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Playbar + Era 300


are the new Era 300   compatible - as rear speakers -  with a Playbar? 

 

 

Thanks 

 

 

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Best answer by jgatie 15 March 2023, 18:14

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No.  As stated here: Surround sound guidelines and limitations

Era 300 can be used with an Arc or Beam (Gen 2) only.

Userlevel 7

No, the Era 300 is not compatible with the Playbar when used as surrounds.

Sonos talks about sustainability but is not able (or not willing to put effort) to combine with previously released products. It could also choose to support a lower level of surround sound when combining with non atmos speakers. This would still be a significant upgrade and let customers upgrade gradually.

Very disappointing and not what I expected from sonos. 

Regards, 

Noppies 

I’m equally disappointed that my ‘386 can’t run the current version of windows, my iPhone 1 won’t run the latest version of iOS.

There is a point at which the CPU (and other electronics built in) in older devices, such as the PLAYBAR, just isn’t capable in managing the amount of data necessary to support newer devices. It’s unfortunate, but when the PLAYBAR was initially designed, back in 2011 or 2012, there just wasn’t a knowledge of a potential need for that much processing power. Not to mention the cost associated with such a CPU at the time, if they had included it, would have likely doubled the cost of the PLAYBAR itself. 

The expectation that every computer can be infinitely expanded seems to me to be a false hope. 

 

Sonos talks about sustainability but is not able (or not willing to put effort) to combine with previously released products. It could also choose to support a lower level of surround sound when combining with non atmos speakers. This would still be a significant upgrade and let customers upgrade gradually.

Very disappointing and not what I expected from sonos. 

Regards, 

Noppies 

 

If this news makes you very disappointed, you must live in a constant state of utter despair.

 

Actually, I think it’s the rather sustainable approach to be honest.  It would  actually be irresponsible of Sonos to allow the era 100 or 300 to act as surround speakers for the playbar, encouraging people to buy new speakers, when the existing play:1, play:3, play:5, Sonos One, Sonos One SL, Five, or amp + speakers will perform just as well or better in the surround duty role.  Not to mention that many customers would be confused in thinking that using Era 300s would somehow turn their setup into atmos capable.

 

I will say that Sonos, as a system, is going from rather simple to rather complex, in terms of what goes with what, and what features are available under certain scenarios...nothing to do with sustainability.  However, that’s to be expected for any system where the current line up interacts and builds off previous generations.  I’m not aware of any such setup where that isn’t the case.  The only solution is to scrap the previous generation and completely start over, and no body likes that either.

SONOS players sold in 2005, although they cannot support the latest features that everyone is demanding, are still viable and playing. Is a 2005 phone still viable? I had to recycle a perfectly functional cellphone because the cell towers dropped support for its ‘ancient’ protocols.

Apple will change some of their API’s and demand that APP’s use the new API version or the APP will be dropped from the App Store. Leading edge APP’s will likely be forced to use the new API. Unfortunately, older phone/pad/computers cannot support the new API. This leaves the developer two choices, update their APP, potentially stranding some users, or terminate their business. Very simple APP’s that don’t need the updated API’s will still function.

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I just got off the phone with a Sales Customer Service agent.  I asked about integrating the Era 100s or 300s with my Playbar and was told “Yes” they will work. That’s counter to everything I’ve seen in here and on the YouTube review videos. Confusing to say the least. I was told that as long as I’m using the S2 App, it will work. Again, contrary to what’s being posted by Sonos and knowledgable Community Members.

“Because Era 300 is a multichannel rear speaker, it requires a Sonos soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos, i.e. Arc or Beam (Gen 2). For this reason, Era 300 is not compatible with Playbar, Playbase, or Beam (Gen 1).”

Does this mean that the Era 100 “is” compatible?  At this point, I’m considering overkill and using my Upgrade path to buy two Gen 2 Fives.

Any further light that can be shed on this would be appreciated. That you.

Brad in Alaska

 

Userlevel 7

I just got off the phone with a Sales Customer Service agent.  I asked about integrating the Era 100s or 300s with my Playbar and was told “Yes” they will work. That’s counter to everything I’ve seen in here and on the YouTube review videos. Confusing to say the least. I was told that as long as I’m using the S2 App, it will work. Again, contrary to what’s being posted by Sonos and knowledgable Community Members.

“Because Era 300 is a multichannel rear speaker, it requires a Sonos soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos, i.e. Arc or Beam (Gen 2). For this reason, Era 300 is not compatible with Playbar, Playbase, or Beam (Gen 1).”

