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Sonos Beam (Gen 2) vs Sonos Arc: Which Dolby Atmos Soundbar Should You Pick?

With the announcement of the Beam (Gen 2), Sonos now offers two smart soundbars that support Dolby Atmos. So which is right for you?

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Sonos now offers two different soundbars that support Dolby Atmos. There's the Arc, its flagship soundbar that costs $899 thanks to a recent $100 price increase. And there's the Beam (Gen 2), a new and improved version of its compact soundbar that costs $449, making it half as expensive as the Arc. So, which one should you buy?

The two Dolby Atmos soundbars are more similar than they are different. Both are smart soundbars that can be set up to support voice commands from either Alexa or Google Assistant. Both support music streaming over Wi-Fi (including AirPlay 2). Both hook up to your TV via a single eARC connection (which is a newer version of ARC). And both can be integrated in a larger multi-room or home theater system with other Sonos speakers.

The main differences are size, cost and the levels of immersive sound each is able to deliver. The Beam (Gen 2) is obviously a smaller soundbar, but it also lacks dedicated upward-firing drivers that really get the most out of Dolby Atmos content.

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Sonos Beam (Gen 2)
Sonos

The Beam (Gen 2) is a new and improved version of the 2018-released Beam. It has the same exact 3.0-channel speaker array, but Sonos gave it a 40-percent faster CPU and a newer eARC connection, both of which allow it to play Dolby Atmos and other high-resolution content. It's still the best option for small-to-medium sized rooms

  • Half as expensive as the Arc, with most of the same capabilities.
  • Works with Alexa or Google Assistant voice assistants.
  • Can be integrated into a larger home theater system with other Sonos speakers and subwoofer.

  • It lacks upward-firing drivers so it won't sound quite as good playing Dolby Atmos content.
  • Smaller size means smaller sound.
Sonos Arc
Sonos

The Arc is a 5.0.2-channel soundbar with five horizontal channels for the left, right, center, left surround and right surround, as well as two upward-firing drivers that shoot up to your ceiling. It's Sonos's flagship soundbar that's best for medium to large rooms. 

  • Dedicated upward-firing drivers deliver the best possible Dolby Atmos sound as Sonos soundbar can deliver.
  • Works with Alexa or Google Assistant voice assistants.
  • Can be integrated into a larger home theater system with other Sonos speakers and subwoofer.

  • Twice as expensive as the Beam (Gen 2)
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