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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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111 replies

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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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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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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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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.
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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.
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?
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While I do think you should be able to 'see' such info and know what's playing, for your extra money it's quite funny you can't just tell by listening instead.... 🙂

Conversation on another thread surfaced this issue: going by what is commonly understood, CD lossless streaming is not HD; only those formats that exceed CD resolution are called HD or Hi Res. There is enough on Google to support this statement. How Amazon calls CD resolution as HD is a mystery, and appears to be something that they have done unilaterally in an attempt to redefine HD to being what they are doing. I have no idea if this will succeed.

Sonos is a beneficiary of this stunt, being also labeled HD capable overnight with nothing have changed from what they have been capable of since their inception.

Of course none of this has a bearing on whether HD music of any resolution, including what Amazon touts as Ultra HD, can be audibly picked out from the same mastering/recording downsampled to CD quality; no one anywhere has demonstrated that in a controlled blind test. Where Amazon makes use of the higher content capability to add more to the recording is a different matter; it will sound different, perhaps even better, using more speaker tech in the process, but that is a different discussion.

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What the hell happened?   Now Amazon says Sonos is not supported for HD, and it is Sonos that is blocking this.  
I know that “ultra” isn’t possible, but we can’t even stream CD quality now.
Amazon’s “ultra hd” playlists used to appear but now are gone.

That’s odd, as my Amazon Music HD service in the Sonos App is showing HD playlists here on my iPhone.🤔

I can confirm as a Sonos representative that Amazon Music HD is still available on Sonos as a supported music service. I’m not sure what you heard from Amazon, perhaps there was a miscommunication with timbotwiddly and the person he spoke with.

I've just returned the Sonos move to Amazon. Amazon and Sonos have confirmed that it does not stream Amazon HD music.

 

Which is 100% false.  It streams Amazon Music HD (aka CD quality) just fine.  It does not stream Amazon Music Ultra HD (aka snake oil nonsense).  

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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?




So, if Amazon Music plays Ultra HD at 256 kbps AAC on Sonos and I compare the same track on Spotify at 320 kbps OV, and I can't hear a difference, what have I proved? That 2 lossy codecs sound the same? I never had the 16/44.1 FLAC stream, so I never had a lossless version for comparison.



And, if I pay for something (the Amazon Music HD tier), I want to know that I am getting it (at least 16/44.1 FLAC) on my playback devices.



A lot of streaming playback devices will show you the file type and bitrate. Sonos should too, IMO.
A copy/paste from the Amazon Music HD FAQ in fact.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/b?node=3022219031

@The Nadz Playing the line-in audio uncompressed will give you the best quality for that connection, however it still won’t play the audio in HD.

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Is Amazon Music HD worth getting?

 

Just sighed up sounds great thank you Sonos And amazon for this

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Now that S2 is released and Sonos Arc, will Sonos support the UHD/3D formats from Amazon Music HD?

not at the moment it is still 16bit 44.1khz cd quality  this may change in the future sonos does not release a schedule of when features will be added. let sonos know your interested in getting hi res streaming on sonos S2 products.  currently sonos can from a computer or nas play up to 24bit  44.1 to 48khz in flac or alac. but not streaming yet. 

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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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.

Without going through four pages of content, can anyone simply verify whether Sonos speakers support Amazon HD?

 

I would be using my Mac desktop app to source the music.

Perhaps you should expend the pretty meagre effort. You’ll find the answers a couple of pages back.

 

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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).




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/
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

Have you read the first post of this thread?  It IS supported, at CD quality, but not yet via voice control. 

Amazon ‘HD’ (CD quality) streams to Sonos in FLAC. I’ve measured it.

When I last checked, casting from the Amazon native app to Sonos was only in SD.

Sonos doesn’t support ‘UHD’ (which everyone else tends to call ‘HD’ or ‘HiRes’). Although there may be a marketing-driven inevitability to HiRes the science doesn’t support it. Any ‘night and day’ differences can be explained by more careful mastering or simply a mismatch of levels. Anyone who can truly and reliably distinguish HiRes from RedBook in double-blind tests based on the same master should rent their super-human/super-golden ears to the industry.

 

Wouldn’t be the first time low level support got something wrong.  Stick with the guys here, they are not low level.