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Sonos brings spatial sound to the fore

Sonos is set to reclaim its throne as the king of multi-room and smart speakers with a new range that sonically beats anything they've done before.

written by / 2023-02-21 - 11:30 am
Sonos brings spatial sound to the fore

Sonos has new speakers on the way. We knew that, since we’re invited to see them next week. But exactly what they have in store, they haven’t told us yet. But the rumors are out in advance. And we now know that it’s about a brand new range of speakers with a special focus on 3D sound – spatial audio.

The tech media The Verge has spilled the beans about the upcoming launch, and they can tell you that there will be two speakers, called Sonos Era 100 and Sonos Era 300. The name “Era” is well chosen, as they seem to usher in a new era for Sonos, which has been the king of multi-room speakers for many years. And now looks set to consolidate their throne by focusing on the fad of the year: 3D audio.

Sonos Era 300 supports spatial sound, making it perfect for home cinema. (Photo: Sonos via The Verge)

Plays in all directions

The largest of the models, the Era 300, comes equipped with a whopping six speaker drivers that project sound forward, upward, and to both sides. It sounds like two or more Era 300s could make interesting companions for a Sonos Arc soundbar with Dolby Atmos. Especially now that streaming services like Netflix are rolling out 3D audio to users. Whether music remixed with spatial audio will also be supported – and from which music services – is as yet unclear.

The Sonos Era 300 is slightly smaller than the Sonos Five. And the old top model seems to continue on the market. We’ll venture a guess, though, that Sonos might have an Era 500 in the pipeline for a later date…

The smaller model, the Era 100, doesn’t support 3D audio, but it does play in stereo – unlike the current Sonos One, which it’s likely to replace in the market. The Sonos Era 100 has two tweeters and a common bass/midrange that plays in mono.

Sonos pioneered room correction in small speakers with Trueplay, which uses an iPhone to measure the sound in the room. Both of the new speakers get automatic room correction using the built-in microphones, so Android owners can also enjoy some degree of room correction.

Sonos Era 100 plays stereo – unlike Sonos One, which it replaces. (Photo: Sonos via The Verge)

Bluetooh – at last

In addition to spatial audio, the new Sonos models stand out for finally supporting Bluetooth. Bluetooth’s audiophile shortcomings notwithstanding, this will be a welcome addition to the arsenal, allowing you to play music from YouTube from your phone, for example. The speakers also get USB-C audio input. On the other hand, the 3.5mm minijack input has been given the deathblow.

Sonos has long supported voice control with Google Assistant on its speakers. According to The Verge, it’s unclear whether this collaboration will continue, as Sonos explicitly mentions Amazon Alexa and Sonos’ own Voice Control, while Google Assistant is not mentioned. On the positive side, however, the absence of Google Assistant may mean that speakers will no longer interfere with conversations without being asked.

The Sonos Era 300 and Era 100 will be available in late March. The Era 300 is expected to be slightly cheaper than the Sonos Five, while the Era 100 will be slightly more expensive than the Sonos One.

Source: The Verge

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