Sonos fixes its Dolby Atmos loud pop issue after years of complaints

Sonos fixes its Dolby Atmos loud pop issue after years of complaints

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Sonos Arc and Beam customers are getting a software update today.

Image: Chris Welch / The Verge

Sonos is issuing a software update to its Arc and Beam (Gen 2) soundbars to fix a loud popping issue that has plagued the devices for years. The issue led to a number of Sonos customers having to disable Sonos Atmos on their hardware to avoid a startling loud bang and series of audio pops that occurred for some after playing Dolby Atmos content. The Verge reported on the issue earlier this year after discovering that Sonos owners had been complaining about the problem for nearly three years.

“We are pleased to share that our team has identified a fix for the popping sound on Arc and it will be shipped to all customers as part of a software release today,” says Sonos in a statement posted to the company’s support forums. You can hear the issue in the video below, but be warned, it’s very loud.

The loud pop mainly affected people with Apple TV 4K devices and Xbox Series X consoles, and we speculated that the issue was likely related to the Dolby MAT 2.0 encoder. Sonos has now confirmed certain home theater configurations using Dolby MAT have surfaced the bug. Here’s Sonos’ full explanation:

During our investigation we uncovered a rare bug that impacts how Sonos Arc and Beam (Gen 2) in certain home theater configurations process Dolby MAT, a streaming technology which is used to deliver Dolby Atmos audio over HDMI. 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. The solution we’ve built and tested improves our Dolby decoder so it better filters out corrupt audio data that can manifest as a popping sound. We’ll continue to monitor customer feedback closely after the fix has been released and ship additional updates if necessary.

Sonos has also apologized for how long it took to identify this complex bug. “We apologize for the disruption this bug has caused and want to thank you for your patience while our team developed a fix,” says Sonos. “We would also like to thank our community users for their detailed setup information and steps to reproduce the issue, which were helpful to us in uncovering the cause of the bug.”

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Tom Warren

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