Sonos support for Apple Music's Lossless Audio



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Im merely repeating another manufacturer technical team. So i ripped all my CDs onto iTunes a ALAC files and then Sonos cleverly automatically picks them up in my library and there should play at16/44 directly on Sonos. But they would only stream on Sonos via AirPlay from Apple Music on my Apple device as AAC.
 

Apple is silent about AirPlay on this Point but the software engineers at another manufacturer suggest it should be straightforward for Apple to Programme to play 16/44 on their Next  software release. They think the whole announcement was rushed for marketing event so the situation is very Dynamic so Situation changing very quickly. Apple Music only appeared for me at start of week and I see loads more content every day so whatever was doing or doing now don’t suspect will take Long either way. Sonos we know not so rapid. 

 

Airplay is 16/44 ALAC.  The problem is, when it hands the URL off, it may just had off the AAC version of the track, and not the ALAC version, unless it is streaming through the iphone (like it would be screen mirroring).  Which is why the 9to5mac article above has you starting Airplay in a specific way.

 

Either way Airplay in a multi-user household is a poor way to control and queue music.  Let’s hope Sonos adds ALAC support to the SMAPI API so Apple can add it to their SMAPI layer for Sonos Apple Music.

 

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yes i think you have figured out tthe only way to play Apple lossless on Sonos currently given that not on Airplay yet, not intergrated into Sonos and no USB input on connect/port  - sorry Sonos but I’m struggling to think of a worst spec on any Hi_Fi streamer on the market than the Port. To be fair the current hopefully short term lack of  Airplay support also applies to other manufacturers and Sonos seems to be the only maunfacturer with Apple intergrated in their own App but then the lack of USB input is special to Sonos. Nope. Still can’t think os a worst specced hi-fi streamer on the market than the Port - a hi-fi streamer than is meant to connect to hi-fi but has none of the functionality of every other hi-fi streamer on the market. It seems like they completely ignored the market and competition and as demonstrated by Apple with lossless and hi-res not even a tech giant can do that susstainably

I don't think my method works for streaming lossless around the house -- what it does is stream Dolby Digital 5.1 around the house. It sounds great, particularly on what started out as Atmos content - but DD 5.1 is still lossy, so lossless tracks are still being compressed. I don't know if that's because my TV lacks eARC or some other limitation, but the Apple TV seems to send both lossless and Atmos in DD 5.1.  So, close but no cigar -- and still waiting for Apple and Sonos to fix the Sonos Apple Music app. 

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We may be waiting a while if ever for Apple on Sonos App as it would require agreement and  development by both Apple and Sonos. . Other manufacturer forums are complaining why can’t they have Apple integrated when Sonos does but currently Apple preferred appraoch is to offer Apple Music over Airplay. I prefer the Apple app personally but Sonos is more stable. I understand as above Airplay can play 16/44 currently so expect that will be available on Apple Music with the next software update.  Also sounds like Airplay is capable of 24/48 so will come later and then hopefully on Sonos. I expect more Apple compatible hardware further down the line like say an Apple TV with hi res and more Dolby Atmos/Lossless hardware as only way Apple can make money out of this  but in practice USB to external DAC is fine for now and if anyone can hear a subtle difference it won’t be on Sonos.  Access to better quality recordings designed to be heard on more transparent systems is the real benefit. 

I only have Airplay 2 Sonos devices and it is not optimal but Airplay supports 16/44.1 ALAC via airplay so CD quality should be doable via Airplay (unless Sonos does something like upsample everything to 48Hz like ATVs do - in which case it would still work just be upsampled to from 16/44 to 16/48) .  are minimum to update it.  Everyone else relies on airplay to support Apple Music.

Many are reporting that Apple Music is not AirPlaying in lossless and in fact is using 256AAC, even when it says it is lossless. Go figure? 

 Access to better quality recordings designed to be heard on more transparent systems is the real benefit. 

But there are no blind tests establishing that sound heard on such systems is inferior when delivered by them via the same recordings, downsampled to such formats that Sonos can play...

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Didn’t say there was. I now have hi res content at no extra price and a hi res dac   Hi res content is now mainstream. HiFi streamers apart from Sonos offer hi res. That is the new technology and market reality which cannot be denied. I very much doubt that I can hear difference between bit depth and sample rates but I can hear massive differences between recordings DACS/Amps and headphone which massively increase my listening  pleasure. I appreciate not important to other people and not saying it should be. I would like to use a Sonos streamer to play my hi res content on my hi res dac but accept I can’t so I shall go elsewhere driven by the deniers of changes in technology and the market. 

