Question

Mac OS, lossless and Sonos

  • 12 January 2017
  • 7 replies
  • 1204 views

I'm almost sure this subject has been discussed somewhere but the quantity of information on the forums is massive and I already gathered some bits of answers here and there but still have a fundamental question: Can I get high qualtity from my Sonos set up (Play:1, playbar and sub) if I'm using a Mac (mini to be more specifics but it does not change the situation) where I'm storing my library under lossless format and a DAC? If yes, which output will I get and if no, what's the maximul quality I can get from this set up? How can I go better in this last case (storing my library under Android)? And in case I'm subsribing to a HiFi streaming site (such as Qobuz), can I get high quality output?
Thanks and keep on shaking the forum community

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7 replies

"Support" means Sonos can play that format. Sonos never downgrades any codec, it is played at the bitrate it is recorded, or it isn't played at all. Not sure what you mean by "Mac lossless", but the Apple lossless codec is ALAC, and as stated in the link as long as it is not stored on an iOS or Android device and is at the supported sample rates, Sonos plays ALAC just fine.
Here are the supported formats:

https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/80/kw/supported%20audio%20formats

Note WAV and AIFF have limited tagging and are not recommended over better, smaller lossless codecs like FLAC or ALAC.

Where and how you store the music does not matter, except some formats are not available when stored on an iOS/Android mobile device (see the link). All lossless codecs are CD quality. You can also get CD quality streaming from Tidal and Deezer.
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Sonos will support lossless FLAC and ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec), and uncompressed AIFF and WAV up to 16 bit resolution and 44.1 KHz sampling rate. Some formats are supported up to 48 KHz sampling rate, but FLAC is not among them according to Sonos' supported audio formats.

Your DAC would only come into play if you were to purchase a Sonos Connect, then take the digital output and hook it up to your DAC. Any other Sonos devices have their own DAC and amplifier built-in.

Tidal and Deezer offer services that can stream lossless FLAC to Sonos (I thought Qobuz was also among them, but not certain). If you are subscribing to a level of service on those services that provides that quality of audio, it will stream through Sonos in that format.
Thanks jgatie. I caught this one too but I'm confused with the word "support". Does it it mean that Sonos cannot read Mac lossless format (but in that case, how come then I can read a lossless album from my library) or does it mean that Sonos downgrade the quality to play it?
Some formats are supported up to 48 KHz sampling rate, but FLAC is not among them according to Sonos' supported audio formats.
A strange error in the FAQ. 48kHz FLAC files work fine.
Thanks to all. Everything is clear.
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The above isn’t accurate. ALAC files stores on my iPhone play just fine through Sonos. Not sure why ALAC isn’t listed as a compatible format when playing files “from this iPhone”.