How to Get the ‘Pop of Death’ Issue Fixed in Sonos Dolby Atmos Arc Soundbars

Excited owners of Sonos’s stunning Dolby Atmos-enabled Arc soundbar find immersive next-level surround sound unexpectedly ripped away by the infamous “pop of death.” Heart rates spike as faces drain of color upon hearing a harsh popping burst of digital distortion – then…silence.

After spending premium coin on gear promising 3D atmospherics pumping from custom Californian speakers, suddenly getting sonic sucker punched by the pop of death understandably elicits some choice words!

Sonos-Arc-Soundbar-Pop-of-Death-Sound-Problem-Origins-and-Fix-Status
Image credit by Sonos

Thankfully Sonos recognizes the “pop” plague tarnishing the Arc experience and has actively worked to solve it. Read on for full context around the baffling audio bomb plus definitive steps to exorcise it from your system.

Sonos Arc Soundbar Pop of Death Sound Problem – Origins and Fix Status

The Sonos Community forums first reported crackling pops sporadically emitting from Arc units shortly after launch. Victims initially feared blown speakers.

More reports flooded in mentioning Xbox Series X consoles and eARC connections seeming to trigger it. Patterns emerged pointing to Dolby encoding hiccups confusing the bar’s Atmos decoder chips.

Sonos engineering investigated urgently. Though infrequent, they concurred the disruptively loud pops represented a legit bug – not user error or hardware defects per se.

The excellent news? As of January 2023 Sonos has confirmed releasing a fix for the pop of death!

What Caused This Violent Audio Anomaly?

Sonos device logs and technical summaries revealed the root cause – incoming Dolby TrueHD or Atmos data streams that somehow glitch and contain errors upset the Arc HDMI eARC decoder. Rather than smoothly handling corrupted packets, it violently ejects loud pops through the sound bar’s woofers.

Certainly surprising but better understood now. Even better, Sonos can prevent it!

How to Eliminate Arc Pops with the Latest App Updates

How-to-Eliminate-Arc-Pops-with-the-Latest-App-Updates
Image credit by Sonos

Thanking victimized customers for volumes of setup data, Sonos identified two key mitigations now available:

1. Update Sonos App

  • Open app and check Updates screen
  • Download latest release
  • Consumes fix behind the scenes

2. Confirm System Software Up-to-date

  • In app, tap Settings > System Updates
  • Check for and install updates if found
  • Requires speakers to also ingest fixes

Once your controller app and speakers install newly patched firmware containing Sonos’s audio bomb protections, your system essentially disarms the pop triggering logic errors.

Manual Workarounds While Awaiting Updates

If for some reason automatic updates don’t apply yet, Sonos suggests two manual tweaks to temporarily avoid pops:

1. Disable CEC Control on Source Devices

Turning off HDMI-CEC in game consoles and streamersprevents them from digitally “controlling” TVs and sound bars – removing pop triggering pathway.

2. Switch from Dolby Atmos to Dolby Digital 5.1

Using standard surround sound instead of Atmos bypasses the problematic encoder. Set Apple TV, Xbox, etc to DD 5.1 outputs.

Obviously huge bummers losing Atmos immersion and CEC convenience but better than vinyl static detonations!

Call in Sonos Support to Zap Remaining Pops

After double checking for and installing the latest system and app updates, if any hint of the audio pop plague remains reach out to Sonos Support:

Sonos agents can verify your hardware and software POP fix status plus arrange advanced replacements if needed. With their upgrades applying destructive audio data filters, your system stays pop-free!

David Porter
David Porter
David is prolific writer and full-time Digital Nomad who loves to follow the recent technology updates on streaming. In his free time, he loves surfing and travel.

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