Can you play Spatial Audio from Apple Music over AirPlay2

  • 28 March 2023
  • 20 replies
  • 1518 views

I have a set of Spatial Audio (Dolby Atmos) compatible speakers: an Arc, 2 x Era 300s and a Sub.

When I read various articles, I get the sense that the only way to play Spatial Audio from Apple Music is via the Sonos S2 app, and that it won’t be lossless. Is that right?

If one plays from the Apple Music app (iOS or OSX) over AirPlay 2 to these devices, I further get the sense believe that the music won’t be Spatial Audio (or lossless). Is that right?


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I constate same issue.

We need to play music from Sonos S2 App 😢

However, the experience is really different. Dolby Atmos is crazy.

I have Arc, Sub 2nd Gen. and two One.

Userlevel 7

Lossless and Dolby Atmos are two different things. Dolby Atmos is an object-based surround sound technology while lossless is a type of audio compression that ensures there is no data loss which results in higher quality audio.

There are currently two ways to play Dolby Atmos music from Apple Music on compatible Sonos speakers:

  1. Directly from Apple Music on the Sonos app
  2. Directly from the Apple Music app on an Apple TV 4K

There is currently only one way to play lossless music from Apple Music on compatible Sonos speakers:

  1. Directly from the Apple Music app on an Apple TV 4K

Neither Dolby Atmos nor lossless is supported on Sonos over AirPlay.

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I’m surprised to see Spacial/Atmos go live for Apple Music on Sonos but no support at all for high resolution playback for those of us without an Arc, Era etc. 

 

I was excited to play Apple Music on Sonos from today and see an Ultra HD (or even HD) tag show up - but nothing. It’s very much all or nothing - Atmos or vanilla…

 

Anyone else keen to get high res Apple Music content on Sonos?

 

Or is it already high resolution, just without a tag??

I’m surprised to see Spacial/Atmos go live for Apple Music on Sonos but no support at all for high resolution playback for those of us without an Arc, Era etc. 

 

 

From my experience, it’s not too surprising.  Apple has to provide the data stream obviously, and Sonos can handle atmos and lossless since they do both with other streaming services.  We’ll never know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Sonos had to pay Apple a bit of a fee to get Apple spatial, since it will help Sonos sell more speakers and probably not a lot of new Apple subscriptions.  Maybe.  Don’t who’s the horse and who’s cart in this situation, or even if it’s the right metaphor.

Lossless on the other, probably doesn’t sell quite as many speakers, but I am guessing.  Does Apple get more subs if they have lossless through Sonos?  Don’t know.  Doesn’t help them sell more homepods.

 

I was excited to play Apple Music on Sonos from today and see an Ultra HD (or even HD) tag show up - but nothing. It’s very much all or nothing - Atmos or vanilla…

 

Anyone else keen to get high res Apple Music content on Sonos?

 

Or is it already high resolution, just without a tag??

 

The fact that you can’t tell whether you are listening to high res or not unless you have a tag to tell you what you heard...doesn’t make it sound like it’s really that important to your listening experience.  I mean, maybe just forget about it and enjoy it?  I don’t mean that to come as a knock on you specifically, I think we (myself included) sometimes get too caught up the specs that we lose track of whether it really makes that much of a difference.

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Thanks for the reply. That all makes sense, especially the’ what’s in it for Apple’…

Lossless and Dolby Atmos are two different things. Dolby Atmos is an object-based surround sound technology while lossless is a type of audio compression that ensures there is no data loss which results in higher quality audio.

There are currently two ways to play Dolby Atmos music from Apple Music on compatible Sonos speakers:

  1. Directly from Apple Music on the Sonos app
  2. Directly from the Apple Music app on an Apple TV 4K

There is currently only one way to play lossless music from Apple Music on compatible Sonos speakers:

  1. Directly from the Apple Music app on an Apple TV 4K

Neither Dolby Atmos nor lossless is supported on Sonos over AirPlay.

I tried as you said, play apple music from the sonos app, dolby atmos appears on the image with the artist, but if I check in about my system it appears that:

Audio in:

Normally it should appear

Audio in: Dolby Atmos

Userlevel 7

I tried as you said, play apple music from the sonos app, dolby atmos appears on the image with the artist, but if I check in about my system it appears that:

Audio in:

Normally it should appear

Audio in: Dolby Atmos

The Sonos app will only show the audio format after “Audio In:” when playing TV audio. It won’t show anything when streaming music from the Sonos app or a mobile music app.

