Support high resolution files

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see new WSJ article on 24 bit .. makes me feel Sonos is out of date!
You do realise the author of the WSJ article has been misled, and even admits it in his article (although he doesn't actually realise it) It is a classic mistake: Michael Hsu was comparing copies mastered for digital downloads (Amazon, iTunes) with a different version. By definition they will sound different. By definition a master created for mass-market digital downloads will not be as good as one where the Audio Engineers have been allowed to mix, master, and render the track carefully. There is no doubting the superior quality of the studio Engineering work that is used on the HDTracks downloads. There is every doubt that any improvement is due to the hires format. In fact, even in the WSJ there is strong evidence that the format isn't the primary benefit. In the article, Michael Hsu writes: "I took the hi-res audio files that I purchased from HDtracks and converted them to MP3 using iTunes. To my surprise, they sounded unmistakably richer and less brittle than the digital versions I had purchased from and the standard iTunes Store" If the difference can be heard even when the track is converted to mp3, it can only be because the original source material sounded far better. The article is a great advert for better source material. It's not a good advert for hires.
Yamaha's Aventage AVR products can play high bitrate FLAC, IIRC, and is a great multizone product. The Yamaha's control apps could obviate the need for Sonos at all, for some. I'm pretty sure they can't do the data bandwidth wirelessly to do this, across all users in all environments. Because of urban density, the least common denominator is set pretty low. I think they could do some stuff to fix it, such as allowing us to turn off wireless networking and go wired-only to enable the higher bandwidth rates. Im sure this is super complicated and probably a rewrite of the core software. It also makes their new direction of movable, portable units less useful to the high bandwidth users. Does it create more problems than it solves? Maybe! And maybe the lost customers' dollars add up to less than they gain by making hidden wireless mesh networking their focus into the future. That's a big market; simplicity is elegant. It sells.
Simple reason that Hires may never be supported by Sonos is backward compatibility. To this date, every single feature or upgrade that has been released via firmware update can be enjoyed by people who bought even the old school ZP100's or the first generation of Sonos hardware. These devices almost certainly don't have the processing power to play hires which means that there would be features that are not available to everyone. I applaud Sonos for their consideration of backward compatibility, contrary to the likes of companies like Apple. While I wish the Sonos system could play hires, I understand why it probably never will. Let's be honest, the crowd of us hires listeners is still a small one. Yes you need expensive equipment to play hires, and I'm OK with that. You can't expect to drive at over 200MPH with a Toyota Camry, and can't expect a $350 Sonos Connect to do a good job with hires. I dove into hires, and it is a pain to convert my library to a Sonos compatible format, but it's the decision I made. I do feel that if Sonos did play hires, it would be just that more of a complete system, and this topic would not be a discussion.
With the recent launch of Bluesound, I absolutely hope that Sonos will reconsider their position and provide hi-res support. Otherwise I might consider switching to Bluesound
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No plans to add support? Test post as my previous one disappeared as I logged in.
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I'm rather tired of stock responses like "no plans to support". I would be understanding of SONOS if they explained technical challenges, issues or even a tech strategy that is mutually exclusive to 24/96 FLAC. Even that it is cost prohibitive at this point. I understand SONOS need to make a profit! I've invested a good amount of money in SONOS gear that stated it supported FLAC (Connect and some play 5's). Now to find out it only supports CD quality sampling and no higher resolution audio is rather misleading. Without even downscaling! I guess I should have done more detailed research before I bought. I honestly find this corporate "no plans to support" line as insulting to me as a loyal customer and arrogant in expecting that we deserve no context despite our product investments. SONOS, I thought you were a more modern company? How about some more modern, straightforward communication?
My current dissatisfaction with sonos is that even using the coax output on the connect, and linking to an external DAC that does support 192/24 the sonos player software says the file cannot be played! In short sonos cannot even pass the data to an external device correctly for processing. That is in my view a hardware and software failing.
My question would be, is the SONOS inability to play hi res FLAC files caused by a hardware limiting factor or is that SONOS platforms require a firmware upgrade to play hi res FLAC files?
I think it has to do with the fact that the bandwith to pass on the large amount of data of hi-res audio wirelessly is insufficient or puts them at trisk of having lots of people complain. I for one in my house had to switch to wired connection since they kept disconnecting or did not connect at all. Now if that is already the case for MP3 or basic flac imagine the same for 24/96 let alone 24/192. As an audiophile I am waiting for some reviews and experiences from users of newer generation systems like bluesound to throw Sonos out and switch over. I am tired of crap quality MP3 and other low-res formats.... Up to you Sonos!
I also want Sonos to add functionality to play high rez files. I do not think backward compability should prevent progression in a case like this. Sonos, please add this! 🙂
My latest email from Sonos ---LINK HERE--- ends with "Enjoy all the music on Earth... your way" ... but I can't
It's amazing that Sonos can't at least pass the hires files for those with a capable external DAC. I don't see any technical hurdles with that approach.
When I rip an HDCD my ripping software is set to decode the rip to 24bit. Trouble is, I've just discovered that Sonos can't cope with that! I also have a Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6, and it plays the 24bit rips from my NAS drive no problem. Why can't Sonos? As Jake says above, why not let Sonos pass the file to an external DAC?
Here's why not: Your proposal assumes that the limitation is the DAC and associated output stages of the Sonos, and that hires should be possible merely by bypassing the DAC. That is almost certainly not the case. Pretty much every audio DAC IC produced in the last 10-15 years is capable of handling 24-bit and higher sampling frequencies. The DAC components used in the Sonos equipment is capable of hires support (up to 24/96 according to the data sheets). The real problem is that these files have to be transmitted, buffered, synchronised, and decoded before this stage. This is required even if the output is a digital bit stream towards an external DAC. The Engineering complexities with developing greater-than-full-resolution format handling capabilities are in these stages, and bypassing the analogue outputs doesn't make this easier to solve in any way, shape or form.
