Looking at it from performance, capability and sound quality standpoints, both soundbars are top notch and comparable.
Unless the appearance of your soundbar is vital to you, or a few thousand bucks mean close to nothing to you... then I'd recommend getting the Arc over the Stage my eyes closed.
- Also see: Sonos Arc vs Beam (Gen 2): Depending on your room size & speaker positioning, you actually might not need the Arc!
Design is the biggest only practical factor for the price difference between the two. So it makes sense to start off in here.
The frame of the Stage extends to the seamless integration of the control buttons while the contrast between the aluminum and the fabric pops beautifully due to the deliberate gap between the two.
The overall appearance is of a stately, premium product that makes its presence felt inside a home. This is not a product that blends in. It is striking and beautifully so.
The Arc, in contrast, feels somewhat generic in its appearance (at the risk of sounding harsh). While the matte finish is forgiving, the only available colors are black and white.
The materials do not give you anything close to the organic feel of the Beosound and make it look like exactly what it is: a speaker. And nothing more.
On the plus side, it is more of a ‘wallflower’ than its contender. It does a great job of blending into pretty much any room. So if you can’t be bothered planning your interiors around your home theater system, this might be closer to what you need.
Let me tell you something right off the bat.
Room acoustics, particularly room dimensions and speaker positioning, will have an immense effect on sound quality.
The impact of the combination of these two is actually so strong that in most cases, it doesn't even make sense to utter a single word on sound quality without speaking of them.
This is why I'd hiiiiiiighly recommend you to check out this simple, 2D, online speaker placement calculator.
It's GOOOOLLLDDDDD. I've had an Acoustics & Audio PhD build this tool specifically for this purpose:
- Ceiling height: 106 inches or 8 feet 10 inches or 2.70 meters
- Most standard ceiling height
- Listener's height: 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches or 0.80 meters
- Average height of a sitting person
Central heights of speakers (measured from the ground) and examples to them:
- Soundbars: 30 inches or 2 feet 6 inches or 0.75 meters
- 8", 10" or 12" Subwoofers: 8 inches or 0.20 meters
- 360 degree speakers: 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches or 0.80 meters
- Horizontal speakers: 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches or 0.80 meters
- Floor standing speakers: 20 inches or 1 feet 8 inches or 0.50 meters
- Bookshelf speakers: 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches or 0.80 meters
- Center speakers: 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches or 0.80 meters
Side note: This tool can and will return inaccurate results for small, portable Bluetooth speakers such as JBL's Go Series. It will, however, deliver just fine for more powerful, packed bluetooth speakers such as this one.
ASAP Science made a video on the loudest and quietest rooms in the world. A mind blowing example of the importance of acoustics (time adjusted video).
Other parameters such as the age/materials of the building, the furniture & carpets in place, etc can and will, of course, have an effect on room acoustics, too. But much less.
Did you know you could also virtually hear any speaker online?
Crutchfield had recently created a tool that virtually simulates the sounds of many different speakers; such as those of SVS, Klipsch, KEF and B&W. Nothing will, of course, beat hearing the speakers in reality. But I'd still recommend you to give it a shot.
While you're at it, blast my Hidden Electronic Gems list to test them:
Both speakers do offer quality sound. It’s a close call. So, in addition to the points mentioned in the Summary above, here are a few additional factors to skim through:
- The Beosound Stage offers you a 3.0 configuration.
- The Sonos Arc, on the other hand, gives you 5.0.2-Channel, Virtual Surround sound.
- The Beosound Stage comes with 4 x 1.5" / 3.8 cm full-range drivers, 3 x 0.75" / 1.91 cm HF Tweeters, and 4 x 4" / 10.2 cm LF drivers.
- On the other hand, the Sonos Arc comes with 4 x Front-Firing Elliptical Cone, 2 x Side-Firing Elliptical Cone, and 2 x Up-Firing Elliptical Cone full-range drivers. In addition to 1 x Front-Firing Tweeter, 2 x Side-Firing Tweeter as HF drivers.
- Beosound Stage: You get Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD.
- Sonos Arc: This gives you Dolby Atmos.
If that’s too much technical jargon for you, what it really translates to is that while both are neck-to-neck in sound delivery, the side-firing speakers on the Sonos Arc are a little more versatile.
Additionally, it is helpful to note that the Sonos is also well equipped to connect to additional speakers and a subwoofer.
Also check out the Sonos Arc User Guide.
The Beosound Stage comes with 1 x HDMI 2.0 Audio/Video inputs and 1 x HDMI 2.0 Audio/Video output.
It offers LAN, Airplay 2, Chromecast, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.
The Sonos Arc comes with 1 x HDMI - ARC/eARC inputs, Ethernet LAN, AirPlay 2, Proprietary, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
Small Caveat: Neither comes with any USB ports.
In conclusion, this is how Beosound Stage and the Sonos Arc stack up against each other:
- Design: Beosound Stage wins.
- Sound: Tie. The Beosound Stage offers premium quality and the Sonos Arc more versatility.
- Connectivity: Tie.
- Price: The Sonos Arc wins.
Overall... Only you can decide - but the Sonos Arc should be the winner for, say, 95% of the average users.