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 Access to better quality recordings designed to be heard on more transparent systems is the real benefit. 

But there are no blind tests establishing that sound heard on such systems is inferior when delivered by them via the same recordings, downsampled to such formats that Sonos can play...

But this isn’t a discussion about whether you can hear the difference or not, it’s a discussion about if it’s available via Sonos. Start another thread if you want to debate if you can tell the difference between compressed and uncompressed digital music.

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Exactly. I would like the option to hear for myself. Sonos is convenient and reliable. Apple  16/44 or preferable 24/48 on Sonos speakers would be fine. Appreciate that is also down to Apple and Sonos by no means alone. If Sonos wants to offer a hi res Port that gives the option to not distort the sound so I can play hi res comtennt on hi res dac that would be great but accept that is not Sonos market and I will probably have to look elsewhere for Apple hi res hardware from other manufacturers as it becomes available. 

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Just tried Apple Music Lossless from iphone via camera connection kit and USB cable to h-Fi DAC. iphone didn’t recongise the DAC I use for speakers wihich shows sample rate but was plug and play with my headphone DAC which doesn’t display sample rates.  Not really into the lossless/hi res debate but subjectively just switching between different rates on iphone lossless did sound not dramatically but noiticeably less compressed, clearer and more natural on lossless and a little more clearer and natural on hi res. Not so noticeable that you could independently say that is a lossy, lossless or hi.res but subtle improvements particularly between lossy and lossless when switching between rates on Apple Music. So personally I would say it would be good when Apple Music lossless hopefully comes to Sonos but full hi-res would be overkill on Sonos. But worth adapter and USB cable for hi-res on hi-fi and i will also buy a portable DAC for my iphone as does sound notieably better.  

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Technical team from another manufacturer whose talking to Apple now saying Apple Music lossless should be availaible on AirPlay on 24/48 as soon as it is enabled which sounds promising. Would be nice to also have integrated into Sonos as other equipment users want but Sonos app very basic compared to Apple app   So with lossless incoming on AirPlay and hi res already available via USB cable with Apple Music excellent UI and Music algorithms at no extra cost my glass is more than half Full. Sonos app integrated and hi res via WiFi would be nice to haves. More importantly as listen moreenjoying the subtle improvement in sound quality particularly between lossy and lossless. Although the difference in sound quality is small the impact on me getting into the Music is significant as the music just sounds more real and natural. 

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Listening to Apple Music lossless some more on hifi via USB cable is sounding way better than Sonos connect. Just gone up a level. Cable also a lot cheaper than a port so definitely the best way to connect Apple Music to Hi-Fi until if and when Sonos comes up with a hi res port upgrade that doesn’t distort the sound. 

Does anyone know if the LINE IN signal on the Sonos Amp (latest gen) goes through ADC/DAC processing steps before it’s sent to the speakers?

My sense is yes, since you can stream it through the house and it needs to delay the local audio to sync with the rest of the network. i.e. the analog input can’t be a simple pass through to the speakers. 

But I’d love to be proven wrong as it could be a viable solution for hi-res Apple Music until support is built into the Sonos software.

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I think the line in wil go through the DAC as it is an analogue line in and the only way to avoid the Sonos processing the sound is to have a digital souce in and use the digital out with fixed volume. As the Port doesn’t have a digital USB input then hi res from Apple to Sonos isn’t possible at moment. Potentially you could use a lighting/USB  to RCA adapter to play Apple lossless to the Port. If it is just delaying/buffering sound then it is not processing the sound as I understand it.

At the moment playing direct from iphone via CCK adapter and USB cable to my DAC is sounding way better than lossless CD rip files via Sonos so if you can connect direct to a DAC and avoid going via Sonos that is what i recommend. 

My feeling is will not take long for Apple to anable 24/48 on Airplay but no intergated solution anytime soon and if you want Apple Music hi res then best look elsewhere than Sonos as that is not its market.   

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I think that I have finally come up with a solution for streaming Apple Music to Sonos that is a fully lossless playback chain.

When I stream Apple Lossless from my iPhone to an Apple TV 4K, the Apple TV consistently shows that it is playing either lossless or hi-res audio. I attached the Apple TV to an HDMI splitter with a digital display that gives you information on the audio and video streams, and the Apple TV puts out a fixed 24/48 over HDMI.

