Qobuz, the music lovers’ Hi-Res streaming and download provider, is now the first music service to deliver 24-bit Hi-Res audio streaming on Sonos. Qobuz customers will be able to listen to studio-quality music on their Sonos speakers, preserving all of the details and color of original recordings, with the ease of simply pressing play in the app. Available with the Sonos S2 app, this new integration is one of Qobuz’s broadest expansions of Hi-Res streaming support to date.
Qobuz does offer the largest library of hi-res albums, but it still only represents 5% of the music available online from them and Tidal. Spotify HiFi launches soon but that’s only adding lossless (and not hi-res) albums to what is available on their platform.
Before Sonos and Qobuz users get too excited, there’s a catch. And we know we’re not the only people who are going to notice.
24-bit/48kHz certainly qualifies as hi-res streaming but what about all of the content on Qobuz that is 24-bit/96kHz or 24-bit/192kHz?
If the Sonos S2 platform is limited to 24-bit/48kHz — does that mean it’s all going to be downsampled to that or will Qobuz offer everything in 16-bit/44.1kHz CD quality? According to the Sonos Support website, that seems to be case. It states, “Tracks with a sampling rate above 48 kHz will be delivered to your Sonos hardware as 16-bit/44.1 kHz FLAC (CD lossless quality).”
Qobuz USA Managing Director Dan Mackta said of the partnership, “Qobuz has always strived to make the highest quality audio accessible, as people become more interested in better sound. Now, on Sonos devices, we’re making it easy for millions more people to experience the improvement Hi-Res audio can make.” “Our open platform enables partners to bring the best of their experiences to the Sonos system and our mutual customers,” said Ryan Richards, Director of Product Marketing at Sonos. “Qobuz has been at the forefront of high resolution music streaming, and we look forward to customers enjoying their music with the clarity, depth, and room-filling sound of Sonos.”
In 2013, Qobuz became the first music service to offer 16-bit FLAC streaming on Sonos. And now, it is continuing to expand access to “higher-resolution streaming on Sonos by introducing 24-bit streaming, compatible with most products on the Sonos S2 platform, which supports up to 48 kHz/24-bit audio resolution. This new integration builds on Qobuz’s continued expansion of hardware partnerships, including the addition of Hi-Res compatible hardware on the Android platform several years ago.”
We’re excited to see support for 24-bit streaming on Sonos, but we feel that folks are being slightly vague on the details. Time will tell.