Sonos support for Apple Music's Lossless Audio



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Begs the Question… Why did we just obsolete our old Sonos kit and upgrade to S2 if no one will be able to hear the difference ?

Maybe time to dig out those old Play 5’s and downgrade everything to S1

I feel an email coming on to Sonos support…...

Hi Res on Sonos is much more a marketing check the box thing; S2 is meant to allow other advances, probably more for the sound for TV side of things. 

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I can’t hear the difference between ALAC lossless and AAC lossy files on Sonos equipment let alone Hi-Res so suspect it is just marketing whcih is still relevant given tthe move of the main music streamer services to hi-res. Personally it needs some hign end equipment before I can hear the difference between lossy and lossless.24 bit files do sound better on hifi but suspect they are just better original recordings and i can’t hear the difference with hi res sample rates on hifi. So personally don’t see any benefit between lossy and lossless on Sonos let alone hi res but dramatic improvement in listening pleasure on hifi. My conclusion is it just isn’t relevant on Sonos from a listening poin tof view because it isn’t hifi but that is absolutely no criticism of Sonos because it doesn’t claim to be hifi. .   . 

My conclusion is it just isn’t relevant on Sonos from a listening poin tof view because it isn’t hifi but that is absolutely no criticism of Sonos because it doesn’t claim to be hifi. .   . 

I could not hear these differences even on a Harbeth C7 speaker pair driven by a Quad preamp/amp. 

Either this equipment was also not HiFi, or my ears are shot. 

No complaints, because this was a very liberating discovery.

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I believe you. I can’t hear the difference between lossless and lossy on my hifi speakers using Sonos connect. The sound quality of my hifi is still way better than my Sonos system as it sounds a lot more natural than the processed sound of my Sonos system   Just in the same way as my Sonos sounds way better than Bluetooth speakers which sound way better than my mobile phone speakers. Every hifi user ive come across still prefers Sonos app for casual background listening which is its purpose just not for focused listening. Others don’t care. Each to their own. 
 

It is only on a very revealing headphone system that I can hear the difference and there it has made the difference between listening occasionally and every day and skipping lossy tracks. But the most dramatic difference has been swopping the Sonis connect for a usb cable which highlighted how dramatically the Sonos was limiting the sound quality of my headphones. The USB cable was a lot cheaper than the connect but you would still need a revealing system to appreciate the difference.  It is a completely different experience which enables you to get lost in the music and hear details you have never heard before. It is a relatively niche market though and I don’t doubt that there are better systems than mine that are even more revealing.

 

I fully appreciate that a lot of people will be entirely satisfied with the Sonos processed sound as I am for background music  but some people will also get s lot more pleasure from a more natural and accurate sound. it’s Personal preference. 

Nothing is ever Sonos’s responsibility. Not SMB 1, not the bugs in Alexa control, not the Roam battery life debacle. 
 

So of course we need to “ask Apple.”

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I can definitely hear the difference between playing lossless via the Apple Music app on my MacBook connected to my DAC via USB compared to playing the same song on the Port. This is my workaround at the moment and it works pretty well. From a convenience point of view I would prefer Sonos to implement lossless Apple Music via the app so I can use it on the Port instead.  Let’s hope they can get this sorted soon. 

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I can definitely hear the difference between playing lossless via the Apple Music app on my MacBook connected to my DAC via USB compared to playing the same song on the Port. This is my workaround at the moment and it works pretty well. From a convenience point of view I would prefer Sonos to implement lossless Apple Music via the app so I can use it on the Port instead.  Let’s hope they can get this sorted soon. 

As long as you remember to set the bit output in the midi app then you should be in better shape this way. But, I don't know if Sonos outputs lossless (cd quality) as standard when using Apple Music. Apple may get round to making AM better to implement after iOS15 and Music Kit roll out.

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Nothing is ever Sonos’s responsibility. Not SMB 1, not the bugs in Alexa control, not the Roam battery life debacle. 
 

So of course we need to “ask Apple.”

You could be right. But, my understanding is all the audio manufacturers have their hands tied and must wait for Apple. 

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I can’t hear the difference between ALAC lossless and AAC lossy files on Sonos equipment let alone Hi-Res so suspect it is just marketing whcih is still relevant given tthe move of the main music streamer services to hi-res. Personally it needs some hign end equipment before I can hear the difference between lossy and lossless.24 bit files do sound better on hifi but suspect they are just better original recordings and i can’t hear the difference with hi res sample rates on hifi. So personally don’t see any benefit between lossy and lossless on Sonos let alone hi res but dramatic improvement in listening pleasure on hifi. My conclusion is it just isn’t relevant on Sonos from a listening poin tof view because it isn’t hifi but that is absolutely no criticism of Sonos because it doesn’t claim to be hifi. .   . 

