We need Audiophile Edition version of Port

Userlevel 2

First of I want to say that I have been using Sonos products since 2009. Besides Sonos, I had a lot of gear but none of it could match Sonos's ease of use and sound quality (for the price). I have to come clean and say that I am used to using Sonos everywhere and I love it. 

As an audiophile, I was looking to replace my aging Sonos Connect with Port and realized from all the reviews that it does not have a better digital output. This was a show stopper for me and it is a show stopper for all audiophiles out there. 

You are missing a very important niche of the market. It is taken by Raspberry Pie implementations and Bluesound and Aurelia, not because they have better software or support for services, but because they have a better digital output. That is it. Nothing else. Everyone I have talked to said they like Sonos but the digital output is jittery. I have tried a lot of solutions and even they sound better than Connect over coax they are all not easy to use, do not have support for the majority of services, etc… I meet old people putting Raspberry Pie solutions together and struggling with boards and power supplies and software issues just to get good digital output. Audiophiles are people willing to spend a lot of money on a good streamer. 

Wired 4 Sound managed to mod Connect into a damn good streamer. There is no reason you can do it too! 

Sonos has the best software and the rest of the products are great but you are missing the main link with audiophiles.

Sonos Port Digital or whatever you want to call it

No audio inputs or outputs. Audiophiles will not use them. They suck compared to $$$$$ priced amps. Just Digital Coax and maybe, just maybe, optical output.

Get power supply clean and stable, maybe even consider having standard power cable, get rid of jitter, use high-quality SPIDF connector…

Make Sonos digital output sound great and you will sell a bunch. 

I will buy it first if you manage to do it for $899 or less.

I sure hope that someone from Sonos will take this seriously.

If anyone agrees with me please leave comments so we can get Sonos attention.


108 replies

Userlevel 5
Badge +9

Ivan - to be honest, I can’t see it happening. Whether you like it or not, Sonos is a volume manufacturer, but the audiophool market is (by comparison) a tiny one.

Sonos will probably want to leave it to the tiny specialists. It’s hard to be both a volume producer and a niche specialist, not least because in the specialist niche that you’re talking about, the marketing has to be completely different. It’s easy for a tiny, specialist company to do the necessary thing and start inventing things that don’t exist to satisfy this small group of people, but it’s hard for a big company to do that and maintain credibility with their “normal” customers (who will always bring in most of the revenue).

Here’s an example: How do you satisfy a niche market when most of the people in it don’t know what they want? Ask ten “audiophiles” what jitter sounds like, and you will get ten different answers. How do you manufacture a product on that basis?

So… IMO it’s something that Sonos will choose to leave to others...

This is a great subject and is very open ended, especially if you are trying to take queues from an “audiophile” perspective. First let me say that while I do consider myself a gear head, I am totally a music lover from birth. My wife really dislikes the term Audiophile as it is pretentious and over used, so I do not use it describing myself as I love music first and listening platforms second.

Back in 2014 I started into the world of streaming and pretty much only used AirPlay to a home theater receiver or tv. When I discovered Sonos, I went all in and bought several Sonos speakers & components . I found it was pretty much stupid proof from set up to everyday use. I also decided to run a connect through a lower mid entry Dac into my McIntosh system. Personally I found the sound to be quite good, even streaming subscription Pandora as a main source for radio like experience, and Spotify for playing and discovering music. 

As time has moved forward and the technology for higher quality streaming became a reality I wanted to move up to higher quality due to thinking it’s what my big system needed, plus being around other gear heads telling me you will never get true hi res or “audiophile “ quality music. Well I pretty much decided that for my mid fifties ears, I am good with what I was getting from my connect. With the introduction of S2 my Connect that I’ve been using over the last years was no longer being supported with updates, I looked to maybe go a different route than Sonos. Blue sound node is what I was thinking of. I spent countless hours reading the reviews and how for the money it was an incredible unit to go with, especially as I had purchased a better Dac for my system. I ordered the node, and the day it came, I decided I didn’t have the WiFi bandwidth to support the node via WiFi and I do not have access to go wired, plus with all the negative reviews on the app and such, I just thought it wasn’t worth the hassle. I went to my local audio store and picked up a new port and connected it to my Dac along with my old connect to compare the two as I had read that the sound was better on the connect than the newer port. I switched back and forth and had my wife do a blind listening test, and we both found the port to sound better. 

