Hi-res with Sonos S2

So I’ve tried playing hi-res (ALAC) files on Amp and Move after the S2 upgrade. Using the new Sonos app, Files up to 24/48 play back fine. 24/96 and 24/192 bizarrely play back in super-slow-mo; sounds like manually turning an LP very slowly. Under S1, the Sonos app just wouldn’t play these files at all.

Hi-res still plays back fine using Roon, but everything is still being downsampled to 16/48. Makes me wonder if the hardware actually supports 24-bit or if Sonos if just truncating the lower 8 bits when using the native app.

Anyway, was hoping for native hi-res support but I’m happy that Roon continues to function as before at the very least. I would like to know what Sonos actually does with 24-bit files and what the hardware is actually capable of supporting.

I think Roon should do some adjustments to this new ability to play 24 bits in Sonos, and it would be really awesome if it could be in short time. I don’t see Sonos going above 48kHz in the near future, not within a year I think

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Are you sure S2 supports anything higher than 24/48 in the first place?

https://support.sonos.com/s/article/79?language=en_US

As far as I can tell the only diff is 24 bit instead of 16 bit!

BTW: I have a large number of SONOS speakers around the house, even an Amp with Klipsch speakers on. In my opinion none of these units would sound any better with higher res than CD, it’s just not a high resolution system.

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Hola Miguelito!

Each system that works with Roon has been configured to stream at its maximum capacity, in my case for example my Chord Poly streams all the way to DSD. For Sonos as they just updated their system to support 24bits, Roon’s cap has not been raised to support it, therefore it still streams at 16 bits. I personally am very happy with my house full of Sonos devices, I even would like to buy the ARC and maybe a Port for my KEF LSX, and playing at 24 or 16 bits most likely won’t hear the difference, but if my system supports it, then I would like Roon to support it as well.

I am happy with CD quality, but if Tidal and Qobuz gives me more resolution, I am happy to take haha.

Agree of course. But it’s unclear if SONOS’s API supports 24 bit though, so the issue might be on SONOS’s side. The only thing SONOS has stated is supported at 24bit is local FLAC/ALAC playback - and that at a max of 48KHz.

The port is pretty nice, and it now supports 12v trigger so you can connect it to a power amp that can turn off via this trigger when not playing. And the Amp is nice in that it effectively support a digital in via it’s HDMI input.

Yes, it is unclear if Sonos S2 actually allows us to achieve 24bit depth at this moment in time, or if it only allows the units to get that capability at the throw of a switch (Through a version revision). The Sonos site makes it sound as if 24bit is “live” at this moment. But from info on several reputable sites, I have gotten the impression the 24bit is still in the future for all but the Arc and whatever other brand new speaker that just came out. All I know is that if I try to send a 24bit track to my Sonos One, Roon shows a down conversion to 16bit just before it goes to the One.

Honestly, I don’t think any SONOS system would sound any different with 24bit vs 16bit. SONOS is just not high resolution enough. I have a large number of SONOS setups:
1 x Playbar+Sub+One surrounds
1 x Amp+Klipsch+Sub
3 x Connect:Amp+Sonos speakers (yes they used to make speakers)
2 x Connect+Crown amp+Deftech outside speakers
1 x Port+Adcom amp+Paradigm speakers
2 x Sonos Play:1
(all are S2 compatible)

NONE of these systems is high resolution - makes no difference to have 24 bits for sure.

I made a test with my library. I put 24/96 files and Sonos says it is impossible to reproduce. I put 24/48 files and played without an issue, so at least in Sonos App and local library I can do it for sure. Now for Roon is what we were saying, Roon must do an update regarding the limit of 16 to 24, and as Miguelito said, maybe the API from Sonos needs to be updated as well so Roon and Sonos can now play together 24 bits. Having said that, I don’t care having a 24 bit stream to my bathroom with Sonos, 16/44.1 is really nice, hey, even Airplay AAC is nice as well. My house is full of Sonos equipment as well, and if I want to listen to Hi Res, I’ll use my Hi Fi equipment, Roon working with Sonos is really awesome!

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There should be an apparent improvement in transient response, maybe a tad less distortion. I doubt you would be able to hear the dynamic advantage, though, as I don’t think the speakers are capable of reproducing all of the dynamic range of a well mastered CD. I will wait until I can actually listen to S2 24bit before I make up my mind, but even if it’s a quite noticeable improvement, It won’t mean much to me. I do 99+% of my listening through my main system or an iPad.

Guys: It’s a SONOS system! This is not high res hardware!

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So?? I can hear the difference on my iPad, just not as well or striking as on my main system.

Has anyone got a split Sonos system (ie part S1 and part S2) and does Roon allow you to zone the players together across the S1/S2 divide? I’m the answer is no as Sonos now treats them separately but wondered whether Roon got round that limitation?

That is a negative. Roon lets you group them, but once grouped, playback stops. Hitting Play repeatedly and crying “Why SONOS Why!?” also doesn’t seem to work…

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I get generally what you are saying, but what in particular would make the new Sonos Amp not high res hardware?

Ok, to be clear, I have a SONOS Amp. A few things that make it not high end:
1- The streaming component and DAC - it just doesn’t sound that great. Has nothing to do with the fact it does not support any resolution higher than 48KHz/24bit (redbook can sound amazing). It sounds fine, not great - and for the record, I also have a SONOS Port, connected to a nice class A/B amp and nice speakers, and it just does NOT sound great.
2- The amp section in the Amp is fine, not great.

Simply put: this is not built to be a high end sound quality streaming solution. I still use it because it is very convenient, but it does not sound, in any iteration I have tried, S1, S2, etc high end. It doesn’t even compare favorably in terms of sound quality alone to things you could put together for the same price - but then again those other things would not have the convenience of SONOS all-house streaming, etc.

You get what you pay for. $600 for a streaming amp is NOT a lot of money.

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Thanks, I know you are not picking on them. I agree they have their place.

I have a lot of Sonos and trying to anticipate how their HiRes will be. I have an AmP too (we are talking about the new one), but even with S2 it is not streaming HiRes (yet?)

All my SONOS are on S2 already (have 10 zones). What you hear is it. There’s no hi-res coming other than the move from 16 bit to 24 bit. Even if on paper they managed to go higher in bitrate, there will be no difference. The hardware you have today is it, there’s no way to make it better.

Saying the bitrate from 16 to 24 makes no difference in what you hear for a given set of hardware is counter to what many in this forum think. And you have not heard 24bit yet (even with S2 installed I don’t think it is yet “turned on” for 24bit). But I understand your position now.
I think Sonos has engineered the Gen2 and later products in anticipation of this, so the Sonos 5 Gen2, the Amp, and products forward.

In any case, I am glad Sonos is iterating their offerings.

You can’t make a Subaru run like a Ferrari no matter how much you change the firmware.

FYI:
Even the old Sonos hardware, in my case a Sonos Connect, can output 24 bit via SPDIF. Sonos converts 16 bit files to 24 bit before adjusting the volume, if you use replay gain for example. So there is no loss of sound quality, or at least almost no loss.
Sonos S2 is probably just able now to read and play 24 bit source files…