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Author Topic: Sonos and FLAC and iTunes  (Read 9354 times)

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Offline acidjack

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Sonos and FLAC and iTunes
« on: September 14, 2014, 01:46:54 PM »
I am looking at adding a Sonos system but have some questions about its utility for playing my FLAC files.

What I have now for digital is entirely in the iTunes universe and I do not plan to abandon iTunes. I listen to pretty much everything digital on HQ MP3s and I have numerous customized playlists set up based on play counts, dates added, etc. I do most of my serious listening to pre-recorded music on vinyl.

Of course, the iTunes world is a bummer for my FLAC files, which I can only listen to on headphones at my computer, or basically never.

My FLACs are stored haphazardly on numerous hard drives. I plan to consolidate everything into a single RAID system that fixes that.

But, the FLAC folders are like this:

TOP LEVEL: ARTIST DATE VENUE CITY
2ND LEVEL: Raw files and other editing
3RD LEVEL: Folders containing FLACs in one, MP3 in another

How does the Sonos "intelligently" find your music? Would I be right to assume it will basically just read ID3 tags, and unfortunately, duplicate my FLAC and MP3 unless I manually move the FLAC folders somewhere? How does the hierarchy work?

Further, how does Sonos work with iTunes? Does it mess it up at all? Does it update play counts, etc? Or does it simply just read ID3 tags off of the underlying files, therefore not even using iTunes' system at all? (I assume this is how it works)

I have zero interest in streaming music junk beyond using Spotify to discover new stuff and then buy it on vinyl.

Anyone have any advice? Also, how bad are those Sonos speakers for non-serious listening (bedroom speaker, etc.)?
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
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Offline edtyre

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Re: Sonos and FLAC and iTunes
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2014, 03:49:26 AM »
I can't give you any help on Sonus Systems, but i was shackled to iTunes until last year when i moved to J River Media Center and JRemote (iPhone APP)
I was tired of converting all my flacs to ALAC, so i got off the iTunes. Not running flac and not being able to switch from 16 bit to 24 were the
deal breakers for me.

I have all my tracks on my main music computer (90,000) where i run J River Media Center. I can control everything remotely from JRemote
http://www.jriver.com/index.html
http://www.jremote.net

In my home theater room, i have an APPLE TV hooked to a bel canto DAC, then analog out to my system preamp. With Jremote and using Apple's Airplay
i can stream any of my 90,000 tracks to the apple TV > dac > preamp > amp > speakers

In my main music room, i just sit on my couch and browse my tracks on my iPhone and cue up stuff to listen to.
For my bedroom listening i bought one of these Altec Lansing iPhone docks for 69.00 that sound fine for casual listening,
but still have access to all of my music through the iPhone.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/812171-REG/Altec_Lansing_IMT630_inMotion_iMT630_Slimline_Speaker.html

There's more……..when i'm in my car i can connect my iPhone using JRemote to my car stereo using Airplay via bluetooth
and access my 90,000 tracks over the internet using JRiver Media Center media server functions. My friends freak out when they get in my car, because i can access any of my recordings
right from my iPhone.

Theres more ……when i'm at my work computer (where the high end headphone setup resides)i have a second instance of JRiver Media Center running there and i can load the library from
my main music computer on my work machine via my home wireless network and play any of my 90,000 tracks on that computer as well using JRiver's DLNA setup.

And when i'm laying in my chair out back i have access to all the tracks and listen with my Shure SE535's on my iPhone.
music>mics>pre>recorder

Offline acidjack

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Re: Sonos and FLAC and iTunes
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2014, 03:05:51 PM »
^^^

Wow, that does sound like a great system. Does not fully solve the problem of what happens when not on the Internet, which is the case for me during a lot of listening time (plane, subway) but otherwise that seems just about perfect. Hmm..
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
Pres/Power: Aerco MP2, tinybox v2  [KCY], CA-UBB
Decks: Sound Devices MixPre 6, Zoom F8, M10, D50

My recordings on nyctaper.com: http://www.nyctaper.com/?tag=acidjack | LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/acidjack | twitter: http://www.twitter.com/acidjacknyc | Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc

Offline page

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Re: Sonos and FLAC and iTunes
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2014, 03:15:50 PM »
Does not fully solve the problem of what happens when not on the Internet

The problem is that the three things don't really play well. Two of the three do, but not all three (flac being one of the great problems). Read up on how the Jriver app caches frequently used stuff. I think you can keep X mbytes of material locally so when you're lacking signal, it would fall back on those.

