Dolby Digital Plus uses more bandwidth than the older Dolby Digital standard, supporting up to eight channels of audio. The Sonos Arc will set you back £799 ($799), while the Playbar was £699 ($699) at launch. Over the nearly eight years the speaker was available in new condition, sales were near-impossible to come by, with package deals for other Sonos speakers being the most common perk offered. Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. There's no doubt that the Sonos Arc comes with many more bells and whistles than its older sibling, but you might be swayed by the price. For spaces with additional real estate, the bar can also be paired with a Sonos Sub for deeper bass, and a pair of Play:1 or Sonos One speakers to create a total 5.1 surround experience. Upping sound quality to Dolby Digital Plus means you get more bandwidth, which means the Arc is capable of decoding higher-quality audio. Both speakers can be connected to your home network (and the internet) via Ethernet or Wi-Fi (802.11b/g 2.4GHz). Where the Playbar features two slightly angled drivers to create a wider soundstage, the Arc uses this same design for its far left and right drivers, in addition to two top-mounted woofers for the 5.0.2 sound that only Atmos can deliver. Two of the drivers are angled at either end to deliver a wider soundstage, especially when combined with the front-facing drivers left and right. Using HDMI means the Arc can receive higher-quality audio than the Playbar. The Playbar uses two status indicators, one for tabletop applications and a second for wall-mounting. Both are able to work equally as well when wall-mounted or laid flat on a TV stand, with intelligent sensors determining the position for each bar to adjust its sound signature to suit. Using HDMI has a couple of other advantages. If you fit into that category, the Sonos Arc is an impressive, detailed and rich sounding soundbar and a worthy upgrade. It adopts smooth curves and elliptical ends, over the square chunky aesthetic of before. And, even without a dedicated subwoofer, the Arc produces deeper lows than the Playbar. Where the Arc starts to pull ahead of the Playbar is when you use sound formats supported by the HDMI connection. Like the Beam, the Arc rocks onboard support for both Alexa and Google Assistant by way of two far-field mics that do a great job of isolating room noise and zeroing in on your commands. If you mainly watch Atmos content via streaming services, the Arc is an impressive upgrade. In terms of music, both systems support the same range of services, and both are fully integrated into the Sonos ecosystem, so you can group them with other speakers for multi-room audio. You can check out our full review of the Sonos Arc here. While the old Playbar sounded good, the Arc is a step up in all cases. Shop at this retailer to save $50 on your purchase, T-Mobile’s TVision live TV streaming service starts at $10 a month, with a catch, How to download movies and shows from Disney+. The Sonos Arc represents a major design rethink in comparison to the Playbar, but not when you consider the rest of the current Sonos speaker family. Weighing just 2.8kg, the Beam will be less of a stress on your wall if you decide to wall-mount too. First, with HDMI CEC, you can control the volume of the Arc with your TV’s remote; with the Playbar you have to use an IR remote or Sonos app. The main choice will come down to the setup you have and whether it supports Dolby Atmos or not. Especially with HDMI eARC support. The Playbar remains an excellent sound system, with a speaker array that features six mid-range drivers, three tweeters and nine Class D amplifiers. The Sonos Arc is considerably more expensive at launch than the Sonos Playbar was. When it launched in 2013, the Sonos Playbar was a state-of-the-art soundbar that could be expanded into a full 5.1 system by adding additional Sonos speakers. The biggest leg-up that the Arc has over its older brother (and the major reason it wins this category) is its built-in Dolby Atmos support. They differ when it comes to the connections on the rear. While the Playbar is an inch shorter than the Arc when un-mounted, the 3.35 inches jumps to 5.51 inches when up on your wall, which can look a bit strange in certain rooms, particularly above fireplaces. And, considering it is now being replaced, you might be able to get hold of a Playbar … Sound quality is slightly harder to quantify, as much depends on the type of input that you have into the Sonos Arc. Speaker buyer's guides, Sonos speaker buyer's guides, Sonos Arc: 1,141.7 x 87 x 115.7mm, 6.25kg, HDMI eARC, Sonos Playbar: 900 x 85 x 140mm, 5.4kg, optical, Sonos Arc: 8 woofers, 3 tweeters - with Dolby Atmos, Sonos Playbar: 6 mid-range woofers, 3 tweeters, Both have Class-D digital amplifiers to match speaker drivers, Sonos Arc: HDMI eARC with HDMI CEC and auto sync, Alexa and Google Assistant on-board. Sonos Arc vs Sonos Playbar – we find out if you should stick or upgrade with our in-depth guide to Sonos’ two premium soundbars. And, considering it is now being replaced, you might be able to get hold of a Playbar at a healthy discount. Both the Sonos Arc and Sonos Playbar offer intelligent design, great smart features, and impressive cinema sound for any living room or den, but which bar is the better bar of the two? The Sonos Arc is considerably more expensive at launch than the Sonos Playbar was. The situation flips if you’ve got a TV with Dolby Atmos support, but again be careful. Aug 23, 2020. Your TV remote, for example, can control all functionality of the Arc - volume, mute, etc. He has edited Computer Shopper and Expert Reviews, and once wrote a book on ho…. Trusted Reviews may earn an affiliate commission when you purchase through links on our site. Copyright ©2020 Designtechnica Corporation. All rights reserved. To make your purchase or upgrade decision easier, we’ve broken down both of Sonos’ premium soundbars below, weighing things such as price, design, and overall sound quality. The sound is bigger, louder, and richer at even high volumes, where the Playbar (and many other soundbars) would normally experience some kind of breakup. For most TVs, that’s a minimum of Dolby Digital Plus with an HDMI ARC connection, although some TVs can send Dolby Atmos via this format, too. In many respects, the Sonos Playbar is a fairly dumb system when compared to the Arc. By Tucker Bowe. The result is a dynamic blend of crisp highs and a lively midrange. The Playbar's shape means that it offers a very different look when flat than when under a TV, whereas the Arc looks similar in both form factors. Not only is it smaller and lighter, the Beam also looks prettier than its bigger brothers. Like the Beam, the Arc is also capable of Airplay 2, a great feature for iOS users that allows you to wirelessly cast music and film/TV audio to your Sonos bar. Minimalist styling is once more the name of the game, but the little speaker’s e… In fact, the only benefit you might get is slightly clearer 5.1 sound via Dolby Digital Plus. Wrapped in white or black mesh, it’s a curved and sleeker-looking product, designed to accompany, rather than dominate, the TV you pair it with. Learn More. Physical Playbar connections are a bit more primitive, with optical-out as the only audio connection to your TV. Atmos is a game-changer, with the Arc able to fill a room. With a HDMI connection, the Sonos Arc is much more capable. Neither is light-adaptive. Sonos was due to update the Playbar, which was released 2012 and over eight years old, and the successor is finally here. The LED itself is ambient-light adaptive, meaning it will automatically raise and lower brightness based on how much light is in your viewing room.

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