Sonos has launched a new wireless speaker that promises to deliver an immersive and realistic sound experience. The Sonos Era 300 is the first speaker from the company that supports Dolby Atmos spatial audio, a technology that creates a three-dimensional sound field around the listener.
What is spatial audio and why does it matter?
Spatial audio is a term that refers to sound that goes beyond the traditional stereo or surround sound formats. Spatial audio uses multiple channels and speakers to create a sense of depth, height, and direction in the sound. Spatial audio can make you feel like you are inside the music, or in the middle of the action in movies and games.
Dolby Atmos is one of the most popular and widely used formats for spatial audio. Dolby Atmos uses metadata to encode information about the position and movement of each sound object in a scene. This allows compatible speakers to reproduce the sound accurately and dynamically according to the listener’s location and environment.
Spatial audio has been available in cinemas and home theaters for a while, but it has recently become more accessible to consumers thanks to streaming services such as Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Tidal that offer spatial audio music. Spatial audio music can enhance the listening experience by adding more detail, clarity, and realism to the sound.
How does the Sonos Era 300 deliver spatial audio?
The Sonos Era 300 is a wireless smart speaker that comes with six drivers: two woofers, two front-facing tweeters, one upward-firing tweeter, and one side-firing tweeter. These drivers are designed to project sound in different directions, creating a spacious and enveloping soundstage.
The Sonos Era 300 supports Dolby Atmos spatial audio music from Apple Music and Amazon Music. It can also play stereo music from other sources such as Spotify, Pandora, or your own library. The speaker can automatically detect the format of the music and adjust its output accordingly.
The Sonos Era 300 can also be paired with other Sonos speakers to create a multi-room or multi-channel system. For example, you can use two Sonos Era 300 speakers as rear speakers with a Sonos Arc soundbar to create a 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos home theater system. You can also group multiple Sonos speakers together to play the same music in different rooms.
What are the features and benefits of the Sonos Era 300?
The Sonos Era 300 has several features and benefits that make it a versatile and powerful speaker. Some of them are:
- Sonos app: The Sonos app allows you to control the speaker, adjust its settings, access various music services, and manage your Sonos system. You can also use the app to set up Trueplay tuning, a feature that analyzes the acoustics of your room and optimizes the speaker’s EQ accordingly.
- Voice control: The Sonos Era 300 has built-in microphones that enable voice control via Amazon Alexa or Sonos Voice Control. You can use your voice to play music, control smart home devices, get news and weather updates, and more. You can also mute or disable the microphones if you prefer more privacy.
- Bluetooth: The Sonos Era 300 has a Bluetooth button that allows you to pair your smartphone or tablet with the speaker and stream music directly from your device. This is useful for playing music from apps or sources that are not supported by Sonos.
- Line-in: The Sonos Era 300 has a USB-C port that can be used as a line-in input with an optional adapter. This allows you to connect an external audio source such as a turntable, CD player, or laptop to the speaker using an auxiliary cable.
- Design: The Sonos Era 300 has a unique and elegant design that stands out from other speakers. It has an hourglass-shaped frame that angles each driver for optimal sound dispersion. It also has intuitive touch controls on the top for volume, playback, Bluetooth pairing, and voice assistant activation.
What are the reviews and ratings of the Sonos Era 300?
The Sonos Era 300 has received positive reviews and ratings from critics and users alike. Here are some of the highlights:
- TechRadar gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars and praised its impressive stereo and Dolby Atmos effects, detailed and rich sound quality, and wide range of connectivity options. It also noted that the speaker is not very forgiving with flawed recordings and that the bass could be deeper.
- WIRED gave it 9 out of 10 and called it “stunning spatial, superior sound”. It complimented its big, confident, and accurate sound, convincing spatial audio effect, and exemplary control app. It also pointed out that it does not support Dolby Atmos via Tidal and that the line-in adapter is a cost option.
- RTINGS gave it a score of 7.5 out of 10 and said that it is good for music, movies, and voice assistant. It liked its room correction feature, balanced mid-range, and wide soundstage. It also mentioned that it lacks low-bass, has a high latency over Bluetooth, and does not have an EQ.
How to buy the Sonos Era 300?
The Sonos Era 300 is available for purchase from the official Sonos website, as well as from other online and offline retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon, and B&H Photo. The speaker costs $449 / £449 / AU$749 and comes in black or white color options. You can also buy accessories such as the Sonos Line-In Adapter for $29 / £29 / AU$49 or the Sonos Wall Mount for $69 / £69 / AU$119.