Does this mean that the Era 100 “is” compatible?  At this point, I’m considering overkill and using my Upgrade path to buy two Gen 2 Fives.

Any further light that can be shed on this would be appreciated. That you.

Brad in Alaska

 

If I had to guess, the Sales Customer Service agent is wrong. The Sonos website clearly states the Era 100 and 300 are NOT compatible with the Playbar when being used as surrounds.

FYI… I am currently using two Play:5 (Gen 2)s as surrounds with my Arc and they sound great. It’s not overkill at all.

Sonos talks about sustainability but is not able (or not willing to put effort) to combine with previously released products. It could also choose to support a lower level of surround sound when combining with non atmos speakers. This would still be a significant upgrade and let customers upgrade gradually.

Very disappointing and not what I expected from sonos. 

Regards, 

Noppies 

 

Why would you ever buy a pair of speakers for $853 which offer no benefits over a pair that goes for $438? 

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jgatie… By $853 I’m assuming you’re referring to the Era 300s? I’d like to have a pair of Era 300s instead but, that doesn’t appear to be a possibility unless of shell out close to $900 for an Arc or buy a Beam Gen 2.  I’m uncertain if the Era 100s will work with my Playbar; I’m currently doubtful.

jgatie… By $853 I’m assuming you’re referring to the Era 300s? I’d like to have a pair of Era 300s instead but, that doesn’t appear to be a possibility unless of shell out close to $900 for an Arc or buy a Beam Gen 2.  I’m uncertain if the Era 100s will work with my Playbar; I’m currently doubtful.

 

Most likely, there was a miscommunication between you and the Sonos sales person you talked with.  The playbar and Era 100 are both S2 compatible, so they can both be setup in the same Sonos system...in  different rooms. 100% accurate, and possibly the question that sales thought they were answering.

The websites does clearly state though that you can use Era 300 or Era 100 as surround speakers bonded to a playbar. Also true, and not in conflict with the previous statement.

Asking whether the Era 100 “works with” the playbar doesn’t clearly identify what question you’re asking.   That’s not a knock on the person asking the question as a lot of people don’t even quite release that a playbar can work with an Era 100 in multiple ways.  I don’t expect a sales person to probe too much deeper either to be honest.

 

But regardless, why would you want Era 300s as surrounds with a playbar?  The plabar cannot get atmos audio from the TV or streaming service, and therefore can’t send it to the Era 300 for playback.  You wouldn’t be able to use the side or upfiring speakers at all.  I suspect Era 100 is a bit similar, in that the playbar can’t send it the audio to properly use the stereo speakers.  Then again, it’s still getting just one audio channel, and I suspect whatever processing is done to parse out the audio to both sets of tweeters is handled by the Era 100 itself, not whatever soundbar it’s bonded to.

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Thanks very much, Danny.  We use that Playbar, Sub and Play 1s as much for music as TV so, I was wanting to punch up the sonics/power with something similar to what the Play 3s were. It sounds as if in order for me to get the performance out of the Era speakers that they were intended to deliver, I’d need to upgrade to an Arc or Beam Gen 2.  Or, I can upgrade to a pair of Fives and blow the windows out of my Family Room.  😀

I appreciate that everyone has a different view on this matter but am surprised at comments which suggest patronisingly that Sonos are somehow doing us a favour by not making the ERA speakers backwards compatible because we might get confused ? Likewise comments which don't seem to understand that people might want to upgrade their surround speakers as a stepping stone to full atmos capability seem short sighted as many people also use their system for streaming music, which is  NOT Atmos encoded, and simply want to improve overall sound quality in the meantime. Sonos seemed perfectly happy to bring out a soundbar which is Atmos Capable (Arc) and make it backwards compatible with Sonos One speakers which are not Atmos capable thereby supporting a partially atmos capable setup. Why then are they not prepared to support a partially atmos configuration with the Playbar and ERA speakers ? At the end of the day most broacasts are not in Atmos format anyway so the ARC and the ERA speakers must be compatible with older formats that the PLAYBAR is capable of supporting e.g Dolby Digtal 5.1. I can only conclude that this is a company which just wants us to replace all our old kit with their new kit when it suits them to do so. This is cost prohibitive for most people to do in one go. At the end of the day SONOS is supposed to be a modular system and they should respect that premise and their loyal customers when it comes to upgrading their components

I appreciate that everyone has a different view on this matter but am surprised at comments which suggest patronisingly that Sonos are somehow doing us a favour by not making the ERA speakers backwards compatible because we might get confused ?

