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Will any sonos product support UltraHD from Amazon

  • 21 September 2019
  • 41 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

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So theoretically would Sonos Ones’ be able to support Ultra HD with a firmware update, or would they need to construct a whole new device?

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Something to keep firmly in mind, as the numbers race pushes ever higher, so does the need to move bits. I’m much happier listening to my FLAC ripped CDs than I’d be in listening to something with “better” numbers that was dropping in and out because it couldn’t shuffle the audio to my wireless speakers in time.

As to the ability to support Ultra HD, the devil will be in the details, Sonos can technically support any bit rate and depth up to the network connection and CPU processing limits. Now how much internal - between the network and the amplifier - meddling is done is the question. Dropping bits, only using a sampling of the input and all kinds of things are possible. What the native hardware will support unmodified I don’t know, or really care since I can’t hear it.

Amazon now says that not even HD (CD quality) is supported by Sonos.

It was initially, but now none of the HD playlists appear in Sonos app (e.g. Ultra HD <something>).

It’s really annoying that Sonos won’t even acknowledge this.
They happily announced support of Amazon HD, but have not said a peep [that I’ve seen] about removing that support.

Amazon now says that not even HD (CD quality) is supported by Sonos.

It was initially, but now none of the HD playlists appear in Sonos app (e.g. Ultra HD <something>).

It’s really annoying that Sonos won’t even acknowledge this.
They happily announced support of Amazon HD, but have not said a peep [that I’ve seen] about removing that support.

You mean like this Ultra HD Jazz playlist that’s playing just fine for me right now in FLAC?

 

 

 

so why doesn’t that appear for me?

I have the latest Sonos update, and Amazon Music HD subscription, nothing shows up for Ultra HD (other than band or album named with ‘Ultra HD’, none of the amazon Ultra HD playlists).

They used to show up, shortly after the announcement, and then disappeared a week or two ago.

This is the same for me on both the desktop and the phone app.

 

I should add that when I contacted Amazon support in a chat, they specifically stated that Sonos does not support Amazon HD.

 

so why doesn’t that appear for me?

I have the latest Sonos update, and Amazon Music HD subscription, nothing shows up for Ultra HD (other than band or album named with ‘Ultra HD’, none of the amazon Ultra HD playlists).

They used to show up, shortly after the announcement, and then disappeared a week or two ago.

This is the same for me on both the desktop and the phone app.

 

Interesting.  I was playing from “recently played”, but now a search doesn’t show them.  Also not showing up in Amazon’s Cloud Player, so it’s an Amazon issue.  They do show in the Amazon Music app.

However, Amazon is definitely playing HD “standard” quality (CD) via Sonos.

How do you know they’re streaming CD quality via Sonos?

You just “hear” the difference or something else?
I wish there was some indication [in the Sonos app] about current quality of music playing.

How do you know they’re streaming CD quality via Sonos?

You just “hear” the difference or something else?
I wish there was some indication [in the Sonos app] about current quality of music playing.

I watch the Mbps readout on my router’s app.

Ah, my router doesn’t have that, but good to know it’s HD (CD quality), thank you.

 

Research conducted by Audio Engineering Society member Bob Steward found the limit to human hearing is around 18 bits so yes there is a benefit to audio quality higher than CD quality. http://www.aes.org/about/ 
 

You might like this AES hi-res audio discussion YouTube video 

 

One bit (haha) of research in a body of research that comes to a variety of conflicting conclusions.  We all favour the evidence that supports our confirmation bias.

Research conducted by Audio Engineering Society member Bob Steward found the limit to human hearing is around 18 bits 

18 bits equates to 108dB. With noise-shaped dither the perceived dynamic range of RedBook CD can be up to 120dB.

 

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I have a theory about what looks like backward movement by Sonos on Amazon HD.  I’ve been battling dropouts with S2 since installing it.  After some reconfiguring and a Sonos support staff assist I thought I was there.

Amazon HD still gives about 10 seconds of silence and 5 seconds of garble with the first song.  It settles down, with an album selected, after that.  However with a shuffled list it does this every single song.  Also, the speakers in a stereo pair seem to buffer independently, and so behave differently during this time.  Aargh.  

I did the Amazon HD upgrade to use with a computer/DAC/amp combo, and it sounds great, with no lags.  We have a fiber connection to our network, and streaming multiple HDR video streams is no problem.  FWIW, I was surprised to hear a difference in HD audio where’s it’s been part of the chain from the outset, and recently switched my music recording software to 24-bit.  Not sure that Sonos speakers matter, but with Connects with external DACs, it might sound as good as a computer feeding a DAC, etc.

I have the Napster subscription-quality stream, and last night built a Napster (only) playlist that played at 360k MP3 resolution, shuffling every song, without any issues at all. At one point I had three stereo pairs and two Connects playing. Also no issues with the network music server.  That means that my Sonos setup seems to be OK.

Finally Amazon HD, in the couple of pre-S2 weeks I had it, worked well on Sonos (in the sense that there were no buffering lags).

So it appears to be something in the Amazon HD and Sonos interaction that S2 brought to the surface.  One possibility is that S2 is reserving future bandwidth, even though, per above, not much is being used.  Is it an S2 problem, a hardware problem, or what?  If in fact Sonos has backed down on external streaming bandwidth, maybe this is why?

I’m wondering if they are trying to encourage Connect/S2 users to upgrade to Port/S1 by making the experience sub-optimal using Connect and S2. I have found that rebooting the cable modem usually fixes the problem with song skipping / stuttering when playing Amazon HD or Ultra HD tracks. Another recent problem is difficulty connecting to he Amazon Music service. I have to go in and reauthorize the service when I have those problems.  

I upgraded to Amazon HD a few months ago, primarily for use on my Sonos (Connect‘s (Gen 2)/Sonos One‘s/Play 1’s).  I too, wish there was some indication in the Sonos app of what quality of Amazon HD music is playing.  My other music services at least make it possible while playing any song to see whether it is playing FLAC or MP3 or other formats on the iOS or Desktop Sonos apps.    I do hope it becomes possible to play the UHD via some of my existing Sonos hardware, but I am worried that I will get more audio pauses if that is the case.  I agree that it is probably better to play CD quality with occasional pauses rather than UHD with frequent pauses.