted with a third party IR remote.
Bose also allows the user to control the device via voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Alexa via the built-in microphone. The voice cancelling microphone ensures the commands can be listened from every direction. The Bose Music App can be used to stream music, control one or multiple Bose Smart Speakers, control volume level and adjust the EQ settings and do much more.
The Bose Smart 900 soundbar provides room filling with audio multifaceted audio. It offers plenty of dynamic bass. However, to truly enjoy the bass experience, it is advised to maximize the speakers’ low end using the Bose Music app. Through this app, you can make EQ settings to get the extra punch to satisfy your bass cravings. The soundbar performs really well in terms of mid and high range.
The soundbar has seven built-in speakers that are positioned just right for immersive and three-dimensional sound. Because the soundbar has a 5.0.2. channel, it has a great center channel configuration. This is the separate center channel that is set up in a way that helps it project audio that is directed toward the listener and improves clarity of dialogue.
The soundbar also has a good sense of music. Large rooms can be filled by the soundbar, which is loud enough to be heard. It’s easy to use these soundbars because music can be streamed from a lot of different services. Movie performance is exceptional as well, with all the details in the audio being enhanced, leading to a cinematic experience.
The Dolby Atmos content is supported by these soundbar. It has two up firing speakers that bounce off the sound from the ceiling and back into the room to create an illusion of the audio being directed in all planes. The bar therefore displays an impressive soundstage. The Bose Smart 900 is a 5.0.2 channel system, but it can also be made into a 7 channel system with the addition of extra speakers.
What we liked about the soundbar
- The Bose Smart 900 has a balanced audio profile which is suitable for music of all types.
- The sounbar features both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.
- It includes a built-in microphone and is compatible with voice control assistants for hands-free control.
- Advanced proprietary technology such as PhaseGuide and ADAPTiQ technology offers a room-filling Dolby experience.
What we disliked about the soundbar
- The soundbar does not have additional HDMI input for passthrough.
- The Bose Smart 900 does not support DTS:X support.
- The soundbar is very expensive.
What to look for when buying a soundbar
Before you decide to choose a soundbar, there are some things that you should keep in mind. Here are a few things that you should look for when buying a soundbar.
Where the soundbar is going to make its habitat is a question that you should ask yourself before getting one. The installation of soundbars is quite versatile; you can either let it hang on the wall or sit under the TV. One tip is to plan where you will place the soundbar beforehand so that it doesn’t block any part of the TV, such as the IR receiver.
The more connectivity options, the better. Here are some of the options to look out for:
- HDMI: If you have an HDMI cable, you can use it to connect the soundbar to the TV’s audio return channel (ARC).
- Wireless: Bluetooth connectivity can be used to stream music from computers, smartphone and tablets wirelessly. Some wireless soundbars come with Wi-Fi allowing you to connect with your internet network and stream from various sites.
- Optical port: One of the easiest, most straightforward and reliable connections is the optical patch cord. Although the optical cord provides a stable connection between the TV and the soundbar, its bandwidth is limited to carry up to 5.1 signal.
- USB port: Soundbars today are updated to include the USB port connectivity which is quite simple to set up.
Passive vs. Active
Active soundbars are self-amplified, meaning no extra receiver is needed to plug in to it. Passive soundbars, on the other hand, require a receiver or amplifier to work. We would advise you to go for an active soundbar if you simply want to upgrade your TV audio.
The number of channels in a soundbar can vary. It is important to know the differences among the channel configuration because performing the soundbar relies on the number of channels it contains. There are several channel configurations. These include: 2 channel soundbar, 3 channel soundbar, 5 channel soundbar, 7 channel soundbar and Dolby Atmos soundbar. Although it may seem like the more the channels, the better the sound, that is not always the case.
Audio Specifications and features
It is helpful to know the specifications of the soundbars since it will help to identify how it might perform. The important specifications include frequency range, power rating, sensitivity rating, and impedance.
Other than these specifications, you can also look for additional features that might be useful. Some soundbars allow very convenient features such as different sound modes, built-in microphones for calls and voice commands, proprietary technology for spatial audio dimension and many more. It’s good to have some additional features that will make your audio experience more enjoyable and convenient.
This FAQ section is here to solve some of your problems. We are almost at the end of the article, and take this FAQ as a parting gift from us. Let’s find out more!
Can speakers be added to a soundbar?
Some of the soundbars allow the addition of extra speakers, whereas with other soundbars you cannot add speakers. Usually, multi-room capable soundbars allow the users to add wireless speakers to them.
Can a subwoofer be added to soundbars?
Soundbars usually have their own woofer integrated into them. However, those that don’t have a separate port that can be used to add an extra subwoofer with them.
Can you use any soundbar on any television?
Soundbars are made in such a way that they can be used with any televisions, regardless of whether they are the same brand.
Can a soundbar damage my television?
No, adding a soundbar with your television will not damage it.
Can I use my soundbar as a center channel speaker?
Some soundbars can be used as a center channel speaker, whereas others cannot. Even if a passive soundbar can be used as a center channel speaker, it won’t give out the same effect.
How will I know if the Sonos Arc is playing Dolby Atmos content?
The soundbar has to be connected to HDMI-ARC input of the television to play Dolby Atmos and the app will display a “now playing” screen to confirm it.
Can Sonos Arc connect to the TV wirelessly?
Yes, the soundbar can be connected wirelessly to our Sonos home audio system.
How can I connect Bose Smart 900 to my Television?
You can connect the soundbar using the HDMI cable if your TV has HDMI-eARC or HDMI-ARC connections. The optical cable provided in the packaging can be used otherwise.
Can gaming system be directly connected to the Bose Smart 900 soundbar?
No, gaming systems cannot be directly connected to the Bose soundbar.
The Final Verdict
Both Sonos and Bose soundbars are really exceptional, and it is a hard decision to choose between the two.
The soundbars come at the same price, have a similar design with the same color options. The Sonos Arc and Bose 900 both offer voice assistants, can be connected wirelessly, have HDMI eARC port for connectivity. Nevertheless, the soundbars do have some subtle differences. And our review suggests that the Sonos Arc is a slightly better choice compared to the Bose Smart 900 to listen.
The Sonos Arc produces a deeper bass response and has a better Dolby Atmos effect. It has more drivers than the Bose 900. Although it doesn’t have headphones like the Bose 900, it does offer sound modes for night listening. The Sonos app is also a bonus since it is easy to use. But the Bose shines in its own way. It has a better treble response; it offers built-in Bluetooth, and it includes a remote control of its own.
Author’s Pick: Sonos Arc
If you listen to a lot of music, you are looking for an easy to set up soundbar, then the Sonos Arc would be a brilliant choice for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for more connectivity options the Bose soundbar would be the way to go.