My Absolute FAVOURITE Sonos Speaker!
We have the Sonos Era 300 with us today, and I have to say, this is my favourite speaker out of everything I’ve tested from Sonos.
So, let’s talk design first.
The Era 300 is a really interesting speaker, design-wise. It has a hourglass-esque shape and while it is bulky, it’s rather necessary and Sonos has designed an interesting speaker layout to facilitate the fact that this speaker supports Spatial Audio, which is a first for a Sonos speaker. You get six drivers here, four tweeters that are front-firing, top-firing, and two side-firing. Then, you have two woofers that are angled towards the left and right. Each driver is powered by a Class D amplifier as well.
On the top, you get the touch controls, although there’s now a new slider indented between the media controls and voice control buttons that’s used to control music volume. It’s intuitive and responsive and I like it a lot, you can swipe or tap, it’s up to you. On the back, you get a Bluetooth pairing button, a physical mic mute switch and a USB-C input port, which is a nice new addition by Sonos, letting users use sources like turntables, although you’ll need an adapter that’s a separate purchase for that.
But enough about that, let’s talk about features, because that’s where it really gets exciting. Like I said, this speaker supports Spatial Audio, and here in Singapore, you only get Spatial Audio with Apple Music, because Amazon Music isn’t available here. For the longest time, Spatial Audio on Apple Music has been limited to Apple’s own products, but this speaker is the first third-party speaker to offer support for it. So if you’re using Apple Music but you don’t want HomePods or Apple doesn’t sell HomePods in your country, this is a great option to look at.
The Sonos App
As usual, the speaker works with the Sonos app, where you get all the nice Sonos features like TruePlay (which now works with Android!), basic EQ for treble and bass, setting up a stereo pair which you can do if you’re planning to use these as a pair of Dolby Atmos compatible rear speakers or something, and all that. Then, you can also add Apple Music to the music services in-app, and when you play Dolby Atmos compatible music, it’ll show up there so you know it’s playing in Atmos.
But, let’s go to sound. I used Apple Music for the entirety of this testing, for both normal stereo tracks and Dolby Atmos content and I did the auto-TruePlay option. And right off the bat, you’ll notice that the Era 300 sounds incredibly big for its size. The soundstage is incredible out of a single speaker, and I was typically listening at just 25 to 40% volume. If you really need to fill a large living room, I’d say 60% would be more than enough.
But it just sounds powerful and yeah, big. The bass is present, impactful and really deep and thumpy. In fact, it might be a bit emphasised here, but that’s always adjustable via the EQ in the app. Bringing it down a notch or two allows the mids to be brought forward a little bit, so yeah, experiment with this speaker. The mids are generally gorgeous, you get clarity and detail in instruments, and vocals are forward and crisp with plenty of energy, which I love.
And again, the soundstage, oh my god, it’s incredible. It’s unbelievable really, you guys have to take a listen to it in-store if you can. Here’s a quick sound test for you guys, but keep in mind we’re in a new studio, so it might not sound exactly the same as the old one.
An Interesting Decision
So, something a lot of people will wonder right, is a single Era 300 better or is a pair of HomePod 2s better? Let’s talk about it. The Era 300 is US$449 or S$799, while the HomePod 2 is US$299 or S$429, which means that you can almost get 2 HomePod 2s for the price of a single Era 300. And if we’re comparing a single Era 300 to a single HomePod 2, there’s no comparison. The Era 300 wins out in almost everything, sound quality, soundstage, it sounds bigger, it can get louder, and yeah.
But if we compare a single Era 300 to a pair of HomePod 2s, then I would say the HomePod 2s win. There’s better stereo separation, the bass is better with a pair of HomePods, the Dolby Atmos effect is better, I would say. And the most important thing to consider, is whether you’re in the Apple ecosystem. If you are, the HomePod 2 might be a better choice, simply because of how nicely it plays with everything else, and of course, the convenience of handing off music and such. If you want to hear more about that, I will link my HomePod 2 review up here when it’s published.
If you’ve already got a Sonos system set up though, this is awesome. Whether it’s a standalone speaker or being used as two rear speakers, I love the Era 300. Awesome, awesome-sounding product by Sonos.