Sonos' new Arc soundbar is totally tubular

This minimally styled device that emphasises the very highest fidelity

Now that high music streaming devices are ubiquitous, the gatekeepers of sonic excellence are turning their attention to a persistent area of technological imbalance – how to get great sound out of an ultra-slim 4- or 8K television screen. Pictures might be breathtaking, but all too often the audio can't match up. Sonos launched its first ‘sound bar’ back in 2013, when these slender speaker tubes emerged to fulfil this necessary function. Placed beneath a flat screen TV, they boost the bass, expand the reach and give dialogue a better chance of cutting through.

The Californian company has now upgraded its home theatre offering with the new Sonos Arc, a minimally styled device that places an emphasis on the very highest fidelity. Larger than the original Playbar (presumably reflecting the fact that televisions are still expanding in size), it’s pure and precise with a gently curved surface made up entirely of a fine grille.

Sonos’ new Arc soundbar is totally tubular

(Image credit:

Available in either white (pictured above) or black (pictured below) it's designed to fade into the background. The real story here is the 3D sound and support for Dolby Atmos, a technology originally developed for cinemas where up to 400 speakers could be used to create true surround sound.

A lot of software goes into making the Arc’s eight woofers and three tweeters sound expansive, projecting and tuning the sound to accommodate the dynamics of the source and whether or not you're linked up to other Sonos speakers in your system. Support for Alexa and Google Assistant comes as standard, along with a smartphone or tablet app to drive the multiple options. Sonos has always prided itself on ease of use. With the Arc, it demonstrates that quality and simplicity can still go hand in hand. 

LED on wall

(Image credit:


Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.