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ERA's 300 center channel not working if connected as surrounds to ARC/SUB


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As i pointed out in my Dolby ATMOS TrueHD test file analysis. There is this weird behaviour, where ERAs center channel is not playing anything at all. Only speakers that are involved are upfiring ans side speakers.

This is also true for ATMOS music played via Apple Music or even Stereo music via Apple Music or Spotify. Center channel is just “dead”.

Is this intentional or a bug?

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Best answer by SarahN 30 March 2023, 13:30

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Just to give this post a reply, Sonos have confirmed that in surround configuration, the front tweeter is not used.

It is only used when they/it is used for music playback outside of a HT set up.

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Just to give this post a reply, Sonos have confirmed that in surround configuration, the front tweeter is not used.

It is only used when they/it is used for music playback outside of a HT set up.

Yes, thanks for the reply, i was the one talking to @Corry P in the Sonos Era 300 wall mount positioning post.

I’ll add the reply from the Corry here, so it’s clear what is happening with the center channel.

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Solution: 👇

@Corry P replied regarding my question in the  Sonos Era 300 wall mount positioning post

 

In short:

Corry P wrote:

Hi Majo133

The decision was made after extensive user testing and feedback determined no front speaker audio provided the best sound, when the Era 300s are configured as surrounds.The advertising materials state what they state because that is what the speakers have. When not configured as surrounds, the centre channel driver is active, whether the speaker is operating alone or with another in a stereo pair.I hope this helps.

 

I also asked regarding informing user about this in the app:

Majo133 wrote:

Well thanks for your reply. Wouldn’t be good to inform users about this decision somewhere in the app after ERAs are added as surrounds? I guess i (and few other users who already noticed this) won’t be the last. I get it when the creator decides what is best for the user, but when user is testing the feature and the feature doesn’t work as it should and user is not informed anywhere how it should work, well then the confusion occurs.

 

So wouldn’t u consider adding this information somewhere to the ERAs surround setup?

Corry P replied with this:

Corry P wrote:

Hi Majo133

Point taken - thanks for your feedback! I’ll pass this along to the product team.

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At least if someone searches this topic and comes across this post, they will see the clear replies now 😊

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Update:

Just adding this info to this post.

 

Hello, 

I’ve just asked the same question under another thread but didn’t quite word it as well. 
I have one Sonos Era 300, set up to play music only. Am I right in thinking the one speaker alone will not produce any sound from the front, but just round the sides? 

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When not connected to a soundbar, your 300 will produce sounds from all of its speakers including the front one 

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@Corry P I wanted to follow up with a few more scenarios related to this, because I'm not sure if all of them are features or bugs. I see 3 unexpected behaviours when using the Era 300 as surrounds:

  1. ✅ The centre driver is not used. That is understandable if the other drivers are compensating for this.
  2. ⚠️ When running these test tones, the left and right rear surround channels are very quiet and muted compared to the rest. This makes me feel like we're missing out on audio coming from those channels. I imagined that on a full 7.1.4 system like this, test tones should sound the sameish on all channels, regardless of which drivers are doing the work.
  3. ⚠️ This is the one that seems most like a bug to me: changing the TV Level inside Surround Audio does not change the volume of the left and right rear surround channels. If we break down the channels of 7.1.4:
    • 3 front channels are fixed.
    • 4 top channels can be controlled with Height settings.
    • 2 left and right surround channels can be controlled with Surround settings.
    • 2 left and right rear surround channels cannot be adjusted. Why? This feels unexpected to me, I can't imagine why those channels wouldn't be affected by changing the surround levels.

Hi Sarah N,

Many thanks for your reply.

I’ll have to double check my settings as there’s still nothing from the front channel for some reason.

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Can someone please help? I’m still learning with Sonos…I have an Arc, gen 3 sub and 2 x Era300s set as surrounds in what I call living room. I am quite happy with the atmos when playing blu ray and up to an extent music. However as the centre driver is effectively ‘disconnected’ in this mode can I create another ‘room”’ (living room 2) to utilise the Era300’s to play stereo music only so it utilises the ‘redundant’ channel and be able to switch between the living room and living room 1? If so how do I go about it? Sorry if it sounds like a stupid question…..maybe this poses a problem with trueplay as you effectively have 2 sets of calibration?

thank you

 

Just to clarify, is the centre channel inactive when listening to music on setup connected to a soundbar? 

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Just to clarify, is the centre channel inactive when listening to music on setup connected to a soundbar? 

The center channel will never ever fire, regardless of whether you are listening to your TV or music, so long as the 300s are configured as rears. No way to switch that in the app, as silly as this sounds. 

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Just to clarify, is the centre channel inactive when listening to music on setup connected to a soundbar? 

The center channel will never ever fire, regardless of whether you are listening to your TV or music, so long as the 300s are configured as rears. No way to switch that in the app, as silly as this sounds. 

Exactly.

I’m still a bit confused as to whether the front channel is working at all for music alone. Has anyone got their 300 set up only as one speaker to play music but can hear the front channel working? I have this exact set up and I still have no sound from the front. I’m tempted to send it back for a refund.

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Hi @Henrique Gusso 

I’d encourage you to get in touch with our technical support team with any issues you notice.

ok so basicly, im at the day before getting second era 300 for my bedroom.

