While the benefit of hi-res music over standard CD quality is hotly debatable and hard to prove, the difference between Dolby Atmos music tracks and standard stereo is both immediately and blatantly obvious. With its latest software update, Sonos adds support for both Ultra HD and Dolby Atmos music tracks streamed through Amazon music. The Ultra HD content plays on the vast majority of Sonos devices while the Dolby Atmos compatibility is restricted to the companies Atmos-compatible soundbars, the Arc and Beam Gen 2.
When playing hi-res tracks, the Sonos app will now show an Ultra HD badge that indicates 24-bit lossless streaming, or else a separate badge for Dolby Atmos. Standard 16 bit lossless extremes will get an HD badge. Currently, Sonos support for hi-res maxes out at a 48 kHz sample rate, more than enough for ordinary humans, but might leave your pet dog wanting more sizzle on the cymbals. The point is that if you streaming through Amazon music, the provenance of the music is clearly labeled.
Want to read up on what Sonos thinks about hi-res music like Ultra HD? There is an in-depth blog post from Sonos here: The Beginners Guide to Hi-Res Audio.
The Dolby Atmos music support is the more interesting feature since it brings a new way to mix and present music that can often produce the more enveloping and three-dimensional soundstage than you would expect possible from the compact lifestyle from the Atmos compatible devices that support this new format. Indeed, I expect that if you have a Sonos Soundbar system that includes the Sonos Sub, either the Arc or Beam Gen 2 should be able to produce an impressive degree of immersion with these mixes.
Interested in playing Dolby Atmos music through Sonos? Check out the Arc soundbar here and the Beam Gen 2 soundbar here.
Want to play hi-res on Sonos? The vast majority of the company’s current gear supports it, and you can start browsing the options here.