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Sonos adds Dolby Atmos Music and hi-res audio support for Amazon Music

Sonos users who subscribe to Amazon Music can enjoy Dolby Atmos Music and lossless, hi-res audio on select Sonos speakers starting today, December 7. To get these new features, you’ll need an Amazon Music Unlimited account and the latest Sonos software, which you can grab by opening the Sonos S2 app and going to Settings > System > System Updates > Check for Updates.

Sonos Now Playing screen.

Dolby Atmos Music tracks from Amazon Music will work on Sonos’ two Dolby Atmos-compatible speakers, the $899 Sonos Arc and the $449 Sonos Beam Gen 2. However, if you have these speakers grouped with non-Atmos-compatible speakers when you play your desired tracks or playlists, the streams will default to the highest quality, non-Atmos format supported by all speakers in the group.

Prior to this update, you could listen to Dolby Atmos Music on the Arc and Beam Gen 2, but you needed the help of an external streaming media device that was also Dolby Atmos-compatible, like the Apple TV 4K (2017/2021) or Nvidia Shield TV (2019).  And while that is still true if you want to hear Dolby Atmos Music tracks from Apple Music and Tidal, Atmos Music tracks from Amazon Music can be streamed directly from within the Sonos app, in the same way you access any other streaming music content.

The software update also brings support for lossless hi-res music playback from Amazon Music at up to 24-bit/48kHz. The Sonos S2 app will now confirm when you’re listening to one of three higher-quality formats via a small badge on the Now Playing screen:

  • HD: Indicates a lossless 16-bit stereo stream (including Sonos Radio HD)
  • Ultra HD: A lossless 24-bit stereo stream
  • Dolby Atmos: A song mixed and available in Dolby Atmos

Curious what these formats sound like? Sonos has curated an Ultra HD playlist and a Dolby Atmos Music playlist to help you explore them. Just add them to your Amazon Music library and then stream them from the Sonos app.

Digital Trends asked a Sonos spokesperson when the company would support Dolby Atmos Music and hi-res formats from other streaming music services, but we were told simply that “we look forward to delivering more high-resolution experiences with our partners over time.”

This software rollout is the third major enhancement to the Sonos platform in terms of supported audio formats in 2021. In March, Sonos added support for lossless hi-res audio at up to 24-bit/48kHz. And in November, the company enabled DTS Digital Surround on all of its soundbars, as well as the Sonos Amp.

Lossless hi-res audio works on select products including the Arc, Beam, Five, Move, One, One SL, Port, Amp, Symfonisk Bookshelf, Symfonisk Table Lamp, Playbar, Playbase, Play:5 (Gen 2) and Sonos Roam , but prior to the December 7 update, Sonos only supported this quality level from Qobuz.

When playing hi-res audio on an S2-based system, compatible speakers get the lossless 24-bit streams, while incompatible products, like the Sonos Play:1, will get the lossless, 16-bit version of the same stream.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
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