 

 

Yes. People make incorrect assumptions all the time, particularly when they don’t have a concept of how something works.  That is not meant to be a knock on anyone, as things can get complicated and it’s not that interesting to many people.  They just want the system to work well. I don’t think Sonos should put a lot of effort into enabling a system that few people will use and many will find disappointing.

 

 

Likewise comments which don't seem to understand that people might want to upgrade their surround speakers as a stepping stone to full atmos capability seem short sighted as many people also use their system for streaming music, which is  NOT Atmos encoded, and simply want to improve overall sound quality in the meantime. Sonos seemed perfectly happy to bring out a soundbar which is Atmos Capable (Arc) and make it backwards compatible with Sonos One speakers which are not Atmos capable thereby supporting a partially atmos capable setup.

 

 

Your statement above is not accurate, and there is no such thing as a partially atmos capable setup .  To get Atmos content you essentially need 3 things.  One source content delivered in atmos audio.  Two, you need to have a device (speaker/amp) capable of processing atmos content.  This is what the Arc and Beam provide, but the playbar does not.  Era 300 can provide this for streaming music in atmos, but not for TV audio, and only as single speaker or pair (no rear speakers).  Three, you need to have speakers that can deliver audio in the correct locations, whether directly or indirectly.

So back to your statement...saying Sonos One is not atmos capable isn’t really accurate. It’s obviously not a source, and it cannot process atmos content, but it certainly can play the role of a rear speaker in an atmos setup as rear audio channels.  And that’s exactly what people did before the Era 300 came out, and many people still do.

 

Why then are they not prepared to support a partially atmos configuration with the Playbar and ERA speakers ?

 

 

Because that’s not partial atmos, it’s an overpriced 5.1 surround system, and not a very good upgrade path to an atmos setup.  Replace the playbar with Arc or Beam first to get atmos audio right away, and add Sonos One (if you don’t have them already), or Era 300, or whatever compatible speakers you want,  surrounds when budget allows.  

 

 

At the end of the day most broacasts are not in Atmos format anyway so the ARC and the ERA speakers must be compatible with older formats that the PLAYBAR is capable of supporting e.g Dolby Digtal 5.1.

 

 

Yes, but Sonos also would need to upgrade the firmware for the playbar and era 300 to operate together in addition to trueplay tuning, testing, and whatever else is involved.   It’s not like they would just flip a switch to turn it on. That’s money and effort for a configuration not many people are going to want to setup, and yes, may be disappointed to find out doesn’t make their setup play atmos content.

 

I can only conclude that this is a company which just wants us to replace all our old kit with their new kit when it suits them to do so. This is cost prohibitive for most people to do in one go. At the end of the day SONOS is supposed to be a modular system and they should respect that premise and their loyal customers when it comes to upgrading their components

 

Being modular (Sonos never claimed that, they are a multiroom audio system)  doesn’t mean Sonos needs to support any configuration of speakers that customers could dream up. 

Thanks very much, Danny.  We use that Playbar, Sub and Play 1s as much for music as TV so, I was wanting to punch up the sonics/power with something similar to what the Play 3s were. It sounds as if in order for me to get the performance out of the Era speakers that they were intended to deliver, I’d need to upgrade to an Arc or Beam Gen 2.  Or, I can upgrade to a pair of Fives and blow the windows out of my Family Room.  😀

 

From what I’m hearing, the Era 300s don’t use their center driver when used as surround speakers, including for stereo music.  I don’t know that you’d get that punch up you’re looking for anyways.

Userlevel 7

OK…I’m back to play “Devils Advocate” regarding this thread.

Not to fault the author but to speak on how the comments in this thread about making the Playbar compatible with the Era 300’s; or vise versa, have (unsupportively) crossed into areas that accuse Sonos of being a “profiteer” and reneging on its pledge of “product sustainability”. Not So. You can call me a Sonos “Fanboy” if you like...that’s your prerogative.

Let’s talk about “Profit” and “Sustainability”.  First, here’s a really simplistic statement/example of “profit” that anyone should understand:

Profit is a term that often describes the financial gain a business receives when revenue surpasses costs and expenses. For example, a child at a lemonade stand spends one quarter to create one cup of lemonade. She then sells the drink for $2. Her profit on the cup of lemonade amounts to $1.75”.

Companies have to show a profit on the goods and services they provide in order to stay in business. Profits pay salaries and fund R&D for future products. Do you really think Sonos could survive in the market had it settled on the Playbar as its premiere product achievement? BTW…that’s a rhetorical question.  

Here's a definition of sustainability; or more aptly stated as Economic Sustainability:  

In the context of business, it refers to the efficient use of assets to maintain company profitability over time”.

Wow…is there a link between Economic Sustainability and Profit? Again, that’s a rhetorical question.

