Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland 24bit FLAC

  • 3 November 2018
  • 5 replies
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As we know Sonos suggests there is no difference in quality between FLAC bit rates however when I play High Definition Radio the quality via my 2nd Gen FIVEs is infinitely better than FLAC files on my library.

If Sonos can't handle 24bit why is my HD Radio so much better sound quality than my FLAC library files?

Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland is soon to be released as 24bit/96kz and I want to hear it on my Sonos with the best possible quality.

Any simple solution suggestions would be welcome?

Thanks

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5 replies

My suggestion would be that subjective non-blind audio comparisons are virtually worthless. If there is a difference it will be in the quality of the masters, not the bit rate, because Sonos isn't going to be playing it as 24 bit - it just can't.
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My suggestion would be that subjective non-blind audio comparisons are virtually worthless. If there is a difference it will be in the quality of the masters, not the bit rate, because Sonos isn't going to be playing it as 24 bit - it just can't.

John B

Ok understood that Sonos isn't allowing 24Bit to the speakers but how on earth is there a significantly better quality coming from HD Radio? I'd describe it as if the difference between my 16bit FLAC library files and HD Radio is like the difference between SD and HD visual quality (it's an undoubtable difference).

How is the HD Radio sending it's infinite quality improvement through to the speakers?
Sonos is capable of decoding 24-bit FLAC, almost by accident since a FLAC library which was updated for other reasons introduced support. However it's evidently truncated to 16-bit at the outset.

Sonos can't deal with sampling rates greater than 48kHz. Moreover they've publicly stated that "the math isn't there" for reproducing ultrasonics, which often actually degrade the sound by folding intermodulation products down into the audible part of the spectrum.

Kindly elaborate on which "HD Radio" station you're playing and what you believe to be its format and bitrate.
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Hi Ratty

OK I did a google search and found stations suggested to be HiFi HD quality and some to be mentioned are Raggakings, Frequence3, Frisky, these are all mentioned here https://www.24bit96.com/24bit96khz-download-sites/hd-internet-radio-streams.html

plus some other stations such as BBC Radio 3 etc.

The sound from the above mentioned stations (as I've said coming from my 2nd Gen fives in stereo0 is like HD compared to the 16bit FLAC files on my Library. I have an extensive library on a NAS drive and sometimes if HD radio is playing a track I know I have as a FLAC I can swap to the library FLAC file and there's often a huge difference.

I'm no HiFi connoisseur thinking I can hear non-existent differences, I'm talking huge difference and if I want to demonstrate my Sonos Speakers to anyone I choose these HD Radio stations rather than FLAC files or other normal radio stations.
I looked down the list you linked and most were MP3/AAC/OGG -- interestingly described as "nearly in highres-audio quality with 320 kBit/s". A few are FLAC -- also interestingly described as "nearly in CD-Quality".

Why it would think 320kbps is "nearly highres" yet FLAC is only "nearly" CD quality to my mind rather undermines its credibility.

BBC Radio 3 say they deliver "HD" at 320kbps. Better than 192kbps, but not what most would consider "better than CD quality".

Like John B I suspect you're hearing a difference compared to your old FLACs because of remastering. I can think of countless examples where rips in my 11-year-old FLAC library sound quite different to the latest remaster streamed in FLAC from Deezer.

And, by the way, Sonos only supports MP3, AAC and WMA streaming audio formats for radio stations so if you're favourably comparing those to your FLAC rips it's very definitely down to mastering, or lousy rips.