Hi-resolution support required (eg: AIFF 96kHz/24bit)

  • 13 August 2013
  • 80 replies
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PLEASE add hi-resolution file support (eg. AIFF 96kHz/24bits) In a world where CDs are becoming obsolete, I believe a good share of Sonos customers are still looking for hi-fi quality, not only the mediocre (format) quality provided by most digital music services/stores. It is rather purpose less to invest in the acquisition and maintenance of such a high quality product as a Sonos system and, not being able to play the best sound quality available with it! Thanks for kindly prioritizing such improvement :o)

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Audiophiles will use something like Roon to manage their music, and these music management tools also do automatic sample/bitrate conversion on the fly when playing to Sonos speakers. These tools also get around the 64k track limitation that Sonos' native playback system has. And the UI (at least in the case of Roon) blows the doors off on Sonos' UI.
It seems we are stuck in an unproductive "do loop" ... Yes, 44.1 kHz is a little over twice the auditory limitation of 22 kHz for the average young human, but that is not the point I am trying to make. Also, the market for audiophile equipment might be small, but those folks do influence others making audio purchases and to the average consumer "more is better".

More bits and a higher sampling rate are part of the belief that "more is better". As a separate note, that "dead" analog technology called vinyl record sales (new only) has gone beyond 10 million units in annual sales and appears closer to 20 million. Why would any "smart" consumer want that?

Back to my suggestion, I am only recommending a simple software "feature" that would skip over requested files higher than 16-bits sampled at 44.1/48 kHz. Seems like a trivial exercise to a "dumb" marketing person.
Yes, they most certainly should. One might want to brush off some math skills and investigate two guys named Nyquist and Shannon.

Also, if one feels that hi-res audio is anything above a niche of a niche market, never mind anything which is driving people towards competitors, one should polish up on the marketing skills as well.
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To a marketer higher resolution is better makes sense, an engineer should know better.
I have had this type of discussion throughout my career in high technology markets (including audio), usually with technical types who were very clear that a marketing "idiot" could not ever understand what they were talking about (BTW, I have an undergraduate degree in engineering) ... As you probably know, having higher quality source content still needs an overall system that is also correspondingly higher quality, as well as a conditioned environment to provide proper acoustics. My point is that it doesn't matter what you or I think. It's about what consumers want. SONOS is a premium audio company and to ignore addressing this issue in any way (just skip the higher res songs) does hurt their brand. If I were a quality competitor, I would be licking my chops and would hope that SONOS continued to do nothing. And it appears they will ...
It's been 2 years and still no software update that simply ignores/skips files that are above 44.1 kHz. Stuart ... it's not important that you or I believe/know that a person cannot tell the difference above a certain sampling frequency or bit-rate. There are people who do believe and I have some "higher-def" music that does sound better to me when I compare it to the same music that I have down-sampled. This simple suggested software fix avoids a real problem for those of us who have a mix of 16-bit/44.1 kHz and higher files ... Right now, I have to maintain two separate libraries of music (one for SONOS and the second for a combination of my hi-res and SONOS-compatible music) and I have lots of it. This wastes time and storage.

No, the only waste is storing the files at anything “better” than 16/44.1

There’s a reason 16/44.1 was chosen by Sony and Philips engineers and scientists (Philips initially wanted 14 bits). It allows for reproduction of every sound our ears are capable of resolving. Anything “better” is simply a waste, and can even lead to higher distortion levels in the analog chain. Bad idea.
It's been 2 years and still no software update that simply ignores/skips files that are above 44.1 kHz. Stuart ... it's not important that you or I believe/know that a person cannot tell the difference above a certain sampling frequency or bit-rate. There are people who do believe and I have some "higher-def" music that does sound better to me when I compare it to the same music that I have down-sampled. This simple suggested software fix avoids a real problem for those of us who have a mix of 16-bit/44.1 kHz and higher files ... Right now, I have to maintain two separate libraries of music (one for SONOS and the second for a combination of my hi-res and SONOS-compatible music) and I have lots of it. This wastes time and storage.

No, the only waste is storing the files at anything “better” than 16/44.1

There’s a reason 16/44.1 was chosen by Sony and Philips engineers and scientists (Philips initially wanted 14 bits). It allows for reproduction of every sound our ears are capable of resolving. Anything “better” is simply a waste, and can even lead to higher distortion levels in the analog chain. Bad idea.
It's been 2 years and still no software update that simply ignores/skips files that are above 44.1 kHz. Stuart ... it's not important that you or I believe/know that a person cannot tell the difference above a certain sampling frequency or bit-rate. There are people who do believe and I have some "higher-def" music that does sound better to me when I compare it to the same music that I have down-sampled. This simple suggested software fix avoids a real problem for those of us who have a mix of 16-bit/44.1 kHz and higher files ... Right now, I have to maintain two separate libraries of music (one for SONOS and the second for a combination of my hi-res and SONOS-compatible music) and I have lots of it. This wastes time and storage.