//disclaimer; I went with JRiver as well cause, but thats cause I didn't use itunes.
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Offline Colin Liston

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Re: Sonos and FLAC and iTunes
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2014, 04:44:25 PM »
I will throw this out there as well.  Logitech Squeezebox.  Plays FLAC's from your home network.  The Squeezebox connects to your stereo and can stream via ethernet or wirelesss.  I have three and love them.  here's a link to some on ebay

http://tinyurl.com/kb7m5ur
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Offline edtyre

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Re: Sonos and FLAC and iTunes
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2014, 05:24:13 PM »
^^^

Wow, that does sound like a great system. Does not fully solve the problem of what happens when not on the Internet, which is the case for me during a lot of listening time (plane, subway) but otherwise that seems just about perfect. Hmm..

I bought a used iPod Touch for 75.00 that i take on the road with me when i don't have internet access or when the streaming isn't working well.
music>mics>pre>recorder

Offline lastubbe

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Re: Sonos and FLAC and iTunes
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2014, 11:12:10 PM »
I can't answer any of acidjacks questions but am marking this thread to hopefully learn more as I'm new to Sonos myself.

Don't mean to hijack but I second request for any information on quality and usability of Sonos.

Looking for options in new house that are not too obstructive for the family but still puts out good sound without needing floor stand speakers.  I also like the app option with Sonos and wireless speakers for the kids and backyard listening without running speaker wire.

Also learned I need to look into this JRiver as well!
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Offline Chuck

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Re: Sonos and FLAC and iTunes
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2014, 10:13:43 AM »
I've been using MusicBee: http://getmusicbee.com/ lately and I am really happy with it.

I've used WinAmp, FooBar2000 & iTunes and I like MusicBee best so far. It's lightning fast at picking up additions to your library and it never crashes. It's also very customizeable.
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Offline johnw

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Re: Sonos and FLAC and iTunes
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2014, 02:47:09 PM »
I've been using: 2 play 5s, 2 connect amps and a connect around our house. I also have a bridge that I no longer use as one or more of those is connected by ethernet. I think with the most recent update, ethernet and or bridges are no longer needed. I'm pretty pleased. None of this is for critical listening though.

I do have it using itunes in 2 different ways. I've got a Mac Mini that is an itunes server. I also have an airport express hooked up to a Play 5 and use Airplay and Remote to play that way. I believe it just scans the files and doesn't do anything to play counts (unless I'm controlling it through Remote/Airplay/Airport Express). It does a scan periodically to update file status.

I've never tried playing flac files, but would be willing to hook up a hard drive and let the Sonos app do its thing to see how it works.

If you go with a Connect or a Play 5, you get a line in if that's helpful. Unfortunately no product has more than one line in, but if you have several, then you get multiple line ins.

Which product were you going to use?
Schoeps MK41 & MK4V  |  Schoeps CMC6, Schoeps KCY, AKI/2C, PFA, Nbox Cable/PFA  |  Grace V2, Nbox Platinum  |  SD744T, SD MixPre 6, Sony PCM M10

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Offline johnw

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Re: Sonos and FLAC and iTunes
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2014, 02:50:14 PM »
Not sure if you saw this or if it helps with your questions:

https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/261/session/L2F2LzEvdGltZS8xNDEyNzk0MTAzL3NpZC85R04tN240bQ%3D%3D

EDIT: Just so you are aware, the only component that has a digital in is the Playbar. I believe that is resampled, but am not sure. If you are planning to use the other Sonos components with a DA converter, you might be disappointed as it will do an AD conversion.