There are now meanwhile quite some request for 24 BIT pass through. When will Sonos react to that ? Times they are a changin' .... HD is coming to us
Riiiiight! According to some, higher-than-audible resolution formats have been "coming to us" for more than decade. I haven't seen the market for it significantly increase in that time. Maybe if you keep hyping it, maybe music formats which mostly comprise inaudible noise (a.k.a. "hires") will become mainstream in 10 or more years. Until then, purchases by the 99.99% of people who barely understand the difference between MP3 and lossless CD quality will continue to be for the existing full-resolution formats.
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I mostly don't care about SONOS ability to play 96/24 or 384/24/5.1 at that resolution. What I do care is SONOS playing the tracks, or at least trying (the 384/24 is extreme, I don't expect SONOS to win there 😉 ). I understand the network bandwidth limitation, thus I understand it must be downconverted to something more palatable for data transfer. System already has provisions for that, maybe just not at these frequencies. I wouldn't even mind having to run a software on my computer (Plz make it Mac too 😉 ) that would transfer files to my SONOS architecture. Not only would it make it possible for me to remove the network share, but since I'd assume the software would be similar to the iOS device sharing, I'd think it'd be possible to use the software to stream what's playing on my computer too. Two for the price of one. To be frank, I use FW and USB 192/24 / 96/24 and dedicated hardware to get the best out of my high resolution files. SONOS is about simplicity, it's the Cool Thing that allows me to have a party and just throw a controller device to a guest, and then s/he just haves fun making a playlist for everyone to enjoy. It's the cool thing that makes it easy to play music everywhere in my house while I work. It's also the cool thing that gives me the ability to send off audio to a dedicated DAC to get good quality audio. So even if I'd love for the SONOS system to up its ante to 96/24/2 for my DAC, the least that I'd want is to have the SONOS system actually be able to play the tracks, even if they are downconverted. And the VERY LEAST would be for the system to simply ignore the tracks and remove them from the list, because right now, I have multiple versions of the same tracks (just so I can play them on my SONOS), and half don't play even if they are listed in my collection.
Dear all, While I can understand Sonos': - (potential) market-size driven considerations, or - principle (good!) of backward compatibility, or - performance challenges, I also find it quite annoying, and even a signal of not taking their consumers serious (...), that they stick to the standard response. Indeed. An open and honest motivation would be nice. Or conversely ... maybe a more constructive attitude: 1) The expected sales numbers of a "HiRes enabled connect" is likely to be low [ is it? ]. As a result, the unit price would have to be high. How much are we (consumers) willing to pay for one? Sonos could start such a dialogue, or use a "pre-order" or "pledge" scheme for such a device as we know from tech start ups ... 2) I could imagine that the wireless syncing is indeed causing a performance issue. As reported in one of the earlier postings, sometimes the wifi connection even has difficulty in playing MP3s in sync. I also appreciate the principle of backward compatibility (but Sonos leaves us guessing there ... bad attitude). So what about the following strategy ... Create a new HiRes connect unit, that would normally be connected using a wired network connection. When one (or more) HiRes connect units becomes part of the Sonos network, the "legacy" units become "slaves" to it in the sense that: - When LoRes content is played, all Sonos devices work "as usual" - When you want to play HiRes, you can only do so to a group of synced Sonos devices that contains at least one HiRes connect. This HiRes connect then outputs the HiRes data stream to a connected amplifier, while also downsampling and streaming (in sync!) it to the "slaves" in the group (this could then be done via WiFi, potentially even with flexible bitrate depending on the quality of the WiFi connection). However, the core issue remains ... we don't know the real reasons why Sonos does not want to support HiRes. Regards, Erik Proper
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Hi Erik, If you are looking for a young, innovative company which supports 24 bit audio and listens to customers in an engaging 21st century manner then you may want to look at A lot of AV customers in London have ditched SONOS for Summit's gear this year, as 2.4GHz and metal aren't best friends and metal kitchen doors/garden frames are all the rage this year (5GHz FTW). Also these are the kind of buying customers who do not suffer the occasional drop out, or restarting radio after 4 hours of play.
I ditched Sonos for Bluesound Node. Bluesound supports high res files (up to 24/192) and has a great sounding DAC
The sub domain is called "ask Sonos" ..., but it seems we are only asking ourselves. Sonos seems to stay rather quiet !
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I just got a new Sonos Connect:AMP yesterday, and the received the new CD from Fish in FLAC 24 bit version. Amazing that the Sonos can't play the songs my old Squeezebox'es play without an issue. Luckily there is a return policy, so I will return the Sonos and get something else.
I'm not sure why I am weighing in on this because I have commented on the facebook page and the forums including the infamous "zp 24/96" thread that has gone on since 2007. I guess I am still hoping that someone at Sonos is reading this. First of all, yes I want support for 24/96 wav/flac/alac. As has been mentioned in other posts, it is wonderful that Sonos continues to support legacy components, i.e. zp80,cr100 and if this is the problem I would love to hear this from Sonos. I would be ok with downsampling for the older components, not total rejection of the file. But I will never buy a new Sonos component until there is support for higher resolution formats.
The status on this Idea is "Not Planned", which means Sonos has definitively stated that support for Hi-Rez files is not going to happen. Is the reason why this is so going to change that? No. So I don't know why people are clamoring for a reason from Sonos, except to be able argue/moan about the given reason(s), extending the debate well past the point of effectiveness. People should be shopping for an alternative, instead of hanging out here complaining about an issue that is effectively dead.