Sonos announces new flagship Era 100 and 300 speakers that add surround sound
Sonos has launched new Era 100 and Era 300 speakers – and removed one of its most beloved products.
The company says that the new speakers add new elements to the sound. The Era 100 replaces the existing Sonos One, but turns it stereo, while the Era 300 adds spatial audio to Sonos’s music line-up.
Both also mark a break from the boxy design language that has defined Sonos’s speakers until now. The Era 300 in particular is a notable mark from the past, with a curving, hourglass shape that it says amplifies the new features.
Chief among them is the addition of spatial audio to that Era 300. Sonos says the new design allows music to be sent all around the room, providing spatial audio rather than just listening in stereo.
Spatial audio allows musicians to add extra placement to mixes, making it sound as if vocals are coming from above rather than on the side, for instance. Most hit songs are now released using Dolby’s spatial audio technology, and Apple Music recently launched the offering in its streaming service, though they cannot be listened to through the Era 300.
It costs £449 in the UK, and the same in dollars. It will be available later this month.
The new Era 100 is cheaper at £249 and the same in dollars. It is also focused on adding more dimensions to the sound, however, adding stereo speakers compared with the mono of the Sonos One that it replaces.
Both the Era 100 and Era 300 can also be used as rear speakers in a home theatre setup. The Era 300 will add extra space to the sound using that same spatial audio technology, Sonos said.
They both also feature new connectivity that allows people to listen by plugging devices into the speakers themselves, using a special cable, or through Bluetooth. Sonos has mostly resisted Bluetooth throughout its history – arguing that it leads to inferior sound – but embraced it for its Move and Roam portable speakers, and has now added it to its home speakers too.