I tried as you said, play apple music from the sonos app, dolby atmos appears on the image with the artist, but if I check in about my system it appears that:

Audio in:

Normally it should appear

Audio in: Dolby Atmos

The Sonos app will only show the audio format after “Audio In:” when playing TV audio. It won’t show anything when streaming music from the Sonos app or a mobile music app.

Thanks for the answer, I understand..
If instead I give play to the apple music application installed on the TV, in the audio in: appears Dolby Digital 2.0, am I to understand that only with apple tv does Dolby Atmos work?

@GuitarSuperstar do you you know if a voice request to play Apple music, either via Sonos Voice Control (SVC) or Alexa, will result in atmos music on an Era 300 or Arc?  

I would expect it to be the case with SVC, and maybe not via Alexa.

Userlevel 7

If instead I give play to the apple music application installed on the TV, in the audio in: appears Dolby Digital 2.0, am I to understand that only with apple tv does Dolby Atmos work?

Dolby Atmos audio will only work if played from the Apple Music app on an Apple TV 4K. It won’t work on the TV’s native Apple Music app.

 

@GuitarSuperstar do you you know if a voice request to play Apple music, either via Sonos Voice Control (SVC) or Alexa, will result in atmos music on an Era 300 or Arc?  

I would expect it to be the case with SVC, and maybe not via Alexa.

Not sure. I just set up my Era 300s late last night and am planning on testing it out tonight. I don’t think it works using Alexa because it hasn’t worked in the past. I have never tried it using SVC. But I’ll let you know.

I’m listening to the Thriller Dolby Atmos mix (probably the album I’m most familiar with) on Apple TV with my Arc/sub/surrounds set up.  Sounds great. 
 

However, directly from Apple Music via the Sonos app it doesn’t sound as good. Aren’t they both meant to be Dolby Atmos now? 
 

Im not sure if it’s just a change in volume. Seems that the bass on instruments and vocals is less etc. Also when you check the system settings it doesn’t say Dolby Atmos , just WM:1. Is that right?

 

im using the latest 15.2 version and it has a spacial

audio setting which I turned on. 
 

 

 

@GuitarSuperstar do you you know if a voice request to play Apple music, either via Sonos Voice Control (SVC) or Alexa, will result in atmos music on an Era 300 or Arc?  

I would expect it to be the case with SVC, and maybe not via Alexa.

Not sure. I just set up my Era 300s late last night and am planning on testing it out tonight. I don’t think it works using Alexa because it hasn’t worked in the past. I have never tried it using SVC. But I’ll let you know.

 

Thanks.  Mine are sitting on my doorstep delivered today.  Not sure how much time I’ll have to play tonight, and I don’t even have Apple music at the moment.  Probably take advantage of free trial offer.

Userlevel 7

I’m listening to the Thriller Dolby Atmos mix (probably the album I’m most familiar with) on Apple TV with my Arc/sub/surrounds set up.  Sounds great. 
 

However, directly from Apple Music via the Sonos app it doesn’t sound as good. Aren’t they both meant to be Dolby Atmos now? 
 

Im not sure if it’s just a change in volume. Seems that the bass on instruments and vocals is less etc. Also when you check the system settings it doesn’t say Dolby Atmos , just WM:1. Is that right?

 

im using the latest 15.2 version and it has a spacial

audio setting which I turned on. 

When streaming music directly from the Sonos app or using a mobile music streaming app, the Sonos app will not show what audio format is playing after “Audio In:” under “About My System”. It will only show the audio format after “Audio In:” when playing TV audio.

The best way to check if you are getting Dolby Atmos audio when streaming directly from the Sonos app is on the Now Playing screen. You will clearly see the Dolby Atmos logo if the song you are playing is in Dolby Atmos.

Yes, there is a difference in audio quality between listening to Dolby Atmos music from the Apple TV 4K compared to the Sonos app. I prefer the Apple TV for the same reasons you listed above. But, rest assured, you are playing Dolby Atmos audio from both devices as long as you see the Dolby Atmos logo displayed in the Sonos app.

I’m listening to the Thriller Dolby Atmos mix (probably the album I’m most familiar with) on Apple TV with my Arc/sub/surrounds set up.  Sounds great. 
 

However, directly from Apple Music via the Sonos app it doesn’t sound as good. Aren’t they both meant to be Dolby Atmos now? 
 

