Sonos Announces New 'Era' Speakers and Apple Music Spatial Audio Support

Sonos today announced new Era 300 and Era 100 smart speakers following multiple leaks. In addition to Bluetooth 5.0, both speakers support AirPlay 2 for wirelessly streaming audio from Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.

Sonos Era 100 and Era 300

Era 100 (left) and Era 300 (right)

The higher-end Era 300 speaker features an hourglass design with six class-D digital amplifiers, four tweeters, two woofers, USB-C line in, and a far-field microphone array with beamforming and multi-channel echo cancellation. Era 300 is the first Sonos speaker capable of multi-channel surround sound when used as rear speakers in a home theater system, and features Trueplay technology for automatic EQ optimizations.

The lower-end Era 100 is the successor to the Sonos One speaker and features a cylindrical design with three class-D digital amplifiers, two tweeters, and one woofer. Like the Era 300, it has USB-C line in, a far-field microphone array, and Trueplay.

Sonos also announced that it will be adding support for Apple Music's spatial audio feature. Apple Music subscribers will be able to listen to spatial audio tracks on the Era 300, as well as the Arc and second-generation Beam sound bars, starting March 28.

Both speakers can be pre-ordered now and will be available globally starting March 28, with U.S. pricing set at $449 and $249, respectively.

Top Rated Comments

Z6128 Avatar
15 months ago
Does anyone else find spatial audio for music to be a bit lacking? It’s amazing for movies. But every time I try and listen to Atmos music on my Sonos soundbars or AirPods, I end up turning it off and going back to regular stereo.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mrCrumbSnatcher Avatar
15 months ago

Does anyone else find spatial audio for music to be a bit lacking? It’s amazing for movies. But every time I try and listen to Atmos music on my Sonos soundbars or AirPods, I end up turning it off and going back to regular stereo.
It really depends on the album. There are a lot that are not mixed well.... most likely auto-generated Spatial or something. But there are some albums that sound absolutely amazing. Some of my favorites:

* Rumors - Fleetwood Mac
* Thriller - Michael Jackson
* Pyromania - Def Leppard
* Various Beatles albums

For the younger crowd, I've stumbled across various tracks by The Weekend, Billie Elish (sp?), etc. That sound really neat.

But as mentioned, there are many albums that did Spatial a disservice (I'm looking at you, Faith no More - Epic).

Edit: Just to clarify - I have the Arc, Sub and two Ones in my setup.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HobeSoundDarryl Avatar
15 months ago

Does anyone else find spatial audio for music to be a bit lacking? It’s amazing for movies. But every time I try and listen to Atmos music on my Sonos soundbars or AirPods, I end up turning it off and going back to regular stereo.
Select stuff explicitly made for it (not faux created after the fact like turning mono & stereo recordings into it) can be interesting/impressive. For example, the Beatles Love soundtrack does seem a bit "more" in spatial than stereo to my ears.

I suspect part of the problem is that just about every way we've ever listened to music involves it coming from a direction (stage/hall/stereo speakers out front) or perhaps just left & right stereo (when in headphones). Spatial is conceptually trying to put the audience somewhere in between the musicians, as if instead of seated in an audience with the orchestra ahead of you, you've taken position in among the orchestra with some of them in positions all around you.

We generally do NOT already know the sounds of that kind of audio at all. Instead we are accustomed to it in stereo at best coming from a single direction. Even in hifi setups that would previously fake it with a setting like "concert hall" most of that immersion would make the virtual space seem larger by sending a little echo out to other speakers, etc.

So now the game is "faking it" by taking recordings originally mixed as stereo and digitally faking surround or- in some cases- choices are being made to go back to the individual tracks to make a new surround sound mix (which- per established familiarity- music noticeably changes and may get some negative bias because it sounds different than the version we know so well).

I suspect as time passes and brand new recordings are created explicitly to take advantage of it, it might gain some extra steam and even sound BETTER to our ears than stereo. If you hear new creations for the first time in it, you can't have previous bias/familiarity to how it sounds in stereo. Getting acquainted with brand new music this way may make it seem like the stereo version is "missing something." For example, flip this to movies with great surround sound audio. When you try to watch the same movie in only stereo or only mono, it is VERY noticeable (and generally a lessened experience).

Once upon a time all recorded audio was mono and people had to adjust or rebel against the crazy idea of 2 channel stereo with some sound more left than right and vice versa. Our initial reaction to this is probably like that. Step forward 10 or 20 years and perhaps we'll be ridiculing "old-fashioned" stereo because "everything can only sound like it's coming from one direction and only left & right."
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LeadingHeat Avatar
15 months ago
But HomePods are so expensive!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TotalMacMove Avatar
15 months ago
Would be really nice to be able to set these speakers as "default" via apple tv like the homepod.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Logic368 Avatar
15 months ago
I saw this image and thought it was a camera case :D
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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