As expected, the audio tech brand today revealed two desktop speakers – the Dolby Atmos-supporting Era 300, and the mid-range Era 100, which is a direct replacement for the venerable Sonos One.
The Era 300 features an unusually-shaped, dual-angled frame which houses six class-D digital amplifiers, six hefty drivers: two force-opposing woofers and four compression drivers, allowing for sound to be fired forward, upwards, left and right.
As well as being able to create spacious stereo, the Era 300’s drivers are able to reflect sound off walls and ceilings, allowing for the device’s calling-card feature of support for immersive Dolby Atmos spatial audio.
For an even bigger soundstage, the Era 300 can be paired up with the Sonos Arc soundbars as rear speakers to create a very powerful, and indeed expensive, 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos home theater setup. We've tried it, and it sounds pretty incredible.
There’s an all-new user interface, with a capacitive volume slider plus dedicated skip and replay controls, and a Bluetooth button for pairing devices to the speaker. Sonos Voice Control and Alexa assistant is once again onboard, although Google Assistant support is noticeably absent, likely thanks to Sonos’ long-running legal dispute with the search engine giant.
Privacy-conscious users can temporarily deactivate their voice assistants by tapping the new speech bubble control or completely disconnect power to the in-built microphone by sliding a switch on the back of the device.
There’s also one of the widest array connectivity options we’ve seen on a Sonos device, with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi for lossless streaming, Apple AirPlay 2, and USB-C line-in.
Unlike the Sonos Five (which remains on-sale), there’s no dedicated 3.5mm input, but the Era 300 can be connected to other audio devices such as one of the best turntables via a sold-separately Sonos Line-In Adapter in conjunction with an auxiliary cable.
As ever, there’s Sonos’ TruePlay set-up feature, which measures the room’s acoustics and automatically adjusts EQ to optimize output for the space, while Sonos claim the Era 300’s overall sound has been tuned and tailored by a host of big name audio experts including Coldplay engineer Emily Lazar and mix specialist Manny Marroquin, who has worked with the likes of Alicia Keys, Kanye West and John Legend.
Another new Era
Also finally announced today was the more compact and conventional-looking Era 100.
The cylindrical speaker is slightly deeper and wider than its forbearer the Sonos One, and can now provide a wider stereo-like soundstage thanks to an angled dual-tweeter arrangement inside the larger housing, while a 25 per cent larger mid-woofer provides vastly improved bass.
While the Era 100 doesn’t support spatial audio, it does feature a similar array of connectivity, with Bluetooth support, Wi-Fi and AirPlay 2 streaming, plus a similar USB-C line-in setup, including support for 3.5mm using the adapter.
The Sonos Era 300 is priced at $449 / £449 / AU$749, while the Era 100 comes in at $249 / £249 / AU$399. Both speakers are available to order from the Sonos website, and launch on March 28, 2023.
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Kevin Lynch is a London-born, Dublin-based writer and journalist. The author of Steve Jobs: A Biographic Portrait, Kevin is a regular feature writer for a number of tech sites and the former Technology Editor for the Daily Mirror. He has also served as editor of GuinnessWorldRecords.com and has been a member of the judging panel for the BAFTA British Academy Video Game Awards. Alongside reviewing the latest AV gear, smartphones and computers, Kevin also specialises in music tech and can often be found putting the latest DAWs, MIDI controllers and guitar modellers through their paces. Born within the sound of Bow Bells, Kevin is also a lifelong West Ham fan for his troubles.