I stream a lot, even probably more than I use my turntable or CD player as I love the ease of playing what I want at the touch of a screen. 

To the original post, do I wish that Sonos made a higher end streamer? Maybe, but to many audiophiles it would still not be enough as there is the golden ear issue that so many swear they can hear the difference, and if they can, more power to them. Personally, I really love Sonos and I totally respect the company for not bricking older products and continuing to come up with new and better products and upgrades. 

I have Naim DAC-v1 and Hegel H190. On both cheep Raspberry Pie HAT sounds better. I do not know if it jitter or something else. Everyone says it is a jitter.

What DAC do you listen to and do not hear a difference?


Jitter is a catch all term audiophiles use when they want to denigrate a piece of digital gear.  The fact is, jitter has never been proven audible in double blind tests for the vast majority of home audio devices.  Sonos gear has been tested for jitter, and found to be far below the threshold of audibility.  I’m afraid when you start talking about things like “jitter”, you have gone down the “audiophile” rabbit hole, from which there is no exit, except to stop listening to your gear, and start listening to your music. 

One question, though.  The Port is known to roll off when using the variable output setting.  Then again, no self-respecting audiophile would use the digital volume, they would want a bit-perfect signal and when set to “Fixed”, the Port is bit-perfect to the source.  Are you using the variable output setting?

Also, unless you are conducting a level matched double blind test, subjective claims of “better” are useless.  The human ear can consciously detect only around a 3 dB difference in volume level.  Tests have shown that just a 1 dB difference can be unconsciously detected as sounding “better” instead of louder.  Your ears can (and will) play tricks on you.  

Userlevel 5
Badge +9

Everyone says it is a jitter.

That goes to the heart of the problem for Sonos, and other similar manufacturers. Everyone (who has golden ears) says this, and yet there is still no consensus on what jitter sounds like in the real world! Why is that?

Essentially it’s because of the development of audiophool tropes. These are the things that “everyone knows”. Here’s an example: “Everyone knows” that interconnects made out of silver sound “bright”. It’s a good example, because frequency response is easy to measure - there is absolutely no factual basis to this trope.

And so it becomes common knowledge that a $399 product must have poor jitter performance, even though 99.99% of the users have no way of measuring jitter, and are just recounting something that “everyone knows”. They say that it sounds bad because the price means that it must have poor jitter performance, even though they have no way of measuring jitter.

So... the “audiophile” community wants to drive the company to develop a low-jitter product, without any factual basis. Will it sound better? You can’t predict, because nobody can tell you what jitter sounds like, other than it is “bad”.

At the root of the problem is the fact that the “audiophile” community has to believe in almost mystical things - because if there were not such things as “magic” mains cables that make “night and day” changes to the sound of a component, who would be making any money?


Userlevel 2


My point is that you have to have music lovers on your side.



And by the way, the last thing I would call audiophiles is music lovers.  Music lovers listen to music.  Audiophiles listen to gear. 

I agree. Many audiophiles are NOT music lovers. My question to all is does music in your house/office/car plays even if you are not listening to it? Do you go to concerts? Do you explore new artists or genres? If answer is no to all three then you are not a music lover regardless of how much money you have spent on gear. Many of audiophiles start as music lovers but get obsessed by sound quality. Like all hobbies it tends to grab you and make you more interested in details then in whole. It is probably a distraction from other things in life or something… 

Anyway… Maybe I did not choose words wisely but point that I wanted for Sonos to take away is that with not so much effort they can get attention of audience which is predominant in gear reviews.

