Sonos support for Apple Music's Lossless Audio

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@James L. I read through this thread and understand your answer. Perhaps there is power in the community of Apple Music / Sonos users collectively requesting that Apple support lossless on Sonos. However, it would be much better for Sonos to be proactively working with Apple as much as possible to make this happen and to communicate to the Sonos community exactly what Sonos is doing in this regard - v.s. simply saying it is up to Apple. As a Sonos user, I expect that Sonos is working with all important music services to get the best experience for Sonos users. So be vocal about that!  thx.


I didn’t interpret @James L. comment to mean that Sonos doesn’t care about the audio quality of services or what their customers are asking for.  The point was that Sonos can’t just make it happen without the consent and cooperation of the music service itself.  As well, Sonos, doesn’t want the general public to be a fly on the wall in the various negotiations Sonos has with Apple.  There isn’t really a lot to gain by that.

My conclusion is it just isn’t relevant on Sonos from a listening poin tof view because it isn’t hifi but that is absolutely no criticism of Sonos because it doesn’t claim to be hifi. .   . 

I could not hear these differences even on a Harbeth C7 speaker pair driven by a Quad preamp/amp. 

Either this equipment was also not HiFi, or my ears are shot. 

No complaints, because this was a very liberating discovery.

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I believe you. I can’t hear the difference between lossless and lossy on my hifi speakers using Sonos connect. The sound quality of my hifi is still way better than my Sonos system as it sounds a lot more natural than the processed sound of my Sonos system   Just in the same way as my Sonos sounds way better than Bluetooth speakers which sound way better than my mobile phone speakers. Every hifi user ive come across still prefers Sonos app for casual background listening which is its purpose just not for focused listening. Others don’t care. Each to their own. 

It is only on a very revealing headphone system that I can hear the difference and there it has made the difference between listening occasionally and every day and skipping lossy tracks. But the most dramatic difference has been swopping the Sonis connect for a usb cable which highlighted how dramatically the Sonos was limiting the sound quality of my headphones. The USB cable was a lot cheaper than the connect but you would still need a revealing system to appreciate the difference.  It is a completely different experience which enables you to get lost in the music and hear details you have never heard before. It is a relatively niche market though and I don’t doubt that there are better systems than mine that are even more revealing.


I fully appreciate that a lot of people will be entirely satisfied with the Sonos processed sound as I am for background music  but some people will also get s lot more pleasure from a more natural and accurate sound. it’s Personal preference. 

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I only hope and wish that it is true that  people will no longer continually try to promote the absurd position that there couldn’t possibly be anything that might possibly sound better to some people than lossy on Sonos. 

I fully understand and accept that some people are unable to understand and accept that some people may have different equipment and different Personal listening experiences.  Just like people prefer different music Genres  there is no absolute right or wrong. I’m merely suggesting that some people may prefer to try the sound of a cheaper USB cable on some systems. Great for me but might not do anything for others. It is not vaccines or Afghanistan it is merely about being open  minded enough that other peoples might have different experiences and open enough to try them and see if it works for them rather than trying to limit people’s views and experiences. 

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Sonos can play ALAC from a SMB drive already using the Sonos Library feature but looking at the supported formats for a SMAPI music service, which is the Sonos API layer that Sonos uses to interface with a streaming music service, it doesn't look like ALAC is supported, so this is on Sonos to support.  

It supports .m4a MPEG4 containers, which ALACs use but only seems to support AAC codecs in those containers, also mentions FLACs and WMA (it mentions it doesn't support WMA Voice, but no mention of WMA Lossless one way or another so it could be WMA Lossless could be supported) , but no mention of ALAC support which Apple is using for Lossless on Apple Music.


So unless this documentation is outdated, Sonos needs to ALAC support to their SMAPI API for Apple to be able to implement this.  Strange, since ALAC does work via the library.  This won’t do anything for hires (unless its 24/48 only) but CD-Quality and access to the Apple remastered tracks would be nice.

Also, this thread of someone having trouble with wireless streaming of HD music may be of interest.

I expect to see a lot more such threads here as more people fall for the HD red herring, now that Sonos has opened that Pandoras box of trouble on its kit.

I only have Airplay 2 Sonos devices and it is not optimal but Airplay supports 16/44.1 ALAC via airplay so CD quality should be doable via Airplay (unless Sonos does something like upsample everything to 48Hz like ATVs do - in which case it would still work just be upsampled to from 16/44 to 16/48) .  are minimum to update it.  Everyone else relies on airplay to support Apple Music.

Many are reporting that Apple Music is not AirPlaying in lossless and in fact is using 256AAC, even when it says it is lossless. Go figure? 

