Sonos support for Apple Music's Lossless Audio


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Announcement: https://www.apple.com/ca/newsroom/2021/05/apple-music-announces-spatial-audio-and-lossless-audio/

 

Now that Apple Music has joined the “lossless club”, can we please hear from Sonos as to whether this will be supported, and, if it will be, approximately when that may occur?

 

Thanks.


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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.

I am not sure what happens to music play when there is a phone call underway, but again, this won’t matter if the phone is not in use as such.

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I am not sure what happens to music play when there is a phone call underway, but again, this won’t matter if the phone is not in use as such.

No SIM card so no problem. :)

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… since Apple doesn’t seem to have an API for casting, and it would make sense for the API used to be dictated by the device with less firmware resources.


I'm slightly confused by your commentary, as AirPlay (2 definitely, but I think even 1 could) is capable of operating both in what I would describe as a direct streaming mode (data flows from source device app to audio/video output target), and also being used in a handoff mode (data flows direct from 3rd party “internet” source to audio/video output target, source device app retains control for pause/play and progress feedback)

As far as I am aware Sonos Connect can do both too, for audio. Those using the Spotify app are using a handoff approach, I think?

(It seems unlikely that you’ll ever see Connect implemented in the Apple Music app on iOS, but you can use it to stream to a Chromecast device when running on Android.) 

Generally I use Sonos’s own controller app because playback can be controlled from whatever device is to hand (phone, iPad, a computer). It can be frustratingly slow to catch up with what is playing sometimes, and the browsing experience is never as good as the music source’s native app, so I certainly understand why many don’t use it!

also being used in a handoff mode (data flows direct from 3rd party “internet” source to audio/video output target, source device app retains control for pause/play and progress feedback)

 

From what I have read here, this is possible only via Apple hardware like Apple TV. 

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So Apple have released a support page clarifying what we already knew, lossless doesn’t work via Bluetooth. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT212183

Still no mention of AirPlay though. I’ve read various snippets, including something from Cambridge Audio, that AirPlay streams at a lossless bit rate but it still seems to be a secret as far as Apple are concerned. Would like to see something official that AirPlay doesn’t compress audio before transmission.

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Also, Amazon and Tidal are both available in lossless form on Sonos so it would be pretty silly for Apple not to offer this via Sonos too.

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Still no mention of AirPlay though. I’ve read various snippets, including something from Cambridge Audio, that AirPlay streams at a lossless bit rate but it still seems to be a secret as far as Apple are concerned. Would like to see something official that AirPlay doesn’t compress audio before transmission.

AirPlay is lossless and I believe utilizes ALAC for transmitting audio. One of the audio mags tested AirPlay a few years back and showed that 16/44 PCM had bit-perfect transmission via AirPlay to an AirPort Express.

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.  

Both of those statements are incorrect.

Still no mention of AirPlay though. I’ve read various snippets, including something from Cambridge Audio, that AirPlay streams at a lossless bit rate but it still seems to be a secret as far as Apple are concerned. Would like to see something official that AirPlay doesn’t compress audio before transmission.

AirPlay is lossless and I believe utilizes ALAC for transmitting audio. One of the audio mags tested AirPlay a few years back and showed that 16/44 PCM had bit-perfect transmission via AirPlay to an AirPort Express.

16/44 is not lossless.  That would be 192.  Airplay does use ALAC which is often called ALAC Lossless but 16/44 is not lossless.  I can’t see why Sonos wouldn’t do 16/44 or even better 24/48 with Apple Music since they claim they can use both formats. https://support.sonos.com/s/article/79?language=en_US

Apple shouldn’t have to do anything to work with Sonos so I don’t know why Sonos is saying contact Apple.

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2021/05/apple-music-announces-spatial-audio-and-lossless-audio/

“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”

Of course Apple is also calling 16/44 lossless.  It clearly isn’t.  Nothing is recorded or mastered at that level.

 

also being used in a handoff mode (data flows direct from 3rd party “internet” source to audio/video output target, source device app retains control for pause/play and progress feedback)

 

From what I have read here, this is possible only via Apple hardware like Apple TV. 

When using voice with HomePods music is also streamed from the internet not your device.

Looks like apple are opening up Airplay 2 to be able to stream up to 24/192 as long as your end point has a DAC that can recieve that. 

They are not doing that.  That is such significant change there would need to be an Airplay 3.  Apple actually documents Airplay 2 extremely well.

https://developer.apple.com/airplay/

But I rarely use Apple Music because the native app still does not work with Sonos even after all these years.

 

It absolutely does and has for a long time.

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@DarwinOSX 

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
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Yep, it’s called lossless because it’s compared to cd quality which is considered the base standard. Anything above this level is considered hi res and specialist, opening up the debate of whether there is any point in the presence of frequencies the human ear can’t hear being in the recording. 

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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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Hoping now lossless on Apple Music has launched we will soon see this arriving on Sonos… happy to participate in any beta testing for this service. 

Likewise, really happy to beta test this functionality. Presumably, given the development with Qobuz, that implementation of higher res ALAC files to doable, if Apple give Sonos the nod.

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I have the latest APPLE TV 4K connected to my LG TV and getting Dolby Atmos from the APPLE TV+, iTunes Movies, Netflix and Tidal contents. So just wonder if this means I can enjoy the Spatial Audio from Apple Music as well? 

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I have the latest APPLE TV 4K connected to my LG TV and getting Dolby Atmos from the APPLE TV+, iTunes Movies, Netflix and Tidal contents. So just wonder if this means I can enjoy the Spatial Audio from Apple Music as well? 

Yes. See my post:

 

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You can get up to 24/48 with Qobuz on Sonos S2 app. 

 

Just saying 

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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. 

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I have the latest APPLE TV 4K connected to my LG TV and getting Dolby Atmos from the APPLE TV+, iTunes Movies, Netflix and Tidal contents. So just wonder if this means I can enjoy the Spatial Audio from Apple Music as well? 

Yes. See my post:

 

Thanks! Yes I have tried last night and it’s phenomenal!! Filled the room and more interesting is when I grouped the speakers in the other rooms, I could feel it’s much better than before! :)

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Just starting to experiment with listening to Apple Music lossless as historically all my music library is on Apple from ripped CDs, iTunes and Apple Music. As I currently understand should be able to play to lossless but not hi res via airplay but not yet on S2. Not doing anything for me on Sonos speakers but playing some stuff on reference headphone amp/dac felt really good. 
 

Somewhat Strange that Apple always invested in high quality library but not how to play it. Bandwidths and Amazon HD has changed game. The only way for hi res from phone is via USB adapter and cable which have on order as curious  and not massive investment. Not ideal though and Apple will need to introduce new Airplay codex and new hardware will be required to play it.   seems direction of travel. I see no benefit on Sonos speakers but would be good to have a hi res apple compatible  port 

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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.

https://developer.sonos.com/build/content-service-add-features/supported-audio-formats/

 

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.