Using an AmazonBasics HDMI Audio Extractor, I can output the audio over SPDIF. I haven't been able to find tech specs on the audio extractor, but if it can handle 4K video, I assume it can handle 2-channel 24/48 audio.

Right now I am running SPDIF into a Sonos Amp via the Sonos optical to HDMI Arc adapter. For as kludgy a solution as this is, it sounds pretty good, and I am able to stream from Apple Music to the Apple TV 4K without routing the signal through a TV.

I assume that everything is getting resampled to 24/48 and I am routing HDMI to optical SPDIF to HDMI Arc, but I think I finally confidently have a lossless playback chain from Apple Music to Sonos.

 

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That should work. A very niche solution though.    Curious what Apple will do. They always specified hi res content from providers. The implementation of lossless and hi res on Apple Music is excellent. It sounds really good and I much prefer the Apple UI and alogoriths are excellent having trialled all other streaming services My radio station and new music really. Sound like personally created for me. 
 

But all other services are better integrated with other manufacturers hardware. Given their reluctance to share API then AirPlay upgrade is my guess. 

https://www.apple.com/feedback/apple-music.html

Sometimes it a good idea to go talk directly to someone at the company

 

 

Thanks for the link. I’ve submitted feedback to Apple. 

Me as well. 

Me too and I hope everyone on this forum will do likewise

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Living with Apple Music lossless 

i don’t want to listen to lossy files anymore on hifi  don’t notice difference listening on Sonos or out and about

24 bit recordings bit sound better than 16 but on hifi beyond that not convinced

 Bits might be bits but in practice Sonos is not a good enough source for good hifi    Playing Apple Music lossless files from iPhone rather than via Sonos has been difference between wanting to listen occasionally and at every opportunity  Sonos for everyday use round house absolutely  For focused listening to hi fi  just no  I was really missing out big time using Sonos as hi fi source  

 

so in conclusion I think whether Sonos get Apple Music lossless is irrelevant  it isn’t revealing enough  Most of my casual listening will be on Sonos but for a hifi streamer I will be looking elsewhere given the dramatic sound quality difference  

 

 

I finally got to listen to spatial audio on an IPhone+airpods pro, and that led me to do some reading on this new feature that led me to the linked interview with the head of Apple Services/Music, Eddy Cue.

https://www.macrumors.com/2021/06/08/eddy-cue-spatial-audio-interview/

His comments seem spot on with respect to how - in his opinion - lossless cannot be distinguished from AAC lossy by over 98% of people including him, in a blind test. And where it can, in another interview, he notes that it takes very high quality headphones and a special 1 to 2 percent of people with the right ears - I suppose because otherwise room acoustics will wash away any very minute audible difference. So much for running after just more bits and bytes then…

His comments on spatial audio also seem to tally with my listening to comparison samples available on Apple Music - the difference is very audible and to an extent that I can see it surviving without headphones, as long as all the right kit is used downstream, in a domestic environment.

Now whether that different sound will be preferred to what is the existing presentation of stereo music as a sound stage in front of the listener will be a personal preference, and I am sure there are some that will not want to listen to music where it feels that one is standing on stage in the middle of the band. Others might prefer that new experience.

So although he uses HDTV as an analogy for how vast the difference is with spatial audio, no one that watches HDTV then ends up preferring the standard version. To that extent, the analogy may fail.

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Yes I would fully agree there is no way I can hear the difference between lossless and lossy on Sonos and regular headphones/earbuds  or outside 

 I have a very high quality headphone set up and moving to lossless and hi res is a subtle difference in sound quality which makes a dramatic difference in listening pleasure. It just sounds way less compressed and more lifelike but only with high quality headphones. I just skip the few remaining lossy filed and replace with lossless versions as they are now so disappointing in comparison. It may well be that the dramatic improvement in  listening pleasure is also due to moving away from Sonos as the source as it simply isn’t a good enough source for quality hifi. But I would completely agree that it is a niche market currently so I can see why Sonos and Apple Music are not bothered about it. It is a shame though given the dramatic difference in listening pleasure.it really is a wow experience and a pity more people don’t get the opportunity to hear it  

i would also agree the Dolby Atmos sounds more distinctly different but I’ve switched it off as to me sounds very forced and distorted and much prefer the high res versions of the files but that may well be different on other headphones more specifically designed for Dolby atoms. 

