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Popular speaker company Sonos is preparing to launch new high-end "Era" smart speakers to compete with Apple's HomePod range, and The Verge has obtained marketing images of the products as well as some rough pricing information ahead of their release next month.

sonos-era300white.jpg

The Era 300, shown in the picture above, will be the new Sonos flagship speaker, designed to highlight music in spatial audio. Other features will include USB-C line-in, Wi-Fi 6 support, Bluetooth playback, and AirPlay 2 support. The Verge's Chris Welch says the Era 300 is expected to be priced "in the ballpark of $450."

The size of the Era 300 is said to fall in between the Sonos One and Sonos Five, and includes a total of six drivers that direct sound forward, left, right, and up. A stereo pair of Era 300s, when used with either the Arc or second-generation Beam, will deliver rearward surround sound including upward-firing audio.

sonos-era300atmos.jpg
Era 300 can be stereo paired as rear surrounds with the Sonos Arc and Beam (Gen 2)

Despite the Era 300 being designed for spatial audio, the Dolby Atmos songs in the Apple Music catalog are "unlikely to be supported at this time," according to Welch, which suggests that Apple and Sonos have yet to reach an agreement. "This could always change in the coming weeks or by the time the Era 300 hits shelves," he adds.

The Era 100, shown below, has a rounder shape and won't come with upward-firing drivers, as it's not geared for spatial audio like the other product. Welch calls the new speaker "an evolved Sonos One with (ideally) better performance," thanks to the addition of a second tweeter for true stereo sound and an enlarged mid-woofer for more bass.

era100white.jpg

Like the other new speaker, the Era 100 features Wi-Fi streaming, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, and USB-C. The Era 100 is expected to cost around $250 and is likely to replace the Sonos One, which currently sells for $219.

Both speakers are expected to include Sonos Voice Control and Amazon Alexa voice assistants, but support for Google Assistant may be lacking. Welch says Sonos will separately sell a line-in adapter for USB-C audio and a "combo adapter" for plugging in over Ethernet, as there's no built-in jack on either speaker.

sonos-era100black.jpg
Sonos Era 100 in stereo pair connected to turntable via line in

Sonos has reportedly set a late March release schedule for both speakers, which will be available in white and black colors, while the company is also said to be planning to launch a device in a brand new product category by the end of the year.

Article Link: Sonos Era 300 and Era 100 Smart Speakers Revealed in Marketing Images
 
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JulianL

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Feb 2, 2010
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Beauty is a very personal thing but to me the 300 looks seriously ugly, at least judging it by the picture. Maybe it looks better in real life. Then again, if Sonos have traded form for function, i.e. it’s that shape rather than something a bit more conventional because they needed to do that to get the best sound quality from a speaker that size, I’ll definitely give them credit for that. Or maybe it’s just me and everyone else thinks it looks great?
 

kiranmk2

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Oct 4, 2008
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Not sure what you mean. The Arc has Atmos support even alone. You can pair it with a One or Ikea speaker and it won't loose that function.
The current Sonos best setup is 5.2.2 (i.e. only 2 atmos up-firing channels from the Arc itself). The new speakers will enable a 5.2.4 setup (i.e. the rears also have up-firing channels) or perhaps even a 7.2.4 (the rears may also have side-firing channels). Many people were hoping that the Era 1 (the Sonos One replacement) would also have up-firing channels, but it doesn't seem to from this leak, meaning that those wanting a 5.1.4 setup will need to pay another $900 for a pair of Era 300s.
 

xraydoc

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This might get me to upgrade my Samsung Atmos surround system in my basement to the Sonos Arc with these new speakers. Not cheap, but might be an improvement over the Samsung.
 
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Chiromac81

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Nov 18, 2018
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Still think Sonos gear is massively overrated and overpriced, in the same way Bose is.

My parents got an LG sound bar (with bass unit and two satellite speakers, all wireless) for 1/3 of the cost of the Sonos equivalent offering. Excellent hardware quality and the sound is top-notch.
Can thier LG soundbar play with rear surrounds and a sub and also play the same audio that's playing in another room??

Didn't think so
 

haemolysis

macrumors member
Aug 11, 2022
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Admittedly taste is objective, but I do have to wonder why people find these ugly enough to actually critique. They are smooth, symmetrical, plain white/inoffensive minimalist with no gaudy feature and would blend into the majority of decors easily. They are textbook Apple design language.
 

Unggoy Murderer

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Jan 28, 2011
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How does airplay allow speakers to get just the rear signal in an audio mix lol. Nice try though
My bad, your original message read like you were asking about multi-room support. No, it won't do per-channel selection in AirPlay.

But, and forgive me if I'm being ignorant, why would I want to split out the audio channels? Can't see why I'd want just rear surround audio playing somewhere else, would defeat the purpose.
 
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Kiwamu

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Sep 13, 2022
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I hope they release a non smart version like the SL, which I am currently eyeing. I really don't need a smart device, but sometimes I wish to play music throughout...
 
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Chiromac81

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Nov 18, 2018
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My bad, your original message read like you were asking about multi-room support. No, it won't do per-channel selection in AirPlay.

But, and forgive me if I'm being ignorant, why would I want to split out the audio channels? Can't see why I'd want just rear surround audio playing somewhere else, would defeat the purpose.
If you have a sound bar and it can't play the sound behind or beside you than you can't get proper 5.1 type sound

Sonos does that AND play from different rooms.
 
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fanta

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2011
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Why are they specifically mentioning Airplay 2 support? Don't the current devices support Airplay 2 already or is it only Airplay 1 (Legacy Airplay?)
 
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