Sonos Amp: 'Unable to play - the song is not encoded correctly'

  • 30 July 2023
  • 4 replies

I bought the Sonos Amp just over a month ago, my first ever Sonos product, to push a few passive outdoor pool speakers (the unit itself sits on a table inside the house) but its unfortunately unusable and I’m very close to throwing it into the pool. The reason is because I constantly receive a playback error of ‘Unable to play - the song is not encoded correctly' when trying to enjoy music. Here are some notes on the problem:

  • Use YouTube Music for streaming service, haven’t tried another one yet
  • The Sonos app is quite sluggish when choosing or cycling through music tracks, both on MacOS and Android (long time between switching tracks, forward, backward, etc.)
  • The only time it doesn’t skip tracks with this error is when I’m not actively doing anything in the app itself, at one point it went for hours even
  • There’s nothing wrong w/ my home network, however in researching this problem I realized the Sonos Amp only supports 2.4Ghz (not 5GHz) which is a surprise given how noisy and interference-plagued that spectrum is - Sonos decided to share a home product frequency with microwaves...
  • Once found the amp idle and extremely hot to the touch, worried it was going to start a fire. It was not playing music at the time, and sits along on a shelf in an open air room. This was alarming to my wife as she thought it was about to start a fire.
  • Diagnostic # 502266855

Please do not tell me that this is a problem with YouTube Music or with my home network. This is very clearly a problem with your software and I’m extremely disappointed with your brand as a result.

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4 replies

I just took the amp into my office and hard-wired to 1Gbps ethernet, and the problem persists - I clicked a song from my YTM playlist to play, the app froze momentarily, then I received the same decoder error (same exact problem as when on WiFi)

Userlevel 7

The above link is three years old but it was written by a respected forum moderator and still has merit. Make sure all components are running the latest software and you’re using the latest YouTube streaming app.

Submitting the diagnostic is only the first step. You still need to call Sonos tech support so they can discuss the findings.

For posterity, I contacted support shortly after this post who gave just a half-hearted try at caring. Apparently this is an “isolated problem” that they agreed to submit a case about (wow, lucky me...). I’ve heard absolutely nothing back from them since.


This brand is a joke.

This has been happening to us for months. Failes every time on the sonos controller. It works from the YouTUbe ios app if I connect as an airplay device but only after I selected playback quality to be high in the setting (normal and low both throw the encoding error). On my husbands android device, nothing works. Luckily with our housemate we have access to other services, but this is ridiculous. We were google play customers for years and own a lot of content on that playform, and we have 6 speakers in our house and we can’t use our preferred service. Total * that anyones issue is isolated. Based on researching this issue, it is widespread and IMO sonos is being lazy and choosing not to address it.


*Moderator Note: Modified in accordance with the Community Code of Conduct.*