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My great Vinyl dilemma: the line in source level Bug and sonos lack of response

  • 6 December 2019
  • 59 replies
  • 793 views

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So I am ecstatic over using a new play 5 gen 2 as my sweet little hi fi compact setup in my bedroom for playing vinyl and digital there.  sonos does a better job translating vinyl to the digital realm and back than any other sub $1000 system.  I bought and returned a few, including the Bluesound.  play 5 gen 2 a BIG step up in SQ.  

But I now have a 2 month problem that Sonos is aware of and won’t fix.  my turntable has always had better than cd fidelity at source level set to level 9.  well now level 9 is with a bug and won’t work.  levels 1-8 work fine, but at a cost of lower fidelity from the digital volume reduction, making it pointless to spin records.  yes, level 10 is still operative, but only if you select 9.  selecting 10 leaves you at the last level you were on.  thus 9 is now skipped altogether.  the end result is if you toggle from 8 to 9, what is really happening is (listening) you are going from 8 to 10.  closing app and reopening verifies all this.

why the big deal?  because level 10 distorts with my albums and 8 or less sacrifices fidelity.  this all started about 2 months ago.

so...I have emailed and called Sonos REPEATEDLY about this problem.  they keep giving a standard line that it’s identified as a bug to fix and prioritized to fix it.  but after one month of calls and emails (they know me well now) nothing fixed.  finally in exasperation I asked for an engineer to call me.  after no less than 3 separate requests for this, finally a Kevin C. from software engineering calls me.  he’s very nice, but explains that he cannot divulge where the team is in the process.  he states essentially he’s not allowed.  when I stated that I just wanted to know if the bug will be fixed in a month or two more, he states he can’t tell me. when I asked if he can reassure me that it will EVER  get fixed, he states he cannot.

so I am going to the Community on this.  Is ANYONE else observing this bug and bothered by it enough to speak up here?  PLEASE POST HERE IF YOU FEEL THE WAY I DO ABOUT THIS BUG.  I clearly need a louder megaphone to move the needle on this issue.

Thanks to all!

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Best answer by Ryan S 6 December 2019, 20:57

Hey Tlcocks, I just checked in for you with the team on that ticket and the status. It is still being investigated and worked on. I know it’s frustrating not having an ETA or not knowing what the exact status is, but those things can change and we don’t want to give an ETA that isn’t definite. The right team is on it, but they have other things on their plate as well. The support team will make sure to let you know when it’s resolved, but they can’t keep you updated with every change that the ticket goes through.

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Are you talking about the Line-In level?  If so, there is nothing about that level which “loses fidelity”.  The higher level may distort because it is overloading the amps in the Play:5, but lowering the level to where it doesn’t distort does nothing to the fidelity except lowering the gain.  You may be perceiving a loss of fidelity because the mind will always think lower volume is lower fidelity (even if the changes are so small they are not detected), but the mind is easily fooled.

my turntable has always had better than cd fidelity

Er … no.

https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Myths_(Vinyl)

 

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Hey Tlcocks, I just checked in for you with the team on that ticket and the status. It is still being investigated and worked on. I know it’s frustrating not having an ETA or not knowing what the exact status is, but those things can change and we don’t want to give an ETA that isn’t definite. The right team is on it, but they have other things on their plate as well. The support team will make sure to let you know when it’s resolved, but they can’t keep you updated with every change that the ticket goes through.

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Jgatie, if you don’t think a digital volume algorithm reduces fidelity, then you don’t know much about digital. I’ve got an Auralic streamer downstairs, and the company says generally leave the digital volume control on 100%. Use the amps volume. For this very reason. If you don’t believe me, run a source in the line in. Play it at level 10. The go to level 1 and quick turn up the master volume. Then tell me they sound the same. I don’t think so.  

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Ok Ryan S, appreciate that response. Had a similar discussion with Robert C.  today as well, after posting this. Still, he said this may take MONTHS to fix. 

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Ratty, that’s a good read. Yes there are many reasons why a record could sound better or worse than a cd. I did over generalize. Nonetheless that’s not the point of this discussion. But thanks for the link. Very inf

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So...we are far off the subject already. This is why I don’t like utilizing these forums.
Simply put, has anyone else using the line in observed this bug, and are you bothered by it?

Jgatie, if you don’t think a digital volume algorithm reduces fidelity, then you don’t know much about digital. I’ve got an Auralic streamer downstairs, and the company says generally leave the digital volume control on 100%. Use the amps volume. For this very reason. If you don’t believe me, run a source in the line in. Play it at level 10. The go to level 1 and quick turn up the master volume. Then tell me they sound the same. I don’t think so.  

 

It’s not digital at that point, that is the analog input level.

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No. I must correct you. I also confirmed the following with a supervisor. Once the signal is received it’s then encoded or digitized to cd red book 16/44.1. Any functions associated with EQ or source volume level are performed in the DIGITAL domain. The bug deals in with digital not analog volume settings. I do believe the actual volume slider for master volume is analog. I think. 

