Answered

Volume normalisation

  • 22 December 2023
  • 23 replies
  • 523 views

I am constantly having to change the volume when playing back songs in playlists created through Apple Music. Is there a way in Sonos to equalise / normalise the playback volume?

icon

Best answer by Airgetlam 22 December 2023, 17:43

View original

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

23 replies

Not currently, no. Sonos plays data at whatever settings are sent by the streaming companies. Have you spoken with Apple about this issue?

Thanks for your quick reply . Not spoken to Apple yet however I guess that will be my next port of call.

I suspect if Sonos were to alter the music streams, they might be roasted by some people, and lauded by others. They seem to have taken the stance that they don’t alter things, which makes some sense to me, but puts the onus on the other side. 

This is such a basic requirement for when playing playlists, especially because of the “loudness wars”. I’ve tried all the music services and none of them have any kind of switchable volume normalisation on Sonos, although most of them do on their phone apps. Frustrating that this problem has not been solved yet!

I would like to clarify that any volume normalisation should be a switchable option, just in case it has any effect on sound quality. I would hate to see “audio compression” as used by radio stations being used as in my opinion this sounds dreadful.

Compression can be very useful. Consider the case of listening to music in a car or on a busy street. If you raise the Volume to the point where you can hear the quiet sections, the louder sections will be above the threshold of pain. In my opinion, adjustable compression should be a standard playback feature in the equipment. Unfortunately, “compression” will immediately attract bad press from the audiophile or ease of use commentators. These “experts” have scared equipment manufacturers from including this function in playback equipment. Music producers are very aware of the value of compression. They can easily prove that draconian compression results in more sales because their major audience is typically listening in a poor environment.

 

It’s all about choice. Why can’t we have options: 1. Totally uncompressed with original volume. 2. Volume normalised without any audio compression. 3. Volume normalised by using audio compression. Surely everyone would be happy! The default setting would be dependant on the piece of audio equipment being sold, but all options would be available. Personally I hate the loudness war and have probably spent less time and money on music because of it. I think music originally recorded in the 60s, 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s sounded great and they shouldn’t have changed things! Thanks for your comments Buzz.

Some more thoughts on this. Audiophiles need to realise that it is really in their interest to get compression options built in to audio equipment - it might just end the loudness wars. Record companies and producers need to realise they might get more sales by pleasing everybody rather than just the majority. I’m sure this is technically possible. Is there a link between falling music sales from the mid nineties and the start of the loudness war? Vinyl is increasing in popularity and they are less compressed due to technical reasons. Maybe music sales are more affected by the loudness war then record companies think. Would streaming services such as Tidal and Qobuz be able to offer the vinyl mixed version as an option I wonder?

This is such a basic requirement for when playing playlists, especially because of the “loudness wars”. I’ve tried all the music services and none of them have any kind of switchable volume normalisation on Sonos, although most of them do on their phone apps. Frustrating that this problem has not been solved yet!

I only know Spotify and that they offer this on their phone app. But does it really do the job of allowing playlists play all songs from different albums at close to the same sound levels when played from the phone or via bluetooth to external speakers? Or even via a wire to Sonos unit with line in jacks? If it really did, I would find a way to play Spotify on Sonos this way, instead of casting to Sonos from the phone app - in that mode, anything Spotify does to normalise gets cancelled just as it does when Spotify is selected via the Sonos controller.

From my understanding using a streaming phone app with volume normalisation will carry over to Bluetooth speaker or a speaker wired from the phone headphone socket. I think the volume normalisation is lost once you use Spotify connect on Sonos. Bluetooth looses quality and the wired option is inconvenient and not available on many Sonos speakers. I think the volume normalisation data is part of a music track (replay gain or Apple sound check) but for some reason Sonos does not utilise this data as an option. I think the only way forward is for many Sonos users to ask for this option and convince Sonos that this would be a popular addition and increase the desirability of their products 🙂

. I think the volume normalisation is lost once you use Spotify connect on Sonos

It is. If normalisation by Spotify was really effective, I would go the extra mile to use it on Sonos via wired line in. Especially for parties where I don't want to be faffing around adjusting sound levels often. Somehow though I am not sure that what Spotify does here, really works to keep sound levels in the same place when mixed album playlists are in use.

