Play by Album Year

  • 16 March 2018
  • 9 replies

Hi Sonos Gurus,
When will we have the ability to utilize the Year tag and play albums by year?
Regards Gerald

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9 replies

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Hi, Gerald_sonos. No plans at this time, though should anything change we will be sure to notify our customers. Keep us posted as to any further questions you may have.
Sad to say it’s a terrible best answer. Sort album by Artist/Year is built-in iTunes functionality that is not a negotiable requirement.
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Sad to say it’s a terrible best answer. Sort album by Artist/Year is built-in iTunes functionality that is not a negotiable requirement.

1) The Sonos units each store a copy of the indexed music. The amount of memory available determines the maximum number of tracks that can be indexed (65,000) (There is a vocal minority that insist 65,000 tracks is too few). In order to work with an additional date tag the maximum number of tracks to be indexed would be reduced.

2) What year is this? The date of first release of the album? The release date in your country? The release date on the format from which your copy was ripped? The data of the re-master? - Sorry, but for me the date tag is meaningless as pretty much everybody would have a pet definition of what year meant.

If you want to sort the albums by year then put the year in the Album Name tag. EG "1983 - Let's Dance", "1979 - Ziggy Stardust" and so on.
This is sad. Even pre file based music I used to sort my CDs by artist and then release year. I like to listen to artists develop so I usually start with their first album and work my way through. It's also great for context - what albums were released the same year as... . It gives you a sense of how unique or, maybe, of the times, or influential of what followed, a given album was.

For the record - I have never used a player that didn't allow an album to be sorted by year/release date...

As for the "hack" solutions - I have spent years either creating meta data that confirms to tagging standards OR buying music that conforms to standards. I believe all major streaming services do the same (although they do get it wrong on occasion.) Sonos - please catch up to at least winamp.

By the way, composer and no year? I get it is useful for classical music but most streaming services and stores ignore the composer tag when tagging pop/rock, etc...
The percentage of Sonos customers with local libraries is evidently now down into single figures. Adding a year field into the index, which is already space-constrained by the memory available in the early players, would require opening up the code and reducing track capacity. I'd go so far as to suggest that such a development will almost certainly never happen.

Have you looked into the capabilities of Plex?
@ratty - Thanks for the suggestion. I had a Plex install that I was using with chromecast dongles but, funnily enough, it had all kinds of issues with metadata so I decided to jump ship and give Sonos a try. It looks like Bluesound will be my next stop. It's really too bad because I really felt like Sonos was on the same page as me otherwise - 24 bit music is snake oil, "fun" and "energy" is more important than flat frequency response, real people don't sit still in a room, for long periods of time, to listen to music, they inject it into their lives, etc, etc...
I really felt like Sonos was on the same page as me otherwise - 24 bit music is snake oil,
Actually Sonos have said they can see a case for 24-bit, but not for a Nyquist up in the ultrasonics.

Good luck with Bluesound.
Thanks for the clarification @ratty. I read the following:
"...We know where Sonos are with Hi-Res audio - They have done the technical literature reviews and there own analysis and concluded, as have most others, that there simply is NO qualitative benefit to the listener by using such technology..."

And assumed it was accurate and up to date (which is in line with my experience so far)

But after doing a little more reading I see Sonos does seems to be a bit more pragmatic about high-rez (as they are in general):

I understand that backwards compatibility, at least in some cases may be holding them back:

But I expect the newer hardware is capable of 24 bit and Sonos will end up supporting 24 bit, at some point, if only as a checkbox item, for both hardware shoppers and service providers.

in any case, I haven't given up on Sonos yet - another post has given me hope! If I can find a 3rd party player to manage my personal library, I plan on hanging around. While I find Sonos frustrating, in some cases, I am more impressed than not, and find it far better a solution that I have encountered anywhere else to date. Fingers crossed.
24-bit (or 32-bit or more) has its place where there needs to be headroom for processing, but the original 16-bit delivery format was designed all those years ago to have sufficient dynamic range to cater for the gamut of human hearing.

The Sonos internal pipeline must be (at least) 24-bit wide. For years we've known from Sonos statements as well as actual measurements by a forum member that the digital outputs on Connect/ZP90/ZP80 are 24-bit. As the digital volume is adjusted from 100% the original 16-bit information is preserved without loss of resolution, until approximately -48dB, as the lowest byte populates. Below -48dB some of the original information starts to be truncated.

Ironically Sonos can also read 24-bit FLAC and WAV files, though this is something of an unsupported side-effect of the decoder libraries used and it's said that the 24-bits are truncated to 16-bit before being processed.