Sonos finally fixes a popping Dolby Atmos problem with the Arc and Beam Gen 2

Sonos Arc og Sonos Sub i en hyggelig stue
Sonos Arc og Sonos Sub (Image credit: Sonos)

If you've been plagued by unwanted popping noises from your Sonos Arc or Sonos Beam (Gen 2) soundbars, we've got good news: there's finally a fix for it, which rolled out a few days ago, reports FlatpanelsHD

The fix stops the loud popping and cracking noises that some owners were reportedly experiencing with their Sonos soundbars when streaming audio from an Apple TV 4K or Xbox Series X.

The issue had been plaguing some Sonos soundbar owners since late 2020, but the company didn't admit there was an issue until August of this year – and even then their solution was not great. The fix is available now. To get it, simply make sure your Sonos mobile or desktop app is up to date and then download the software update for your sub. 

Sonos apologizes for the "rare bug"

The issue appears to be to do with audio data from the Xbox Series X and the Apple TV 4K, both of which transmit Dolby Atmos over uncompressed PCM with metadata. That's supposed to be a good thing – other devices transmit the data as a compressed bitstream – but in this case it wasn't, because Sonos's Dolby decoder processed errors in an unfortunate way. 

As Sonos explained to The Verge: "Occasionally a Sonos product will receive a corrupted audio segment from an external source and needs to filter out unwanted audio data. The bug we identified was allowing our Dolby decoder to play audible errors on certain home theater setups rather than concealing them."

I haven't been affected by this one personally, but my best friend has been – and it completely ruined the new-tech joy that you expect premium audio products to deliver. She's spent countless hours trying all kinds of workarounds, none of which worked. The suggestions she was given were to switch off CEC device control to make her setup less convenient or to switch from Atmos to Dolby Digital 5.1 – not ideal for a product bought specifically for its Atmos capabilities.

Sonos has said sorry for the delay: "We apologize for the disruption this bug has caused and want to thank you for your patience while our team developed a fix." But the issue isn't so much that there was a problem, but that Sonos said there wasn't one for the best part of three years...

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.