The good news is that Dolby Atmos music on the Era 300 generally sounds really good. I’ve been skeptical of spatial audio in the past, finding it to often be gimmicky: artificially broad soundstages, instruments and singers placed to showcase the technology rather than emphasize the music, and distractions like head tracking. Often it just feels like it’s trying too hard, like the early days of surround sound where movies weren’t complete without a helicopter buzzing just over your head.
Sonos’ flavor of Atmos feels more natural, though, of course, we’re working with plenty of variables here: what you hear will depend just as much on the track’s producers as the Era 300. Still, in general, spatial audio feels more encompassing, like the musicians and singers are arrayed out on a stage in front of you, rather than coming from a single, tighter point.
You notice it most when flipping between spatial and stereo tracks. The former feel airier and more expensive; less like they’re overlapping in their complexity. Again, it’s not a dramatic effect, and I don’t think I’d want it to be: people I played Atmos music to didn’t immediately start looking around, wondering where I’d hidden the extra speakers, but they did agree that it felt more immersive than the stereo tracks did.