Sonos Reveals Era 100 and Era 300 Speakers, Pre-Orders Now Available
Sonos is revealing two new ‘Era’ speakers in its catalogue. The Era 100 and Era 300 speakers mark a new generation of audio experiences under the company’s belt.
The Era 100 speaker is Sonos’ way of going back to the drawing board and revising its Sonos One. The Era 300, on the other hand, is the audio company’s first major foray into supporting spatial audio. At launch, Sonos will support Amazon Music Unlimited and its spatial audio.
However, Sonos also announces that spatial audio support on Apple Music will be accessible upon the launch of Era 100 and Era 300 on March 28th. Both devices are designed to leverage acoustics and bold audio while also heightening the company’s sustainability efforts. “It’s a thrilling time in music as spatial audio – and the artist creativity that comes with it – continues to grow,” said Giles Martin, Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter, and composer and VP of Sound Experience at Sonos.
The Era 100 and Era 300 are both designed with post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics. Sonos has also redesigned its packaging in order to better align with its sustainability goals. The box in which the Era series speakers come in is made of 100% sourced paper. The speakers themselves are also engineered to reduce power consumption. Sonos claims that with under two watts of idle power consumption, the Era series use less than 2W when idle. When active, Era 100 uses 5-6W of power while Era 300 uses 8-9 Ws when playing at one-third volume. By comparison to the Sonos One (Gen 2), this results in a 32 percent reduction in idle power consumption.
In addition, Sonos is reducing the number of adhesives used in its designs. Instead, Era 100 and Era 300 utilize screws. Not only does this improve sustainability but it also increases the life cycle of the speakers. It is now easier to disassemble the units and repair them. Sonos has gone so far as to inscribe its name and a small heart on each screw, representing its commitment to sustainability.
Both Era 100 and Era 300 include Sonos’ new UI. On the device, users can now take advantage of the new capacitive volume slider for better control over music and audio. Additionally, the Era series supports Sonos Voice Control, the Sonos app, Apple AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth. Though that’s not all, audio can also be streamed via Wi-Fi 6 for Apple Lossless.
While Trueplay has been available to iOS users, Sonos is now expanding this feature to Android. For Android users, the Era speakers use their in-speaker microphones to measure and optimize the acoustics within a space.
The Era 300 is Sonos’ new premium spatial audio speaker. The single compact speaker is designed with angled drivers around the top, sides, and front. The design is similar to that of an hourglass. It’s a moderately larger speaker set, which is great for those who may want to fill their room with leading sound or create a surround sound experience in their living room. In some ways, the Era 300 can be seen as an iteration of the Sonos Five speaker. Its design measures 6.30 x 10.24 x 7.28 inches and weighs 9.85lbs. The Era 300’s onboard capacitive touch controls include playback, volume and mute voice assistant, as well as the ability to group or ungroup Sonos products.
Sonos’ Era 300 is comprised of six class-D amplifying speakers. It’s supported by custom drivers on both sides of the device with a central driver to help fill a space. Two high-performance woofers are built in to help produce balanced bass. It also contains an upward-firing tweeter to help reflect sound off the ceiling to better bring spatial audio sound to the user. This is paired with a forward-firing mid-tweeter and two side-firing mid-tweeters. Plus, custom drivers made for the Era 300 help with room coverage no matter the listener’s position.
It’s the first speaker in Sonos’ repertoire to offer multi-channel surround sound when connected as rear home theatre units. As shown in a demo, two Era 300 speakers can be paired with an Arc or Beam (Gen 2). This will enable 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos sound, adding immersion to the viewing experience. Sonos showed off an array of movies including A Quiet Place, which drew me in immediately. For a movie I’ve seen a number of times, Sonos’ surround sound via the Era 300 gave me a deeper appreciation of the more subtle audio cues.
The Era 300 offers a wide variety of connectivity at launch. For instance, WiFi support enables users to stream content, including the “highest-quality audio formats.” With the use of an aux cable and the Sonos Line-In Adapter, users can even connect a turntable or other audio source to the speaker. However, unlike previous Sonos devices, the Era 300 supports Bluetooth.
Now, friends and family can stream audio to the speaker without having to download the Sonos app or manage other steps. Apple AirPlay 2 support is also available on devices running iOS 11.4 and higher. Voice commands are also enabled via Sonos Voice Control. Amazon Alexa support is also enabled. However, Google Assistant is unavailable. While the company did not disclose the reasoning, Sonos and Google are in the midst of a legal dispute over patent infringement.
Sonos has worked with a number of professionals within the audio industry to help fine-tune its premium speaker. Working with Emily Lazar, Manny Marroquin, and others, the Era 300 has been made to impress the Sonos Soundboard, a group of pros in the field.
Era 300 is available to preorder now in matte black and white colour options. In Canada, the speaker runs for $559. It will officially launch on March 28th.
The Sonos Era 100 is a new compact stereo speaker, seeking to take the place of the One. With added Bluetooth compatibility and a sleek new design, this entry-level speaker is a modest upgrade from the company’s existing models. The Era 100 contains a new “advanced processor” that Sonos touts is capable of delivering next-gen acoustics. Its measurements are 7.18 x 4.72 x 5.14 inches. The speaker weighs 4.44lbs, which is slightly heavier than the 4lb Sonos One. The Era 100 also includes capacitive touch controls for playback, mute voice assistant functions, and grouping settings.
Within the unit, Sonos integrates dual-angled tweeters, capable of rendering high frequencies left and right. It also supports a woofer that is 25 percent larger than the Sonos One, offering deeper bass. The new processor is said to be 47 percent faster and improves performance. The speaker is also able to deliver 70 percent more volume, capable of filling a room.
Much like its Era 300 counterpart, the Era 100 offers WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. It also features Sonos Line-In support for external devices. Sonos Voice Control, Amazon Alexa, and tuning via the Sonos app are all available. Once again, Google Assistant support is unavailable. However, Era 100 is compatible with WiFi 6 and AirPlay 2. Sonos claims that Era 100 is set up to be ready for future innovations. One of which is already being teased. At launch, the Era 100 can receive Dolby Atmos data. However, it can only play audio in mono formatting “for now.”
Users can pair two Era 100 speakers in the same room. They can also be used as rear speakers with Arc, Beam, or Ray.
Era 100 is available in matte black and white models. The new Sonos speaker is available in Canada to preorder now for $319. The Era 100 launches on March 28th.