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Amazon Music HD Available on Sonos

  • 17 September 2019
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111 replies

Userlevel 2
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I would be great if the Amazon Music app had a feature like Spotify's "Connect" feature, which works with Sonos products and many other brands. The app's "Cast" feature has limitations that Spotify's "Connect" does not have.

How do you know if its HD. No display on the sonos app.

Until I see a trusted source doing true blind testing of various formats and reporting that HD is better I’m going with the science on this and calling HD audio snake-oil.

No reason not to spend your money on it if it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling but that is a lot of money to part with for a feeling.

My audio card runs at 48 bit 192khz. Through near field monitors. HD files of that quality are limited. Mostly classical recordings. You can tell its HD and the difference is like night and day. 

Userlevel 7
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Looking at the data that will need to be shipped around to play these formats I'm thinking we are going to see a lot more posts from folks with local network congestion issues.



SD (lossy): 9 MB

HD (lossless, 44.1 kHz sample rate): 51 MB

Ultra HD (lossless, max 192 kHz sample rate): 153 MB



I wonder if Sonos is going to look at the way the Sonos system works now and try to tweak things to minimize the amount of wireless traffic?
Sonos isn't supporting the UltraHD, so there's no change.
Hi

Interesting to read this thread so far, but I don't think clarity has been shed on my issue.



My Sonos Play 5 is definitely not playing Amazon HD (forget about UHD, I get that's not supported).



For those that say you may not be able to hear the difference vs Spotify on a Sonos system, there is very clear difference when playing Tidal vs Spotify. Very clear!



I would expect Amazon HD to match Tidal Hifi - but it is clearly not.



Am I doing something wrong?



My Amazon app clearly indicates which tracks are HD and UHD and casting to Sonos doesn't seem to result in the good performance I was expecting.



Likewise using the Sonos app achieves the sames results.



Is there a way to cast from the Amazon Music Windows app?



Any help would be appreciated.



Thanks
ABX or not, I am finding that for music that I have previously only heard on Spotify Premium at 320 kbps, I am enjoying this same music more on Amazon Music HD, whether in HD or UHD.



My perception is that the Amazon HD and UHD versions are more detailed and natural sounding. I feel I am more “at ease” listening to these versions. I am simply enjoying these versions more.




Amazon Music HD sounds 'cleaner' and has better separation of the instruments and vocals. It is subtle but you do get a better sound with HD. Personally, I think it's much better than Spotify when used with a DAC and good headphones but you do need some decent headphones. Streamed to my Beam from the Sonos iPhone app or desktop app, the sound is noticeably 'cleaner' than the Spotify Premium version but it is not night and day and the SONOS app is not the best UI experience for managing your music collections... I hope that ROON integrate Amazon Music HD.
Rather technical, and mainly aimed at professionals.

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/what-data-compression-does-your-music
I am on the side of the "can't hear anything better beyond 320 kbps" but the important thing is that all other variables have to be eliminated. If that isn't being done, all bets are off; for instance if the HD stream is from a different master.



Are those that are hearing differences addressing this issue?




Using an iPhone XS Max, the Amazon Music App, an Oppo HA2-SE and Sennheiser HD600's, I can hear a difference between Spotify Premium and Amazon's HD and UHD. I can also hear the difference without the DAC just using my iPhone and RHA T20i IEM's.



I can't hear any noticeable difference between CD quality and 24 bit Hi-Res audio tracks and I've tried Qobuz, Tidal, HD Audio purchases and, now, Amazon Music HD.
I can hear a difference between Spotify Premium and Amazon's HD and UHD.

The differences could be down to sound level differences between the streams, as little as 1dB. Or the streams could be from different masters. Or it may be a combination of both.

These are the variables I was referring to, that muddy the waters.


I can hear a difference between Spotify Premium and Amazon's HD and UHD.The differences could be down to sound level differences between the streams, as little as 1dB. Or the streams could be from different masters. Or it may be a combination of both.

These are the variables I was referring to, that muddy the waters.




