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Article: The Sonos Port Isn't Bit Perfect


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My guess is that the target market for this device would be hard pressed to understand the issue here and very likely would not care at all even if it was fully understood. My other guess is that the SPDIF digital output is rarely used by any owner of this device. No one would purchase a device like this for serious listening when there are now many other good choices for that purpose.

 

I doubt the manufacturer will respond as I think the most likely thing happening is some form of volume leveling. People who buy these are going to use it mostly to serve background music and don't want wide fluctuations in volume. This is nothing more than a guess I admit but from friends I have known who have these types of devices I suspect this is it.

 

Good for you for pointing it out.

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Thanks for doing this! I have somewhere around 10 Sonos zones in my home. 5 of them have external DACs and of those, 3 are in serious listening systems. To be fair, a lot of my serious listening is vinyl or CD, but I also do a lot of Tidal listening. Of the 3 important Sonos boxes, 1 is a Connect modified by Wyred 4 Sound, 1 a Port modified by W4S, and 1 a regular Port. All 3 use Audio Note (UK) DACs.

 

Moving away from Sonos takes away all the nice options of multi-room play - or at least having to replace ALL the Sonos boxes. I also have a Roon system, but it will not let you group a Sonos device with a non-Sonos one (I suspect because it is using the rich Sonos control protocol).

 

So although bobflood's prediction is probably right, I would certainly love to see the switch to turn off any DSP.

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2 minutes ago, NapaBob said:

Thanks for doing this! I have somewhere around 10 Sonos zones in my home. 5 of them have external DACs and of those, 3 are in serious listening systems. To be fair, a lot of my serious listening is vinyl or CD, but I also do a lot of Tidal listening. Of the 3 important Sonos boxes, 1 is a Connect modified by Wyred 4 Sound, 1 a Port modified by W4S, and 1 a regular Port. All 3 use Audio Note (UK) DACs.

 

Moving away from Sonos takes away all the nice options of multi-room play - or at least having to replace ALL the Sonos boxes. I also have a Roon system, but it will not let you group a Sonos device with a non-Sonos one (I suspect because it is using the rich Sonos control protocol).

 

So although bobflood's prediction is probably right, I would certainly love to see the switch to turn off any DSP.

 

Thanks for all the info NapaBob. There are quite a few people in the same boat as you, using Sonos in pretty revealing systems. The content Sonos delivers is second to none. The user interface and ease of use is pretty good as well. 

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2 hours ago, NapaBob said:

Thanks for doing this! I have somewhere around 10 Sonos zones in my home. 5 of them have external DACs and of those, 3 are in serious listening systems. To be fair, a lot of my serious listening is vinyl or CD, but I also do a lot of Tidal listening. Of the 3 important Sonos boxes, 1 is a Connect modified by Wyred 4 Sound, 1 a Port modified by W4S, and 1 a regular Port. All 3 use Audio Note (UK) DACs.

 

Moving away from Sonos takes away all the nice options of multi-room play - or at least having to replace ALL the Sonos boxes. I also have a Roon system, but it will not let you group a Sonos device with a non-Sonos one (I suspect because it is using the rich Sonos control protocol).

 

So although bobflood's prediction is probably right, I would certainly love to see the switch to turn off any DSP.

@NapaBob sorry but I forgot about the W4S modified units. Of course those would be the most likely to be used with an external DAC. This was especially true from the early days when Sonos had exclusives on content at 44.1/16. I almost bought one myself.

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HDCD has to be supported by the DAC, maybe the port doesn't support the extended low level flags and ignores them. Port has to be bitperfect I just bought one because I read that they had fixed the bitperfect issue 😁

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52 minutes ago, DK11706 said:

HDCD has to be supported by the DAC, maybe the port doesn't support the extended low level flags and ignores them. Port has to be bitperfect I just bought one because I read that they had fixed the bitperfect issue 😁

There’s no such thing as extended low level flags. 
 

I hope they fix the issue. 

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Just now, DK11706 said:

Well HDCD have a control signal, and only works if supported by the player, so my point is still valid :-)

No. 

 

HDCDs played bit perfectly by any digital output into an HDCD DAC, will light up the HDCD indicator. It's the same for DTS signals. If the component can pass bit perfect signals, the DTS component will see it and indicate it's DTS.

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I did a quick catch up on HDCD and I have to admit that you are right and I'm wrong, the HDCD data is hidden in the last of part of the 16Bit, so if Sonos was bitperfect it should be passed and detected by your DAC.

 

Anyway thank you for a great find, I already requested a return for my product and replaced it with my old trusty ZP80. 

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1 hour ago, DK11706 said:

I did a quick catch up on HDCD and I have to admit that you are right and I'm wrong, the HDCD data is hidden in the last of part of the 16Bit, so if Sonos was bitperfect it should be passed and detected by your DAC.

 

Anyway thank you for a great find, I already requested a return for my product and replaced it with my old trusty ZP80. 

Thanks for the follow up @DK11706

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Sadly not surprised.  I bought my wife a Sonos speaker and found it unlistenably harsh--not in the audiophile sense, I mean compared to a cheap boom box, car stereo or similar.  I'm a hard pass on all their stuff

 

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1 hour ago, Tamarin said:

Old news. Even the Connect is no longer bit perfect as of units manufactured in 2011 on, with hardware version 1.16.5 or higher (assuming that you keep it updated firmware-wise)

https://en.community.sonos.com/components-228996/connect-no-longer-bit-perfect-6738927

I got rid of all my Sonos gear because of this.

 

I can confirm that my Connect manufactured in April 2013, and hardware version 1.16.5.5-1.0 is 100% bit perfect. 

 

IMG_0337.jpeg

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Hi,

 

I did some testing today, and I can confirm that both my Port and ZP80 are not bitperfect. My new DAC arrived today and works great with all material using my laptop.

 

When I connect Sonos to my DAC it locks to 44.1 Khz and stays there even when feed 48Khz material, so I guess sonos downsamples everything to 16Bit /44Khz.

 

One odd thing I did notice and maybe can be part of the bit perfect problem, is that you are still able to control max volume even with fixed output enabled.

 

Cheers..

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1 hour ago, DK11706 said:

Hi,

 

I did some testing today, and I can confirm that both my Port and ZP80 are not bitperfect. My new DAC arrived today and works great with all material using my laptop.

 

When I connect Sonos to my DAC it locks to 44.1 Khz and stays there even when feed 48Khz material, so I guess sonos downsamples everything to 16Bit /44Khz.

 

One odd thing I did notice and maybe can be part of the bit perfect problem, is that you are still able to control max volume even with fixed output enabled.

 

Cheers..


I believe both products max out at 44.1 don’t they?

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I contacted Sonos support again and was passed on to some senior people. Coax is only 44.1.Khz output, 48Khz is internal processing only.

 

That is very bad news as the old connect was terrible at down sampling introducing tons of noise in the signal. They still claim that 16bit 44.1Khz is bitperfect, but we already know that it's not true.

 

They will change the spec. in the link as soon as possible...and my Port will be returned.

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