Does Sonos controller use "disc" track attribute for sorting m4a files?

  • 20 June 2018
  • 7 replies

I have folders of songs I import into iTunes of concerts that have, say, 15 songs in three sets. They are tagged correctly with the artist & album names and songs tagged disc 1- songs 1..5, then disc 2 songs 1..5, and disc 3 songs 1..5. iTunes displays correctly (grouped by disc) and plays in the correct order.

When synced with Sonos and I select the album the songs are sorted first as three songs "01", then three "02", etc. That is, the songs from different sets/discs are merged together.

I've seen other suggestions to edit the tags, and yes, I can re-tag the songs in iTune sequentially (song 1,2,3,...14,15), resync in Sonos as a workaround.

Does Sonos not look at the "disc" attribute when sorting songs in an album? Or is there something else confusing the sorting & numbering of the tracks in Sonos Controller?

I don't really care about Sonos Controller showing the disc/set number, but it would be nice to be able to select the album and play the songs in their correct order.

I'm using Sonos Controller for Mac: 8.6

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7 replies

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Simple answer, is that yes, Sonos does use the "Disc" tag. Just checked a live album where tracks are tagged with disc and track number, such that the sequence is "Disc 1 track 1, 2, 3...12, Disc 2 track 1, 2..." (disclaimer: I checked some FLAC files, but tag use should be the same regardless of format). You can always just use the track number offset when ripping or otherwise change the track numbers and join multi-disc sets into one.
Interesting. When I select the album where songs are disc 1 song 1-8, disc 2 1-4 and disc 3 songs 1-6 I see in Sonos placer the songs merged together:

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Random live recording download using the "Disc" and "Track Number" tags, file properties vs. Sonos (8.5 desktop) album view.

Yours looks correct. I wonder if it's a Mac thing -- or something related to .m4a tagging? That third "01" song in my first screen shot shows this for song info in iTunes (disc 2, song 1):

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Your tags also look OK. So here's my previous example, dumped into iTunes as an AAC (.m4a) file:

The work-around was to update the tags for every song by adding the "of" number for the "disc number".

I created a new iTunes library to make Sonos Controller Mac reindexing faster for testing. I could consistently create the problem when importing an album (as in the image above) into iTunes and then reindexing. The songs displayed sorted by song number, ignoring the track number. So, songs, 1,1,1 then 2,2,2, then 3,3,3 and so on.

But, by adding the "of" part of the "disc number" (e.g. disc number 2 of 3) and then reindexing the songs sorted correctly in the Sonos Mac Controller.

Oddly, if I then went into iTunes and removed all the "of" disc numbers (i.e. set it back to original tag) Sonos still would index correctly -- even after removing the library and adding it back in. And it wasn't just a matter of updating the tag info as I also tried just updating the track numbers "of" info and that didn't solve the issue.

Another curious thing I noticed after syncing my laptop iTunes to my iPhone: on my iPhone if I search for the album it shows up both in "Music Library" and "On this iPhone". The songs are also sorted incorrectly in "Music Library", but they are sorted correctly in "On this iPhone". Once I add the "of" disc numbers and resync they are sorted correctly everywhere.
I would have to bet that your research would be extraordinarily useful to a tech trying to replicate (and fix) the issue. Thanks for doing that!