Sonos is one of the most well-known brands in wireless home audio, and its soundbars are among the best available. Last year, Sonos released the Arc, a slim soundbar that packs Dolby Atmos surround sound into a compact package and integrates seamlessly into the company’s multi-room audio ecosystem. Because of its seamless nature, amazing surround sound-style audio, and ease of setup, we might call it the best soundbar of 2020.
The Sonos Five Wireless Speaker, tuned by renowned producer Giles Martin, is a high-fidelity speaker for superior sound. This is one impressive speaker to watch out for. Three high-excursion woofers and two precisely angled side tweeters, as well as a middle tweeter that optimizes vocal playback, make up the unrivaled acoustic design of the Five.
Why buy soundbars?
A soundbar is a must-have gadget to accompany today’s TV experience, whether you’re a true film buff or a Netflix addict. Since the best TVs are getting slimmer and slimmer, there’s simply less room for built-in speakers, which means your TV’s audio will sound tinny and low. Sure, you might use a complex surround sound system to improve the sound on your TV, but if you want an all-in-one solution, a soundbar is your best bet. These long, slender speakers sit underneath your TV’s monitor, making them an excellent option for smaller rooms where a 7.1 channel speaker system would be too large.
The Sonos Five is our top recommendation for music lovers who are willing to pay good money for top-notch sound, and particularly for those who want to broaden out into a multi-speaker system. It has the highest, most room-filling sound of all the speakers we reviewed. The Sonos app makes nesting it inside a multi-speaker setup extremely simple, and the Five’s large size and powerful drivers give it the smoothest clarity and most powerful bass of all the speakers we reviewed.
The Five’s only drawback is its lack of Bluetooth, which limits what you can play wirelessly through the speaker in some situations and makes it more difficult for visitors to hop on and play music from their smartphones. If you’re an Apple consumer, however, AirPlay compatibility virtually eliminates this problem. As a result, if you’re an Android consumer looking for a single-speaker device, many of Bose’s flagship models have Bluetooth.
Sonos Five Specs:
- Ports: Ethernet
- Analog line-in with 3.5 mm jack
- Weight: 6.35kg or 14 lbs
- Size: H x W x D: 8.03 x 14.33 x 6.06 in (203 x 364 x 154 mm)
- Wireless – 2.4hz
- Speakers: Six Class-D digital amplifiers, Three mid-woofers, Three tweeters
The Sonos Arc uses Dolby’s new TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus sound codecs to provide the highest quality lossless audio available on cutting-edge Blu-ray discs and some of the most common streaming services. It then uses Dolby Atmos object tracks to improve the 3D soundscape by reflecting certain sounds off the walls around you, giving the impression that they are coming at you from all directions. If you want to watch major blockbusters on the small screen and feel like you’re in a cinema, the Arc is a perfect option.
While using music and media playback, the Sonos Arc features 11 high-quality drivers that work together to produce everything from powerful warm bass to clean and precise high notes. Even better, it can do all of this when simulating a true multi-speaker surround sound soundscape. Thanks to Sonos’ proprietary TruePlay technology, the audio is also customized to your room. Trueplay is Sonos’ patented adaptive soundscape method that analyzes the shape of a space to determine the optimal sound balance for everyone in it. Trueplay is only compatible with iOS devices, so you’ll need to borrow a friend’s iPhone or iPad to finish this part of the setup.
