Sonos releases microphone-free Arc SL Shadow Edition soundbar for $750

Sonos is now selling a version of its Dolby Atmos-equipped Arc soundbar called the Arc SL Shadow Edition. Recently spotted by a savvy Reddit user at their local Costco, it’s $50 cheaper than the regular $800 Arc, and it ships without the built-in microphones that give the Arc its smart speaker capabilities.

After reaching out to Sonos, we now know that the Arc SL is a Costco exclusive that’s available in-store now, and soon on Costco.com.

Customers can purchase Sonos Arc SL Shadow Edition, exclusively available at participating Costco stores in the U.S. and Canada. Sonos Arc SL Shadow Edition brings the immersive sound customer’s love from Arc in a shadow black color and without built-in microphones.

The SL designation was previously given to the Sonos One SL, a version of the company’s Sonos One smart speaker that, just like the Arc SL, ships without microphones. We think the Sonos Arc is the best soundbar you can buy right now, but Sonos’ research clearly indicated that there are some folks who will avoid the Arc over privacy fears. The Arc SL deals with these concerns while also saving buyers a few bucks.

Sonos has always gone to significant lengths to assure customers that its microphone-equipped speakers aren’t listening when you don’t want them to. It claims the mic arrays are governed by an independent circuit and that when you disable the mics using the mute button, they are genuinely unable to pick up sounds in your home. Nonetheless, there’s nothing quite as reliable as not having the microphones present in the first place.

Sonos has integrated smart speaker microphones into its Move portable Bluetooth speaker, as well as the Beam, a soundbar designed for smaller rooms. It’s possible we’ll also see “SL” versions of those products in the future.

If you’re interested in buying a Sonos speaker, now is a good time for two reasons: First, there are still some Cyber Monday sales that have seen reductions of up to $100 on select Sonos products. Second, the company recently introduced a new upgrade program for owners of its older products. The program gives customers a 30% discount on any new Sonos product for every qualifying older product they own.

There’s no need to trade in the old product and no requirement that you stop using it, as Sonos had previously required when it debuted the S2 version of its software — which isn’t compatible with the company’s legacy speakers and accessories.

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