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Will any sonos product support UltraHD from Amazon

  • 21 September 2019
  • 35 replies
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Since UltraHD launches on Amazon Music, I’ve seen Reddit posts saying that Sonos won’t support UltraHD. Is this true or will certain products support it and not others? For example, could the Connect Amp support UltraHD but not the play ones?
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Best answer by ratty 21 September 2019, 10:31

From my testing it plays them all at the lower spec
The 'lower spec' being CD-quality, i.e. matched to the capabilities of human hearing.
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Nope. Sonos supports up to 16/48.

It's reported that Sonos will read some 24-bit files, but only play them in 16-bit. Maybe that will change to full support of 24-bit some day. Who knows.

Sonos has stated in the past that higher sampling rates than 48kHz -- i.e. reproducing ultrasonic frequencies -- don't make sense as a final delivery format.
Hi, thanks for your message. So to confirm, do you know for sure wether streaming from Sonos with Amazon Music as the source will play 16-bit currently, or are you saying it will in the future?
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From my testing it plays them all at the lower spec, to take full advantage advantage of hi res I put my Mac book pro into my dac and play through my traditional hifi.
do you know for sure wether streaming from Sonos with Amazon Music as the source will play 16-bit currently, or are you saying it will in the future?
Content on Amazon which is either 'HD' or 'UltraHD' streams on Sonos at 16/44.1 (or possibly 16/48), when selected using a Sonos controller.

It would appear that such content currently only plays at SD (256kbps) if it's initiated using Alexa or by casting from the Amazon app.
From my testing it plays them all at the lower spec
The 'lower spec' being CD-quality, i.e. matched to the capabilities of human hearing.
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From my testing it plays them all at the lower specThe 'lower spec' being CD-quality, i.e. matched to the capabilities of human hearing.


I actually have audiophile hearing which is higher than the capabilities of human hearing.


I actually have audiophile hearing which is higher than the capabilities of human hearing.


Let me guess, you have "trained" ears too?


From my testing it plays them all at the lower specThe 'lower spec' being CD-quality, i.e. matched to the capabilities of human hearing.
I actually have audiophile hearing which is higher than the capabilities of human hearing.


So, you're Vulcan?
So, you're Vulcan?
Canine?
Maybe a cat? From PetMD:

4. Most cat owners can tell you, anecdotally, that their pet has a very good sense of hearing. But just how good is it? “Cats hear lower frequencies and higher frequencies than dogs and people do,” Strain says. A cat’s hearing range is approximately 45hz to 64khz, compared to 67hz to 45khz in dogs. While the range of human hearing is usually pegged at 20hz to 20khz, Strain says 64hz to 23khz is a better representation.

Another paper suggests that the cat's range is slightly wider.
Cats can really appreciate 24/192. A dog could make do with only 24/96.
The Amazon site appears to show Sonos will only support HD. It would be great to get some official guidance from Sonos.

The Amazon site appears to show Sonos will only support HD. It would be great to get some official guidance from Sonos.
They already provided it.

https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/amazon-music-hd-available-on-sonos-6830070
You can now stream over 50 million tracks in CD-quality (16-bit HD) audio through the Sonos app.


https://support.sonos.com/s/article/3248
What bitrate and format does Amazon Music stream in? 256 kbps AAC & MP3 (up to 16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC with Amazon Music HD)



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So the consensus would be a Sonos Connect fed into a good hi-fi is good enough and all those that use high res files and steamers costing thousands simply wont hear the difference?
So the consensus would be a Sonos Connect fed into a good hi-fi is good enough and all those that use high res files and steamers costing thousands simply wont hear the difference?
That's about it. The oft-referenced article from Monty at Xiph (the developers of FLAC and other audio/video codecs) is a good read. https://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
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So the consensus would be a Sonos Connect fed into a good hi-fi is good enough and all those that use high res files and steamers costing thousands simply wont hear the difference?That's about it. The oft-referenced article from Monty at Xiph (the developers of FLAC and other audio/video codecs) is a good read. https://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html


Thats a good read, I’m not sure the guys over on what was computer audiophile would agree though, most of the reviews about Amazon music HD talk about bits sample rates, bit perfect, none actually talk about if it sounded good or if they enjoyed the listening experience which is strange as you listen to music.


So the consensus would be a Sonos Connect fed into a good hi-fi is good enough and all those that use high res files and steamers costing thousands simply wont hear the difference?That's about it. The oft-referenced article from Monty at Xiph (the developers of FLAC and other audio/video codecs) is a good read. https://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
Thats a good read, I’m not sure the guys over on what was computer audiophile would agree though, most of the reviews about Amazon music HD talk about bits sample rates, bit perfect, none actually talk about if it sounded good or if they enjoyed the listening experience which is strange as you listen to music.


