Sonos Streaming or Airplay?

Newbie here… The Roon Core shows two ways to use my Sonos speakers: Sonos Streaming and Airplay. Is one better than the other?

Michael both options work.
I prefer Sonos in my setp , but I don’t use a lot of iOS devices. Only newer Sonos devices support Airplay, so that might impact your decision.


My guess is Sonos streaming is better quality since it’s native Sonos. But it’s only a guess. I don’t really notice a difference.

I just spent a ton of money upgrading my system at home. Some things I changed made a big difference and I’m really happy with it. Other changes didn’t make a difference to my ear, yet were rated highly by reviewers. I have decided that it’s best to trust my ears. If I can’t tell the difference, there probably isn’t a difference.

Michael for me I prefer using the Sonos protocol, but you might prefer Airplay and the good thing here is you have both options so you can choose either or both (in some strange world).
I never heard any real difference in sound quality

it’s nice to have the choice


Sonos streaming
++ sound quality is “guaranteed”
++ instant playback
– No album art in Sonos app

++ album art in Sonos app
++ more stable
– playback starts after 1-2 seconds
– waveform display not synchronous to music
– sound quality not guaranteed

I use mostly Sonos streaming (several Play:3 and old Play:5). But I had big skipping issues with my Port. With AirPlay I have no more problems.

So my approach would be: First try Sonos streaming. Only with issues switch to AirPlay.

Hope that helps.

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But Airplay may be lowering the bitrate in this case? So eliminating skips and dropouts but maybe lower quality? I think this is true but asking it as a question for confirmation

It is correct that AirPlay adapts the data rate to the network capabilities. But I don’t think that a slow network was ever a reason for the skipping problem. I happened no matter how I connected the Port (LAN directly to the router, LAN to the switch, WLAN (like all other devices)). With AirPlay there is only a 1-2 seconds lag before a song starts and I never noticed any differences in sound.

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