Hi-Resolution Audio and Sonos

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I'm pretty sure it's because the number of "I keep getting dropouts on my Sonos!" calls/complaints would shoot up due to the extra bandwidth required - especially for systems just on the edge now. Which doesn't benefit Sonos one iota.

5 years ago that would be a totally valid complaint. I just visited my girlfriend's parents who are farmers, they have fiber internet in the middle of nowhere.
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Didn't it play hell with the record cutters to even get the JVC CD-4 or Quadradisc 18 to 45 KHz sub-carrier cut? And of course it took a special stylus shape to get it back off the records too as the conventional ones didn't fit in the 45 KHz grooves.
Your girlfriend's parents are lucky. Many rural customers are stuck with low bandwidth ADSL connections.

Internet bandwidth is not the issue. Witness the fact that people routinely stream 4K TV. It's the requirement to pump multiple streams around the house over the average DIY wireless network, whilst maintaining sub-millisecond sync, which could be compromised by potentially increasing per-stream bandwidth by a factor of 6.

I agree. I get flawless HD streams into the TV at home, but cannot stream the corresponding uncompressed - required for lip sync - audio around the home minus stuttering except where the Sonos units in the group have been wired to the home network.
Of course the problem there is the small buffer size, but I suspect even buffered Hi Res streams will run into headwinds that will negate even the psychological benefits of Hi Res. Nothing kills music enjoyment faster than stuttering.
PS: In some respects India = rural first world?!
The way digital music is stored, it does not capture all the information. There is definitely loss based on sampling rate. This I learnt at college.

Can you point to a link that contains the science that says that a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz is not adequate to capture all the information up to 20 kHz?
For what it is worth, my Eureka moment:

The stair step/jaggies explanations had led me to believe that more the points sampled and known for a given sine wave, the more accurately it can be drawn, all the way to an infinite number of sampled points, but with an ever decreasing increase in accuracy - the marginal returns theory from economics that I am more familiar with than I am with signal processing. I had even convinced myself that the ever increasing accuracy was irrelevant only because it went beyond what a human could hear.

Conversations here - with a few stupid question on my part - resulted in the understanding that all it takes to perfectly reproduce a sine wave is the knowledge of just two points on it: its height and its width, to use non engineer terms. Any more information about the sine wave is superfluous to its perfect reproduction. With this understood, it was easy to grasp the theorem. For me, at any rate. Once that fundamental is clear, digital audio no longer remains a dark art of messing with the analog signal. Even without, as in my case even today, a full understanding of the Fourier thing.

It is however necessary to first empty the cup, which can be the difficult part. Because with a full one, there can be no progress.
Funny, I’ve done the same comparison, Connect vs Squeezebox, via a pair of the most transparent, “revealing” speakers available, my QUAD ESL-63s. Noticed absolutely no difference whatsoever, as expected.

Some people have adequacy issues, and need to feel “superior” by lying. It’s sad, but all too common.
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20KHz is an example of one of the limits of frequency some people can hear. Sampling rate is how many samples are taken of the original analog sound source. By the very virtue of the fact “samples taken” means that only an approximation of the original signal can be reproduced at any point in time - rest is “filled in” = approximated. This is basic electronics. The more samples you take, the better you can reproduce the original signal irrespective of what frequency it has. Just means higher fidelity = HIFI.

Someone who has played a musical instrument is obviously going to have heard the “analog source” at a higher sampling rate direct from the source over time, so possibility is that she/ he can distinguish the differences at higher fidelity.

An update from Mark Waldrep on his HD-Audio Challenge II:





Nice timing, now that Sonos is getting on the Hi Res bandwagon! But the biggest benefit will be for those that are willing to abandon or hive off legacy products to be able to finally play Hi Res streams or files. For the psychological satisfaction, but then all reality is individual perception at the end of the day.

And of course, it will allow the media to whole heartedly endorse Sonos now that the Hi Res Kool Aid is available via the Sonos pipe.

I can see the sense in the Sonos decision, even while refusing to go with it in opting to stay in legacy mode.

Nyquist-Shannon at work, demonstrating that the original band limited signal is reconstructed perfectly when sampled at a frequency 2x the band limit:

Yup. Monty linked that off his original article.
Yup. Monty linked that off his original article.

Pretty effective demo when the signal is put through an O-scope. If it is identical even when blown up on the O-scope, it's probably pretty good for the far more imprecise human ear.
Link to article describing how the UK Advertising Standards Authority smacked down Sony for claiming Hi-Res audio sounds superior to CD quality, and its use of stair step graphs that "misleadingly exaggerated the capabilities and benefits of high-resolution audio."

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Wow. Ok. In the meantime, here is how you can determine if high-res will make a difference to you. If you can make our differences between any of these, chances are high-res will make a difference for you:

1) 128 vs 320 vs CD Quality
2) Bluetooth headphones vs. same headphones connected via cable to the music player
3) Playing the CD on your kenwood head unit vs. playing music through HDMI adapter connected to your iPhone

i can hear differences in sound quality in all the above scenarios.

if high-res made no difference, then hearing music live and through a CD would be the same. Because you are comparing the original analog source with a recording of the same.

if high-res made no difference, how come all the samples from voice to instruments of sound libraries like east west audio came in 24 bit vs. 16 bit which supposedly is all we need?

the comparison I made of playing back CD quality vs. high-res of my mix was not on Sonos. It was on a regular wired system. I can sure make out the difference. So do all the sound engineers at the studio as well. We hear what we hear. Theory and books are not going to change our experience.

i do believe that good speakers make a difference. It is possible that you hear CD vs high-res on $ 20,000 reference speakers, and it makes not much of a difference. I don’t know - have not tried that. Sure the focals in my car sound better than Sonos play 5 at home for the exact same sound. So, there are various factors at play here.

i do believe that listening to music the way most people do, with regular speakers and regular sound systems, there is a difference between 24 vs. 16 bit I can hear myself.

