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Sonos Era 300’s Hourglass Design Is Form Folding Into Function

03.10.23 | By
Sonos Era 300’s Hourglass Design Is Form Folding Into Function

If you happened upon the new Sonos Era 300 straight on you might be inclined to shrug, albeit approvingly. Viewed head on, the newly announced Era 300 looks very much the part of the Sonos audio speaker family, down to the typographic palindrome logo and its characteristically perfectly perforated minimalist oblong profile. But veer just a little to the left, right, or from any angle really, and things get a little… different. You’ll then notice the Era 300 looks nothing like any other Sonos product before it, and there’s a good reason behind this unusual hourglass design.

Sonos Era 300 in black finish with cinched center design, shown from angled overhead.

“The Sonos Era 300 is a ‘blank sheet of paper’ design,” explains Dana Krieger, VP of hardware design at Sonos when asked about the cinched form during a video call with Design Milk. “There are six transducers positioned around the product: one facing forward, two tweeters on the left and right, two woofers on each side, and one in the center aimed upward.”

White Sonos Era 300 shown from top view.

Sonos Era 300 in black finish with cinched center design, shown from angled overhead at an angle.

At its core the Era 300’s form is conceived to direct sound not just optimally toward the listener from the front and sides, but also audibly from above, with an up-firing tweeter engineered to produce engaging and immersive spatial playback.

Person reaching toward Era 300's newly designed new capacitive volume slider.

The Era 300 also features a newly designed capacitive volume slider with a subtle shallow channel that intuitively communicates, “Slide your finger here.”

White Sonos Era 100 and 300 shown side by side against an orange to light yellow gradient background.

The Era 300 is joined by the release of a smaller Era 100, “a remastering of the best-selling
Sonos One.”

“According to our audio team, the optimal position is somewhere between zero and 20 degrees off the vertical axis,” says Krieger, “And this design positions that [center-top] transducer right at 10º. So taking that 10º angle and wrapping it all around the product puts each of those six transducers in their best location for a spatial experience.”

Black Sonos Era 300 to the right of low profile turntable with a green vinyl record set to play.

The Era 300’s design may be configured for the best spatial experience, but it’s safe to say its design may prove aesthetically divisive, an issue the Sonos brand has generally been able to avoid because its existing lineup is so tastefully minimalist. Primarily made up of extruded cylindrical forms that have proven time and time again supremely adaptable to most any room setting, the Era 300 is very much that same signature Sonos form, but with a cinched center that hits a bit different.

Couple seated in modern decor living room watching television with two Sonos Era 300 speakers in rear surround sound configuration on floor stands, complement Sonos Arc soundbar and Sonos Sub. Man on the left has his arms around the shoulder of woman to the right.

Where the Sonos Era 300’s immersive capabilities become a most intriguing proposition is when paired with the Sonos Arc and Sonos Sub. We plan to report about the Era 300’s spatial and Dolby Atmos performance in the coming weeks to determine whether a pinch of new design proves a good thing for the Sonos brand.

Sonos is betting brand devotees and new customers will become quickly acclimated to the divergence in design, instead focusing more upon the wow-factor delivered via the speaker’s spatial audio performance, a proposition that becomes even more interesting and convincing when two Era 300s are configured into a multi-channel Dolby Atmos surround sound rear setup. Paired alongside the brand’s Arc or Beam sound bar and Sub, this twice-as-nice configuration should conjure a convincingly immersive aural realm in 360 degrees from above and around where other up-firing speakers can only half-heartedly perform.

The entire Sonos audio speaker lineup shown in white, including three sound bars, two subwoofers, three speakers, and two portable wireless speakers.

The Era 300 and Era 100 will be available globally starting on March 28, 2023 for $449 and $249, with each listed for pre-order today at Sonos.com.

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Gregory Han is Tech Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at gregoryhan.com.