Volume normalization



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Be careful what you wish for! If you want the best audio quality then you probably don’t want to be using any automatic gain boosting or limiting. Probably fine for background music, but I would imagine it would be a poor compromise on hardware and software like Sonos which streams content from lots of different sources. Spotify know in advance what they are streaming as they benchmark every song as they encode it and send the volume data along with the music file. Sonos would no doubt have to use a very blunt instrument to achieve the same result with many different sources.

Lack of volume normalisation with Spotify is the biggest disappointment of otherwise good product. Please create an option to use volume normalisation as soon as possible. Changing volume from track to track is a real PITA.

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Make sure it is optional. 

 

Not everyone wants to butcher their music with it. 

Why would this butcher music? If the only thing this does is play around with gain, from one track to the next? 

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Depends what sort of music you listen to. 

I like a lot of classic and sound track albums, they often go from very quiet to very loud between tracks, it is how they are meant to be, volume normalisation tries to get them all at the same level. 

It is like having a TV where the TV automatically adjusts each scene for a 120nits white point, it will make every scene look like a mid summer day in the Bahamas, however, if the day is meant to be dull and overcast that is how I want to see it. 

 

The Sonos connect added in some Volume Normalisation a couple of years back, I noticed it because some albums I know well sounded well weird. You lost the dynamics between the ultra quiet tracks that went into the really loud ones. Peter someone on here worked out that if you set the volume to 88 (rather than fixed line out) it went back to normal, not ideal, but a work around. 

Volume normalisation is great when listening in my shop, at home at parties etc. But when I want to shut the door, turn down the lights and listen properly to albums with big dynamic changes to them I would want the ability to turn it off. 

I’m fairly new to Sonos but am somewhat baffled this feature is not supported.  Spotify has a “volume normalization” option for accounts but Sonos ignores it.  As a result when listening to music on the 5 Sonos One and Sonos One SLs I recently purchased I am constantly having to adjust the volume.  It is really annoying and not particularly acceptable in what is supposed to be a fairly high end solution like Sonos.  Heck, even my ancient Logitech Squeezebox players have this feature.

Even if Sonos can’t integrate directly with the Spotify normalization it should be possible to offer a volume normalization in the Sonos app itself when it is playing so that you can normalize the volume.

This and the poor Alexa skill capability with Spotify have me somewhat soured on the entire experience when I was initially very excited by what Sonos can do to improve my audio listening enjoyment and I bought numerous speakers and even considered purchase of additional speakers and a Move for patio use.

 

Make sure it is optional. 

 

Not everyone wants to butcher their music with it. 

 

That’s a pretty strong and ignorant statement.  While it is true that within an album there can be intentional large volume differences between tracks it is quite normal for lower volume “casual” listening to normalize the volume.  In fact pretty much every radio station has been doing just that for at least 30 years.

 

All we’re asking for is the OPTION to normalize volume during playback.  I listen to a large variety of music and often at lower volumes to make it more comfortable for the rest of my family.  It’s frustrating to have to constantly twiddle the volume when going from a quiet track that was recorded in the 60’s or 70’s to a super loud track from a modern album.

@jmpage2 : if you use the spotify app to control the music play, and connect to a target Sonos speaker from within that app, does volume normalisation not work?

Um Sonos don’t have a time machine, so they have no idea what the volume for a given stream will be in the future. Normalization can only be done when all track volumes are known in advance (eg local library) or metadata is present from the service provider (which it isn’t).

Does this mean that normalisation is possible for the local library resident on the NAS? If yes, what stops Sonos from doing this in an effective way?

IMO, instead of faffing around with the Hi Res red herrings and hype, this feature, be it for local stored music or for streamed music would make a real difference to elevate the listening experience. I have said just this on this community years ago, that Sonos should do this instead of spending development resources on silly UI cosmetic changes that we have to periodically suffer.

I completely get what has been said about building a playlist with consistent sound levels as a choosing criteria; that is why I never use mixed source playlists like for instance Apple Music and local NAS. And why I often have to edit a playlist to delete a liked track that still becomes an issue because it can't be heard at volume levels that are correct for the large majority in the list; and the whole idea of a playlist is to have it play without user intervention.

And to repeat a question - when music play is initiated from the Spotify native app and cast to a Sonos speaker via the native app, does this normalisation become available and if so, is it effective?

Further while I agree this should be optional where different sound levels from one track to next from one album are by design as for classical music, I fail to see why normalisation in general has “butchering” effect on sound quality. And the “Connect no longer bit perfect” thing has nothing to do with this; who says this has not understood that very trivial issue.

I see that when Spotify plays on my phone, volume normalisation is turned on; but as soon as the music is transferred to a Sonos speaker, the part of settings is greyed out and no longer accessible. Why that should be the case is a mystery unless the normalisation is being done in the phone where music is being played on it. In which case, it will be available for bluetooth wireless play from the phone, but not from the supposedly better quality way of playing it via Spotify Connect+Sonos.

Who is this down to - Spotify or Sonos?