 

His comments on spatial audio also seem to tally with my listening to comparison samples available on Apple Music - the difference is very audible and to an extent that I can see it surviving without headphones, as long as all the right kit is used downstream, in a domestic environment.

 

Further to the above:

I agree with the Apple Music head, Eddy Cue, when he goes on record to say that there is no audible sound quality difference/gain in lossless v AAC lossy, except for the rare 1 or 2 percent of people with golden ears, when listening via high quality headphones. Based on my experience with audiophile - as in expensive - kit first, and then on Sonos which replaced it. And headphones are a product that isn't in the Sonos portfolio at this time, it must be noted.

Given that, this entire thread including its title is just white noise that masks the signal of what the thread really should be about - What will it take for Sonos to do spatial audio such that it is heard in a typical domestic environment in the manner it is designed to be heard?

This is going to much more than more bits and bytes and will have to include hardware that is delivering the sound into the room. I can't see the latest Sonos One, stereo paired, doing spatial audio successfully. Or even the 5 pair, for example.

I have no exposure to Sonos TV products, so I can't answer the question if that present hardware, if supplied and capable of playing spatial audio streams, are capable of delivering the spatial audio experience in the manner heard on the AirPods pro, to the room they are in. But that seems to be the important question to ask/discuss, instead of getting distracted by mere lossless audio and how to persuade Sonos to play it. All THAT will achieve is more of a burden on the home WiFi network.

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There is no way I have golden ears. Just a very transparent headphone set up but absolutely true it is not a mass market product so 98pc probably will have never heard such a system so will never know how much better a proper hifi system with lossless can sound and frankly. probably don’t Care.

 

 I certainly was not aware what a dramatic difference it could make until I treated myself to a Hi-Fi headphone set up during lockdown and only then when I switched to lossless and a better quality source than Sonos  it probably is only 1-2pc of the market at most though. It is not the Sonos mass market for sure and I accept that lossless can’t be appreciated on Somos and I need to look elsewhere for a better quality source than Sonos for hifi listening. 

98pc probably will have never heard such a system so will never know how much better a proper hifi system with lossless can sound and frankly.

 

What remains hilarious is that how many of the 2% still claim to hear differences from lossless even while using loudspeakers ( as opposed to headphones)  in their homes to do so - never mind how proper HiFi the speakers or the rest of their system may even genuinely be.

The hilarious bit is that the man putting out lossless via his service says there is no difference to be heard on even such systems. Even by the 2%.

Now only if a equally placed purveyor of Hi Res audio, the other snake oil, was to say this….

On Lossless, a copy/paste from the net:

QUOTE:

“The reality of lossless is: if you take 100 people and you take a stereo song in lossless and you take a song that’s been in Apple Music that’s compressed, I don’t know if it’s 99 or 98 can’t tell the difference. You can tell somebody, ‘Oh, you’re listening to a lossless [song],’ and they tell you, ‘Oh, wow. That sounds incredible.’ They’re just saying it because you told them it’s lossless and it sounds like the right thing to say, but you just can’t tell.”

— Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of Services (including Apple Music), on the reality of “lossless” digital music.

I’m sure this is all true — and in listening to the new lossless files for a few days, my ears believe it to be true as well (when I can get the streams to work, that is) — but it’s still amusing/surprising to hear Cue frame it this way at the launch of Apple’s offering.

:UNQUOTE

 

Let the games begin...:laughing:

 

 

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Absolutely to be honest I can hear no difference between lossy and lossless on my mid range hifi speakers system, mass market headphones/earbuds or using Sonos.  They are simply not transparent enough.
 

I can completely believe  that 98pc of the public are listening on mass market music devices and therefore can not tell the difference beitreten lossy and lissless. I most certainly can’t.
 

Transparent hi end hifi headphone are something else though. I can hear details I never knew was there before and there the effect is stunning.  CD quality was originally. chosen for a reason   Of course people only have a limited hearing range and no one in hifi claims otherwise so the arguments against hifi are spurious.  It is how natural it sounds within human hearing range that matters. Here
you should listen to manufacturers whete Sonos freely admits that it is not hifi.it is an excellent lifestyle product.  The sound is highly processed and distorted which sounds good on Sonos speakers which most people are satisfied with but it is not  hifi which is fair enough because it is not designed sold or marketed as hifi so I can see why they see the whole lossless and hi res spurious as it is for the mass market who are not interested in hifi  

I