Sonos is releasing a microphone-free version of its premium Dolby Atmos soundbar, the Sonos Arc. It shares the same “SL” branding as the no-mic Sonos One speakers, but unlike those, this version of the Arc — $50 cheaper than the regular model — is available exclusively at Costco in the US and Canada beginning today. As noted by Android Central, it had already been spotted on Costco shelves and posted to the Sonos subreddit before the company confirmed its existence.
The Sonos Arc SL comes in a “shadow edition” color, but the standard Arc is also black, so it’s not immediately clear to me if there’s any difference between the two; if anything, the SL might be more gray.
Everything else about the Arc SL, including audio performance, should be exactly the same as the regular hardware that has built-in mics for Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands. The Arc sounds fantastic, and Sonos has been improving upon the Arc since its release with firmware updates; the company recently added support for multichannel LPCM surround sound over an eARC HDMI connection.
With the $50 price reduction, you’re looking at spending $749 compared to the usual $799. Not enormous savings, but at least there’s now a microphone-free selection for Sonos’ excellent soundbar for those who prefer the option. Should you later decide you want some level of voice control, you can always link Sonos equipment to an Amazon Echo or Google Assistant speaker or put a Sonos One somewhere in the house.