Sonos Audio Quality

  • 19 January 2019
  • 10 replies
  • 650 views

I have the best quality Tidal account, meaning that when I use my Tidal on my MacBook Pro, I can play "MASTER" quality music, which is better than 1440 HiFi. But how do I know if my Sonos is playing that highest quality when I am streaming from my MacBook Pro with the Tidal App

10 replies

The idea that anything can “sound better” than standard CD encoding is pure marketing BS. The CD standard already provides quality beyond the limits of human hearing.
I would appreciate keeping your foul language under control. And, if your ears can not tell the difference between High Resolution Audio, at 9,216 Kbps (which is 7 X greater than CD quality (1411Kbps), you probably need better ears.

High-Resolution Audio is audio that uses a higher sampling rate than in CDs and MP3s for the encoding and playback of music. Higher sampling rates mean that more samples per second were taken when the original analog sound was converted into digital.

High-Resolution Audio files have a sampling frequency of 96 kHz/24 bit, which is significantly higher than the 44.1 KHz/16 bit sampling frequency of CDs.

How does that translate to the listening experience?

Listening to High-Resolution Audio allows you to pick up on the subtle details and nuances that you would hear in a recording studio. So, if you’re waiting to get your hands on Adele’s newly released album, “25”, try listening to it in high resolution. It’ll sound like you pulled up a stool next to the British diva, allowing you to hear every note of her soulful, impressive range.

On the other hand, when you convert analog sound to digital formats like CDs and MP3s, that process can compromise the purity of the original signal. High-Resolution Audio brings your favorite songs to life by retaining more data during the analog-to-digital conversion process.

Even a simpleton knows that human hearing begins to suffer high end loss, but that is not what we are talking about. It is the depth and quantity of signal that is lost in lower quality signal that causes the sensation of less rich sound. Even my older ears means that the best quality signal is better listening. Cheers!
Userlevel 5
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To answer your question: If I'm not mistaken, Sonos does not support high resolution audio at all.
Regarding the rest of your post: To each his own. Although I'm highly skeptical of this high res audio phenomenon, I don't seek to debate you on it, but I do have a few questions for your consideration:
Do you believe that the differences you describe are noticeable on any playback device? If there is actually a noticeable difference, do you believe Sonos hardware to be adequate to do it justice? Let alone MacBook speakers? It's been debated in this community many times, but the consensus among Sonos-lovers and Sonos-haters seems to be that Sonos cannot be considered to deliver audiophile or HiFi quality - it's a different type of product for a different market.

Even a simpleton knows that human hearing begins to suffer high end loss, but that is not what we are talking about. It is the depth and quantity of signal that is lost in lower quality signal that causes the sensation of less rich sound. Even my older ears means that the best quality signal is better listening. Cheers!


Sorry, but no. Please go here to educate yourself: https://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

If your "high rez" version sounds better, it's only because it was mastered more carefully. The only reason to own any "high rez" files. But just convert them down to 16/44, and they'll sound EXACTLY the same.
the consensus among Sonos-lovers and Sonos-haters seems to be that Sonos cannot be considered to deliver audiophile or HiFi quality - it's a different type of product for a different market.

Of course Sonos can deliver HiFi quality, effortlessly. Their new Amp has specs that rival any amplifier, at any price. There's zero reason it can't deliver the very best quality sound to quality speakers.
Userlevel 5
Badge +8
I stand corrected, the Amp and Connect products should indeed be able to deliver said quality, though I've also seen threads in this community challenging that assumption. I was mostly referring to the more "plain consumer" oriented active speaker products that form the backbone of the product line. It all hinges of course on Sonos' support to actually stream this content and a firm belief in the physically impossible, as you already pointed out above.
I would appreciate keeping your foul language under control. And, if your ears can not tell the difference between High Resolution Audio, at 9,216 Kbps (which is 7 X greater than CD quality (1411Kbps), you probably need better ears.

High-Resolution Audio is audio that uses a higher sampling rate than in CDs and MP3s for the encoding and playback of music. Higher sampling rates mean that more samples per second were taken when the original analog sound was converted into digital.

High-Resolution Audio files have a sampling frequency of 96 kHz/24 bit, which is significantly higher than the 44.1 KHz/16 bit sampling frequency of CDs.

How does that translate to the listening experience?

Listening to High-Resolution Audio allows you to pick up on the subtle details and nuances that you would hear in a recording studio. So, if you’re waiting to get your hands on Adele’s newly released album, “25”, try listening to it in high resolution. It’ll sound like you pulled up a stool next to the British diva, allowing you to hear every note of her soulful, impressive range.

On the other hand, when you convert analog sound to digital formats like CDs and MP3s, that process can compromise the purity of the original signal. High-Resolution Audio brings your favorite songs to life by retaining more data during the analog-to-digital conversion process.

Even a simpleton knows that human hearing begins to suffer high end loss, but that is not what we are talking about. It is the depth and quantity of signal that is lost in lower quality signal that causes the sensation of less rich sound. Even my older ears means that the best quality signal is better listening. Cheers!


Never has one been so sure about something which he has gotten 100% wrong. I'm afraid you have swallowed the "marketing BS" hook, line, and sinker. See chick's link above for an education on why.

Oh and by the way, your post is a cut-and-paste from the Sony website. I find this highly ironic, considering Sony was taken to British court for misrepresenting hi-res audio as a stair step graph. Since a stair step graph is an objectively false explanation of the science behind the sampling algorithm, they were forced to remove those diagrams from their promotional materials. Unfortunately, BS claims like the above are subjective at best, so they are allowed to stay.

https://www.truthinadvertising.org/sony-high-resolution-audio/

More on stair steps:

http://productionadvice.co.uk/no-stair-steps-in-digital-audio/
Userlevel 1
I have on my desk the older version Sonos AMP and a Bluesound powernode (because Sonos was not coming out with a HiRes amp). If I play the 2017 Diana Krall, that is 24-192, you have the impression that Diana is singing in your room. Even a not-believer will hear the difference!
There is very possibly a difference that can be heard - but the key question to be answered is: Does this difference go away if the 24-192 version is downsampled and played via the same kit? Only if it does is the heard difference attributable to 24-192.

But, as is most likely, it does not go away and the sound is just as good, what does that say?
I have on my desk the older version Sonos AMP and a Bluesound powernode (because Sonos was not coming out with a HiRes amp). If I play the 2017 Diana Krall, that is 24-192, you have the impression that Diana is singing in your room. Even a not-believer will hear the difference!

Both known science and experimentation has determined these types of differences are wholly attributed to expectation bias and/or different mastering, neither of which point to the resolution or bit-depth being superior. Indeed, when sampled from the same master in an A/B/X test, these qualitative differences disappear.

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