@jmpage2 : if you use the spotify app to control the music play, and connect to a target Sonos speaker from within that app, does volume normalisation not work?

Don’t know as it’s not really my use case.

 

I bought the Sonos system so I could control it with Alexa voice assistant.  I set up a separate Spotify account on my Premium Family plan for it so that anyone in the home could listen to whatever they wanted with voice control and it wouldn’t affect my own playback in my car or on my headphones.

 

It is a pretty basic feature and could be done completely separate from Spotify just within the Sonos hardware so I’m somewhat baffled it’s not available.

 

I would think it isn’t something Sonos can do because it doesn't know what's coming down the pipe. But the Alexa initiated play is also something like Spotify Connect in the sense that Spotify knows what is being piped to Sonos at all times, so why this should not work as it - I suppose - does when music is playing via Spotify on the phone, isn't down to Sonos, I suggest.

And when it does work, is volume normalisation really effective? In the car or on headphones, playing from the phone, does it do a good job of maintaining sound levels the same in a long playlist?

I would think it isn’t something Sonos can do because it doesn't know what's coming down the pipe. But the Alexa initiated play is also something like Spotify Connect in the sense that Spotify knows what is being piped to Sonos at all times, so why this should not work as it - I suppose - does when music is playing via Spotify on the phone, isn't down to Sonos, I suggest.

And when it does work, is volume normalisation really effective? In the car or on headphones, playing from the phone, does it do a good job of maintaining sound levels the same in a long playlist?

Volume normalization is very highly effective and has been used in terrestrial and satellite radio for decades. 
 

it does change the audio quality but this isn’t much of a concern for casual BG listening. 

Where radio is concerned, it has to be getting done at the radio station then, not in the receiver. If the analogy applies, Spotify has to do this, and not Sonos.

Hey @Edward R 

can you tell us what did the department needed for this functionality respond when this issue was reiterated with them? What are the limitations and reasons why the normalisation doesn’t exist yet? How is this feature prioritised - near top of the backlog or somewhere down the line?

Thanks!

it does change the audio quality but this isn’t much of a concern for casual BG listening. 

That would depend on how it is implemented? My expectation of this would be that it delivers the same result as moving the volume slider does, a shifting of all the sound levels in the track to the left or to the right, so that all tracks in the playlist are played equally loudly.

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@Anonymous UserUnfortunately, they do not share their feature development schedule, plans or intentions. As such, we cannot say when (or even if) requested features will be put into development. It’s as much a surprise for us as it is for our users when a feature gets introduced.

Naturally, we do find out slightly ahead of time to be able to announce the introduction of a feature. If such time comes, we will be sure to let you know.

Normalisation has been operative for local library tracks -- after a rather incomplete fashion -- since the very earliest players. Memory isn't a factor. What's missing for tracks streamed from online services is the requisite gain factor to make the volume adjustment. Either it isn't in the stream metadata or Sonos has no agreed way to extract it.

@Edward R : can you confirm the first sentence in the above quoted? And if so, further, what exactly is done for local library tracks by Sonos in this direction, and what is not being done?

And for anyone interested, a link to a topic on the same issue that I started two years ago, that got no replies, less than two hundred views, and was closed down!

https://en.community.sonos.com/wireless-speakers-228992/volume-normalisation-across-albums-sources-for-consistently-high-quality-sound-6764671

PLEASE FIX THIS ISSUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RIDICULOUS

UNACCEPTABLE 

BASIC USER OPTION FUNCTIONALITY

COME ON SONOS - RESPOND

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi @Edward R: Even though all the other comments already summarize my disappointment about missing volume normalization, I’m adding another comment to emphasize the importance of this feature. 

Sonos is positioning itself as a “premium” version of an Alexa speaker, but without having a working volume normalization when listening to Spotify, it feels very dated and is certainly not something I would ever recommend to a friend. I can understand that implementing volume normalization may not be trivial, but it is handled on almost any other solution and is a de-facto standard for playing music through Spotify. For a $200 option Sonos speaker, it’s embarrassing that this feature has not been implemented after hundreds of requests from paying customers and reason enough to make a change to a different brand.

If you create a playlist that contains a wide variety of music, RMS peak normalisation would really be a neat feature. Today’s music is leveled out to maximum amplitude, whereas songs from the 60/70/80s had so much more peak varation.

 

Please, Sonos, fix this! 

I second all of the said above.
Couldn’t believe it that it isn’t a thing yet on Sonos Devices...

I’ll add my 2 cents as well.  I listen to talk-radio a lot thru Sonos - when the program switches from news, talk, weather, phone in listeners I am constantly chasing the volume.  I’m not only surprised, but disappointed, that Sonos with all it’s hi-tech knowledge built in to it’s system has not, or will not, address this issue.  Please put your technological acumen to work on this - very distracting.

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 @ronalds872  I can understand the question for nomalisation for services like Spotify or your own collections. Both collections must have been brought together for a lot of different sources - hence possible differences in volume.

The differences in volume you experience are based on a choice by the people making the radio program. Your remark should be adressed to them, not Sonos.

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