When the Playbar was developed it was reviewed by engadget as follows (click here for the full review):

Sonos has found a sweet spot in the audio world. Its wireless technology and ability to stream music from almost any source -- be it from the cloud or local storage -- have given it considerable geek cred, yet its simple setup still offers mass appeal. Of course, none of that would matter if its systems didn't sound good, but fortunately, Sonos' Play:3Play:5 and its Sub have all impressed with the quality of audio they produce. The $699 Playbar is the newest member of the family, and with this product, Sonos is setting its sights squarely on the home theater market”.

 The Playbar went on to support the Sonos One (when used as surrounds) which replaced the Play 1. An example of “sustainability”; If you will given how the term has been used in this thread.

What seems to be lost (in the comments) is the understanding that all of the products mentioned in conjunction with the Playbar were developed using similar (if not the same) internal components such as:

  • Chipset
  • CPU
  • Logic Board
  • Network Interface Card (NIC)
  • Memory type/allotment 

The last of the above is probably the most critical and often times the most expensive. There is a certain amount of memory required to make each speaker that Sonos designs function in concert with other components and accept updates. 

You can’t open any Sonos product and add more memory. It is finite. Designing more memory into a product than is required is expensive. Doing so can price a product out the market. Thus the product may never see the light of day. So yes…in that scenario “profit” out-ways “sustainability” as some in this thread have chosen to use the term.  

That doesn’t label Sonos as a company only concerned with profits at the expense of its customers. By the same token it doesn’t say that Sonos when designing the Era 300 was aiming to force customers to moth-ball their Playbars to purchase an Arc or Beam 2; in order to use them as surrounds. Never, mind that the Era 300 is a Dolby Atmos speaker that compliments the Arc and Beam 2 sound bars; also designed for Dolby Atmos. I could also, sarcastically say that the Ray doesn't fit as a “sustainable” product since the Era 300 isn’t compatible with it either.  

Besides the technology of the Era 300 being light years ahead of the Sonos One/SL and the Playbar; the amount of memory required for the Playbar to communicate with the Era 300 (I’d hazard to say) just isn’t there. That not withstanding such components as, Chipset, CPU and Logic Board.

One final point regarding profit and economic sustainability. Sonos continues to support products such as the original Play 5. If not with feature updates then through the S1 controller app. Many companies abandon products (reference new features and use-ability) that are no longer sold. Advancements in technologies make it unprofitable for some companies to maintain parts and/or technical support/service for products that are no longer sold.

One would be hard pressed to find a mechanic that can properly service a 1957 Chevy; yet alone find parts. Let’s not forget the pocket transistor radio, Sony Walkman, or any number of electronic devices that still work; but are no longer supported by the manufacturer. I realize that I have a lot of history I can relate to and have followed the progression of technologies. I dare say 90% of you have probably only read about the Vietnam War in history books. But, I digress.

The bottom-line here…let’s not loosely throw references to “profit” and “sustainability” as negatives toward Sonos. Before making such accusations know the meaning and proper context in which the term(s) should be used.

Below is a graphic on sustainability. Click here for more information:

 

 

It’s getting very much off topic, and I don’t disagree with anything @AjTrek1 said, but wanted to add that I think ‘sustainability’ is a lousy word. 

It’s a lousy word at least in how it is frequently used today, without any context or idea of what exactly you are trying to sustain or why that thing that should be sustained has more value than whatever it is you suggest should be sacrificed in order to sustain that thing.  ‘Things’ have subjective value to different people and therefore necessitate difference willingness to sacrifice something else to sustain that thing.  Not to mention the frequent unintended consequences when sacrifice are made...

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Well, this thread got interesting to put it mildly. The Atmos sound isn’t something I’m particularly interested in. I’m still reading reviews that portray the Era 100s as NOT  being “compatible” with the Playbar. As was noted early on in this thread, what exactly is meant by compatible?  The 100s don’t have the upward firing tweeters thus diminishing the Atmos experience but… if a Playbar owner were to buy a pair of 100s to replace Play 1s, will  the 100s operate at all or, will they operate in a diminished capacity? I understand why the 300s aren’t an option for a Playbar owner. I’m leaning closer to buying 2 Fives and take a pause from researching.

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@SlamDesi 

Both Era models, so definitely including the 100, are NOT supported to work as rearspeakers with a playbar or playbase. Sonos doesn’t talk about the detailed technical reasons or limitations, but it‘s an official compatibility information.

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Thanks, Schlumpf. I think that just about seals my decision. I’m sure the Era series sounds great with compatible delivery systems.