Sonos Arc specs :
- Speakers: 3.0, 4 full-range woofers, 1 tweeter, 3 passive radiators, 5 Class-D digital amplifiers
- Dimensions: 2.70 x 25.625 x 3.94 in. (68.5 x 651 x 100 mm),
- Weight : 2.8 kg or 6.17 lbs
- Finish: Matt Black or White
- Connections: 1 x Digital Optical-In, 1 x HDMI ARC 10/100Mpbs Ethernet port, Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2, IR receiver App: Android (no Trueplay), iOS
- Voice Assistant: Alexa, Google Assistant
- Subwoofer included? No
PROS AND CONS
- Excellent sound quality
- Great volume
- Easy multi-speaker management
- Airplay compatible
- Well-balanced bass
- Multi-room audio
- The most powerful speaker for high-fidelity sound
- Room-filling sound
- Echo and Amazon Alexa integration
- Sound quality is exceptional and top-notch
- Somewhat large
- Proprietary system
- No high-res support
- No Bluetooth
- Amazing surround sound and music playback
- Dolby Atmos
- TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus
- Discrete all-in-one soundbar
- Has the exceptional audio quality for the price
- Can be expanded with a wireless subwoofer and surround speakers
- Best-in-class multi-room audio features (plus support for AirPlay 2)
- Your choice of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant
- Relies too heavily on the capabilities of the TV it will be connected to.
- Doesn’t suit every room
- Trueplay Tuning is iOS only
- Only one HDMI port
- No support for any DTS codecs
- Smart assistant integration limited
A brief look at their specs :
Comparison: Sound Performance
With a vibrant sound profile that offers a thumpy, punchy bass, Sonos Five is great for music than Sonos Arc.
The fixation paid off in our tests, with the Five providing the most enjoyable listening experience. When it comes to home audio’s heavy hitters, we’d say Sonos’ relative weakness is bass strength. With the Five, though, this is not the case. Of all the speakers we checked, this big speaker had the most strong but smooth and established bass. We were also able to get the floor to shake when we turned up the volume.
The clarity is also excellent. We were able to distinguish between different instruments and keep up with fast-paced lyrics even in complex compositions. This quality makes acoustic music sound especially fine, and all of Ira Glass’s vocal lilts sound downright cinematic. The Five sounds well-rounded and full-bodied overall, allowing it to create what can only be described as a sound wall. We believe the Five is only marginally better than its main competitors like Samsung and LG Soundbar.
Its bass power and overall clarity are slightly better than the Bose‘s but discerning, side-by-side listening is needed to note the differences. Overall, we wouldn’t recommend the Five over the Bose based on sound quality alone, but the Five is the simple winner if you want to create a multi-speaker setup. The Five’s latest design allows you to stand the speaker on its end.
Overall, the Sonos Five produces a warm, lively sound that captures every layer and detail. Vocals and high frequencies are crystal clear, but it’s the mid-range that steals the display. It has a soulful quality to it that draws you in. So this isn’t the kind of speaker you’re using to listen to music in the background.
It can be played loudly without distortion, and there’s enough bass to satisfy even the most ardent bass fans. The sound engineering team deserves credit because these guys know how to make beautiful sound from a wireless speaker.
Now let’s come to the Sonos Arc. The audio capabilities of the Sonos Arc are very impressive.
The tuning combines a pleasant amount of warmth through the mids with an incredible degree of clarity, and eight elliptical woofers combine to produce a strong overall bass response. The three silk dome tweeters, which offer especially crisp highs with an incredible degree of control, match this precision. The unit’s ability to produce soundscapes that separated sound from individual instruments during specific arrangements without sounding disjointed especially impressed us.
When you realize that the Sonos Arc was built to take advantage of Dolby Atmos, an audio codec that divides sounds into object-based audio tracks so that specific sources can be quickly moved between speakers and bounced around the room, this level of spatial precision makes sense. Unsurprisingly, once you’ve tuned the Arc to space and it’s able to bounce effects around and behind you, it’s quite capable. It’s worth noting that the Arc’s ability to produce surround sound can vary slightly because the machine uses your space to get the sound around you.
We don’t think the Arc soundbar needed a subwoofer because it had plenty of powerful basses to let you feel those on-screen explosions or beat drops when turned up high. You can take a look at our Sonos Arc and Samsung HW for more informations.
Winner: Sonos Five
Since it supports eARC and Atmos functions, the Sonos Arc is more flexible and with more features than the Sonos Five.