No, the only waste is storing the files at anything “better” than 16/44.1

There’s a reason 16/44.1 was chosen by Sony and Philips engineers and scientists (Philips initially wanted 14 bits). It allows for reproduction of every sound our ears are capable of resolving. Anything “better” is simply a waste, and can even lead to higher distortion levels in the analog chain. Bad idea.
It's been 2 years and still no software update that simply ignores/skips files that are above 44.1 kHz. Stuart ... it's not important that you or I believe/know that a person cannot tell the difference above a certain sampling frequency or bit-rate. There are people who do believe and I have some "higher-def" music that does sound better to me when I compare it to the same music that I have down-sampled. This simple suggested software fix avoids a real problem for those of us who have a mix of 16-bit/44.1 kHz and higher files ... Right now, I have to maintain two separate libraries of music (one for SONOS and the second for a combination of my hi-res and SONOS-compatible music) and I have lots of it. This wastes time and storage.
A "simple" first step would be for SONOS to ignore a higher res file and move on to the next song in a playlist/artist/category, etc. That way you do not have to keep separate libraries (as I do now) for casual listening and "serious" listening in iTunes or any other playback system. One library is more user-friendly.

The logical thing to do would be to forget the High-Res files and delete them. As has been previously repeated, almost ad nauseam, there is NO peer reviewed scientific evidence that the human ear can differentiate between the 16/44.1 and 24/192. You are fooling yourself if you think you can and what's worse you may be paying for some supposed "extra" quality that simply isn't there - you're also having to pay for more storage AND, what's worse, your Sonos experience is significantly affected in a negative manner.

The people trying to sell you this have an agenda to make money, pure and simple. They want you to buy your whole music collection again at "Super Dooper Hi-Res Gold standard" - No matter they have zero evidence of any quantifiable benefit to the consumer. They make me mad.
My Sonos quite happily plays 24Bit 44.1 Flac if that's any help to anyone
Yes, but only in 16-bit evidently. See here.
My Sonos quite happily plays 24Bit 44.1 Flac if that's any help to anyone
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Ok. I do understand your frustration.

You could create downsampled copies of your hi-res files at CD quality (they will sound 100% the same as the hi-res versions), or you could look at running something like mp3fs in front of your FLAC files. Again, they will sound 100% the same at higher MP3 bit-rates.

mp3fs: https://khenriks.github.io/mp3fs/ (haven't tried it, but looks like it would work well).
+1 for FLAC Support - if my BMW can play it, I don’t see why Sonos has an issue... Disappointing to get an error message saying unsupported for half my library. Definitely holding off on purchasing additional speakers until this is added. Might even consider returning the two I just bought. Alexa on Sonos One is not very stable btw, and half the Alex features are ‘unavailable’. not sure why, is there some special hardware the echo dot has that Sonos can’t put in a $200 speaker?.........

Sonos does play FLAC files:
https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/80/~/supported-audio-formats

Sonos restrictions apply to the sampling rate and bit-depth. It supports CD quality, because higher resolution than this provides precisely zero additional audio quality (for humans, anyway).


Sorry, I meant 96k... Sonos is the only device I can’t play this on...

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+1 for FLAC Support - if my BMW can play it, I don’t see why Sonos has an issue... Disappointing to get an error message saying unsupported for half my library. Definitely holding off on purchasing additional speakers until this is added. Might even consider returning the two I just bought. Alexa on Sonos One is not very stable btw, and half the Alex features are ‘unavailable’. not sure why, is there some special hardware the echo dot has that Sonos can’t put in a $200 speaker?.........

Sonos does play FLAC files:
https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/80/~/supported-audio-formats

Sonos restrictions apply to the sampling rate and bit-depth. It supports CD quality, because higher resolution than this provides precisely zero additional audio quality (for humans, anyway).
+1 for FLAC Support - if my BMW can play it, I don’t see why Sonos has an issue... Disappointing to get an error message saying unsupported for half my library. Definitely holding off on purchasing additional speakers until this is added. Might even consider returning the two I just bought. Alexa on Sonos One is not very stable btw, and half the Alex features are ‘unavailable’. not sure why, is there some special hardware the echo dot has that Sonos can’t put in a $200 speaker?.........
MQA have evidently resorted to offering the 'improved mastering / proprietary codec' formula on a Red Book CD carrier. A last gasp perhaps?
Triple sigh. Same prediction of hires taking over the world I first read back in 1999 when SACD was supposed to set the audio world on fire, and failed miserably. Still waiting.
Lol. Sigh.
Sigh. :8
24Bit/96khz support should be implemented, hopefully! Most audio manufacturers are providing higher resolution support or have at least announced it. Some new technologies in use like Tidal/MQA looks promising. High bandwidth Wi-Fi has been widely available for a while so everything is in place except no news or information from Sonos. The DAC chips utilized in the Play 3 and Connect ARE definitely capable of 24bit/96khz but the problem may lie somewhere else than the DAC.

At least support hi res support for music that people already own. The higher sampling rate would definitely help to eliminate some of the harshness in the music playback.
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Thx
That's what's the best way to convert them?

I use dBPoweramp. But any good ripping program can also convert.
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That's what's the best way to convert them?
Convert them to 16/44.1. You you will then have two separate files, a 16/44.1 and a Hires version. Move the 16/44.1 versions to the Sonos share and put the Hires versions elsewhere (if you care to keep them). Re-index Sonos.