I need a device like this so one customer is already there.

Sonos doesn’t apply DSP on the digital output when volume is set to Fixed. The unit behaves just like any other digital source, such as a CD player.

When volume is set to Variable then, for obvious reasons, Sonos must take steps to avoid clipping on the S/PDIF (which really would warrant the otherwise hyperbolic term “painful”).

Is the soft-knee limiting a bit aggressive? Possibly. Keeping volume below ~85% avoids it. Alternatively use Fixed digital out, or the analog outs. Despite the snobbishness about Sonos audio quality the DAC is the very respectable AK4490EQ which shows up in many reputable brands. 

Userlevel 3
Badge +3

thank you for proving my point.

Userlevel 5
Badge +12

If I had an ask of Sonos in terms of ‘upping their game’ then it would simply be around things like the robustness of components liable to wear and tear (e.g optical connection on play  bar). 

i don’t claim to be an audiophile. Have dabbled in high end audio equipment in the past, same for specialist AV/TH equipment - but ultimately it was the ease of use, accessibility and convenience of Sonos that won out. Sure there are 100s of features each of us would like to see happen (higher bitrate, more speaker options in TH congigs etc) - but those who’ve already said it are correct - Sonos is a ‘mid quality mainstream’ manufacturer. There will probably never be a product that is significantly ‘better’ than a pair of Play 5s for stereo. And same goes for the rest of the niche players. 

despite grumbles. I would still rather the convenience that filling the house or any multiple combination of rooms with Spotify over a single ‘high end’ system. It makes for a much more flexible ‘music’ experience than sitting in a dark room with acoustic treatments, the ball-ache of a turntable and worrying if the £1000 gold cables really were a wise investment. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

You state: “The current from the power supply is what’s moving the magnets in the woofers and tweeters that creates the sound you hear.” Just to avoid confusion: this topic is about the Port, that does not drive speakers directly. If you want to try a different power supply for the Port, they are available: 



Userlevel 4
Badge +3

The thing that Sonos brought to me was streaming music via Spotify and playing internet radio.  I started with a Play 3 in my kitchen purchased mainly for my wife who was using a small crummy Bluetooth speaker.  My multi-room hi-fi was too confusing and too much of a hassle for her to use.  

When the Sonos Amp came out I purchased one to replace the integrated amp I was using on my three season porch which was hooked up to a pair of speakers, a TV and the main system’s preamp.  It worked great with the TV, turning on when it sensed audio from the TV, allowing me to use the remote from the tv to adjust the volume.

It also worked well with my main hi-fi system I had setup in the basement.  As soon as the needle dropped onto the record the amp would wake up and start playing at a preset volume level.  I was also able to eliminate some devices that were in place in the line connection to deal with ground loops as my old integrated amp had grounded plugs.  

The third bonus was how easy it was to control and stream Spotify from my iPad.  I went from streaming 5 percent to now 75 percent after replacing another integrated amp in my living room with a second Sonos Amp.  The speakers in that room is often grouped with my Play 3 when my wife and I are sitting around the kitchen table.  Being able to add the Play 3 and balance the volume supplements the sound coming from the main speakers in the living room.

The Sonos Amp drives my monitors just fine and the sound I get from my records is undistinguishable from my all analog rig in the basement.  I get much enjoyment from Spotify and find myself spending more time actively listening and exploring music via my main monitors in the living room all from my iPad.

You are missing a very important niche of the market. It is taken by Raspberry Pie implementations and Bluesound and Aurelia,

The Bluesound Node 2i actually has a lot of performance issues, far more than the Port.  However, Bluesound pays royalties to Sonos for infringing Sonos’ patents, so I’m sure Sonos doesn’t mind the competition.

USB is a digital connection so it is my headphone DAC which is doing the processing.

