October 3, 2023

Sonos Era 300 in Test – Smart Speaker and Perfect Dolby Atmos Surround Sound?

If you pair two Era 300s with a Sonos Arc and optionally with a Sub Gen. 3, you get excellent Dolby Atmos surround sound for home cinema. For this, however, you ideally need an eARC-capable TV so you can enjoy Dolby Atmos at high bitrates (with ARC the max is Dolby Digital Plus).

In practical testing, our setup convinces with great sound with 3D audio (via Apple Music) and Dolby Atmos (eg from Disney Plus or Amazon Prime). With an old Sony TV (only supporting ARC), Disney Plus, for example, only worked in stereo. The subwoofer excels primarily in movies and is negligible in music (especially at default settings). In TV mode, the bow can also record as a center and reproduce speech very clearly. When it comes to music, it is sometimes a bit dominant.

For 3D audio, we recommend metering the setup via Trueplay. This currently only works with IOS / iPadOS devices, where the built-in microphones and position sensors are used for calibration. If you do not have an IOS device at hand, it is recommended to do the measurement with a borrowed device. It is enough to run the Sonos app in the same network.

In the benchmark data, we again see the very good characteristics of the Era 300, but the bow can also position itself very well. If you add an optional Sub Gen. 3, the band below 100Hz will still be supported obviously. But if you generally do not like bass, then you can do without a subwoofer.

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Unfortunately, once the Era 300 speakers are set up as rear speakers, you can no longer use them on their own via Bluetooth. Even via AirPlay 2, only the entire network can be processed. To do this, you have to separate them again after a short wait. It’s a shame, since Sonos implements multi-room playback so well, there’s a lack of flexibility here.