 

Question is - worth to buy and make stereo or not :)? cause o the front channels..

 

kickass outstanding or regret? I know its Sonos so its not a typical regret :-) I have already beam gen2, sub3 and 2x ones as a living room setup 

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ok so basicly, im at the day before getting second era 300 for my bedroom.

 

Question is - worth to buy and make stereo or not :)? cause o the front channels..

 

kickass outstanding or regret? I know its Sonos so its not a typical regret :-) I have already beam gen2, sub3 and 2x ones as a living room setup 

The front-facing driver is only disabled when the Era 300 is used as a surround speaker. The front-facing driver is enabled when used as a stereo pair with another Era 300. Two Era 300s as a stereo pair sounds fantastic especially when playing music in Dolby Atmos.

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This is especially punishing on gamers because you no longer can receive precise directional sound from the surround speakers.

For the time being, I have to put the Era 300’s outer speakers close to a wall so it has some clarity to it. Please make an option to turn these speakers on, it would be a shame to have to return these.

I’ve now tuned my single Era 300 (to play music only) using advanced tuning via IOS. The front channel is definitely working now and the sound is amazing! 

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PSA: For future references, replies, findings etc, use this post:

 

ok so basicly, im at the day before getting second era 300 for my bedroom.

 

Question is - worth to buy and make stereo or not :)? cause o the front channels..

 

kickass outstanding or regret? I know its Sonos so its not a typical regret :-) I have already beam gen2, sub3 and 2x ones as a living room setup 

The front-facing driver is only disabled when the Era 300 is used as a surround speaker. The front-facing driver is enabled when used as a stereo pair with another Era 300. Two Era 300s as a stereo pair sounds fantastic especially when playing music in Dolby Atmos.

thank you mate! ordering ;-)

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This is disappointing, I doubt there there is not a way to sonos could tune the front speaker for use as a channel or to complement a channel in the home theatre set up. It’s not like nearly all other home theatre products don’t do this, top end Samsung soundbars have like a billion channels, slight exaggeration. 
in any case sonos should allow a choice. There just feels like something wrong to spend a lot of money on something to have part of it disabled. Part of the cost is to cover the inclusion of that speaker, why am I paying for 12 drivers to only be able to use 10. If this is the case they need to sell a 10 driver model for home theatre use that are cheaper….. is it just me that this would seem logical to?

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This is disappointing, I doubt there there is not a way to sonos could tune the front speaker for use as a channel or to complement a channel in the home theatre set up. It’s not like nearly all other home theatre products don’t do this, top end Samsung soundbars have like a billion channels, slight exaggeration. 
in any case sonos should allow a choice. There just feels like something wrong to spend a lot of money on something to have part of it disabled. Part of the cost is to cover the inclusion of that speaker, why am I paying for 12 drivers to only be able to use 10. If this is the case they need to sell a 10 driver model for home theatre use that are cheaper….. is it just me that this would seem logical to?

Absolutely, and I imagine that this thread just like the feature request will be closed to keep us from being able to make our voice heard. More folks keep on finding this out and complaining. Now there are a bunch of open boxes in Amazon in two different countries where I buy my stuff at least.

 

Very disappointing; especially not to hear any news from Sonos.

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Hi, I’m new to all this having purchased my Arc, Sub Mini and two Era 300s a fortnight ago.  I’m very much learning and experimenting. My main problem is positioning of 300s as rears because my lounge has limited options.  Immediately behind our two chairs is a bay window with large window sill. 300s could sit there but only be 2’ apart or 60cm so presumably not enough.  So I think I may get some Ones for surround instead?

Main query though is re 300 front driver.  Currently they are configured as surrounds and I understand that when watching Atmos movies that driver is off.  
When I play Apple Music or Amazon Music via the S2 App  ((no tv involved) but all components involved, is that front driver still disabled?  Is the only way to play the 300s fully functioning as stereo speakers?

Userlevel 6
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Hi, I’m new to all this having purchased my Arc, Sub Mini and two Era 300s a fortnight ago.  I’m very much learning and experimenting. My main problem is positioning of 300s as rears because my lounge has limited options.  Immediately behind our two chairs is a bay window with large window sill. 300s could sit there but only be 2’ apart or 60cm so presumably not enough.  So I think I may get some Ones for surround instead?

Main query though is re 300 front driver.  Currently they are configured as surrounds and I understand that when watching Atmos movies that driver is off.  
When I play Apple Music or Amazon Music via the S2 App  ((no tv involved) but all components involved, is that front driver still disabled?  Is the only way to play the 300s fully functioning as stereo speakers?

Hi, I think from all accounts that using the Era 300s as surrounds demands proper placement much more so than the Ones or Fives. With Ones you just have to basically point them towards your seating position, or even behind you, towards the TV. I have 2 One SLs as surrounds and price not withstanding, I know for a fact my lounge is not optimised to use the 300s to their full extent as surrounds, so it would be a waste of money for me. I will have to stick with my One SLs.

Regarding using the 300s for music, if you keep them as part of your HT setup then the front driver will still be disabled for music. If you unpair them though and set them up as a stereo pair, then all drivers will be active.

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