The article was written by the guy who invented FLAC lossless compression. He knows WAY more about digital audio than 99.999% of the folks on any audiophile forum.

How reproduced music “sounds” is primarily dependent on speakers and room interactions, and on the engineer’s mix. Sadly, most modern pop music is mixed very, very poorly, with no dynamic range.

Anything “above” CD “resolution” will not be heard by human ears.
Thats a good read, I’m not sure the guys over on what was computer audiophile would agree though, most of the reviews about Amazon music HD talk about bits sample rates, bit perfect, none actually talk about if it sounded good or if they enjoyed the listening experience which is strange as you listen to music.

The difference between Monty and audiophiles is Monty has degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT, a masters in computer engineering from Tokyo Tech, and is an expert on audio sampling and codecs, and audiophiles are ... well... audiophiles.

As to your other point, an oft quoted maxim here is: Music lovers listen to music, audiophiles listen to gear.
I've done some not so rigorous testing with 128Kbps and 320Kbps MP3, and FLAC encoding of the same CD track. I worked mostly with untrained listeners in terrible rooms and simply said that some listeners feel that there is a difference between the sound of certain methods of storing music. "Can you help me verify if this is true?" I referred to the three versions as '1', '2' and '3' and gave no hint about what a correct answer might be. "Bit rate", "MP3", and "FLAC" would have been nonsense words to the untrained group. To their surprise, virtually all of the untrained listeners ranked the versions correctly. Self proclaimed audiophiles, on the other hand, were about 50/50. I think that part of the issue was that the untrained listeners were mostly indulging me and were slightly curious, but for the audiophiles their reputation was on the line, digital stuff was trash, and they were too tense to pay attention. Some audiophiles complained that the equipment used during the test was too crude. I bit my tongue.
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I will say that when I play music via airplay 2 , to my Sonos system, directly from the Amazon Music HD app, I notice a significant improvement in the sound, as compared when playing through the Sonos app, even with adjusting EQ. When playing from the Amazon HD app the music just really does sound like it has a lot more depth to it..it makes the Sonos app sound appear flat. 

I will say that when I play music via airplay 2 , to my Sonos system, directly from the Amazon Music HD app, I notice a significant improvement in the sound, as compared when playing through the Sonos app, even with adjusting EQ. When playing from the Amazon HD app the music just really does sound like it has a lot more depth to it..it makes the Sonos app sound appear flat. 

 

Strange, because playing from the Amazon App does not mean Sonos is getting Ultra HD.  Sonos simply cannot play Ultra HD content, so it is not getting Ultra HD.  It would be interesting to see what is at work here, but it is most certainly not 24/96 vs16/44.1. 

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Strange, because playing from the Amazon App does not mean Sonos is getting Ultra HD.  Sonos simply cannot play Ultra HD content, so it is not getting Ultra HD.  It would be interesting to see what is at work here, but it is most certainly not 24/96 vs16/44.1. 

  
 

i do understand that. So I really don’t know the reason. Amazon Music doesn’t offer an EQ, so maybe my ears just like their default EQ precursor settings better than what I am able to achieve w the Sonos app alone.  Another oddity.. I have a boost to create a mesh network (seven Sonos Ones, a beam, and sub) and when I play from the Amazon app it actually takes about 5-12 seconds for each speaker further away to start playing, whereas from the Sonos app they all come on at once. 

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The Amazon site appears to show Sonos will only support HD. It would be great to get some official guidance from Sonos.

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While the consensus on this thread is it doesn’t actually matter listening wise (and personally I think we need to get the world back to listening CD quality music before shooting for anything ‘better’) it does seem like Sonos might not like being the ONLY hifi brand singled out by amazon as being HD only. Might an arguably pointless spec race be behind the plan to leave Legacy components behind?

 

While the consensus on this thread is it doesn’t actually matter listening wise (and personally I think we need to get the world back to listening CD quality music before shooting for anything ‘better’) it does seem like Sonos might not like being the ONLY hifi brand singled out by amazon as being HD only. Might an arguably pointless spec race be behind the plan to leave Legacy components behind?

 

 

Legacy would be left behind no matter what, but though I 100% disagree, this mainstreaming of “Ultra HD” content may be the push to support it.  As you say it is a pointless spec race, but it may be that Sonos feels it needs to participate.  

Too bad, if it happens.  I was very proud of Sonos’ “the math doesn’t add up” stance.  It was a logical, refreshing approach to the snake oil nonsense that permeates the audiophile world.  But apparently, marketing (eventually) supersedes everything.

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