Equipment is nice and all that, but the mastering of the file and your listening setup (room, how you are listening e.g. doing housework and its on in in the background) is a lot more important. Crappy mastering makes hi-res sound meh, great mastering can make cd quality awesome (I used to be a member to B&W Society of Sound and the mastering on those albums was just fantastic so cd quality sounded fab). Great speakers sound poor in a room with lots of surfaces that reflect sound etc. or big floor standers with no room to breathe etc. sound bad too. I do agree hi-res is a bit of a gimmick, there is so little true hi-res content, i.e. content mastered in the studio in that file format. Lossless (i.e. CD quality) is a much bigger deal here, Apple offering that at no cost is a great deal for consumers, like if you care go nuts and play that, if not then be happy and stick with AAC.

 I do agree hi-res is a bit of a gimmick, there is so little true hi-res content, i.e. content mastered in the studio in that file format. Lossless (i.e. CD quality) is a much bigger deal here, Apple offering that at no cost is a great deal for consumers, like if you care go nuts and play that, if not then be happy and stick with AAC.

I agree with the hi res view; note though that the head of the Apple division that is putting out lossless is on record as saying that it sounds no better than AAC from the same master in a blind test. Which is perhaps why they are not charging extra for lossless…?

On the other hand, I hear that the lossless streams play louder than AAC, all other thing being the same. So why Apple also needs to resort to this louder sounds better chestnut of a trick is a bit of a mystery.

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I’m not sure what all the fuss is here.  Unless you’re an audiophile that spends $1000s on high end headphones and equipment your ears will never hear the difference.   I plugged my $350 Bose headphones directly into my iPhone 12 Pro Max and turned the HD on in Apple Music and compared all my favorite songs to the same on Spotify and could not notice a difference.    The other thing at play here is that unless the streaming service gets the studio master direct from the recording company this is all a moot point here.  
 

Also, let’s not forget that the bandwidth HD audio takes up.  Most cable and cell providers don’t give you truly unlimited data except on their highest end plans and playing audio in HD in addition to the 4K streaming you already do will eat it up so much faster.   

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I’m not sure what all the fuss is here.  Unless you’re an audiophile that spends $1000s on high end headphones and equipment your ears will never hear the difference.   I plugged my $350 Bose headphones directly into my iPhone 12 Pro Max and turned the HD on in Apple Music and compared all my favorite songs to the same on Spotify and could not notice a difference.    The other thing at play here is that unless the streaming service gets the studio master direct from the recording company this is all a moot point here.  
 

Also, let’s not forget that the bandwidth HD audio takes up.  Most cable and cell providers don’t give you truly unlimited data except on their highest end plans and playing audio in HD in addition to the 4K streaming you already do will eat it up so much faster.   

You don’t need to spend thousands to enjoy the sound difference, but to your point you do need to make some investment to appreciate the details. Case in point the DAC in most smart phones is tbh crap as it’s not a priority for manufacturers, so not surprised you may not hear a difference. You are bang on with the actual master of the file though, some hi-res is poorly mastered by technicians and therefore sound bad.

also totally right with bandwidth, lossless is a luxury for this with unlimited plans and home WiFi to use it. If you want lossless then best to download if you can.

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 I do agree hi-res is a bit of a gimmick, there is so little true hi-res content, i.e. content mastered in the studio in that file format. Lossless (i.e. CD quality) is a much bigger deal here, Apple offering that at no cost is a great deal for consumers, like if you care go nuts and play that, if not then be happy and stick with AAC.

I agree with the hi res view; note though that the head of the Apple division that is putting out lossless is on record as saying that it sounds no better than AAC from the same master in a blind test. Which is perhaps why they are not charging extra for lossless…?

On the other hand, I hear that the lossless streams play louder than AAC, all other thing being the same. So why Apple also needs to resort to this louder sounds better chestnut of a trick is a bit of a mystery.

One of the alleged reasons that Apple can likely offer this at no price difference is that apparently Apple requires content that is to be included in Apple Music and also required content in iTunes to come in a “hi-res” master format. So, they already have all the content.

I don’t agree that they just play louder than AAC streams, one part of having music through a wired connection is that bass etc is just more pronounced delivered that way when using a decent DAC (ie not the one in the iPhone and most other phones).

 

I don’t agree that they just play louder than AAC streams, one part of having music through a wired connection is that bass etc is just more pronounced delivered that way when using a decent DAC (ie not the one in the iPhone and most other phones).

Why would Apple, who offer both streams, themselves say that lossless sounds no different from AAC? In blind tests?

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Because it doesn’t sound better for most people on most mass market products that people listen to. I can’t hear the difference on Sonos equipment but it’s a subtle difference that makes a fantastic difference to listening pleasure on good quality hifi.   Some people appreciate that. Some people aren’t that much into music or don’t care that much about sound quality or have never heard a really good quality hifi system. or don’t have sufficiently good hearing. But for those that enjoy good sound quality  then you will not want to listen to lossy on good hifi once you have heard lossless. 
 

 

But for those that enjoy good sound quality  then you will not want to listen to lossy on good hifi once you have heard lossless. 
 

 

I don't agree with this, and my past includes what most people would classify as excellent audio equipment. And sources that included plenty of lossless and lossy rips from the same CD. I have heard no difference. 

The head of Apple Music is just the latest to hew to this opinion. You may of course be hearing things that even he, the provider of the service, and his team, do not.

I can’t hear the difference on Sonos equipment but it’s a subtle difference that makes a fantastic difference to listening pleasure on good quality hifi. 

