ERA 300 as surrounds - side wall placement acceptable?

  • 5 June 2023
  • 4 replies

I have a large greatroom with the TV on a wall which faces a family room area (with couch about 17 feet away from wall) then a kitchen area. So opposite wall is over 30 feet away from TV. I’m trying to retire speaker stands for rear surrounds. The room is about 20 feet wide where the couch sits. 

Will installing the surrounds (ERA 300 or SL1 for an ARC, Sub) on the side walls at 90-110 degrees from seating area result in a supported soundfield? The docs just say to the rear or side but the marketing material seems to all show rear placement only.

For stereo use I suspect they need to be facing the same plane so they can do their spatial wizardry correctly but as surrounds it appears they basically act as ‘dumb’ bipole-like speakers which seems like would work fine as I propose.


Best answer by Sotiris C. 12 June 2023, 17:14

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4 replies

Userlevel 5
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Hello @jubjub23, welcome to the Sonos Community!

Please have a look at the below Support Articles, regarding Home Theatre and Surround Sound, as well as Sonos Era 300 as surrounds:

Surround sound guidelines and limitations

  • Ensure both speakers are in the same orientation: vertical or horizontal.
  • Place your surround speakers behind and to the left and right of your usual listening position.

Sonos User Guide for Era 300 - Setup as surrounds

  • Place the speakers so the front grilles are facing toward the TV.


The docs just say to the rear or side but the marketing material seems to all show rear placement only.

I wouldn’t recommend placing them on the side, as it would definitely alter the surround effect. I’m also not sure what documentation you are referring to but, if possible, please share them with me so that I can flag and get them corrected.

I hope this helps.

I generalized when I should not have. The Era 300 do state to put the front grilles towards the TV but immediately preceding that is “With Era 300, the sound is sent in all directions so locating a sweet spot in the room is not necessary.” which undercuts the message.

But for SL1s and other speakers the general recommendation in the ‘Surround sound guidelines and limitations’ of putting them ‘behind and to the left and right of your usual listening position’ woud definitely allow the Dolby recommended placement of 110-120 degrees to the side and behind the listening position. Which in my case would be where they would fall on the side walls.

Can you quantify what the recommended ‘zone’ is for non ERA line surround speakers?


To make clear where I’m coming from, my new home has an open plan with no wall near the ‘back’ of the TV area. I was hoping Sonos would allow me to put surrounds of some type on the wall (which has easy electric access) so I could have a wireless system. The documentation implies that this is fine since the speakers would be ‘behind and to the left and right’. However the forum advice from support tends to steer people to having speakers more behind than to the sides but I haven’t seen anything definitive.

I’d love to see Sonos publish diagrams similar to how Dolby does to help customers understand the best placement of the various speaker types available as surrounds. I can tell you there are many posts with customers thinking they can put speakers anywhere and Trueplay will normalize the soundfield for them. For me a Sonos system on stands really diminishes the value proposition-a speaker wire at that position is less intrusive than a power cord.



Userlevel 5
Badge +11

Hey @jubjub23,

Apologies for the slight delay on my response. As long as the speakers are positioned to the rear of the listening position, it doesn’t really matter if they are more to the side. Remember it’s a surround effect we are looking for.

Me personally, I’ve got two Sonos One’s as surrounds, placed 2.5 meters on each side, just slightly behind (less than a meter) from the listening position (“my spot" as I call it). I’ve not done a Trueplay tuning, but I must say that even without one, the outcome is phenomenal.

You can always reach out to our Sales team, bringing floor plans, for a more detailed advice. I would recommend checking the User Guides for the limitations, and in the end, test around for what sounds best to you.

If you purchase directly from then you’ll have a few months to test and if not satisfied you can get a full refund. [Money Back Guarantee]