Sonos retires and replaces One speaker, adds spatial audio to lineup
Following much rumor and chatter online, Sonos has now officially announced the successor to its One compact speaker, adding Bluetooth but losing Google Assistant, plus the company is also betting on spatial audio with the launch of the six-driver Era 300.
Sonos says that both of the new smart speakers have been "tuned by award-winning artists and engineers" and are the first in its range to dial into the company's responsible design standards, "which span long-term serviceability, energy-efficient technologies and use of post-consumer recycled materials."
The Era 100 model replaces the One smart speaker, and crams in two angled tweeters that send higher frequencies left and right while a mid-woofer takes care of the mid and lower registers – each driven by its own Class-D amplifier. Capacitive touch up top allows for control of playback, while sonic parameters can be tweaked to taste via the Sonos mobile app.
It's slightly large than its predecessor at 7.18 x 4.72 x 5.14 in (182.5 x 120 x 130.5 mm), and tips the scales at 4.44 lb (2.02 kg). And though compact enough to carry around from room to room, listeners will need to find a nearby wall outlet to power the thing.
The smart speaker features 1.4-GHz quad-core processing brains supported by 1 GB of SDRAM and 8 GB of storage. A far-field microphone array with "advanced beamforming and multi-channel echo cancellation" caters for Sonos voice control and Alexa interaction.
Joining Wi-Fi 6 dual-band Wi-Fi is Bluetooth 5.0, meaning that the 100 can now be paired to just about any BT-enabled music source. It also plays nice with AirPlay 2 for streaming audio to the speaker from an Apple device, and there's an aux input for cabling up music players.
The Era 100 is priced at US$249 and will be available around the world from March 28.
If you're looking to immerse yourself in the delights of spatial audio, you'll need the shapely Era 300, which has been treated to Dolby Atmos. "Just like the shift from mono to stereo, spatial audio is the next evolution in listening – creating a sound experience that wraps you in music," said Giles Martin at Sonos. "As both creators and major streaming platforms embrace spatial audio for music, the time is right to create an out loud listening experience that delivers against the promise of this thrilling and creative format."
The roughly hourglass form has been designed to angle each of its drivers for optimum all-around dispersion. The six-speaker setup comprises four tweeters for the highs and mids and a pair of angled woofers for the bass end, each driven by its own Class-D amplifier.
Like the Era 100, this unit utilizes Trueplay tuning technology via the Sonos app to adjust the EQ to match the room's acoustic profile, includes Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless streaming from a source device, and there's AirPlay 2 support as well. Onboard beamforming mics allow for voice control as well as chatting to Alexa, and there's capacitive touch playback control and more tweaking possibilities available via the Sonos app.
The Era 300 boasts 1.9-GHz quad-core processing, 8 GB of DDR4 RAM and 8 GB of NAND storage, and is reported to be the first from Sonos that's capable of multi-channel surround sound when incorporated into home theater audio setups – two Era 300s with an Arc or 2nd-gen Beam soundbars, for example.
The 6.3 x 10.24 x 7.28-in (160 x 260 x 185-mm), 9.85-lb (4.47-kg), mains-powered Era 300 also goes on sale from March 28, but this one carries a $449 price tag.