in ,

Hi-res streaming comes to Sonos via Qobuz (sort of)

  • Makers of the world’s best-known music streaming speakers Sonos have today announced the imminent availability of 24-bit hi-res streaming for anyone using Qobuz in conjunction with their S2 platform. Around 4% of the French streaming service’s 70-million song library is available in hi-res – anything from 24bit/48kHz to 24bit/192kHz – and that hi-res content will now play via S2 Sonos gear. Well, sort of.

    As with our recent Cambridge Audio x Tidal Connect story, the devil lives in the details. And the details of S2 Sonos hardware is that its 1) D/A conversion is capped at 24bit/48kHz and – therefore – 2) anyone pulling down a Qobuz stream (via the S2 Sonos app) with a sample rate higher than 48kHz will hit a wrinkle.

    (What happens next I had to pull not from the press release but from my Qobuz press contact).

    We might presume that S2 Sonos hardware simply downsamples all 24bit/96kHz and 24bit/192kHz streams to 24bit/48kHz — but we’d be wrong. Qobuz will instead – for now at least – serve a CD-quality (16bit/44.1kHz) stream. Downsampling may or may not come later.

    The upshot of this latest Sonos/Qobuz upgrade is that end users now have the option to stream roughly 2% of the Qobuz library in 24bit/44.1kHz or 24bit/48kHz; it also means that around 98% of that same library will still stream in the same CD-quality that Qobuz subscribers using Sonos have enjoyed since 2019 when the streaming service walked away from lossy MP3 encoding.

    Qobuz is currently available in twelve countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States.

    Further information: Sonos x Qobuz

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

    Podcast: Karl Wallinger on World Party’s vinyl reissues

    We are all idiots