Im not sure if it’s just a change in volume. Seems that the bass on instruments and vocals is less etc. Also when you check the system settings it doesn’t say Dolby Atmos , just WM:1. Is that right?

 

im using the latest 15.2 version and it has a spacial

audio setting which I turned on. 

When streaming music directly from the Sonos app or using a mobile music streaming app, the Sonos app will not show what audio format is playing after “Audio In:” under “About My System”. It will only show the audio format after “Audio In:” when playing TV audio.

The best way to check if you are getting Dolby Atmos audio when streaming directly from the Sonos app is on the Now Playing screen. You will clearly see the Dolby Atmos logo if the song you are playing is in Dolby Atmos.

Yes, there is a difference in audio quality between listening to Dolby Atmos music from the Apple TV 4K compared to the Sonos app. I prefer the Apple TV for the same reasons you listed above. But, rest assured, you are playing Dolby Atmos audio from both devices as long as you see the Dolby Atmos logo displayed in the Sonos app.

Hmm... Honestly, I don't understand anything anymore! Are there different kinds of Dolby Atmos?? How is it possible to hear it differently depending on the way the song is played, through the sono application or through apple tv? Since it's Dolby Atmos shouldn't it sound the same? It means that if it is played through the application, it is no longer Dolby Atmos.

 

I’m listening to the Thriller Dolby Atmos mix (probably the album I’m most familiar with) on Apple TV with my Arc/sub/surrounds set up.  Sounds great. 
 

However, directly from Apple Music via the Sonos app it doesn’t sound as good. Aren’t they both meant to be Dolby Atmos now? 
 

Im not sure if it’s just a change in volume. Seems that the bass on instruments and vocals is less etc. Also when you check the system settings it doesn’t say Dolby Atmos , just WM:1. Is that right?

 

im using the latest 15.2 version and it has a spacial

audio setting which I turned on. 

When streaming music directly from the Sonos app or using a mobile music streaming app, the Sonos app will not show what audio format is playing after “Audio In:” under “About My System”. It will only show the audio format after “Audio In:” when playing TV audio.

The best way to check if you are getting Dolby Atmos audio when streaming directly from the Sonos app is on the Now Playing screen. You will clearly see the Dolby Atmos logo if the song you are playing is in Dolby Atmos.

Yes, there is a difference in audio quality between listening to Dolby Atmos music from the Apple TV 4K compared to the Sonos app. I prefer the Apple TV for the same reasons you listed above. But, rest assured, you are playing Dolby Atmos audio from both devices as long as you see the Dolby Atmos logo displayed in the Sonos app.

Thanks for the reply. I’m actually not seeing the Dolby Atmos logo when I’m playing the album via the Sonos app. So maybe that’s what the issue is? 
 

not sure why it’s not working for me. Any ideas?

Do I have to update something other than the app?

 

I’m listening to the Thriller Dolby Atmos mix (probably the album I’m most familiar with) on Apple TV with my Arc/sub/surrounds set up.  Sounds great. 
 

However, directly from Apple Music via the Sonos app it doesn’t sound as good. Aren’t they both meant to be Dolby Atmos now? 
 

Im not sure if it’s just a change in volume. Seems that the bass on instruments and vocals is less etc. Also when you check the system settings it doesn’t say Dolby Atmos , just WM:1. Is that right?

 

im using the latest 15.2 version and it has a spacial

audio setting which I turned on. 

When streaming music directly from the Sonos app or using a mobile music streaming app, the Sonos app will not show what audio format is playing after “Audio In:” under “About My System”. It will only show the audio format after “Audio In:” when playing TV audio.

The best way to check if you are getting Dolby Atmos audio when streaming directly from the Sonos app is on the Now Playing screen. You will clearly see the Dolby Atmos logo if the song you are playing is in Dolby Atmos.

Yes, there is a difference in audio quality between listening to Dolby Atmos music from the Apple TV 4K compared to the Sonos app. I prefer the Apple TV for the same reasons you listed above. But, rest assured, you are playing Dolby Atmos audio from both devices as long as you see the Dolby Atmos logo displayed in the Sonos app.

Thanks for the reply. I’m actually not seeing the Dolby Atmos logo when I’m playing the album via the Sonos app. So maybe that’s what the issue is? 
 

not sure why it’s not working for me. Any ideas?

Do I have to update something other than the app?

 

I’m listening to the Thriller Dolby Atmos mix (probably the album I’m most familiar with) on Apple TV with my Arc/sub/surrounds set up.  Sounds great. 
 

