Sonos Era 300 vs Audio Pro C20: which wireless speaker is right for you?

If you’re looking for a luxury wireless speaker under £500/$500, Sonos and Audio Pro offer two of the most compelling options available right now.

We’ve not been short on praise for the talents of the Sonos Era 300, and its top-notch sound, spatial audio smarts and multi-room capabilities won it a What Hi-Fi? Award in 2023.

However, the new Audio Pro C20 serves the talented Sonos speaker some pretty fierce competition, particularly when it offers the flexibility to be connected to your TV, turntable and even older hi-fi kit too.

But how to they compare, head to head? Keep reading to find out.

Sonos Era 300 vs Audio Pro C20: price

Sonos Era 300 placed next to the Audio Pro C20 on a desk

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The Sonos Era 300 is the older of the two speakers, and was launched in March 2023 for £449 / $449 / AU$749. Sonos products rarely find themselves at much of a discount in sales, but you can occasionally find the Era 300 cheaper at some stores by £50 / $50 or so.

By comparison, the Audio Pro C20 was announced at CES 2024, and went on sale a few months later in April 2024. It costs £450 / $550 / AU$899, and with it being so new at the time of writing, we haven’t seen any discounts yet. 

It means that in the UK, buyers are paying around the same price for both, but buyers in the US and Australia will find the Sonos Era 300 for a fair bit cheaper.

** Winner: Sonos Era 300 **

Sonos Era 300 vs Audio Pro C20: design

Sonos Era 300 placed next to the Audio Pro C20 on a desk

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Both the Sonos Era 300 and the Audio Pro C20 are wireless speakers in terms of the music playback they are capable of, but they both need to be plugged in at all times – they aren't wireless or portable like the Audio Pro Addon C5.

That means you're going to need to find a pretty permanent space for your speaker of choice, and it's worth bearing in mind that for the Audio Pro C20, that space is going to need to be significantly larger. 

The C20 is the largest speaker in the company's popular C Series range, and at 19.6 x 41 x 22cm, it has a significant footprint for you to make way for. The Sonos Era 300 is much more compact by comparison, at just 16 x 26 x 18.5cm, making it a better pick for smaller spaces.

The design of the Sonos Era 300 isn't for everyone though – it's been dubbed a "cinched hourglass" by Sonos, but that might make it sound a bit more attractive than it is. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but this design is definitely one that will divide opinion.

Of course, the design is like it is for a reason – there's a slightly unusual arrangement of drivers and amplification going on here, which helps the Era 300 to deliver on its immersive, spatial audio promises.

That arrangement is made up of six drivers – four tweeters (one forward-firing, two side-firing, one upward-firing) and two woofers (angled left and right for stereo playback) – all powered by their own Class D amplifier.

There's a metal grille covering the front and rear driver sections, and touch controls for playback and volume along the top panel, which work beautifully.

The Audio Pro C20, on the other hand, plays things a lot safer in the design stakes, though its size is definitely something to consider. 

Like most of Audio Pro's speakers, it goes for a very minimalist look – so it's a simple rectangular box, but with a fairly striking driver design that you can choose to have on show or cover up with a woven fabric grille. 

The drivers here are all forward facing – two 25mm tweeters and a 16.5cm woofer – all of which also feature Class D amplification, for a total power output of 190W.

There's a control panel in a rather fetching chrome finish on top of the speaker, but it's all proper buttons here, with an LED light for letting you know which input is selected, plus six presets for favourite content.

It's available in a choice of white, grey or black, with complementing grille, while the Sonos Era 300 is available in just all black and all white.

** Winner: Draw **

Sonos Era 300 vs Audio Pro C20: features

The back panels of the Sonos Era 300 and Audio Pro C20

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

One of the biggest features of the Sonos Era 300 is its spatial audio support, with the drivers arranged to offer the best experience for spatial playback, and custom waveguides on board to direct the sound more accurately around the listener. 

In particular, the upward-firing tweeter is Dolby Atmos-specified and reflects sound off the ceiling when playing Dolby Atmos music. However, it’s worth noting that at the moment, only Atmos tracks from Amazon Music Unlimited and Apple Music support this, not the Atmos tracks on Tidal.

As you might expect with a Sonos speaker, the Era 300 is very much focused on wireless playback and streaming. In fact, it was the first non-battery-powered Sonos speaker to feature Bluetooth, alongside Wi-Fi 6 and AirPlay 2, for even more wireless playback flexibility.

However, there is also a singular line-in USB-C port on the Era 300 too, for hardwiring in a turntable or other kit with the necessary adapter.  

It’s quite a different story on the Audio Pro C20. There’s no spatial audio support here, but a real focus on connectivity – both wired and wireless.

As far as physical connections go, there are RCA inputs, a moving magnet phono stage for your turntable, an optical input for digital sources, an HDMI ARC for hooking up to your TV and a sub out for adding a subwoofer. 

