Investing in a premium soundbar can transform your TV setup from ordinary to extraordinary. The world of soundbars offers a plethora of options, but two that stand out are the second-generation Sonos Beam and the Sonos Arc. Let’s delve into the details and figure out which one aligns better with your preferences.
The Price Factor: Beam vs. Arc
The Sonos Beam and the Sonos Arc both promise top-notch audio for your home media center, but your decision might ultimately hinge on the price. Priced at $499, the second-generation Beam is a wallet-friendly choice delivering solid-quality sound. On the other end, the Sonos Arc, retailing at $899, steps into a higher price bracket, competing with premium soundbars like the Bose Smart Soundbar 900. Quality sound often comes at a cost, and the Arc reflects that, providing a top-tier audio experience.
Aesthetics: Design Matters
The aesthetics of a soundbar can significantly impact your decision. Comparing the Sonos Beam and the Sonos Arc visually, the Beam is shorter, wider, and features a more oval shape, while the Arc is longer and cylindrical. Understanding the dimensions is crucial; the Beam measures 25.6 x 3.9 x 2.7 inches, making it ideal for smaller TVs or limited space. In contrast, the Arc, with dimensions of 45 x 4.5 x 3.4 inches, suits larger TVs, filling the space below seamlessly. Both soundbars offer wall-mounting options, with the Beam weighing 6.2 pounds and the Arc a sturdier 13.8 pounds.
Connectivity and Controls: Tech-Savvy Features
Both the Beam and the Arc come equipped with 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, an Ethernet port, and HDMI eARC support. While they lack Bluetooth connectivity, they compensate with built-in IR receivers, syncing with your TV remote for easy control. LED lights on both soundbars indicate various statuses, and capacitive touch controls allow you to manage everything from playback to volume adjustment. The uniformity in features ensures a seamless experience, whether you opt for the Beam or the Arc.
Inside the Soundbar: Tech Specs Unveiled
Under the hood, the Beam and the Arc share identical CPU and Memory specifications, boasting a 1.4 GHz quad-core CPU, 1GB SDRAM, and 4GB NVM. However, where they truly differ lies in their speaker setups. The Arc, with its larger size, accommodates three silk-dome tweeters, eight elliptical midwoofers, and eleven Class-D digital amplifiers. In comparison, the Beam incorporates one center tweeter, four elliptical midwoofers, five Class-D digital amplifiers, and three passive radiators. The result? The Arc offers a wider, fuller, and more immersive soundstage, making it the audiophile’s delight.
Sound Quality: The Heart of the Matter
Sonos is synonymous with high-quality sound, and both the Arc and the Beam uphold this reputation. The Arc’s superiority, however, shines through with more drivers, creating a richer audio experience. Boasting three silk-dome tweeters, eight elliptical midwoofers, and eleven Class-D digital amplifiers, the Arc provides a soundstage that’s not just wider but more encompassing. Both soundbars support Dolby Atmos for spatial audio, but the Arc’s two upward-angled speakers designed for Dolby Atmos deliver a sound experience that transcends traditional boundaries.
Fine-Tuning Your Audio: Apps and Features
The Sonos app complements both the Arc and the Beam, allowing users to customize their listening experience. From setup to adjusting bass, treble, and loudness, the app offers comprehensive control. Night Sound, a feature on both soundbars, reduces loud sounds’ harshness and elevates quieter sounds, enhancing your movie-watching experience. If you own an iOS device, Trueplay is an added advantage, using sound bouncing to optimize your room’s acoustics. Additionally, both soundbars support voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, ensuring hands-free control.
Choosing Between Sonos Beam and Arc
In making the decision between the Sonos Beam and the Sonos Arc, consider your budget, available space, and your desired sound quality. The Arc, with its higher price tag, larger size, and superior audio capabilities, is a premium choice suited for those with larger TVs and a penchant for immersive sound. On the flip side, the Beam, at a more affordable $499, caters to budget-conscious consumers or those with smaller TVs and limited space. Both soundbars offer digital Dolby Atmos support and the hallmark Sonos features, ensuring a quality audio experience regardless of your choice.