The Sonos Five came out on top in almost all of our evaluations, with the lack of Bluetooth compatibility being the only real drawback. When it was said and done, this comfortably gave it the highest overall ranking. Every part of this speaker was meticulously designed to sound perfect, as shown by the 800 holes laser drilled into the logo to make it ‘acoustically clear.’
Within, there’s also a sensor that detects this orientation and changes the volume accordingly. Not only does this give the speaker more mounting options, but it also allows you to pair two of these speakers together and listen to music in stereo. Although purchasing two of these speakers is costly, we can testify to the superior listening experience they provide.
Even the night mode settings, which reduce the bass EQ, seemed like a useful function for those who live in apartments with thin walls. It can also do all of this when simulating the soundscape of true multi-speaker surround sound.
But first and foremost, the Sonos Five is designed to provide high-quality, room-filling audio. The Sonos music app, on the other hand, isn’t far behind, with more music streaming options than any other app.
We applaud Sonos for continuing to improve their control app, which has recently been upgraded to a new Sonos S2 edition that works with the new Five. The new Sonos Five has many powerful processors and more memory built-in, which improves current performance while still allowing for potential enhancements. From a connectivity standpoint, the Five can stream almost any service, and its analog input can be used to connect a turntable (with a built-in phono preamp) or other legacy audio source. As if that wasn’t enough, Apple Airplay 2 is also included.
Although most people will use the Sonos app to monitor the device, there are some simple touch controls on the top of the unit for play/pause/mute and track skip/back using swiping. With Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, you can power this fantastic wireless speaker with your voice. There are more voice assistant compatble speakers out there uch as Marshall Kilburn II and Stanmore.
The Sonos Arc uses Dolby’s new TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus sound codecs to provide the highest quality uncompressed audio available on cutting-edge Blu-ray discs and some of the most common streaming services. It then uses Dolby Atmos object tracks to improve the 3D soundscape by reflecting certain sounds off the walls around you, giving the impression that they are coming at you from all directions. If you want to watch major blockbusters on the small screen and feel like you’re in a cinema, the Arc is a perfect option.
During music and media playback, the Sonos Arc features 11 high-quality drivers that work together to produce everything from powerful warm bass to clean and precise high notes. The audio is also customized to your space thanks to Sonos’ patented TruePlay technology. Trueplay is a proprietary adaptive soundscape method developed by Sonos that analyzes a space’s shape to decide the best sound balance for anyone in it. Trueplay, on the other hand, is only compatible with iOS hardware, so you’ll have to borrow an iPhone or iPad from a friend to complete the setup.
There was a time when the best surround sound came from a multi-speaker setup, but Dolby Atmos is leading the charge to produce 3D audio effects from a more streamlined device, and the Sonos Arc is the best example of this. Sonos doesn’t offer a remote, instead recommending that you connect the soundbar to your TV through the Audio Return Channel (ARC) and use your TV remote or the latest Sonos S2 mobile app to power it. However, we’ve compiled some soundbar for projector that you can take a look.
Winner: Sonos Arc
In terms of design, Both sound systems are distinct, one-of-a-kind, and built to blend into your room.
The Five is a slim box with rounded edges that comes in monochrome black or white. The build quality is excellent, as it is for all Sonos products. Just to let you know, we at Audio Advice keep a close eye on the failure rates of the items we offer. We despise devices that break or are difficult to use! This is most likely because they examine every piece when it comes off the line, rather than taking random samples. Furthermore, they over-engineer products to ensure that they last for decades. The Five is built to sit horizontally on your shelf or tabletop for great stereo sound.
It weighs 14 pounds and measures just over 14 inches wide, 8 inches tall, and 6 inches deep. Two Fives can be set up as a stereo pair for even better sound. In this case, you’d place them both vertically, and the speaker’s intelligent program will change the audio for you, which is pretty cool! Overall, you’ll be as pleased as we were with the consistency of the fit and finish when you take a Five out of the box.
