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Am I getting high resolution sound?


So I’ve upgraded to the S2 app and have a Beam, Sub gen 2, 2 x sonos one surround setup.  I use my iPhone 11 to stream music via AirPlay from Qobuz, which as I understand has a compatible high res format with Sonos (FLAC).  

In this article - https://support.sonos.com/s/article/79?language=en_US, it states ‘Sonos supports the following audio formats when streaming from your local music library, Android device, or Internet radio stations’.

And it supports ‘24-bit (44.1kHz/48kHz, FLAC/ALAC)’.

So my questions are:

  • Is streaming from Qobuz via AirPlay considered my local music library?
  • If I’m playing a 24-bit high res track at 96 kHz, how is the quality of the playback affected, assuming anything above 48 kHz is lost?
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Best answer by melvimbe 9 July 2020, 16:56

  • Is streaming from Qobuz via AirPlay considered my local music library?

 

 

No.  Playing from local libary means you have the music files stored on a computer or NAS on your network that your Beam is reading directly, no airplay or streaming service involved.

 

  • If I’m playing a 24-bit high res track at 96 kHz, how is the quality of the playback affected, assuming anything above 48 kHz is lost?

 

Not exactly sure on this as I don’t use local library, but I’m not sure it matters for you since you aren’t using a local library either.

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  • Is streaming from Qobuz via AirPlay considered my local music library?

 

 

No.  Playing from local libary means you have the music files stored on a computer or NAS on your network that your Beam is reading directly, no airplay or streaming service involved.

 

  • If I’m playing a 24-bit high res track at 96 kHz, how is the quality of the playback affected, assuming anything above 48 kHz is lost?

 

Not exactly sure on this as I don’t use local library, but I’m not sure it matters for you since you aren’t using a local library either.

Cheers Danny.

So at what level of quality will Sonos cap when using AirPlay?  And is the cap different to using the Sonos app?

It looks like I can’t get high res via locally stored files on my iPhone - would I be able to do this via my MacBook Pro?  How would I connect to Sonos from there?

 

For what it’s worth, a local library 96kHz file won’t play. Or if it manages to do so it may play at half speed.

As the article says, the maximum supported sampling rate is 48kHz. There’s no on-the-fly downsampling. 

Cheers Danny.

So at what level of quality will Sonos cap when using AirPlay?  And is the cap different to using the Sonos app?

 

Googled it.  Seems like airplay is 16 bits. at 44.1kHz.  I imagine you could do better if you streamed directly from Qobuz to Sonos.

 

It looks like I can’t get high res via locally stored files on my iPhone - would I be able to do this via my MacBook Pro?  How would I connect to Sonos from there?

 

You cannot play music stored on your iPhone to Sonos, except via airplay 2.  Files would need to be stored on you mac or a NAS.  If your thinking you could download files from Quboz and play them back as a local library, that’s doubtful. Most streaming services encrypt downloaded files so they can only be played back through their app...unless you’ve purchase the track.

 

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Am I getting high resolution sound?

Isn’t that a question to ask your ears with your eyes closed?

Am I getting high resolution sound?

Isn’t that a question to ask your ears with your eyes closed?

Ah, well, on that score it’s been well and truly demonstrated that so-called “hi res” offers no perceptible fidelity improvement over CD 16/44 or 16/48. That said, such versions could potentially benefit from extra care in the (re)mastering.

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Ah, well, on that score it’s been well and truly demonstrated that so-called “hi res” offers no perceptible fidelity improvement over CD 16/44 or 16/48.

And could possibly hinder the listening experience due to extra ‘stress’ on network with extra bandwidth etc? If someone is contemplating going down the ‘hi res’ path, probably best to make sure their network(s) are up to scratch first, wired as much as poss etc?

 

The question was whether OP was getting Hi Res audio.  I don’t know that it makes sense to turn every thread like this into a debate on the benefits of Hi Res.

Ah, well, on that score it’s been well and truly demonstrated that so-called “hi res” offers no perceptible fidelity improvement over CD 16/44 or 16/48.

And could possibly hinder the listening experience due to extra ‘stress’ on network with extra bandwidth etc? If someone is contemplating going down the ‘hi res’ path, probably best to make sure their network(s) are up to scratch first, wired as much as poss etc?

 

Yes, 24-bit implies a 50% bandwidth increase over 16-bit. In some cases this might be critical, particularly with a lot of grouped wireless players, perhaps on the edge of coverage. 

Of course 96kHz would mean a doubling over 48kHz, and 192kHz a doubling yet again. And all for nothing audible.

The question was whether OP was getting Hi Res audio.  I don’t know that it makes sense to turn every thread like this into a debate on the benefits of Hi Res.

The debate is over. ;)

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Can someone please clarify? If I stream music directly the Sonos app (IPhone 10) through Qobuz not using airplay could I be streaming high res, compared to playing from the Qobuz through Airplay to my Sonos play SL’s?

You cannot play hires (24 bit) streamed music service content on Sonos in any way currently.  (Well, the tracks may play but not as hires.)

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Well thank you for that! Perhaps coming soon.

You cannot play hires (24 bit) streamed music service content on Sonos in any way currently.  (Well, the tracks may play but not as hires.)

I suppose those that upgraded kit and moved to S2 to get just this are disappointed at the wait. I also suppose those using HiRes on local NAS are a very small minority, so unless this feature is enabled, we will not know how stable wireless play of large groups is for these streams, even using Sonos net.

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Hi-Res are either 24 bit/96kHz or 24/192kHz, and less commonly 24 bit/48kHz. But even 24 bit/44.1kHz is considered Hi-Res as bit depth is above the CD while sampling rate is same as that of CD.

Apple’s AirPlay 2 protocol downsamples audio files to 24-bit 44.1 kHz. 

The same file will be downsampled to 16-bit 44.1 kHz by Sonos in Airplay 2 protocol or within S2 application. 

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"Sonos supports the following audio formats when streaming from your local music library, Android device, or Internet radio stations."

 

So iOS users are not concerned… 😡 

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