USB transmits whatever it’s been handed by the phone/app. Whether you like it or not this will have been processed, possibly through sample rate conversion and EQ. It’s okay to like what your phone is doing.

I can adjust my phone to sound pleasant over Bluetooth (aptX or LDAC). I also tweak the EQ on the Port that feeds my head amp.

For many years as an ‘audiophile’ I wrestled with component/cable matching between ‘HiFi’ devices that lacked EQ/tone controls, in order to try and get an acceptable sound. Life’s too short.

Amp has a digital in.

Amp has an HDMI-ARC digital in, DD5.1 home theatre decode, dual radios, and support for dedicated HT satellites. A different product positioning from Port entirely. 

Given the gross results you are reporting with PORT, it is likely that there is a level or impedance mismatch on the analog side or a codec issue while processing PORT’s digital output. It is also possible that there is a different codec path for your USB output.

While there can be subtle differences between the sonics of high quality kit, we are not debating about rebranded vinegar trying to pass as wine.

Userlevel 5
Badge +9

An external DAC can’t resolve jitter on an SPDIF link, because SPDIF has no error correction facility.

Essentially it happens when the clock at the receiving end fails to match the clock at the sending end. Valid data can be lost, invalid data can be inserted and valid data can be corrupted.

The receiver may be able to detect that errors have occurred but, because there is no error correction, can do nothing about it.

This description makes it sound serious but, in my experience, it’s not in the real world! I did some experiments in the mid 90’s with cheap SPDIF equipment and… I never found any examples of errors caused by jitter. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen.

Jitter seems to be quoted frequently by higher-end audio manufacturers, and I suspect that the main reason they do it is that few people understand what it is, and even fewer have the ability to measure it - so they can make any claims that they like with no real danger that their claims will be questioned.

Historically, concern about jitter mainly arose in telecoms networks before the time when the phase locked loop had been invented. These days, clock stability is such that networks can operate at tens of Gb/s without any issues at all, so designing a clock for PCM audio really isn’t a technical challenge!

My point is that you have to have music lovers on your side. There is a very small difference from being judged as great from just good. It is a matter of preference. People who are active on forums, write reviews, do youtube videos and so on are audiophiles. This is a best way to make them LOVE Sonos. It is always give and take relationship.

Honestly, I can’t say that I’ve looked at the opinions of audiophiles when making decisions on audio quality.  Whenever possible, I trust my own ears. Even when seeking advice from youtubers  or other social media, it’s not the people looking for perfection that I’m listening to. From my experience, audiophiles don’t have the same priorities as me.   

Even if audiophiles did help with sales as you suggest, I’m not sure that a $900 Port is going to help sell the $350 Port….since the audiophile is likely going to say the  $350 Port isn’t good enough.  Really, your argument is like saying that Honda needs to start making supercars, so the supercar fans will tell others that the Accord is a good vehicle.

Userlevel 5
Badge +9

I can understand what you are saying, and it’s a very interesting subject, if you like that sort of thing!

A very recent example that I can think of is a highly respected manufacturer of loudspeakers, covering both domestic and “professional” customers (I won’t name them here). Their products have been well reviewed for many many years, and then suddenly a reviewer (Audio Science Review) decided to measure the linearity of the frequency response of their products and found that - shock, horror - they aren’t very linear at all!

Of course, everyone knows that the frequency response must be ruler-flat, so how could this be, when many people (including me) like the sound of their products?

It does imply that focussing on what “everyone knows” will produce the best sound may be counter-productive, and that you may be better off simply trying your equipment in front of a selection of “typical” listeners. You can then make whatever they like the sound of best - even if that means non-linear frequency response, poor jitter performance, etc.

Userlevel 2

I agree on economic side of your point. It is always better to have general population as customer then a niche.

The question here remains who do general population consult when buying music gear? 

