Sonos Speakers are the Best for Sound System
April 6, 2023
Sonos Speakers are speakers of the highest quality, even though they are produced by a small company. Instead of the traditional huge glass building, Sonos has its labs and offices spread all over town, with no logo on the door and no hype despite being one of the leading sound brands in the world. The company is highly attuned to the music industry, engineers from all over the world and an almost unhealthy passion for detail. It is no accident that the organization is very reminiscent of Apple’s. They have few products, but the dedication behind them is worth knowing.
A sound that never stops
It is inevitable that in a speaker organization, a tune will play in the background. If you pay a visit to Sonos headquarters you go through the main facilities, several conferences, talks with engineers, and a presentation of the new Era 100 and Era 300. There is a casual style inside the headquarters, but it is seen that this is a key launch and they want to show formality. Add to this the fact that the decor of the place is full of speakers and devices, the feeling of starting to specialize in sound is quite present.
And here’s the thing with Sonos. They are a gigantic transnational that is listed on the stock market and has well over 12 offices internationally, including Boston, Paris, and Shenzhen; well over 1,800 workers and annual revenue of well over 1,750 million dollars. Some dizzying numbers for a sound organization whose business runs almost exclusively through loudspeaker sales.
Within the company there are also several contributors such as Hollywood creators and artists who believe that spatial audio is one of the biggest trends in the industry at the moment. Among them is Giles Martin, son of the Beatles’ producer, composer, two-time Grammy winner and currently responsible for the Sonos sound experience.
“Once we sit down with these people, we order them to critique. Are they disappointed with what they hear from Sonos?”
explains Martin about getting the sound closer to what the producers and musicians themselves are trying to convey in their studios.
This initiative to try to explain the sensations of the recording studios with which the speakers generate is also defended by Manny Marroquin, a 10-grammy-winning sound engineer who has worked with artists such as Whitney Houston, Shakira, and Rihanna. Patrick Spence, CEO of Sonos, recalls throughout the presentation of the Era 100 and Era 300 that they appeared as a company of fans of the song and that is what they are.
The creative process: why Sonos embarks on a new design
Doug Button is the veteran sound engineer who led the construction of the new Sonos Era 100 and Era 300. With more than 44 patents under his belt and experience at companies such as JBL, Samsung, and Apple, Button has worked for Sonos since early 2020. Button reviewed the creative process for building the new speakers. So what differentiates Sonos and what is his perspective on the latest trends in the world of sound.
“Sonos is quite different from anything I’ve ever worked for. As you’ll see, it’s all definitely open. You can’t help but run into people. You always know what the rest of the organization is doing. This translates into intense inter-apartment involvement and great reciprocal respect. For me, it’s something I’ve been trying to find for a long time. From the beginning of the product development process, we do not talk about specifications, we talk about the experience. We all must write a summary ourselves. And they are just words, without technical data such as decibels or frequencies. We allude, sometimes, to our own older products. Sometimes it’s an allusion to a general sentiment or an initiative. In the Era 100 situation, it was easier as we compared it to the Sonos One. However, in the 300 situations, it used a completely clean slate. And that’s something we started to address with the era.”
Button explains. It was just before the start of the pandemic when Sonos began work on what are now the Era 100 and Era 300.
“The fact that everyone was at home allowed me to spend a lot of time alone in the lab. Meetings with people from Boston, Seattle, Europe, or China ended in Zoom video calls. The composition of the work didn’t change, but I had the entire lab to experiment with.”
The architecture of Era 300 and Era 100 developed in parallel. As the model was preeminent, the need for a new design began to become apparent to Button. The idea of generating noise with Dolby Atmos required enough tweeters pointed in each direction. Initial prototypes were larger and rectangular. However, the process was slowly refined to the current Era 300 VR teardrop shape.
The era 300
“Once you think about magnitude optimization, the Era 300 is the best we have gotten by offering spatial and stereo sound. The giant components are because they add utility. The construction time for a new device is 2-3 years. Once you upgrade a product it might be a little less, but in this case we opted for something completely new. There is always something to add, change or check. We have a strenuous schedule, but projects come out once they are finished.”
explains Sonos’ noise manager.
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