Setting playback quality for Spotify

  • 13 September 2012
  • 30 replies
  • 18862 views

Hello, I wonder if and also how I can set the quality of the playback for Spotify in my Sonos-system? In Spotify-app for Iphone I can choose between approx. 96, 160 or 320 kbit/s. In Spotify-app for Windows I can choose to check or uncheck "High quality streaming" //Tobias

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30 replies

Userlevel 4
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Hello Tobias, At this time there is no way to select playback quality for Spotify on Sonos. I have moved this topic to the Ideas section so others can view it including our Product Development team.
Hi, Just installed my new sonos system and that was one of the first settings I was looking for as well. So next question is, what type of streaming quality with Spotify is currently standard enabled? 160 or 320kbps? Regards, Roel
Userlevel 4
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The following is from the Spotify website and holds true to the streaming bitrate on Sonos as well: "To be precise, you can stream music at a higher bitrate of up to 320kbps on your computer (not all tracks are currently available in high bitrate)."
Userlevel 1
Hi all, I think the question here is, if SONOS uses best possible quality of SPOTIFY as standard. Probably due to the fact that we are all at home with enough bandwidth and datavolume we just want to get sure, best quality is sucked out of the SPOTIFY severs. If that is not what the others are concerned about, take this as my question 🙂
Userlevel 2
Hi all, I think the question here is, if SONOS uses best possible quality of SPOTIFY as standard. Probably due to the fact that we are all at home with enough bandwidth and datavolume we just want to get sure, best quality is sucked out of the SPOTIFY severs. If that is not what the others are concerned about, take this as my question :)
I Agree! Would be nice to know how this is handled in Sonos.
Yes, please enlighten us...!
Well i just came with the same question. Sonos - please clarify 🙂
Hi, I would also like to know what the spotify sound quality is via sonos. Could someone from sonos provide an official response??
Hi all, I think the question here is, if SONOS uses best possible quality of SPOTIFY as standard. Probably due to the fact that we are all at home with enough bandwidth and datavolume we just want to get sure, best quality is sucked out of the SPOTIFY severs. If that is not what the others are concerned about, take this as my question :)
this is EXACTLY what we need to to be told but I would be quite certain listening right now to mine it is low or at best medium quality, Please fix this sons. Enable high quality because most people playing at home with unlimited wi fi probably
Userlevel 2
I would like to find out too
I would like to find out too
It is hard to believe that Sonos has not answered this question in over 2 years. Can an if so, how can you stream Spotify on Sonos at the highest bitrate possible? Simple question.
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
There's no needed playback quality adjustment for Spotify on Sonos, we'll automatically play the highest quality version of the song that's available, that'll be the 320kbps version. This version is only available for Premium subscribers, which is what's needed to play Spotify on Sonos to being with.
Thank you. Appreciate an answer and a good answer.
Userlevel 2
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Only remember to set the volume output on your Sonos to MAX. Otherwise the bit rate is downgraded accordingly.
This is how the volume adjustment workes on Sonos (and many other digital sound devices).
This is ofcause only possible with Sonos Connect attached to an amplifier with volume ajustment.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Only remember to set the volume output on your Sonos to MAX. Otherwise the bit rate is downgraded accordingly.
This is how the volume adjustment workes on Sonos (and many other digital sound devices).
This is ofcause only possible with Sonos Connect attached to an amplifier with volume ajustment.


This sounds like nonsense to me
Only remember to set the volume output on your Sonos to MAX. Otherwise the bit rate is downgraded accordingly.
This is how the volume adjustment workes on Sonos (and many other digital sound devices).
This is ofcause only possible with Sonos Connect attached to an amplifier with volume ajustment.