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Indeed. I suspect that anyone that can’t hear the difference between lossy and lossless is confused by debate between lossless and hires and:or hasn’t heard a really good hifi system and/or isn’t really into music and/or their hearing is failing and/or they are trolling. It is a subtle but marked difference and just like when I’m playing Sport a small adjustment can make a massive difference to your pleasure.

The losslesss CD standard was set for a reason and Apple Music insist on high quality lossless recordings for a reason.


For a small investment it is certainly worth hearing and deciding for yourself rather than accepting the myth that there is nothing in the world that sounds better the Sonos lossy.

Whether it does anything for you is entirely personal and not something that someone else should try to dictate their views to you. But that is the insanity that is social media unfortunately 

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I can definitely hear the difference between playing lossless via the Apple Music app on my MacBook connected to my DAC via USB compared to playing the same song on the Port. This is my workaround at the moment and it works pretty well. From a convenience point of view I would prefer Sonos to implement lossless Apple Music via the app so I can use it on the Port instead.  Let’s hope they can get this sorted soon. 

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Exactly. I would like the option to hear for myself. Sonos is convenient and reliable. Apple  16/44 or preferable 24/48 on Sonos speakers would be fine. Appreciate that is also down to Apple and Sonos by no means alone. If Sonos wants to offer a hi res Port that gives the option to not distort the sound so I can play hi res comtennt on hi res dac that would be great but accept that is not Sonos market and I will probably have to look elsewhere for Apple hi res hardware from other manufacturers as it becomes available. 

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Sometimes it a good idea to go talk directly to someone at the company



Thanks for the link. I’ve submitted feedback to Apple. 

Me as well. 

Somehow I doubt that this will come to Sonos in a hurry. I have Apple Music and Spotify, regular services, that serve me well enough with the HiFi listening experience at home through a combination of Sonos and third party kit. But I rarely use Apple Music because the native app still does not work with Sonos even after all these years. Spotify does; for that matter so does Amazon Music. I can use Apple Music via Amazon via voice control too, and thence to Sonos, but voice isn't always as convenient as using the native app on the phone.

I suspect that the reason for this lack is that Apple and Sonos don’t see eye to eye, which is ironic because both companies are much more like each other than different. The other ironic thing of course is that a lot of Sonos fans don’t like Apple because it is a closed universe...go figure :grin:

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But I rarely use Apple Music because the native app still does not work with Sonos even after all these years. Spotify does; for that matter so does Amazon Music.

I’m not sure what you are referring to. I do this (or something similar) all the time - I use Airplay to cast music from the Apple Music iOS  app to Sonos. Sometimes I listen to Apple Music this way, sometimes I use the iOS Sonos app instead.

Can you elaborate?


And Sonos can be disingenuous whenever it suits them; every time I have asked the question as to why Apple Music does not cast to Sonos as Spotify does, or Amazon Music does, the response has been that it is for Apple to get this done. In theory this may be correct, but if this feature was thought to be user priority for Sonos, I am sure they would not just sit back like this, but be more proactive. After all, they didn't just sit back waiting for Apple actions to bringing Airplay compatibility to the latest Sonos kit.

But I am pretty sure that the initial Sonos responses will be - this is an Apple issue.

Now I could be wrong where Apple Music HD is concerned, but history suggests that I am not. Those waiting may therefore have a long wait.

Or, they could trust their own ears to tell them that the regular Apple Music service is just as good. Or, they could switch for the price of the alternative monthly fee to another HD service.

This isn't therefore such a big deal. In my case, I get what I want - the native app based control - by using Spotify.

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i think you mean  16/44 is not hires


CD is lossless and… 

2 channels of LPCMaudio, each signed 16-bit values sampled at 44100 Hz

Any news?

Streaming Apple Music from MacBook Air (Big Sur 11.4) using AirPlay to a Sonos One Gen 1 appears to be streaming in lossless, at least from what the Music App reports, and there is a slight audible difference when changing between standard and lossless. 



Not sure if there’s any way to see from Sonos’ perspective the bitrate of the track that’s currently playing?

Sometimes it a good idea to go talk directly to someone at the company



Thanks for the link. I’ve submitted feedback to Apple. 

Me as well. 

Me too and I hope everyone on this forum will do likewise

You’ll never get any company to be transparent about their direct interactions with another company. It just doesn’t happen, for all sorts of reasons. 

Frankly, Sonos has never related any information about software features under development. The most you’d see is when something is being tested in the beta environment, if you’re a beta tester, and NDA’d to not talk about it. Those of us in the community at large will only ever find out about features when they get released.

