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Amazon Music HD Available on Sonos

  • 17 September 2019
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Amazon Music HD, Amazon’s new high-quality music tier for streaming in CD-quality is available today on Sonos in Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. You can now stream over 50 million tracks in CD-quality (16-bit HD) audio through the Sonos app.

 

Amazon Music HD is available as an add-on to Amazon Music Unlimited subscriptions for an additional $4.99 per month (on top of the noraml Amazon Music Unlimited subscription) or $50 per year. Check out the Amazon Music HD page here on Amazon for more details.

 

After subscribing, to use Amazon Music HD on Sonos, just update your Sonos app then add Amazon Music as a music service. That’s all it takes to be streaming Amazon Music’s catalog of CD-quality audio on Sonos.


Find out more about Amazon Music HD on Sonos here.


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According to a comment on this thread, Alexa-initiated playback is not streaming in HD. Is that correct?

https://en.community.sonos.com/music-services-and-sources-228994/amazon-music-hd-6830054
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The FAQ says:

Which Amazon devices support Amazon Music HD?

Alexa-enabled Echo devices (2nd generation and later), Fire TVs and Fire Tablets all support HD quality audio.

What about Sonos speakers with Alexa built in? Will they play music in HD via voice commands?
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Hi getjams, the team is working on bringing Amazon Unlimited HD streams to Sonos using voice control with Alexa, more to come soon and we’ll share here when it’s available.
Will "access" to Amazon's Ultra HD music content allow me to play it via my Sonos setup - or will the output be similar to my Deezer content?
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Ryan S,

Could you please explain "just update your Sonos app"?

Apparently, I already have the latest Android controller version, which was released on Sept 10.

Since the Amazon Music app within Sonos does not have the "SD/HD/Ultra HD" indicator found in the native Amazon Music app, how does one know what stream resolution/bitrate is being played through Sonos?

Will Sonos always play the highest quality stream, up to and including a 16/44.1 FLAC stream?

For music in Ultra HD 24/96 in the native app, does Sonos get a HD 16/44.1 downsampled version?

I realize that Sonos can only handle 16/44.1, so I'm trying to verify exactly what resolution/bitrate Sonos is getting with the new Amazon Music HD service.
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I'd also like to know how we can confirm if HD tracks are playing through Sonos Connect when using the latest iOS controller app. I had to re-install both the Amazon music iOS app & Windows desktop app to see HD tracks (as advised by Amazon support) so I'm skeptical it will just start working through Sonos. Should there be a HD or UltraHD badge in the Sonos app when playing Amazon HD tracks?
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Will "access" to Amazon's Ultra HD music content allow me to play it via my Sonos setup - or will the output be similar to my Deezer content?
The output will be the CD quality HD content, similar to Deezer's highest quality streams.

Ryan S,

Could you please explain "just update your Sonos app"?

Apparently, I already have the latest Android controller version, which was released on Sept 10.

It's just going into the Sonos app and under settings checking for updates. Though a new update may not show up if you're on the latest build, that act also triggers a fresh music service listing download for Sonos players. So while the app doesn't change, some of the software may.

Since the Amazon Music app within Sonos does not have the "SD/HD/Ultra HD" indicator found in the native Amazon Music app, how does one know what stream resolution/bitrate is being played through Sonos?

Will Sonos always play the highest quality stream, up to and including a 16/44.1 FLAC stream?

For music in Ultra HD 24/96 in the native app, does Sonos get a HD 16/44.1 downsampled version?

I realize that Sonos can only handle 16/44.1, so I'm trying to verify exactly what resolution/bitrate Sonos is getting with the new Amazon Music HD service.

In the Sonos app, it'll show the format the stream is playing so you can check if you're getting FLAC. And yes, it'll play the highest quality possible automatically. Amazon Music HD on Sonos is the 16-bit (CD quality) audio streams, and I believe Amazon has the same library in most formats, and will serve to Sonos the HD 16-bit streams.

EDIT: I crossed off the above. Sorry, I was incorrectly remembering this. I'll make sure to let the team know it's being requested.
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In the Sonos app, it'll show the format the stream is playing so you can check if you're getting FLAC. And yes, it'll play the highest quality possible automatically. Amazon Music HD on Sonos is the 16-bit (CD quality) audio streams, and I believe Amazon has the same library in most formats, and will serve to Sonos the HD 16-bit streams.


Where in the app does it show the stream format for a song playing?

I've tried every tapping everywhere and can't find it.
Where in the app does it show the stream format for a song playing?

I've tried every tapping everywhere and can't find it.

Me neither. Logically one would expect to find it in the same place as with Deezer HiFi, i.e. the info or '...' menu.

In fact the more I poke around, the more I find functional deficiencies compared to Deezer HiFi, for example no means to 'favourite' a track or album into My Music. Basically it's a read-only client.
@Ryan S , is this an upcoming feature? Doesn’t appear to exist currently.
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I just checked it out and it's absolutely not there, I thought it was but I must have been mis-remembering the FLAC listing in the Deezer app. That's what I get for posting so early in the morning... I'll make sure to bring it up with the team to see if it's supposed to be there, or something that can be added in the future.

