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Sound and Imaginative and prescient: The Sonos Period 300 seems like the start of one thing nice

3 min read

OPINION: It’s that point of yr (spring in the event you should know), the place launches are coming thick and quick. New units are blooming and within the Sonos Period 300, we’ve a speaker that does one thing that genuinely feels as if it’s pushing the wi-fi audio market ahead.

By now, Dolby Atmos isn’t a ‘new’ factor by any means. It’s been round for greater than ten years, infiltrating cinema, residence cinema, headphones, wi-fi audio system and filtering by way of to gaming and even smartphones. The Amazon Echo Studio is the primary wi-fi speaker I knew of the place it was constructed from the bottom as much as play Dolby Atmos music. So, it’s not as if the Period 300 is ground-breaking or modern in that sense. Even the Apple HomePod can output in Atmos.

Nevertheless it does really feel as if, whereas Dolby Atmos continues to cement its standing as the highest audio canine within the movie and TV market, it’s struggled to make the identical waves within the music market.

It has not been for an absence of effort. Extra music is being made and mastered with Dolby Atmos uppermost in artists’ issues. There are increasingly mastering suites popping up (I’ve been to at the least three of them in London), and streaming providers are choosing up and releasing music in Dolby Atmos, from Tidal to Amazon Music and Apple Music. However the methods through which to listen to all that music remains to be restricted, at the least for wi-fi audio system.

Sonos Era 300 main
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Which is why the Sonos Period 300 may dwell as much as its title and be a real transfer ahead for Atmos and spatial audio. Amazon and Apple’s audio system are arguably too tied to their ecosystems to actually have a wider influence; most individuals who choose up these audio system shall be Amazon Prime subscribers or iOS customers. Whereas the Period 300 helps options from these respective ecosystems (Alexa, AirPlay 2), Sonos’ unbiased strategy with its platform additionally frees it from these restrictions. A Sonos speaker is one which anybody may have of their residence.

And that basically is what spatial audio must take off with music; a product providing a way of three-dimensionality in a room and never simply in your head like a pair of headphones. It’s debatably what has stored Sony’s 360 Actuality Audio from gaining extra traction inside the market, that it hasn’t been picked up by extra providers and types; and presumably what’s defeated many different 3D audio tech, although there’s a firm referred to as Audioscenic that’s seeking to change issues. Maintain a watch out for them…

However again to Sonos, and the Period 300 can fireplace sound upwards and to the perimeters and, relying heading in the right direction, even fireplace music in the direction of the listening place. There are drawbacks, as at all times, in that I’ve discovered this spatial impact to be very directional, i.e. it’s worthwhile to be sitting within the candy spot to get the most effective impact. One other drawback is that like a stereo observe, not each Atmos observe is engineered to provide the identical impact. Every artist and engineer have their very own philosophy and notion about how Atmos can serve their observe.

However that’s what’s fascinating about Atmos, that it may be so different in its execution, and the Period 300 brings that out extra efficiently than different audio system I’ve listened to. Listening to music within the residence wants a little bit of jolt, and the Period 300 is that bolt of lightning that would give it some extra juice.

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