For wireless playback, you’ve got AirPlay 2 and Google Cast supporting lossless playback up to 24-bit/96kHz file resolution and Bluetooth 5.0 built in. Throw in Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect for direct control from within those apps, and the C20 has most set-up needs covered.

There’s no voice control here though, like there is on the Sonos Era 300, and while you can’t hook the Era 300 up as a TV speaker directly, you can use up to two as wireless, Atmos-capable surrounds with a Sonos Arc or Beam (Gen 2) soundbar.

Both speakers can be used as part of their company’s respective multi-room set-ups though, and both offer a very talented family of compatible speakers to expand into over time, though Sonos does have the edge here for choice.

The Sonos app is also arguably a touch more intuitive when getting this all set up, but that’s not a slight on Audio Pro's slightly more functional process – Sonos has been fine-tuning the process for years and it shows.

The Sonos app also throws in a couple of nice-to-haves, like the company’s Trueplay technology. This will automatically tune the speaker based on its placement in your room – the Audio Pro C20 keeps it fairly low-key on other bells and whistles like this.

Overall the focus on features here is very different, so it’s hard to call one a winner over the other. If your music collection is almost entirely wireless and you're intrigued by spatial audio, the Sonos Era 300 is a no-brainer. For people who prefer to stick with stereo and need flexibility in playback over a number of sources, the Audio Pro C20 is the only option. 

We’re chalking this one up as a draw.

** Winner: Draw **

Sonos Era 300 vs Audio Pro C20: sound

An view of the Sonos Era 300 next to the Audio Pro C20 from above

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

When it comes to performance, the two speakers play to their strengths, but are ultimately chasing different goals. 

The Sonos Era 300 wants to sound big and open, with a focus on projection and 360-degree playback – and it absolutely succeeds. For a relatively small speaker, we were blown away by the scale it is capable of, but also how solid and cohesive it manages to sound at the same time.

Even with non-Atmos tracks, there's a real sense of space to the presentation, with the Era 300 projecting sound further into the room and overhead more confidently than any other similar wireless speaker we’ve heard. 

Move over to an Atmos playlist, though, and it only does this all the more convincingly, with us noting in our review that it delivers "a wall of sound that completely fills the room and envelops you". We felt the spread of sound was so convincing that it was hard to sometimes pinpoint where it was coming from, creating a truly immersive performance.

However, while you'd never feel like the Sonos Era 300 was missing any punch, power or richness when listening to it in isolation, when compared to the C20, you realise the two don't really compare.

In fact, the C20 bests the performance of the Era 300 in almost every single way. There's a deeper, more confident bass response, a more cohesive, connected sound – particularly through the midrange – and better detail and insight levels across the board.

It sounds big too, filling our test room with ease – but it is far more than just muscle. It's dynamic, focused and subtle when it's needed, and just a whole lot of fun to listen to. 

That's the case across almost all of the inputs too, except the phono stage. It lacks energy, leaving your vinyl records lacking a bit of life. It'll work in a pinch, but we wouldn't buy the C20 for this feature.

The Era 300 remains a superb speaker at this price, but for someone who isn’t focused on spatial sound, and who isn’t too concerned about the (admittedly excellent) Sonos ecosystem – the C20 is a better way to spend £450, particularly if you want to stretch your system beyond wireless sources.

** Winner: Audio Pro C20 **

Sonos Era 300 vs Audio Pro C20: verdict

Sonos Era 300 placed next to the Audio Pro C20 on a desk

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The Sonos Era 300 and the Audio Pro C20 may well be priced similarly, but on closer comparison, it feels like the audience they will attract will likely be looking for different things. 

If you are interested in spatial audio, stream the majority of your music (and from Apple Music or Amazon Music Unlimited, ideally) or need a smaller speaker with big ambitions, the Sonos Era 300 won't disappoint. If you're already in the Sonos ecosystem, it's a great speaker to add to your multi-room set-up.

However, if you need a more flexible speaker, with more connections to play with, and have the space to accommodate it, the Audio Pro C20 is superb.

The good news is, we don't think anyone would be disappointed in how either of these five-star speakers sound. So in that sense, you will likely not be disappointed whichever way you turn.

That said, the Audio Pro C20 just has the edge on the performance front when considered a little more closely. If you're on the fence between the two, that might just push your decision.


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Verity Burns

Verity is a freelance technology journalist and former Multimedia Editor at What Hi-Fi?. 

Having chalked up more than 15 years in the industry, she has covered the highs and lows across the breadth of consumer tech, sometimes travelling to the other side of the world to do so. With a specialism in audio and TV, however, it means she's managed to spend a lot of time watching films and listening to music in the name of "work".

You'll occasionally catch her on BBC Radio commenting on the latest tech news stories, and always find her in the living room, tweaking terrible TV settings at parties.