Nyquist-Shannon has its place - but you have to consider that there are a lot more factors in play when music is played back which contribute to the overall experience - all of which can increase or decrease your musical experience. So, we can’t just quote theorems and generalize it for everyone in every context using a wide variety of equipment.

sonos at home is good enough for me as I don’t have to drill holes in walls, try to hide huge speakers, go through trying to get unplayable high-res music to play in some of the more exotic formats.

try it out yourself and make the choice. Don’t listen to what anybody says about it until you have heard it yourself.


Adding one or more BOOST’s to your system might help. BOOST’s can be wired or wireless. Changing the SONOS wireless channel might help, but it may not be a permanent solution if neighbors change their channel.

i can hear differences in sound quality in all the above scenarios.

I don't doubt that you can hear these differences. But the question to be answered is how many of these will survive in a controlled single variable level matched blind test.

Until then, all I can say is that what your subjective experience is, is just that and therefore of not much use to me.

Particularly since I have been there, done that and I have come to realise what matters to my perceptions of sound quality. And what does not.

if high-res made no difference, then hearing music live and through a CD would be the same. Because you are comparing the original analog source with a recording of the same.

And on this: I am sure that no technology exists today that can match the experience of a live music gig and bring that to the home. Perhaps someday in the future when the star trek kind of holo decks are a reality, but I would not bet on even that.
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As a note, I never said “staircase”. I just talked about samples. And he says the exact same thing in the video as well - the spaces in between - is what I am talking about. You can get a perfect sine wave output from a low res recording as well, because it fills up the spaces exactly as he says in the video. The more sample you take, the less filling up you have to do, and so the higher fidelity you get.

The spaces in between is what is “filled in” or approximated. Nothing to do with staircase, sure it looks like a perfect sine wave, but nevertheless not the original recording - in audio terms. Just an approximation - albeit very good one. And audio recordings are not perfect sine waves which can be perfectly reproduced by approximations everytime.

So far, I see nothing in that video which proves anything wrong. All I said is that some people can make out a higher sampling rate - and the difference it makes.

thanks for the link. I trust my textbooks over some dude in a YouTube video - granted using the same equipment I used in first year of college.
Good grief😭
As far as local bandwidth issues, take a look around here at the number of folks trying to add an audio device to their Connect that need to go to compressed audio to get it usable.

I'm a firm believer in Boost mode, with or without a Boost, and keeping my Sonos traffic off my LAN so I can configure my WiFi as I wish with no consideration of the Sonos restrictions/requirements. I'm a fan of wiring everything easy to connect to Ethernet too. These two solved long term aggravations here and with the addition of static/reserved IP addresses for all Sonos gear solved all my Sonos issues.

I guess I am extremely fortunate. My router is a bit outdated now, Apple Airport Extreme, but on a good day with like 23 connected devices I am pulling 700 mb per second.
try it out yourself and make the choice. Don’t listen to what anybody says about it until you have heard it yourself.

Already done. Except unlike you, I did it using files produced from the same masters, in an ABX test using Foobar, so I had no idea which file I was listening to. I was unable to find a difference.

So I tell you what, why don't you "try it out yourself" by taking a Hi-Res file, downsample it to 16/44.1, then take the two versions and listen to them through Foobar using the ABX feature. If you can tell the difference between the two with any statistically significant result, you can sell your ears to the Hi-Res music industry for millions of dollars, for you will have been the very first human being in history to achieve that result.
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Gentlemen, differing opinions aside, let's reel it in, shall we? Clearly this is a topic that you all feel passionate about but try to keep personal attacks out of it. Thanks.Nyquist-Shannon is not opinion, nor is the fact that the linked article is 100% hogwash.

Regardless of your respective standpoints, there's more polite ways to express them than some of what I've seen in the last dozen or so responses.
What happened to the legendary 24/192 thread by the way?
My impression is that Sonos is much more interested in the mass market than it is in the "specialty/hi-res" market. They'd rather sell a thousand speakers to your parents and their friends, than they would selling you and ten of your friends special speakers that can handle hi-res.

I'd guess that the margin of profit on a thousand speakers would be a larger amount of money than the margin on ten speakers.

At the end of the day, Sonos is in business to make money. I suspect that colors some of their decision making around what speakers and codecs they want to make and support.

But not being a Sonos employee, or even an investor, I don't know that for sure, it's just a logical deduction based on evidence that I can see. I have no insight into where Patrick Spence wants to take the company. For all I know, next week they'll introduce a new speaker, just to make me look silly.
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Thanks Buzz, surprisingly I do have a relatively clear channel for Sonosnet on my system. Most Auto channel routers avoid my Sonos Channel supposedly because of the continuos activity on my channel. Still won't always keep up with Flac bitrates. I have a Boost, Connect (2nd Gen) two Play5s, seven Play1s. Pity we cannot use 5ghz because that might cure everything. Just cannot see HiRes ever being ok unless maybe just running one stereo pair.