Inside the Five, there are six different fine-tuned amplifiers that power the six speakers. Sonos points one tweeter (the high-frequency speaker) straight out, while the other two are pointed at an angle on either side, producing a very large sound from a single box. These are connected to three mid-woofer drivers that can travel a long distance to provide deep, rich bass. One thing that will surprise you is the amount of power that a single Five can generate in a room; it is very impressive. Moreover, if you want to know the difference between Soundbar and Bookshelf Speaker, then you can take a look.
Arc’s sleek extended design, available in black or white, is designed to blend into your room. Sonos cleverly included magnetic technology that detects how the Arc is positioned and automatically changes the acoustics to match a wall or table mount. Although the Arc has excellent voice control capabilities, we don’t always want to use them. Switch these off for privacy with a simple tap of a button, which visually confirms that the internal microphone is turned off.
The self-contained single unit only has two important inputs: a power cable and an HDMI in, and although an Ethernet port and a Digital Optical to HDMI adapter are included, they can only be used if necessary.
The Arc appears in just two colors: black and white. While the Sonos Arc can be combined with the Sonos Sub or a pair of One SL speakers for stronger bass and true surround sound, it was intended to be a perfect audio solution on its own, eliminating total clutter. Since the Arc is built to bounce audio off the room’s roof and walls to create a 3D soundscape, it’s shielded on the top, front, and both ends by metal, hole-punch speaker grilles that protect the various orientations of the Atmos driver series.
The soundbar is a little higher than others at 3.4 inches (8.7 cm), but the built-in IR repeater means it won’t interfere with your remote, and the extra headroom allows the upward-firing Atmos drivers a little more room. Its 45-inch (114.17cm) width would approximately line up with the edges of a typical 55-inch TV, but it will also look good with something larger. The subtle capacitive play/pause, volume, and mute buttons help it blend into the background, and there’s a basic status LED light that self-adjusts brightness according to ambient light.
The 13.78 lb (6.25 kg) device has two reinforced rear holes for wall mounting, but the bass response is naturally more concentrated when it can bounce off a tabletop surface. Your media must be encoded in Dolby TrueHD or Dolby Digital Plus, and your app, TV, and receiver must be able to process, or at least pass-through, these formats to get proper Dolby Atmos to surround sound.
The Arc’s setup process, like everything else about it, is built to be as easy as possible, and it’s all done through the latest Sonos S2 smartphone app. After the initial plug-in, you’ll be guided to the App Store or Google Play Store to download the app (if you don’t already have it).
The integration of our smart assistant into the Sonos Arc was the one place where we had some problems. Although a number of Sonos systems have already included integrated Google and Amazon smart assistants, those experiences have been limited, and we haven’t been able to see if there has been any progress because we weren’t able to quickly set this feature up.
The most prominent of these drawbacks is that you can’t use them in third-party multi-room Wi-Fi speaker setups, but we don’t expect this to change anytime soon because we believe Sonos does this to inspire investment in more Sonos speakers.
The Bose Soundbar 700 outperforms the Sonos Arc in terms of soundbar quality. The Sonos isn’t as well-made, but it does embrace Atmos, which is ideal for a more immersive listening experience. The Bose, on the other hand, has a more neutral sound signature and supports Bluetooth playback. Both setups are quickly upgradeable.
Since it supports eARC and Atmos materials, the Sonos Arc is more flexible than the Sonos Beam. The Arc has stronger surround and height sound, as well as smoother bass. Having said that, the Beam works well at maximum volume. It’s also much thinner and easier to fit between the legs of a 55-inch television.
Sonos One SL
The Sonos Five outperforms the Sonos One SL in terms of average efficiency. The Five can reproduce even more low-bass, which is ideal for styles such as EDM or hip-hop, and it can play stereo music without downmixing it into mono. However, some people may prefer the smaller size of the One SL. If you like surround speakers, you can even connect that to a Sonos-compatible soundbar system.
The Apple HomePod and the Sonos Five are two speakers with different capabilities, and based on your preferences, you can choose one over the other. The Apple has a more expansive soundstage and plays well at maximum pitch. It also includes Siri, which is voice-activated and can hear you from a long distance. However, the Sonos is best for music because it can deliver more low-bass and has a more balanced sound profile. It also has a bass and treble scale that can be used from the companion app.