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Wow. My other more succinct thread was WIPED. Wonder if my bringing it up here will get this thread WIPED too. COMMUNISM!  😂 LOL

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Wow. My other more succinct thread was WIPED. Wonder if my bringing it up here will get this thread WIPED too. COMMUNISM!  😂 LOL

 

Your other thread would not have been intentionally removed unless it broke community policies, and couldn’t be edited/fixed.  Most likely, there was some other error that’s preventing the thread from display.  This current thread is not bad at all, and can’t imagine Ryan would post to it if there was an issue.

 

 

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Got it. Thanks. Yes, I suppose the tension between jgatie and I was the reason. Seemed minimal though. No worries. 

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So I would ask if someone reading this thread would simply plug a cable into their line in jack (you don’t even need a source attached at the other end) and test to see if there are toggle glitches between the levels. Put it on 8, then 9, then back two screens. Then reopen and see if it’s now on 10. This simple sequence demonstrates the glitch. Wanna see if this is universal. Sonos said they reproduced this in their lab, but weren’t sure how universal it was. 
another way of checking is go from 8 to 10. Then reopen and see if it’s still 8. 
thanks to all!

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Confirmed with my Play:5 Gen 2

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Thanks, airforceteacher

My experience is that this is a non issue/storm in a teacup. I have my Echo sources running level 10 with no audible distortion. While I have no idea if the 9 bug is present in my Connect Amps, when I have tried all levels to 10 before selecting 10, all worked fine with just small incremental increases in sound levels from one level to the next.

I see no technical reason why the analog line outs from my Echo devices will be any different from those from OPs phono amp, except for small differences in signal voltage levels.

Also, all that the line in levels do is change the input sensitivities of the line in; there is no reason for this to impact fidelity. Except of course in the well known psycho-acoustical manner of resultant lower sound levels sounding less good, something that happens to everyone. The answer is to compensate by boosting Sonos volume levels to bring back the “lost” fidelity.

 

why the big deal?  because level 10 distorts with my albums and 8 or less sacrifices fidelity.  this all started about 2 months ago.

 

Before going to the quoted, note that a turntable is perhaps the worst way to check for distortion given the many opportunities for the set up to introduce distortion to the signal before Sonos takes it over at the Line In jacks. Opportunities that have been eliminated by the invention of digital audio. So if you want to blame Sonos, first use a quality digital signal to ensure that the ball for distortion does lie in the Sonos side of the court.

Even using the questionable TT signal, the quoted can still be tested/challenged. Using level 8 will deliver the same sound levels as 10, so long as there is space to the right of the volume level slider in the Sonos control app to boost sound levels a tad to reach those achieved at level 10. If enough of this space exists, does the boosted 8 level now sound distortion free compared to the unboosted 10 level?

And, if so, with sound levels the same at 8 and 10, how have you determined that the level 8 provided sound has less fidelity?

And to rule out a hardware defect in the 5 unit, however unlikely, get a new unit on a returnable basis and see what it does in comparison to your unit.

Or, keep venting.

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Thanks Kumar for weighing in. I have 3 Sonos pieces in my house, and they all do the same thing with level 9 unable to be selected.  Sound takes big leap from 8 to 9 and when you back up 2 screens and reopen source level it says 10. 
so regarding the tt, it is indeed louder than cd with same record on 10. It’s quieter than cd on 8. Yes, I verified with a good digital source all you said above. Perhaps my at vm540ml cart upgrade is louder than other carts. I think it’s louder than the stock cart. 
regarding how the input level is technically adjusted (is digital volume or other?), I don’t know. Technician had confirmed my guess that it’s a digital volume adjustment. That’s what my ears tell me. I just know a quick volume toggle with the master volume when I’m using 8. Still sounds ok, but not great. I was used to using the level 9 before I lost it and really felt I had better fidelity. And it matched up with cd volume. I know SQ is subjective though. 
I just miss level 9. 

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Oh, and I use a Rega Fono MM mk3 external phono stage. Pretty good piece. 


I just miss level 9. 

If that is what you are fixed upon, there is nothing to be done till Sonos fixes the issue for you. I don't think this is a major issue for reasons I have stated, but that’s just me.

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Agreed. I just posted more to help Sonos answer the question of how widespread this is. At this point, my main interest in this thread is people responding that they do or don’t manifest this bug on their devices. 
I realize I’m fixated on this, but I really just wanna know yea or nay from as many people as possible 😊

thanks

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Ryan S, 

since many here are wanting to challenge the methodology of the source level function, can you weigh in on this?  Is it done through manipulation of the digital signal or done before conversion in the analog domain?

 

Nay for my units then, for two connect amps and two connects. All working fine.

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What state you live in, kumar?  Got one nay and one yea, so far

 

 

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