However, directly from Apple Music via the Sonos app it doesn’t sound as good. Aren’t they both meant to be Dolby Atmos now? 
 

Im not sure if it’s just a change in volume. Seems that the bass on instruments and vocals is less etc. Also when you check the system settings it doesn’t say Dolby Atmos , just WM:1. Is that right?

 

im using the latest 15.2 version and it has a spacial

audio setting which I turned on. 

When streaming music directly from the Sonos app or using a mobile music streaming app, the Sonos app will not show what audio format is playing after “Audio In:” under “About My System”. It will only show the audio format after “Audio In:” when playing TV audio.

The best way to check if you are getting Dolby Atmos audio when streaming directly from the Sonos app is on the Now Playing screen. You will clearly see the Dolby Atmos logo if the song you are playing is in Dolby Atmos.

Yes, there is a difference in audio quality between listening to Dolby Atmos music from the Apple TV 4K compared to the Sonos app. I prefer the Apple TV for the same reasons you listed above. But, rest assured, you are playing Dolby Atmos audio from both devices as long as you see the Dolby Atmos logo displayed in the Sonos app.

Thanks for the reply. I’m actually not seeing the Dolby Atmos logo when I’m playing the album via the Sonos app. So maybe that’s what the issue is? 
 

not sure why it’s not working for me. Any ideas?

Do I have to update something other than the app?

 

you have to play through the Apple Music application but from the sonos app

Userlevel 7

Hmm... Honestly, I don't understand anything anymore! Are there different kinds of Dolby Atmos?? How is it possible to hear it differently depending on the way the song is played, through the sono application or through apple tv? Since it's Dolby Atmos shouldn't it sound the same? It means that if it is played through the application, it is no longer Dolby Atmos.

There are actually three flavors of Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos via Dolby TrueHD, via Dolby Digital Plus, and via Dolby MAT. I know the Apple TV uses Dolby MAT to play Atmos. I don’t know exactly how it is played through the Sonos app. This GUIDE is helpful to understand the types of Dolby Atmos and where they are used.

But I think the difference you are hearing is less about the type of Dolby Atmos audio and more about other factors like the way tvOS renders Dolby Atmos on the Apple TV, or the way Sonos outputs TV audio differently than music audio. Sonos may even set a different EQ for each. I honestly don’t know. Maybe @Corry P can chime in.

Userlevel 7

Thanks for the reply. I’m actually not seeing the Dolby Atmos logo when I’m playing the album via the Sonos app. So maybe that’s what the issue is? 
 

not sure why it’s not working for me. Any ideas?

Do I have to update something other than the app?

Make sure the speakers have been updated too. Go to the Settings tab, tap System > System Updates > Check for Updates.

Also be sure to enable the Spatial Audio setting in the Sonos app.

Ok, I’ve fixed it. I had to update the Sonos devices as well. Had to go into to settings etc 

my opinion:

Apple TV sounds a lot better!

I think it’s the difference you hear with blu ray uncompressed vs compressed Dolby. The surround separation is there in the Sonos Dolby (the brass section particularly stands out, probably too much). But the fullness of the individual sounds is lacking compared to what’s coming out of the Apple TV Atmos mix. 
 

Also the separation of the vocals and main instruments coming directly from the arc isn’t as good from the Sonos app vs Apple TV. MJ’s vocals are fuller and stand out better. It’s just all around a “weightier” and more balance mix. 

I probably wouldn’t have noticed all this if I didn’t have Apple TV,  but the new 40th anniversary Atmos mixes of thriller are big deal really, and it’s interesting to hear an album I know so well in different contexts. 
 

the thing I’m getting from this is that it’s probably just lossless vs compressed that makes hearing. Apple TV is lossless Dolby going directly to the arc. It may even be Hires as well?

the problem for Sonos is that this is all fairly high quality equipment with arc, Sonos sub etc. and people will notice the difference if they have equipment that can expose the detail like that. 
 

Sonos probably need to get lossless in the mix pretty soon. Especially with the new speakers like the era 300. People will start to notice the difference a bit…

 

 

I just noticed something really annoying. Playing a Dolby Atmos song via the Sonos app, it takes a few seconds (>10sec) for the Spatial Audio to kick-in and the Dolby Atmos tag to appear in the song display. 
There’s also a noticeable disruption (<1sec)  in the music reproduction, which doesn’t sound nice at all.

That never happened when playing Dolby Atmos records directly from the Apple TV.

Before anyone asks, I have solid WiFi signal.

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