The Brilliant Sound Experience by Sonos Illuminates the Science of What We Hear

06.20.19 | By
The Brilliant Sound Experience by Sonos Illuminates the Science of What We Hear

For three days in New York City an immersive multi-room sensory experience created by Sonos in partnership with Google Assistant invited visitors to delve into interactive installations of sound, music, and light to explain the properties and experience of sound.

The Brilliant Sound Experience uses new music from 4AD label artists The National and Holly Herndon, alongside interactive installations to illustrate the properties and dynamics of sound, how it layers into music, and the evocative nature of music. Each room is in essence a self-contained universe of light and sound, each designed to provide listeners the aural and visual cues to better recognize how our brains process sound/music:

Room One – The Physics of Sound

Featuring “Eternal” by Holly Herndon, a track from the AI-aided album, PROTO, the first room utilizes 18 Sonos Play:5s, one Sonos One, and one Sonos Sub, to weave 20 individual tracks into a singular tapestry of song. The light show, comprised 236 strands of lights with 1,720 globes, plays off an algorithm that produces a unique experience for every performance.

Room Two – The Structure of a Song

Featuring the track “RYLAN” from The National’s new album, I Am Easy to Find, the second room installation displays five unique sculptures spread throughout the space. Seven unique stems are played across sets of Sonos Play:5s hidden within each sculpture. By moving throughout the space, fans can experience each piece of the song like never before, isolating drums, strings, keys, bass, and vocals to find their very own sweet spot.

Room Three – The Emotion of Music

Following the Brilliant Sound Survey which studied music’s effects on productivity, fitness, relationships and mood, Sonos used their study’s data to engineer a brainwave visualizer.

Sonos worked with Beggars Group and their catalogue of artists to curate this menu of moods through music, including Euphoric (Perfume Genius’ “Slip Away”), Vulnerable (FKA twigs’ “Cellophane) and New York (fittingly, Interpol’s “NYC”).

Gregory Han is a Senior Editor at 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