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Major Row Blows Up Among Sonos Owners Over Lack Of High Res Audio Output

A major row has blown up over the lack of High Res Audio output from Sonos speakers.

A post to the Sonos Forum reads ‘I have the best quality Tidal account, meaning that when I use my Tidal on my MacBook Pro, I can play “MASTER” quality music, which is better than 1440 Hi Fi. But how do I know if my Sonos is playing that highest quality when I am streaming from my MacBook Pro with the Tidal App”.

Within a short period of time a major row broke out with some contributors claiming that most owners would struggle to tell the difference between CD quality which is the highest quality that a Sonos sound system is able to deliver and the High Res output that brands such as Bluesound, Denon Heos, and Harman Kardon are able to deliver.

High-Resolution Audio files have a sampling frequency of 96 kHz/24 bit, which is significantly higher than the 44.1 KHz/16 bit sampling frequency of CDs.

After one Sonos fan wrote ‘The idea that anything can “sound better” than standard CD encoding is pure marketing BS. The CD standard already provides quality beyond the limits of human hearing”.

This led to a fiery exchange with one contributor claiming, “If your ears can not tell the difference between High Resolution Audio, at 9,216 Kbps (which is 7 X greater than CD quality (1411Kbps), you probably need better ears”.

They then went on to claim that High-Resolution Audio is audio that uses a higher sampling rate than in CDs and MP3s for the encoding and playback of music. Higher sampling rates mean that more samples per second were taken when the original analogue sound was converted into digital.

What Sonos is unable to deliver is that when listening to High-Resolution Audio music fans can pick up on the subtle details and nuances that you would hear in a recording studio.

One person wrote “If you’re waiting to get your hands on Adele’s newly released album, “25”, try listening to it in high resolution. It’ll sound like you pulled up a stool next to the British diva, allowing you to hear every note of her soulful, impressive range”.

They went on to claim that “On the other hand, when you convert analogue sound to digital formats like CDs and MP3s, that process can compromise the purity of the original signal. High-Resolution Audio brings your favourite songs to life by retaining more data during the analogue-to-digital conversion process.

“Even a simpleton knows that human hearing begins to suffer high end loss, but that is not what we are talking about. It is the depth and quantity of signal that is lost in lower quality signal that causes the sensation of less rich sound”.

The argument ended up with one contributor writing “The consensus among Sonos-lovers and Sonos-haters seems to be that Sonos cannot be considered to deliver audiophile or HiFi quality – it’s a different type of product for a different market”.

See forum link here. 

Another problem for Sonos fans is that in Australia Google Voice or Assistanbt is the most popular voice technology yet despite promises Sonos has still not launched a Google enabled speaker.

When the Sonos One was announced Sonos launched with Amazon Alexa (as did the Beam soundbar) and a promise of Google Assistant was made but has so far not been delivered resulting in consumers moving to other brands that are Google enabled.

Android Police wrote recently “It’s already a whole year since the Sonos One was released, so it’s a bit disappointing that they haven’t sorted it out yet. There’s no reason given for the delay, but the company says they’re making good progress as they work with Google to make it happen”.



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