I get that but based on my own experience and comparing the many different versions of the same songs from all of the different providers, I prefer Amazon Music HD's versions, then those of Qobuz. Tidal is too 'loud' and Spotify doesn't have the clarity that I enjoy. YMMV.
Userlevel 2
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The Amazon Music app casts to Sonos using Alexa, and Alexa can only stream to Sonos speakers in SD.



Do you know if this limitation is specific to Sonos or inherent to Alexa Cast?


The Amazon Music app casts to Sonos using Alexa, and Alexa can only stream to Sonos speakers in SD.

Do you know if this limitation is specific to Sonos or inherent to Alexa Cast?


See https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/amazon-music-hd-available-on-sonos-6830070?postid=16361736
I might be misunderstanding the point here but I can stream to my sonos beam via airplay from the Amazon app on my iPhone and that's definitely not SD quality.. It sounds the same as when I use the sonos app, which also streams in a higher bitrate than SD.
Far more valuable, in my book, would be a music service that guarantees that all its streams will play at the same sound levels for a given level of volume control setting on my kit.



For that offering, I would definitely pay a premium over the usual bag of streaming services suspects that are merely cosmetic variations of essentially the same theme.



It is so irritating to have to reach for the volume control so often in a playlist. Even playlists from my NAS.

Does Sonos support playing Amazon UltraHD tracks at their bit rates above 16/44?

I might be misunderstanding the point here but I can stream to my sonos beam via airplay from the Amazon app on my iPhone and that's definitely not SD quality.. It sounds the same as when I use the sonos app, which also streams in a higher bitrate than SD.

Airplay is Apple only, and requires the phone to be in the loop. It's to be expected that the local Amazon app would send whatever it receives to Sonos, including in HD.



The discussion here has been about Alexa-initiated streams and by casting from the Amazon app. These go direct to the player, and are currently in SD.
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The Amazon Music app casts to Sonos using Alexa, and Alexa can only stream to Sonos speakers in SD.

Do you know if this limitation is specific to Sonos or inherent to Alexa Cast?
See https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/amazon-music-hd-available-on-sonos-6830070?postid=16361736




Ahh, I see, HD casting will be available in the future.



Just FYI...I have been playing with casting to my Marantz processor using Heos. According to quality indicator in the Amazon Music app, casting to the Marantz drops the quality level - HD becomes SD and UHD becomes HD. Not sure why this happens. However, there is no way to tell the actual file type, bitrate and sampling frequency with this casting.
Userlevel 7
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Until I see a trusted source doing true blind testing of various formats and reporting that HD is better I’m going with the science on this and calling HD audio snake-oil.

No reason not to spend your money on it if it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling but that is a lot of money to part with for a feeling.

Userlevel 2
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How to check on my sonos connect the quality of stream.

is there any info on my ipad app?
How to check on my sonos connect the quality of stream.

is there any info on my ipad app?


Not for Amazon, no.
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How to check on my sonos connect the quality of stream.

is there any info on my ipad app?
Not for Amazon, no.


And how can i see it with a different service like spotify, tidal,... ?




How to check on my sonos connect the quality of stream.

is there any info on my ipad app?
Not for Amazon, no.
And how can i see it with a different service like spotify, tidal,... ?


I don't believe you can with those either. (This thread is about Amazon.) Deezer does however display the format.

There are a lot of options to play Amazon Music on Sonos. Let’s see if I have this straight. If I tell my Beam to play from Amazon Music through the built-in Alexa it will only play in SD quality. But if I tell the Sonos app or the Alexa app or the Amazon Music app or my Fire TV stick to play the same music on the Beam, it will play in HD quality. What if I pair an Echo with my Beam (using Alexa groups) and tell the Echo to play from Amazon Music?

I also have an Echo Input plugged into the Aux port on my Play 5. Will that play HD?

@John G Thanks for your response but I am a bit confused. Seems like there is a lot of conflicting information being shared about this topic.

Above @Ryan S wrote “They’ll stream at CD-quality (16-bit HD) audio through the Sonos app” however you are saying that the best audio quality is through the line-in port but it still won’t play the audio in HD. So which is it, can we play in HD on Sonos speakers or not? I assume that at a minimum since the Fire TV stick plugged into my TV supports Amazon Music HD I can play it through the Beam connected to that TV. What about casting from the Amazon Music app or Alexa app?