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Mediocre Wi-Fi, ALAC files alternative?


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The SONOS app on my iPad says my wi-fi is too weak to play the ALAC music files I chose. It plays other files just fine. I have Spectrum 100mb wi-fi (which is usually more like 75mb). These same ALAC files made a great sounding CD. My concern is that converting them to a smaller file type might not sound as well.

I there an alternate smaller file type that could play over my 100mb wi-fi yet sound as good as ALAC?

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Best answer by Codeseven 11 October 2017, 20:23

Thanks guys, that link was especially helpful.

I simply went into iTunes (12.7), highlighted the Album with its ALAC files, File->Convert->Create AAC Version. This newly converted Album has the required by SONOS AAC 44.1kHz for streaming via an iOS device, and both my iPhone and iPad now play that album over my SONOS speakers just fine.

Thanks again.
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17 replies

The only time you may have trouble with these is when using the Line In as a source; I see no reason for any trouble in playing ALAC files residing on your local server via WiFi.

Exactly in what form and where does this message appear?
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Hi, thanks.

When my iPad is connected to my SONOS 3 via the SONOS app. I click on On this iPad, Playlists, Neil Young. When I click play all there is only static and as it moves to the next song a message appears on the screen "network connection speed insufficient to maintain playback buffer'. Also, and it may be important? The Neil Young ALAC files are the result of audio ripped from a music DVD.
First of all, there should not be any static - music should play or there should be silence once it stops.

Second, are you able to play any other ALAC music by other artistes contained on the device?

How far is the iPad/Sonos 3 from your WiFi base station when you get this message?
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Definitely not silence. I don't think I have other ALAC files to test. The SONOS 3 is only 10 feet from the wifi base station.

Something to note. I ripped one of the songs from the DVD using the same software but this time as a 16.6mb MPEG-1, Layer 3 file. The same song downloaded as an ALAC file is 73.4mb. Both files played fine on my iPhone but using the SONOS app only the MPEG-1 file will play through the SONOS 3 while the ALAC file just results in static.
Then this isn't a WiFi issue for sure, but a format incompatibility with Sonos. Are you able to rip the DVD using iTunes and choosing Apple Lossless for the import option - ALAC for short - and then it should play via Sonos.

The other possibility - seeing the name Neil Young - is that the ALAC is DRM protected in some way though why that should not affect the other 16 mB rip is a mystery to me.

And after taking all the trouble, don't be surprised if you don't hear any differences between the 16mB file and the 73 mB one.
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I agree with @Kumar, this looks like a format issue. The link below should help:

https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/80/~/supported-audio-formats

Edit - looks like the supported formats are dependent on the source device (e.g. ios/android). All my listening is done via Deezer (not local content from my iPad), so I can't help any further.
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Thanks guys, that link was especially helpful.

I simply went into iTunes (12.7), highlighted the Album with its ALAC files, File->Convert->Create AAC Version. This newly converted Album has the required by SONOS AAC 44.1kHz for streaming via an iOS device, and both my iPhone and iPad now play that album over my SONOS speakers just fine.

Thanks again.
If the source file was truly ALAC, it is still a mystery why it would not play if the AAC lossy obtained from it does. Both are Apple codecs that Sonos can play and does in my home.

Probably does not matter to you now, of course. Few, if any, can hear the sound quality differences.
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I agree that it would seem that if an ALAC file would work then so to should an AAC file, and they both do in fact work, however when streaming from an iOS device SONOS only supports MP3 files at a max of 48kHz and AAC files at a max of 44.1kHz.
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Is this really the case? I am currently playing ALAC files from my iPhone without an issue. Not aware that Sonos app is downsampling the files?
Sonos apps do not have the capability of any on the fly downsampling. If Sonos is playing the music from the phone, it is using the files "as is" from there.
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So contrary to all above commentary then....and indeed Sonos’s own information that only AAC files can be streamed from an iOS device....

That said, happy no downsampling is going on.
Sonos’s own information that only AAC files can be streamed from an iOS device....

Where is this information posted?
Ahh...I see it here: https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/80/~/supported-audio-formats

All my streaming is either from a NAS, where ALAC files work as stated above, and from music services. I don't use the phone as music source only as a controller, so I can't comment as to your finding that ALAC files are being streamed from the phone, contrary to the linked specification.

If you see the best answer here, it supports the linked spec; the ALAC files had to first be downsampled offline via iTunes.
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Yep interesting...ALAC files definitely play without issue directly from my phone.
Perhaps they are not ALAC, but AAC, with the downsampling done automatically by iTunes when you transferred them to the phone; any files downloaded after purchase from iTunes would be AAC by default. ALAC versions are not available for these.
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Nope, I always ensure the option to downsample when copying to phone is disabled - they are ALAC files on the phone, 100%.