This sounds like nonsense to me


Might sound like nonsense but it tallies with a number of threads that i have read on various HiFi forums regarding how digital volume is often implemented.
Use of digital volume does not result in a lower bit rate. Whatever you are hearing from those forums is indeed nonsense (as is much of what you read at so called "HiFi" sites). While it does affect the bitstream (how could it not?), it in no way lowers the actual bit rate. Whoever says it does is not worthy of listening to again.
jgatie - you sound like an authority. Perhaps you could briefly explain how digital volume in Sonos and similar apps is implemented in such a way as not to lower the bitrate? I believe that Sonos recommend using the "fixed volume" setting when using an external amp and I had always assumed this was the reason. I could of course be wrong.
Why would it lower the bit rate? The bit rate is the number of bits sampled over time. Digital volume merely changes the value of the playback volume of the bitstream. Changing a value in the bitstream has nothing to do with the bit rate, never mind necessitating the need to change it. I could zero out every single byte in the bitstream, rendering the file silent, and still never affect the bit rate. It's akin to saying turning up the brightness on a Blu-ray will make it into a DVD. The only reason you want the Connect set at fixed is because that will make it bit perfect to the original* not because the actual bit rate is affected in any way.

*Well it used to be bit perfect, but that's another story.
I think that this article explains it quite well but it sounds like you have already made your mind up ...

http://www.soundstageultra.com/index.php/features-menu/general-interest-interviews-menu/311-what-s-wrong-with-digital-volume-controls
I think that this article explains it quite well but it sounds like you have already made your mind up ...

http://www.soundstageultra.com/index.php/features-menu/general-interest-interviews-menu/311-what-s-wrong-with-digital-volume-controls


None of which has anything to do with changing the actual bit rate. I already stated above that the bitstream values are changed by digital volumes, and have stated that it is preferable to keep it bit perfect, but (and this can't be stated any clearer) NEITHER OF THESE HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE BIT RATE!!!!

However, it seems you have made your mind up.

PS - Not that you will believe me, but the Sonos digital volume is implemented in 24 bits, thus minimizing the detrimental effects to the bitstream quality (AND STILL DOESNT CHANGE THE BIT RATE!!!).
My understanding is that reducing the volume by 6dB reduces the effective bit rate by 1. Here's why:
16 bit audio is represented as integers between -32768 and 32768 (which is 2^16 numbers).
If a digital volume control halves these values, this is equivalent to a 3dB reduction in power, or a 6dB reduction in amplitude.
You then only need the numbers -16384 to 16384 to represent the reduced signal. This is now 2^15 numbers.
The signal is still 16 bit, but the effective bit rate is now 15 because the most significant bit is always zero.

Now, what I don't understand yet is how 24bit digital volume controls help if the signal is fed to the DAC at 16 bit.
On the other hand, sending 24 bit to the DAC will help. But I though Sonos didn't handle 24 bit?

Cheers, Peter.
But the bit rate is not lreally lowered. The ability to represent the full dynamic range is. Saying it "effectively" lowers the bit rate is nonsense, and very misleading, being that people seem to think you are causing FLAC to suddenly sound like 256kbs mp3, whereas the truth is for the vast majority of recordings you will never hear a difference. That's why I objected to the terminology used.

As to Sonos handling 24 bits, the chips in Sonos are 24 bit capable (hard to purchase any that aren't). The reason Sonos will not play 24 bit audio is because they see no benefit from increasing the bandwidth used for no apparent benefit. As they said "the math doesn't add up".
I thought the bit rate was a measure of the ability to represent dynamic range. The more bits, the more steps available to represent a range of amplitudes (and hence volumes). Consider these two scenarios (ignoring any 24 bit complications for the sake of clarity): full volume output from a Connect with the downstream amplifier set at a particular value, versus half volume output from a Connect with the amplifier set at 3dB (RMS) louder. The overall volume should be the same, but the second example has only 2^15 steps to represent volume whereas the first example has 2^16 steps. The top step (most-significant bit) represents the loudest sound, and is equal volume to the ears in the two scenarios. However, the second example cannot represent the really quiet sounds carried in the 1st bit of the first example. As to whether this is audible or not is debatable. However, a lot of audio engineers argue that dithering to go from 24 bit to 16 bit makes a difference to the noise floor, and this dithering is just tinkering with that least-significant bit out of the 16. These same audio engineers probably have much better hearing than I do :D

The difference between FLAC and mp3 is much more than 16 to 15 bit truncation. I can difference wav and mp3 versions of the same song in my recording software and hear artifacts that could not possibly be just in the least-significant bit.

Cheers, Peter.