Is the Sonos arc worth it if you don’t have eARC?
The Sonos Arc cannot produce the highest-quality sound without an HDMI eARC connection; we teach you how to improve sound quality with your slightly older TV. With Dolby Atmos 3D sound, the Sonos Arc is the company’s first foray into high-definition home theater audio.
Is Sonos 5 a good investment?
The Sonos Five is a top-of-the-line speaker with industry-leading sound, a stylish design, and simple expansion into a multi-speaker setup. If you want the perfect sound from a multi-speaker set, it’s well worth the hefty price tag.
Is it possible to use the Sonos Play 5 without a wireless connection?
Newer Sonos speakers, such as the Sonos Play 5, can work without Wi-Fi, but you’ll need to link to Wi-Fi first to set it up. This is accomplished by activating the auto play mode, which enables the speaker to play with or without Wi-Fi until a line-in signal is detected.
The smart speaker market is crowded, with offerings from major tech firms as well as smaller niche companies. Sonos manages to strike a wonderful balance between keeping a large technical team on hand to keep up with technology and their fantastic app and devoting a significant portion of their R&D to better sound. The Five is a true high-performance music speaker of the highest caliber. When you pair up with their super-easy-to-use app with the fact that you can add another Five and/or a Sub later, you have a product that can evolve with you if you decide you want even better sound. Strongly suggested!
The Sonos Five is a top-shelf speaker that provides field-leading sound, looks great on a shelf, and offers easy expandability into a multi-speaker system. It is well worth the hefty cost if you’re looking for the best sound possible in a multi-speaker system. If you know you’re not going to expand into the multi-speaker territory, the Bose Home Speaker 500 may be a slightly more convenient option in this range.
There’s no need to upgrade to the Five if you already own a Play 5. Although there are a few small variations, the sound and output are essentially identical. The 5 is a decent choice if you’re a true music fan who wants to listen to your favorite albums and artists. You’ll get bold sound with great clarity if you use one alone to a stereo pair or a pair as rears to a Sonos soundbar to take your home cinema setup to the next stage. This is an excellent choice for vinyl collectors, as it provides a bridge between older hi-fi and the new Sonos system, giving you the ultimate experience.
The Sonos Arc is a fantastic soundbar, but it comes with a few caveats. Crisp highs, a thick midrange, and slabs of well-defined bass make it sound amazing. It’s visually appealing, and it’s part of the world’s strongest mainstream multi-room audio device. Trueplay can do some incredible things to tailor the speaker’s sound to your room if you have an iOS device—or can borrow one for a few minutes.
When it comes to fulfilling the most important promise: Dolby Atmos help, Sonos, on the other hand, places much too much reliance on the capabilities of your television. If that’s why you’re buying this speaker, think twice if your TV doesn’t help eARC. Even if you watch all of your movies online, it’s difficult to say if a TV that doesn’t support eARC would be able to send Dolby Digital Plus with Atmos metadata to the Arc.
It’s also impossible to do with a Blu-ray player sending Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Atmos metadata because Sonos only has one HDMI port to deal with. If you don’t have access to an iOS system for Trueplay, don’t purchase it. adjusting Trueplay is needed for good 3D audio on the Arc. Although you can get Atmos sound without it, you may want to borrow an iOS gadget from a friend to get the most out of your Sonos Arc. If your space isn’t the right size, don’t buy it.Since the Arc relies on your space to achieve surround sound, you won’t get good surround sound if the couch is in the middle of a large and open room.
Now it’s up to you to make a choice. Determine your priorities and do what your gut tells you to do. But if I were you, I would go wih Sonos Five.
Editor’s Pick: Sonos Five
Checkout Soundbar vs Bluetooth Speakersto get a different angle in thia subject.
Hi, my name is Afnan Bin Ibrahim, and I’m an aspiring freelance writer. Read more