 

And while I am disenchanted with Sonos corporate behaviour and the availability of equally good options to have decided to replace my Sonos kit once the hardware dies in future with those options, I certainly have not changed my mind about my assessment of Sonos as good quality hifi - once it is set up with the same care as such kit. Sonos kit is designed and built to very high standards and often to better standards than visible in HiFi brands such as NAD. It is sold at lower price points because the scale of manufacture for Sonos is orders of magnitude larger than available to many HiFi makers, and that gives Sonos a massive advantage in cost structures. In addition, the design is such that no money is wasted on expensive fripperies like heavy cabinets, speaker enclosures or backlit VU meters, that do nothing to enhance sound quality delivered, but pander only to senses other than the organs of hearing, the ears.

This lossy/lossless thing - or the lack thereof - where Apple Music is concerned is giving Sonos user unnecessary grief, but that isn't because Sonos is not good enough to show up the difference. There is no controlled blind test on record that does this either, with any kind of kit.

 

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I can completely agree and accept that most people will not be able to hear the difference on most mass market equipment and that you personally can not hear the difference. I certainly can’t hear the difference using Sonos. But then Sonos isn’t hifi. For me personally on my hifi system going back to original CD quality designed for human hearing range. has made a dramatic difference to my personal listening pleasure. The bigger difference is taking Sonos out of my hifi system which sounds like a distorted unnatural mush in comparison so there is no way personally that I am able to appreciate lossless on Sonos in my experience. But Sonos is an excellent background music product not hifi  

 

I fully understand and accept that lots of people can’t appreciate or don’t care about hifi sound quality. It seems some people are unable to grasp that other people though may get a lot of joy from better sound quality just because. It doesn’t do anything for them. I think a lot of people listening to lossless on a good quality hifi would be wowed. There would also be lots that would be so what. The point is it is a personal experience. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being satisfied with listening to lossy sound quality on Sonos but there is also nothing wrong if some  people get a buzz from listening to lossless on hifi and enjoying a sound which they find clearer, more natural, and detailed,. Fundamentally. it is about accepting that listening to music is a personal experience and other people’s experiences maybe different. Listen for yourself. I was also skeptical but for me changing from lossy on Sonos to lossless on a cheaper cable option has dramatically increased my listening pleasure and the amount of time I want to listen on my hifi from occasionally to everyday. 

Sigh. I refuse to waste more words.

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I only hope and wish that it is true that  people will no longer continually try to promote the absurd position that there couldn’t possibly be anything that might possibly sound better to some people than lossy on Sonos. 
 

I fully understand and accept that some people are unable to understand and accept that some people may have different equipment and different Personal listening experiences.  Just like people prefer different music Genres  there is no absolute right or wrong. I’m merely suggesting that some people may prefer to try the sound of a cheaper USB cable on some systems. Great for me but might not do anything for others. It is not vaccines or Afghanistan it is merely about being open  minded enough that other peoples might have different experiences and open enough to try them and see if it works for them rather than trying to limit people’s views and experiences. 

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Sigh. I refuse to waste more words.

Look nothing wrong with an opinion, but don’t just quote Eddy Cue and say told you so. While hi res is a waste of time for the vast majority of people (like Eddy says) and will never ever become anything like mainstream, In my opinion I find a difference in listening between lossy and regular lossless ie CD quality and think that folks may appreciate that Level more.

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I only hope and wish that it is true that  people will no longer continually try to promote the absurd position that there couldn’t possibly be anything that might possibly sound better to some people than lossy on Sonos. 
 

I fully understand and accept that some people are unable to understand and accept that some people may have different equipment and different Personal listening experiences.  Just like people prefer different music Genres  there is no absolute right or wrong. I’m merely suggesting that some people may prefer to try the sound of a cheaper USB cable on some systems. Great for me but might not do anything for others. It is not vaccines or Afghanistan it is merely about being open  minded enough that other peoples might have different experiences and open enough to try them and see if it works for them rather than trying to limit people’s views and experiences. 

Yep couldn’t agree more, music and listening is very personal experience. I really don’t care when people say I’ve listened on my x or y and so don’t waste your  time, I’d give people a chance to decide for themselves

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Indeed. I suspect that anyone that can’t hear the difference between lossy and lossless is confused by debate between lossless and hires and:or hasn’t heard a really good hifi system and/or isn’t really into music and/or their hearing is failing and/or they are trolling. It is a subtle but marked difference and just like when I’m playing Sport a small adjustment can make a massive difference to your pleasure.
 

The losslesss CD standard was set for a reason and Apple Music insist on high quality lossless recordings for a reason.

 

For a small investment it is certainly worth hearing and deciding for yourself rather than accepting the myth that there is nothing in the world that sounds better the Sonos lossy.

Whether it does anything for you is entirely personal and not something that someone else should try to dictate their views to you. But that is the insanity that is social media unfortunately 

Many recording studios no longer work at 192/24 because this is not their idea of “Hi-res”. The files used by consumers are down sampled from higher resolution masters.

You can fuss with higher resolution at ProMates.

Even this is a little lame because some studios operate at higher rates.