Era 300's vs Five's: Which to Buy for General Music Listening (Non-Dolby Atmos with Spatial Audio)

  • 16 May 2023
  • 2 replies
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Userlevel 7

Hello Everyone

I know I broached this subject early on during the initial release of the Era 300 series, so please forgive any redundancy. Let’s begin...

IMO, the Five as a single speaker or in stereo pair is better than the Era 300 in the same configurations; but not by much. I was able to do an extensive A/B comparison in the same room with my Five’s and Era 300’s. The Era 300’s have since been moved to another room.

My music preference is smooth jazz as I prefer instruments for making comparisons versus having vocals disrupt (color) the mid-range. The music source was SiriusXM Watercolors and Apple Music downloads.

Room dimensions

  • 19 ft Long
  • 13 ft Wide
  • 8 ft High (slightly textured ceiling and hardwood floors)

Speaker Distances and Separation

  • 3 ft from front wall (single and stereo pair)
  • 10 ft Listening distance from speaker position (single and stereo pair)
  • 6.5 ft from left and right wall spacing for single speaker 
  • 3 ft from left wall and right wall spacing for stereo pair (7 ft separation)

Speaker Configurations

  • Five x 1
  • Era 300 x 1
  • Five x 2
  • Era 300 x 2
  • Five x 2 with Sub (gen 3)
  • Era 300 x 2 with Sub (gen 3)

The Down and Dirty…

No Sub

  • The Era 300’s are brighter than the Five in single and stereo pair (which may be preferred by some)
  • Mid-range was on par for both.
  • The Fives had a better low-end  
  • The wideness of the sound stage was about equal. 

With Sub

  • The Era 300’s are brighter than the Five in single and stereo pair (which may be preferred by some)
  • Fives produced a better mid range.
  • The low-end was on par for both  
  • The wideness of the sound stage was slightly better with the Era 300’s given their brightness

 As you can see to my ears adding the sub accounted for the differences. 

That said if one were contemplating a purchase of a single or stereo pair of Era 300’s vs Five’s (and no sub)I’d recommend the Five’s; unless you prefer the brightness of the Era 300’s. 

Adding a sub levels the field a bit. However, if my main reason to pick the Era 300 vs the Fives were for general music listening; I’d pick the Fives.

IMO, in any scenario; and future proofing for Dolby Atmos (spatial audio) is not on the  list, based upon what I’ve presented the only reason to pick the Era 300’s over the Five’s would be to save the $100 to $200.  Those funds could be applied toward an Era 300 stand(s) or wall mount(s); if desired.

Full disclosure, I’m fortunate that I was able to do an A/B comparison. If one is not able to do that and you have to rely on an in-store demo or let your pocket book decide; I’m confident that if you choose the Era 300’s you will not be disappointed

The sonic differences between the Era 300 and Five will ultimately come down to what your ear can discern. Even if the Five(s) are slightly better once the Era 300(s) are in your home there’s an old saying “you can’t miss…what you can’t measure”. Simply put, if you can’t compare an Era 300 to a Five in your home for general music listening you wouldn’t know (hear) the difference anyway. So, save your money!


2 replies

Userlevel 7
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What might prove to be a deciding factor to some is how they appear in your space and the appearance if used on stands. That might be less important if used as surrounds rather at the front of the room.

I haven’t seen the 300s in person yet but from pictures I really like the look of my Fives better.

What might prove to be a deciding factor to some is how they appear in your space and the appearance if used on stands. That might be less important if used as surrounds rather at the front of the room.

I haven’t seen the 300s in person yet but from pictures I really like the look of my Fives better.

To me, both the the 300s and Fives seem a little odd do to their weight, compared to passive speakers, non-boxy shape, and widith...compared to Ones or Era 100s.  Obviously, 300s more than Fives for the most part on this, but I don’t see the difference as that much.

Outside of sound quality though, there is also bluetooth to consider and flexibility for future use cases. Sure, you may not use them for spatial audio or as rear surrounds now, but perhaps you’ll want to in the future.

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