Audiophile Rant

  • 13 November 2005
  • 14 replies

Userlevel 2
OK. After living with the Sonos system for a while now I have made the following oservations about sound quality:

Lossles sounds better. This is evident primarily as a loss of 'air/space' during playback of music saved in lossy formats (either wma vbr set for highest quality or 196 bit mp3) vs. flac. Some may not be able to appreciate this, but I suspect this is more a reflection of the resolution of their systems than about their ears. On my system the difference is not really all that subtle.

Sonos sounds best with speakers connected directly to the zp. Using the 'line out', even into a very good preamp (Audio Research sp9 mk2) and a great amp (Cary Audio Rocket 88 50 wpch triode tube) degrades the sound.

With lossles files and speakers connected directly to the zp Sonos sounds pretty good. Not quite as good as the original cd played thru a good cdtransprt/dac. Not as good as vinyl(still the best) but way better than most regular cd players and really pretty good, even for fanatics like me.

so....1) I'm going to archive into flac (unless wma-L support comes along so I can use wmp for lossless ripping) . I suspect most with high resolution systems may want to do the same.

2) Digital out is needed to fully realize the best possible sound quality.I won't buy another zp untill this feature is available.

Just my thoughts on this.

14 replies


I totally agree with you. For me, compressed music losses soundstaging. On my system (B&W speakers, Cary 303/300 cdp, Parasound Halo Amp and Pre), I think compressed music from the ZP sounds ok. I encode at VBR 256. I am sure the DAC on the ZP is probably just decent.

I keep a stash of cds laying around that I like to listen to critically.
Userlevel 2
I do too, but If digital out was available we might not have to do that (just maybe).
Digital out from the ZP would be awesome! Then I could run it through a Benchmark dac..that is the one thing I dont like about my cary cdp, it does not have digital inputs.
I'm not sure about high bitrate lossy, as I haven't compared, but compared with 256k CBR MP3 (and below), I can tell the difference on some of my speakers, and I don't have a particularly audiophile setup (Kef and Sonance speakers).


I compared FLAC with 320K MP3.

While the MP3 was very good, FLAC retained the ambience of the hall that MP3 somtimes masked. MP3 also would truncate the tails of some notes.
Userlevel 2
My experience as well. All the lossy formats suck air out of the recording. This may sound minor to some but there are others who will great lengths to preserve that ambient information. I believe that this is one of he major factors in distinguishing a really good sounding set up from one thats just ok.
Userlevel 2
I'm so glad I am not an audiophile 😃
Userlevel 2
I second that notion! I'm happy not to be an audiophile!!! I love my Sonos!
I'm so glad I am not an audiophile :D

I know it's a tough, dirty job but, someone's gotta do it.
Userlevel 2
If you drink beer and listen to music, at what point do you stop being an audiophile?
I don't know... but my sonos sounds awesome... after a 1/2 bottle of Patrone it sounds even better!
1/2 a bottle of Patrone?? Nice choice. After half a bottle nothing will sound good to me because i will be passed out! Its been all downhill since my college days...
Userlevel 2
I've been known to groove on a skipping record after four beers.
Userlevel 2
I don't know... but my sonos sounds awesome... after a 1/2 bottle of Patrone it sounds even better!

After a 1/2 bottle of Patrone, how can you even find your Controller? 🆒