Maximizing Audio Quality

Gary, I don’t think anyone was trying to insult you, but the Sonos stuff is simply not compatible with hi-res performance music. If you decide to stick around after the trial, there are numerous better options at varying price ranges. If you’re happy with 16/44.1, the Sonos should be adequate.

Nobody is trying to insult anyone. If you post a question and details of your system, you should expect a straight forward answer if there is an obvious weak link in your system. Otherwise, don’t ask the question.


Do you have an old Pc or Mac sitting around? Connect that via USB to a $250 SMSL SU 8 DAC (or via optical to your preamp) and you’ll get some excellent quality output without breaking the bank. That is how I run Roon and I’m very happy with the results.

If you want quality drop tens of tho on a music server and dac.

Hi Gary,

In case you’re still looking for a solution…

I believe the Sonos will accept up to 48kHz 24bit; although it will truncate the lower 8 bits even on pass through. I’m not completely clear on the DSP differences from ZP80 to ZP90/Connect. Toslink rather than S/PDIF might give you audibly different results, but will still be bit rate limited.

I think Chromecast Audio (if you can find one - there are some around still) will pass 96kHz 24bit on toslink. It’s a cheap way to try it.

I have a best friend, with a $30,000 system, and he is still using a Sonos Connect. His rational is that 90% of his music playlists are CD quality, why use a bigger bit bucket. There is some point to this argument, and AIX records’ Mark Walrep has written extensively on this.

If any of you have tried the AIX music challenge, Mark is doing it again. I got 1 of 6 correct, I was guessing. He records in true PCM 24/96 and down samples to 16/44. Working from analogue and upsampling to what ever rez is only a larger bit bucket. My experience with Tidal MQA versions of the latter, has been very pleasing.

Yes, but the file sample rate has nothing to do with jitter and electronic noise that the Sonos can create and pass on. Keeping my basic analog gear the same, I’ve been upgrading the quality of my source (microRendu 1.4) slowly but surely (cables, power supply, Sonore opticalModule fiber bridge, etc) and every one of those changes is passed on as better sounding music through my DAC, amp and speakers. Doesn’t matter if its 16/44 or 24/196. One is just shooting themselves in the foot to have an expensive front end and then go cheap on the source.

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Jitter on a Sonos is unrecognizable, below human comprehension. It sounds, pun intended, that you have swallowed that gobbledegook. If you can hear a difference in cables, digital cables? From good quality standard cables, I want what your smoking.

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Here we go again, folks. Multiple studies find that in double blind audio tests, humans can hear no discernible difference in quality above CD quality 44K sample rate / 16 bit depth.


Your loss. I only hear what I hear, and one doesn’t have to spend a lot to get better. Good DC power cabling makes a big difference when using these low power devices. A good linear power supply makes a massive difference. Running everything on different circuits doesn’t hurt. Here’s my system in total. Of course it could be simplified by purchasing better all in one units. but money is tight and it’s been modified and added to over the last few years, very little wasted, most moved down the line or to the office system. Most spent on any one cable was a little over $100 - I do believe that the VFM goes down exponentially over that.

Of course one doesn’t know how good something can sound or what one is missing if stuck in the ‘everybody else is stoned’ when it comes to tweaks mindset. Not to mention just how patronizing that is.

SERVER CLOSET:NUC 7i5BNH with Roon ROCK and OWC external 2.5" HD (ZeroZone 12V on the NUC)>Cisco 2690L-16PS switch>Sonore opticalModule>fiber (HDPLEX 100). Supra MD-06 power strip. {Office Circuit}

LIVING ROOM:Sonore opticalModule (LPS-1.2) {TV circuit} >Ghent Audio JSSG Cat 6a cable>Sonore microRendu 1.4> (Sonore UltraRendu>Ghent Neotech 7N solid JSSG DC cable) {20amp dedicated circuit) Uptone USPCB>Naim DAC V1>Witchhat DIN>Naim NAP 110 {both dedicated 20amp circuit}>Chord Rumor 2>Audio Physic Compact Classics.

OFFICE:TP Link MC110 optical bridge (iFi’s - different office circuits)>Naim Unitiqute V1>NACA5>KEF Ls50’ (near field post mounted - sound amazing - one of the few joys of working from the home basement). Cables: AQ Cinnamon RJ45, Meico RJ45, basic cat6, Naim stock AC cables with Wattgate or HifiKing Plugs.

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It doesn’t matter if it sounds better or not. If you think it sounds better, then it does. Perception is everything, more than reality.


FTR we have Sonos Play 1’s in the kitchen and bathroom, and I owned a Connect for a (very) short while so I’m not anti-Sonos. My parents and others I know really enjoy theirs. But they really are ‘tuned’ for background music, news, sports etc. But as far as being a ‘reference’ streamer they are way off, even from the entry level models of higher end streamer manufacturers.

But, yeah, if people enjoy them, that’s great. Just don’t expect them to do the rest of a higher end system any justice (the source is not where you want to save $).


Believe me, if you remove all that voodoo devices from your sound chain, the sound quality get a really big improvement.


Please, by all means inform me, and point out one piece of ‘voodoo’ in my system(s). Of course, stupid ol’ me buying into clean power and galvanic isolation and all that nonsense. Why didn’t I just get a Sonos? Oh, I did, early on, and it lasted about a minute until I got a Naim UnitiQute, and then started down this road to amazing sound I’m enjoying with pretty basic gear.

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I agee, but we probably should not get political here.

“Maximizing Audio Quality” is the title of the thread. File size won’t do it. It will bring a small subtle increase (5% maybe in my experience) but the Sonos can’t do it anyway so that’s the moot point. The thing is, my chain looks crazy on paper, but is pretty normal compared to most streaming audiophile chains. I would love to consolidate much of it to a Sonore Signature Optical Rendu at $4200, but instead am 2/3rd of the way there for less than that, and able to build the pieces individually as I can afford it.

Clean power, good switches, optical isolation, etc will all bring increases. It may be only in the 1-10% range for each element, but they all add up. Plenty of great used gear on the market as well, and it’s fun to add and tinker (within reason). Speakers are huge, but so is the source (think stylus and cartridge on a. turntable). It’s not just bits of data coming to your stereo, but also electrical impulses to carry that data, and it can be connected to a lot of other impulses that have nothing to do with your stereo (unlike say the RCA between your cd player and pre). So isolating that is key, and sending as few extraneous noisy impulses as possible to begin with. The Sonore opticalModules act almost just like a sharpening filter in Photoshop.

Correct. Changed. Best to leave it at that.

The truth hurts that to get good sound one has to spend big or get creative. Or not. I went many years enjoying music with what was at hand, as did most of my friends. Now, older, with fairly severe tinnitus from hanging over monitors (I was a live music photographer), I’m pretty sensitive to sound. The change I look for the most is what I call fatigue. How does it make me feel vs does it sound ‘better.’

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I’m in the same boat, 30 years of non-stop tinnitus. Retired drummer and pilot.

You are wasting your time with “zeroes and ones / bits are bits” crowd. Give it up. Leave them be

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