My point is that you have to have music lovers on your side. There is a very small difference from being judged as great from just good. It is a matter of preference. People who are active on forums, write reviews, do youtube videos and so on are audiophiles. This is a best way to make them LOVE Sonos. It is always give and take relationship.

From technical side and jitter Sonos knows what sounds good. If Wired 4 Sound can do it Sonos can too and 10x better. When something sounds good everyone agrees and let it go and when something sounds bad everyone tries to find out why. Jitter is just one of these excuses. Even 39$ Raspberry Pie HAT has better coax output for goodness sake.... It can not be that difficult or expensive.

Just wanted to help since I really love Sonos and I would like to continue to use its products for many more years to come. 


That's okay. You're still contributing to Sonos revenues indirectly, in the form of royalties. 

Userlevel 2

@Kumar These are all assumptions. These are not grounded arguments. What if difference can be heard and what if a lot of audiphiles use modified Sonos Connects as a source just because of convinience?

You are basically speking in front of milion of audiophiles even you are not one and about things you havent even tried. 

Userlevel 2

@Kumar If you have tried 35$ Chromecast, 350$ Port and 1000$ DAC in blind lostening test and could not hear difference then I stand corrected and you have my deepest appologies. 

Could you give us a analysis result which shows the power supply on the Port puts out “so much electrical noise” along with an ABX test which shows that “so much electrical noise” is audible to the listener?


The current from the power supply is what’s moving the magnets in the woofers and tweeters that creates the sound you hear. The first commercial DACs built into CD players had tons of issues, such as voltage changes based on how many bits were 0s and how many were 1s. They’d output a significant difference between 01111111 and 10000000, when that should be the smallest difference possible. It doesn’t take “golden ears” to hear the difference between a mass market 1980’s CD player and a high quality one from 2022. It also doesn’t “golden ears” to hear the difference between components with cheap switching power supplies and ones with good power supplies.

Sonos power supplies aren’t crap, but to simply dismiss the impact of the electrical engineering that goes into making different audio components as inaudible because they’re “digital” is as foolhardy as the claims of any audiophool.

Sorry to pick on you. You’re post is just at the end of a frustrating thread in which I’m trying to find some answers as to why my 2-ch system w/ a Sonos Connect into a Pro-ject Pre Box S2 into a Bryson 4B sounded so much better before I replaced all that with an Amp so I could use the 2-channels as rear speakers with an Arc and Sub. Even when I set the surrounds to max for music playback, the music just isn’t as enjoyable as it was before. Probably has more to do with impedance matching with the speakers (B+Ws) than anything else.  


If “golden ears” are not needed, then the requested ABX test to show the electrical noise is audible to the listener should be a piece of cake.  When should I expect it?

Why is a separate DAC even necessary with a Port.

For an equipment hobbyist, that tinkering is a necessity to keep the hobby going, with the amount spent on the external DAC varying according to budgets. Mature tech is an obstacle to this tinkering so, ergo, it isn't mature yet. Been there, done that. With external DACs costing up to USD 1500.

I have two old Connects that have worked fine with both variable and fixed outputs and since both options sound the same I prefer using variable for the remote volume control it confers. I have never heard the Port, but I suspect that even the issue with the variable outputs has not yet been picked out by anyone in a blind listening test with accurate level matching.

From technical side and jitter Sonos knows what sounds good. If Wired 4 Sound can do it Sonos can too and 10x better.


Wyred 4 Sound.  ROFL.  They recently formed a company to license the legendary Bob Carver name, then produced this overpriced piece of garbage:



Most “audiophiles” are utterly clueless.  Thankfully, Amir is changing that by measuring this crap.

If the Port is to be used in Fixed Volume mode then all the criticisms of the digital out’s DSP are moot. There’s no DSP in Fixed. (Equally the analog out is perfectly fine in Variable Volume mode, but one can understand why you’d want to use the Topping: sunk cost.)

Buy a Port from Sonos. Try it.  You have 100 days to return it if you don’t like it. Simple.