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Will Sonos Arc Work Without eARC?


These days, sound quality is just as important as video quality. You can have the best 3D sound delivered right to your eardrums with the Sonos Arc. But what if you have an older TV? Or an HDMI port that doesn’t have eArc? Will the Sonos Arc work without eArc?

The short answer is yes. But it’s not that simple. It depends on the ports your TV has.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll break it all down for you. We’ll even show you how to use Sonos Arc without eArc and if you need eArc for your soundbar.

For those of you learning about a soundbar and the connections you’ll encounter along your journey, we’ll briefly touch on that as well.

Let’s continue learning more about eArc!

HDMIs are becoming more integrated with video and sound quality as TV systems evolve. In other words, HDMI is not just for beautiful images. It’s for beautiful sound too.

ARC or Audio Return Channel allows 1Mbps of audio data, enhancing what you hear as you watch your movies. However, with sound quality becoming equally important these days and Dolby inserting itself within many soundbars to create incredible 3D audio sounds, ARC needed to step up its game. Thus, eArc was born.

eArcs bandwidth is up to 37Mbps, allowing incredible audio products like the Dolby TrueHD to enchant you with its crisp audio enhancements.

Therefore, other sound systems like the Sonos Arc need more bandwidth than a regular HDMI ARC can support. Consequently, it requires eArc, allowing it to generate that beautiful sound you want.

The great thing about eArc is that it’s backward compatible. In other words, if you only have ARC, it will lower the quality to accommodate it.

Will Sonos Arc Work Without eArc?

A White Premium Sonos Arc Soundbar For TV
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Now for the question you came for, will Sonos Arc work without eArc? Yes. You’ll still get sound if you plug your Sonos Arc into your HDMI Arc port rather than an eArc port.

However, the problem lies within the sound itself. Because eArc processes more bandwidth per second, Arc will limit the amount of data that goes through. In turn, it will give you less robust sound quality.

Therefore the critical question to ask yourself is: Is this trade-off worth it?

Do I Need eARC for My Soundbar?

A soundbar is connected to a TV

If you purchase a Soundbar other than a Sonos Arc, you might be wondering if you need eArc for it to work.

However, you do not need eArc for your soundbar to work. That’s because eArc is backward compatible.

In other words, if your TV does not have eArc, your soundbar will revert to Arc instead.

How Do I Use Sonos Arc Without eARC?

There are multiple ways to use your Sonos Arc without eArc. As we explained above, the first is to plug it into an HDMI Arc port.

But how do you do this?

1. Plug it into the HDMI Arc port

Plug an HDMI cable into an HDMI Arc port on TV

Once you’ve gathered your Sonos Arc, ensure you’ve plugged in your Sonos Arc to its required wiring. Now that your wiring, such as the HDMI, is plugged in, we can continue.

  • Next, locate where the ports on your TV are located.
  • Once you’ve found the ports, you’ll notice several HDMI ports.
  • One or more HDMI Ports will be labeled as HMDI (ARC).
  • Plug your Sonos Arc HDMI cable into it.

That’s it.

However, please note that the Sonos Arc will not provide the high-quality sound or Dolby Digital quality you are expecting. Instead, you’ll hear a slightly inferior version of this sound.

The HDMI Arc will compress and lower the sound you hear for it to function properly.

But let’s say you have an older TV that doesn’t have Arc at all. What next? Is there a way around that?

2. Use the Optical Adaptor Sonos Provides

Optical Audio Adaptor
  • Connect your Sonos beam sound bar to your Tv's optical audio output

Sonos makes an Optical Adaptor specifically for older TVs. This allows you to link your Sonos Arc to a TV without an Arc or eArc.

The Optical Adaptor comes with the Sonos Arc, Beam, and Amp. But if you’ve purchased a different Sonos Soundbar, you’ll need to purchase it separately.

However, as we previously mentioned, your sound quality will not be as crisp as you’d like.

Another negative side effect of not having an HDMI Arc is that you won’t be able to use Alexa or Google Assistant.

If you’re interested in setting up your Sonos Arc, check out this video here. It will walk you through each step and allows you to listen to the sound quality you’ll receive from your Sonos using this setup method.

Sonos Beam First Look and setup Optical to HDMI cable

Although this video uses a Sonos Beam, the setup is the same for the Sonos Arc.

3. Use an HDFury Arcana Instead

Another great workaround for your Sonos Arc is to use an HDFury Arcana  or something similar.

The HDFury Arcana is an adaptor or external box with HDMI eArc ports.

HDFury Arcana adaptor
Click for more info

Plugging your Sonos Arc into this box is an excellent workaround if your TV does not have an Arc or eArc.

As a side note, the HDFury Arcana is not a splitter or switcher. Splitters or Switchers do not work with the Sonos Arc because they don’t have the correct pins that allow the audio through.

Therefore, if you want to purchase an adaptor, ensure it does not say “Switcher” or “Splitter” anywhere in the title.

The HDFury Arcana also helps with any audiovisual lipsync issues.

We should let you know that even though it’s a great workaround, sometimes it fails to recognize the HDMI Arc signal coming from your Sonos. If this happens, turn on the TV signal source first (or cable box), then the Sonos Arc.

Also, ensure you download each firmware update as required. HDFury frequently updates its firmware with many essential improvements.

A Few Final Words

So now we know. Our Sonos Arc will work without eArc if your TV does not have an HDMI eArc port. 

If your TV has an Arc port, it will work fine with a reduction in audio quality.

If you have an older TV, we’ve provided a few workarounds that will greatly assist you with your soundbar.

We hope we’ve helped with all your Sonos Arc and eArc questions. If not, please leave us a comment below.

Last update on 2022-08-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.


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