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Sonos makes some of our favourite speakers on the market right now. But for all of their clever tricks, one thing Sonos speakers haven’t been able to do is handle high-resolution audio streaming – until now. Yes, music streaming service Qobuz has beat more-established competitors like Tidal and Amazon Music HD to bring Hi-Res music streaming to Sonos for the first time.
So, you’ll now be able to take full advantage of the pricey components inside your speakers – while still enjoying the convenience of streaming.
Qobuz has confirmed that it will bring 24-bit wireless streaming to Sonos customers, which results in “studio-quality music” that keeps “all the details and colour of the original recordings,” it has claimed. While it has been possible to listen to Hi-Res audio on a Sonos speaker for some time, customers would need to play a 24-bit FLAC or ALAC file from a local hard-drive to do so.
With the arrival of Qobuz, you’ll be able to listen to Hi-Res audio in the same way as tuning into Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, TuneIn, or any other numerous streaming services built into the Sonos app. To listen to Qobuz, you’ll need to be running the Sonos S2 smartphone, PC or tablet app.
Sonos rolled out its S2 app in June 2020. The new software was a clean slate for Sonos to build upon with new features moving forwards. With the arrival of S2, Sonos had to ditch some of its oldest kit, including the first-generation Play:5, Sonos Connect, and Sonos Connect:Amp, to name a few. If you have any of these speakers lying around, you can continue to stream music wirelessly around your home, but you’ll need to stick with the previous generation of the phone app, now called S1.
For those with newer models and running on the S2 app, you’ll need to add Qobuz as a streaming service to your account. Even then, not every Sonos product in your home might be able to stream 24-bit audio. The “studio-quality music” streaming promised by Qobuz will be available on Sonos One, One SL, Five, and Play:5 speakers, Sonos Arc, Beam, Playbar and Playbase soundbars, as well as Sonos’ portable speakers, Sonos Move and Sonos Roam.
If you have a Sonos Play:1 or Sonos Play:3 speaker they don’t support 24-bit streaming. Instead, you’ll be limited to 16-bit.
That’s the same level of quality currently available from other streaming services with high-resolution tiers, like Tidal and Amazon Music HD. Qobuz is the first service to move from 16-bit – which is about the same quality you’d get from a CD – to true 24-bit Hi-Res audio streaming.
Qobuz costs £14.99 a month to access 70 million tracks in its Hi-Res audio streaming. If you buy an annual subscription for a one-off payment of £149.99, that effectively drops to £12.49 a month.
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