It came with a a lot of surprising problems.
Only the relevant hardware
I am hearing rumours that the RTX 3000 series and above support eARC output without the need for the Arcana? If so, please confirm in the comments.
I was looking for a modular 5.1 setup from my current 2.1.
The Logitech Z906 was a huge contender, however it was released in 2011 and I wanted a more recent one. Plus the cables would be messy.
People were recommending a separate AV receiver and standalone speakers. However, it was too clunky a setup for me.
I finally settled on the Sonos Beam Gen 2 due to these reasons
There's a BIG MAJOR con - the price. It is much much more expensive as compared to the Logitech Z906, about 400% more - that's around $2,100. You have been warned - do not enter the Sonos ecosystem without researching properly. In my country (Singapore), returns are not accepted unless the product is malfunctioning.
My Sonos configuration consists of
Until Creative, nVidia or some other company comes out with a eARC sound card, you will need to choose between two options to hook the Sonos up to your PC.
Here are the pros and cons
Recommended by Sonos - Source.
I have only tried this without a Dolby Digital Live sound card
I initially went with the OREI box as it was much cheaper than the HD Fury. However, I later found out that it does not support Multi Channel PCM and also fixed at 60hz. Hence I am using the HD Fury 4K Arcana now.
This is my experience of the 5.1 audio with the Sonos Beam Gen 2 + Sub > (connected via HDMI eARC) > HD Fury 4K Arcana > nVidia 2080ti HDMI. I use it in 5.1 Multi PCM mode mainly since I don't require Atmos and don't have any upfiring speakers in the setup
The next sections detail the minor inconveniences I face with the eArc setup
The taskbar refuses to hide during full screen games when the eARC Adapter is used in Extend Multi Display mode. I suspect Chrome full screen to be the cause of it. I am now using Clone Multi Display mode instead and the issue has not since happened again.
UPDATE: Using Multi Display cloning sometimes resizes some windows (like Chrome, Brave) to very small, so small that I can't see the window on the screen. I have to use Alt+Space to force the menu to "Maximize". I have yet to find a permanent fix or cause for this issue
My Sound Blaster RX MIDI Synth does not work (no audio), and using OmniMIDI crashes my Winamp frequently.
Now I am using VirtualMIDISynth with WACUP (winamp alternative) player, with "default fading length" set to zero to fix crashes.
Twitch throws "Your browser encountered an error while decoding the video. (Error #3000)" error when the "monitors" go to sleep due to me being AFK, pausing the video and disabling any due drops.
It's possible that the error is caused by powering off the speakers and Arcana when I am AFKing for extended periods.
Certain sound effects in multi surround games sound metallic / hollow / muffled when the sound system is set in anything other than Stereo PCM mode
It sounds fine in Stereo PCM 2.0 mode but not in Multichannel PCM / Dolby Atmos / Dolby Digital 5.1 mode. The problem occurs in both Optical and eARC mode.
Guaranteed to happen with certain sound effects in the following games
No support from Sonos due to "Unsupported setup". Sonos support will not provide any assistance on this as the only supported setup is a TV connected to the Beam via HDMI ARC/eARC, with the audio source being from a TV app itself.
This issue has been fixed by adding rear speakers to the Sonos setup. I tested with 2x Sonos One SL and 2x ERA 100s. Note that you can't mix different models for surrounds.
Usually I keep the volume at the minimum level.
However after a restart of the eARC adapter or a resume of the "external" monitor, the soundbar volume goes to 20%.
If you don't play any audio for some time, you may hear silence for a while and then the audio works.
Fortunately, I found a workaround for this - SoundKeeper. It plays a quiet white noise that can be heard if you max out the Beam's volume but it is tolerable.
However after a while, I resorted to not using SoundKeeper to save power when there's no audio.
This issue happens much more frequently when the speaker setup in Windows 10 is set to Dolby Atmos mode.
Some software don't work properly when the multi display is set to mirror mode, as opposed to Extend
Note: This is only an issue with OREI eARC Adapter as it only supports 60hz refresh rate when cloned.
You'll need to extend your desktop as the eARC adapter creates a virtual monitor when connected. There's seems to be no way of sending audio without sending a video signal.
You'll also need to extend the eARC adapter desktop by placing it in a corner and hope no windows open there. By placing the second monitor in a corner, your mouse pointer will not move there accidentally to an invisible display.
If you attempt to Clone the display, you cannot use refresh rates higher than 60hz as the OREI product can't support it. UPDATE: With the HDFury Arcana, I was able to get up to 144hz 1080p when cloning the display.
Any screenshots taken with Print Screen key in Extend mode will include the additional monitor display. Although, this is one way to confirm whether the secondary display has any rogue windows or pop-ups.
If you set a screen timeout in your power settings, the eARC adapter will suspend too causing audio to cut off since it is a "monitor".
There is a Reddit hack here I have not tried yet. Simply tape over pin 19 on the HDMI cord coming out of your GPU to the eARC Adapter as that pin is only used for hot plug detections. But it may also cut audio regardless.
A workaround/solution is to set the Power Plan to not turn off monitors and manually power off the display monitor if I need to the audio to continue playing while the monitor is off.
The 99% best way to get the audio to start working
If you still can't hear audio
Things that I treid and don't work
UPDATE: With the HD Fury Arcana, setting the Scaler to 1080p 8b SDR reduces the occurrence of this issue. Yes, it still happens but the "chances" of it happening are lower.
Volume adjustment requires a separate app or tapping the volume button on the Beam or surrounds. The Windows Sonos Controller App takes five seconds to start as opposed to the 1 second Windows taskbar volume controller.
Furthermore, it requires more clicks to change the volume than Windows controller.
The workaround is to set the Sonos Volume to high and the Windows volume to low so you can still "adjust" the volume.
The Arcana has only one IN and two OUT, one for soundbar, one for TV. In my case, the TV output was unused. The Arcana firmware can be updated and allows a plethora of configuration options, but I did not use any of it. Update: I had to set the Scaler option to allow all devices to power on at the same time. Otherwise I will need to wait till the Beam's LED stops blinking to power on the Arcana as the audio would not work otherwise (althought the issue still happens, just a reduced chance).
One thing to note is that Multi PCM passthrough is not supported on the OREI products, which is what the Nintendo Switch uses for surround sound.
Support wise, both OREI and HDFury were responsive to my queries.
So my recommendation is to get the OREI product as it is much cheaper UNLESS you are planning to use it with the Switch or a desktop PC directly. But if you can afford it, go for the HDFury Arcana to avoid some of the issues I encountered above.
During my experience, I only had the options Stereo and Dolby Atmos to choose from. Dolby Atmos had a major muffle/echo issue in games so I needed PCM.
This issue could not be directly due to my Beam Gen 2 product as this Sonos article on the official site says that the Beam does support Multi Channel PCM over HDMI
Things I have tried to get Multichannel PCM Audio
I will be attempting to return the OREI box.
Now with the HDFury Arcana, I get the following options. However, Quadraphonic does not work.
Last Updated 29 Sep 2023.
Errors? Omissions? Need Help? Know something? Post your queries in the comments below.
This document is Copyright(©) 2023 by G.Ganesh.