Sonos has finally announced the Era 300 and Era 100 speaker after months of leaks and recent coordinated teases from the company. Both devices are available for preorder today – the Era 300 for $449 and the Era 100 for $249 – and will be available in stores on March 28.
As its distinctive design suggests, the Era 300 represents an entirely new type of speaker for the company; It was built from the ground up to take advantage of regional audio music and compete with competitors like the HomePod and Echo Studio.
Therefore, the Era 100 is a follow up to the Sonos One smart speaker, offering better sound quality for a slightly higher price. Both products support Bluetooth playback and USB-C line-in audio (via an adapter), giving Sonos customers more listening options.
Territorial Audio, Sonos Take on the Era 300
According to CEO Patrick Spence, Sonos has been working on the $449 Era 300 (codenamed Optimo 2) for about three years. Before Apple invested heavily in Spatial Audio, Sonos wanted to create a single-unit speaker capable of adapting the music industry’s clear trend line to innovation.
Sonos went through dozens of prototypes before settling on three finalists, all of which looked very different. The winner featured the distinctive “glass glass” design, which proved somewhat divisive when the public first saw it through leaks. Looking at it up close, I personally believe the Era 300 works much better than in the marketing photos, where it looks bigger than it is. With dimensions of 6.3 inches high, 10.24 inches wide and 7.28 inches deep, it fits snugly on a bookshelf without calling too much attention to itself. Maybe a bit big for a desktop table, but you’ll get the idea from those two pictures.
There are 6 Guru drivers under Era 300. The four tweeters in the speaker point to the front, left, right and center. That architecture is designed to radiate sound throughout the room, regardless of whether the current track is stereo or spatial audio. Sonos, thankfully, applies virtualized spatial mixes to your stereo content. The Era 300 Play respects the original design, but it uses additional drivers for greater stereo presence.
At launch, Sonos supports regional playback from both Apple Music and Amazon Music. As a result, it was the first third-party smart speaker to play Apple’s Dolby Atmos tracks natively. In home theater terms, both Era 300s can function as multi-directional rear surrounds (and feature top-firing atmos height channels for the first time). It’s an expensive proposition at $900 for a pair. However, if you are ready to invest