You won’t have to buy a HomePod to listen to Apple Music spatial audio in your living room. Sonos has confirmed that its speakers will support Apple Music’s Dolby Atmos playback from March 28th. You won’t need the new Era 300 to experience the more immersive format, either. Sonos also says the Arc and second-gen Beam soundbars will also handle spatial audio tracks.
Play-series speakers and older Sonos soundbars unsurprisingly won’t support spatial audio as they were built around conventional stereo and surround output. You’ll need to upgrade if you want the grander audio experience, unfortunately.
The news makes the Era 300 considerably more appealing. Before today, Sonos was only committed to supporting spatial audio through Amazon Music Unlimited. This effectively doubles the potential audience. Statista notes that Amazon had 13.3 percent market share in the second quarter of last year, while Apple Music had 13.7 percent. Unless you’re a Spotify die-hard (where spatial audio isn’t really an option as we write this), there’s a real chance you can try this feature yourself.
It’s not certain if other speaker brands will support Apple Music spatial audio. We’ve asked Apple for comment. For now, though, this gives Sonos an edge over competitors that might not offer Atmos music at any price point. Whether or not it fares well against Apple’s own hardware is another matter. If you’re looking for spatial audio support at the lowest price possible, the $299 HomePod is decidedly more affordable than the $450 Era 300. We won’t be surprised if the Sonos model sounds better, but it also represents a larger investment.