 I think the only way forward is for many Sonos users to ask for this option and convince Sonos that this would be a popular addition and increase the desirability of their products 🙂

This would be worth far more in practice than any more tweaks to obtain better sound quality. But it isn’t happening and I don’t know that is all in the Sonos court.

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

It’s all about choice. Why can’t we have options:

3. Volume normalised by using audio compression.

You do not Normalize by using compression, they are two very different things.

You normalize by changing the volume level of the entire file to a new point htat makes it “normal” to your chosen level.

You compress by changing the volume level of each segment of the music, moving it closer to the zero dB point. (Gated compression has a center dead band that isn’t compressed.)

You do not Normalize by using compression, they are two very different things.

You normalize by changing the volume level of the entire file to a new point htat makes it “normal” to your chosen level.

 

Timely and well said. Normalisation of the kind explained is what I am looking for, the effect should be the same as when I use the volume controls. I suppose that the challenge is bigger here than it is for compression that involves just an assessment of the one music file in use.

So, when Spotify and others say they do normalisation, which of the two do they mean?!

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

The starting point for normalization is picking the volume level you will normalize to. It is arbitrary at best, on top of that there are many ways to calculate it. Also many pitfalls if you choose to alter the audio data, if you go that way MAKE BACKUPS first.

Good starting point:  https://emastered.com/blog/audio-normalization

I wanted to play with my Music Library but wanted to avoid making any difficult to revert changes so instead of altering the audio portion I had my normalization program set the ReplayGain Tag that is easily reset to Zero in batch mode.

 


The LUFs Loudness targets for the most popular streaming services are as follows:

Spotify: -14 LUFS

Apple Music: -16 LUFS

Amazon Music: -9 to -13 LUFS

Youtube: -13 to -15 LUFS

Deezer: -14 to -16 LUFS

CD: -9 LUFS

Soundcloud: -8 to -13 LUFS

Salve, bella fregatura rendersi conto appena acquistato che uno dei migliori sistemi audio multiroom non abbia un sistema di normalizzazione per Spotify. Che mi venga spiegato come si fa ad ascoltare una playlist lavorando o facendo qualcos'altro con un volume che va costantemente su e giù. Siamo nel 2024!  Ho preso solo un sonos one lo sostituisco! 

When will volume normalization be available? Without it, what's the point of the Sonos Amp? Music played through it is only normalized via radio, and most stations have ads. I've noticed that any streaming service will normalize its music through the Sonos app. If I only had one Sonos Amp, I could use any device's player and input it through Line-In, which would already have normalized audio. So why would I spend the money on the amplifier when I could get something better for the same price, since I won't be utilizing Sonos features?

When will volume normalization be available? Without it, what's the point of the Sonos Amp? Music played through it is only normalized via radio, and most stations have ads. I've noticed that any streaming service will normalize its music through the Sonos app. If I only had one Sonos Amp, I could use any device's player and input it through Line-In, which would already have normalized audio. So why would I spend the money on the amplifier when I could get something better for the same price, since I won't be utilizing Sonos features?

 

You are correct, if you aren’t going to be using Sonos features, it stands to reason you should not be buying a Sonos device of any kind. 

Next up:  Why people who don’t need to drive shouldn’t be buying a car.

I don't want to beat around the bush. In their advertisements, they should explicitly state that Sonos S2 won't offer any volume normalization through the Sonos app.

I don't want to beat around the bush. In their advertisements, they should explicitly state that Sonos S2 won't offer any volume normalization through the Sonos app.

 

Can you name me one other consumer product which specifically advertises things it does not do?  

Userlevel 7
Badge +18

I don't want to beat around the bush. In their advertisements, they should explicitly state that Sonos S2 won't offer any volume normalization through the Sonos app.

What else do they need to list that the S2 app won’t offer? Multi-band equaliser? Left/right balance control? Hardware volume buttons? The list of requested features that are not (yet?) implemented is quite extensive. 

Just make Volume Normalised … I've noticed that it's been requested by many for years. …. 

Question! If we import a Spotify playlist into my Sonos Library, will it resolve the audio normalization issue? Has anyone tried this?