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The argument for hires is not that it enables high frequencies to be played. No one disputes that these frequencies can’t be heard. Therefore. it is a spurious defence against hires as it isn’t the argument for hires. 

The argument for hires capability is not enabling higher frequencies - but firstly allowing higher quality original recordings to be played which can’t be played at all on Sonos ie zero sound quality on sonos and secondly higher sampling rates which allows for transient sounds to be captured which can be Heard  


The difference certainly won’t be heard on Sonos speakers as they are not Hi-Fi. Sonos is an excellent life style product for background music but the sound quality of my Hi-Fi amp dac and speakers and reference headphone and amp is in a completely different league to Sonos speakers. In the same way that  adding an external dac and quality earbuds to my iPhone completely transforms the listening experience. 

I’d agree hires on Sonos speakers is superfluous but it would be good if Sonos introduced a market competitive connect/port that enabled higher quality original recording to be played on Hi-Fi as most other streamers on the market do.  let us hope for Apple lossless on Sonos first. But at some point Sonos will have to admit that bandwidths and technology has moved on since Sonos was created or risk no longer being competitive. The technology department may be against hires but ultimately it’s marketing that wins. 

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I’m not convinced it will sound any better than AAC played through the Sonos app, but it’s worth $30 to find out.


The downside is that your iDevice will be eating battery charge all the time that music is playing.

It’s an old phone and I’ll only be using it at home, so I don’t see this as an issue. I can just keep it plugged in if I need to.

What’s the current quality of Apple music on Sonos?  Based on the information from the article, sounds as if Apple is only offering above CD quality on Apple devices...which is pretty typical of Apple.  


To start listening to Lossless Audio, subscribers using the latest version of Apple Music can turn it on in Settings > Music > Audio Quality. Here, they can choose different resolutions for different connections such as cellular, Wi-Fi, or for download. Apple Music’s Lossless tier starts at CD quality, which is 16 bit at 44.1 kHz (kilohertz), and goes up to 24 bit at 48 kHz and is playable natively on Apple devices. For the true audiophile, Apple Music also offers Hi-Resolution Lossless all the way up to 24 bit at 192 kHz.1

That is completely wrong if you have read anything at all and it is not typical of Apple. Apple Music is on android and everywhere else they can think of to make money from services. 


The text in italics was a direct quote for the article.  If I’m wrong then the article is wrong.  And yes, it’s not at all surprising for Apple to have services/features that are only available on Apple devices.  heck, airplay can only be generated from Apple devices.  Yes, you can have Apple music on an android, but you can’t use airplay, and based on the text above, you won’t be playing hires tracks.  But hey, maybe the article is wrong or I’m just not reading it right.

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You can now play lossless, hi res and Apple masters from Apple Music by connecting direct from Apple device to a hi res dac. Just not on Sonos. Just saying. 

Curious what rates will be available on Sonos via AirPlay and direct on Sonos App. Meanwhile I’m switching away from Sonos to a direct connection to my Hi-Fi dac because my Hi-Fi dac like most Hi-Fi dacs apart from Sonos can play hi res masters. 

Like it or not the tech giants Apple and Amazon now offer hi res and Sonos doesn’t. Don’t know ideally maybe they will be able to play hi res as 24 bit 48khz on old devices and hi res 192lhz on new introduced devices at same time?  Hi res still play on Apple devices even if output isn’t hi res so presumably technically possible. Only really relevant for a Hi-Fi port/connect but if Apple and Amazon feel they have to offer hi res even if it is only for marketing purposes can’t see how Sonos can ignore. 

Roon manage it quite well 


Roon sends video streams to multiple endputs in sync?  The point was that if you can stream 4k video, than you can stream hires audio.  My counterpoint was that it having to play the stream at multiple endpoints in sync was a big factor.

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It is annoying but think 16/44 on AirPlay will not take long. Suspect 24/48 direct on Sonos as technology already there and a higher spec AirPlay 3 will come at some point  Apple and Sonos are about convenience not  spec  

I understand from Apple that Apple TV should play lossless at 16/48  Also understand if you have a 16/44 source direct on Sonos it will play 16/44 on other grouped devices so 16/44 soon, 24/48 at some point in future on Sonos and hi res not on Sonos anytime soon but USB to an external DAC  Not a bad result  As I now have hi res content and a hi res DAC a hi res bit perfect  Sonos port 2 with AirPlay 3 would be a theoretical nice to have that I would fall for  

I stuck with Apple Music because prefer UI over all the other streamers services and it was inevitable they would offer lossless after Amazon and Spotify  likewise I like the Sonos usesbility and it is now highly like that they will upgrade spec at some point