Sorry folks for the inaccuracy.
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Another thing - I talked to Amazon Customer Service today. They told me that tracks the are natively Ultra HD 24/96 FLAC are played in SD AAC in Sonos, not HD 16/44.1 FLAC.

So, we need some clarity and verification on this.

If one could see the streaming format in Sonos, this could be verified immediately.

For example, in Denon/Marantz Heos, I can find all of the format info and have already verified that I'm getting 24/96 and 16/44.1 FLAC (depending on the source track) from Amazon Music HD.

The problem with Heos is that Amazon Music's "My Music" is absent, so you have to manually search for each track/album, and you don't have access to personal playlists (a big miss for Heos in terms of Amazon Music implementation).
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I'll check in on that for you adam2434 to make sure I have the right answer. From what I've heard, it should be largely the same library, but I don't think there's a conversion to the HD that takes place if the track is only in 24/96.

The team is still working on some things as well, so you'll see the service on Sonos change a bit over time. Though I don't have specifics to share right now on those changes.
Another thing - I talked to Amazon Customer Service today. They told me that tracks the are natively Ultra HD 24/96 FLAC are played in SD AAC in Sonos, not HD 16/44.1 FLAC.
I can see some 'Ultra HD' content in the Amazon Music app on my phone which is in 24/44.1. The same content streams on Sonos at 16/44.1. (It's clocking around 1 to 1.1 Mbps.)

I can't speak for 96kHz though as my phone is not capable of handling it, and in any case I wouldn't know where to look for 24/96 music.

Basically Amazon has to be able to stream at whatever rates are mandated by the native client app's platform.
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Ryan S, thanks for looking into this.

Ratty, 1 to 1.1 Mbps is a good sign, as 16/44.1 FLAC is usually around 850-1000 Kbps for stereo tracks, IME.
Ratty, 1 to 1.1 Mbps is a good sign, as 16/44.1 FLAC is usually around 850-1000 Kbps for stereo tracks, IME.
It all depends how complex the music is. Anywhere from 500 to 1200 kbps is quite feasible.
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Unrelated and not relevant to Sonos, but I wonder where Amazon is getting the Ultra HD (24 bit) tracks.

Digital masters from the studio? New 24 bit digital masters from analog tape?

Just curious...
Unrelated and not relevant to Sonos, but I wonder where Amazon is getting the Ultra HD (24 bit) tracks.
There's lots about. You only have to look on, for example, 7digital or Qobuz.
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The ability to tell what file format and bitrate is currently playing from a music service would be a very welcome addition to the sonos controller app in my view. Please could this be added to an update. The same applies to radio streams.
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Unrelated and not relevant to Sonos, but I wonder where Amazon is getting the Ultra HD (24 bit) tracks.There's lots about. You only have to look on, for example, 7digital or Qobuz.


I really meant, in general, where do these hi-res files come from?

I assume the record labels have them as master transfers from the original recordings, and provide them to the streaming services and download sites like HDtracks.


Unrelated and not relevant to Sonos, but I wonder where Amazon is getting the Ultra HD (24 bit) tracks.There's lots about. You only have to look on, for example, 7digital or Qobuz.
I really meant, in general, where do these hi-res files come from?

I assume the record labels have them as master transfers from the original recordings, and provide them to the streaming services and download sites like HDtracks.


Great article about the motivations of "hi rez" from the Financial Times:

https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2019/05/13/1557720021000/High-resolution-music-is-a-solution-looking-for-a-problem/
Another thing - I talked to Amazon Customer Service today. They told me that tracks the are natively Ultra HD 24/96 FLAC are played in SD AAC in Sonos, not HD 16/44.1 FLAC.

So, we need some clarity and verification on this.

If one could see the streaming format in Sonos, this could be verified immediately.

For example, in Denon/Marantz Heos, I can find all of the format info and have already verified that I'm getting 24/96 and 16/44.1 FLAC (depending on the source track) from Amazon Music HD.

The problem with Heos is that Amazon Music's "My Music" is absent, so you have to manually search for each track/album, and you don't have access to personal playlists (a big miss for Heos in terms of Amazon Music implementation).

But if you have to see the format in order to know, and cannot tell just by listening, surely it just isn't worth the extra money? Who needs the proof?
Can’t really tell the difference between this and my Spotify tbh, but i’m going to wait until Spotify releases a high-quality version anyway the integration between Spotify and Sonos and Alexa is far better
I'd also like to know how we can confirm if HD tracks are playing through Sonos Connect when using the latest iOS controller app. I had to re-install both the Amazon music iOS app & Windows desktop app to see HD tracks (as advised by Amazon support) so I'm skeptical it will just start working through Sonos. Should there be a HD or UltraHD badge in the Sonos app when playing Amazon HD tracks?
This is exactly what I’m trying to figure out. If you search HD under playlists in the Sonos app, you will find a handful of playlists. I’m not able to tell if you search an artist what is HD, Ultra HD etc.

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