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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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