This stuff is not for critical listening, but is great for whole home audio, outside speakers or listening to stuff casually. You might run in to problems with file naming or the 65k track limit on a NAS. Let me know what questions I can answer for you.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2014, 02:56:49 PM by johnw »
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Offline hi and lo

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Re: Sonos and FLAC and iTunes
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2014, 05:17:23 PM »


This stuff is not for critical listening, but is great for whole home audio, outside speakers or listening to stuff casually. You might run in to problems with file naming or the 65k track limit on a NAS. Let me know what questions I can answer for you.

We just outfitted our entire house with Sonos (Playbar, sub, 2x fives, a three, and 2x 1s) and I have to agree, it's great for convenience, but beyond that it's not very serious.

Seems like feature development for sonos is pretty stagnant. Most flaws I've discovered have been around for years. How they thought its acceptable to only be able to link one spotify account on a network is beyond me. That said, this purchase wasn't for me so much as the SO.

Offline lastubbe

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Re: Sonos and FLAC and iTunes
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2014, 10:48:40 AM »


This stuff is not for critical listening, but is great for whole home audio, outside speakers or listening to stuff casually. You might run in to problems with file naming or the 65k track limit on a NAS. Let me know what questions I can answer for you.

We just outfitted our entire house with Sonos (Playbar, sub, 2x fives, a three, and 2x 1s) and I have to agree, it's great for convenience, but beyond that it's not very serious.

Seems like feature development for sonos is pretty stagnant. Most flaws I've discovered have been around for years. How they thought its acceptable to only be able to link one spotify account on a network is beyond me. That said, this purchase wasn't for me so much as the SO.

This is great and exactly what I was hoping to hear.

I am really looking for a simple and easy way for my family to access their music and watch TV without bogging them and the family room down by another component system.

I plan to buy this winter when we move so welcome any tips or advice.
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Offline johnw

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Re: Sonos and FLAC and iTunes
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2014, 04:39:08 PM »
Are you doing all this in one room? If so, I'd get a Playbar, Sub and 2 Play 3s for rear speakers.

My understanding is that the black matte subs are being phased out and the glossy black one will be the only option in the future. If that matters to you and you want matte, I'd get it now.
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Offline lastubbe

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Re: Sonos and FLAC and iTunes
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2014, 05:25:27 PM »
Are you doing all this in one room? If so, I'd get a Playbar, Sub and 2 Play 3s for rear speakers.

My understanding is that the black matte subs are being phased out and the glossy black one will be the only option in the future. If that matters to you and you want matte, I'd get it now.

Thanks John.  That's really good info!  I'll have to look and see what would look best.

Yep, this will be for just one room but I would like some portability for the kids to move around the house.  I also like the option of wireless to the yard.  There will definitely be a separate room for critical listening so this is just for TV and iphone app playing.  Would the small ones be best for portability around the house or in the yard or would I want to go bigger?

I see where it says you can go 3.1 and 5.1 but I'm curious how.  Having two play 3's for the rear will just allow for sound behind you or channel isolation ?

Jonas: so sorry for the thread jack I'm hoping to learn about your questions as well.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 05:41:03 PM by lastubbe »
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Offline johnw

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Re: Sonos and FLAC and iTunes
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2014, 02:30:03 PM »
Sonos considers the playbar to be both the center and front (L,R) speakers. So adding a sub makes it "3.1". A sub and 2 Play 3s or Play 1s for rear channel makes it "5.1". My understanding is that each of the rear acts as a true separate channel (L,R).

I don't see that the Play 5s can be used as rear channel speakers in a 5.1 setup, but I'm not sure why.

I have in-wall and in-ceiling speakers through the house so I don't use my components for home theater. My understanding though is that it works very well with no appreciable delay. Since I don't have a Playbar, I don't think I have an option to even try to do the 3.1 thing, but I believe it is setup through the Sonos App.

I have used the Play 5s as a stereo pair (true L,R) and it was easy to set them up as such and sounded pretty awesome actually. Currently they reside in separate rooms though.

My local Best Buy has all the components, so I'd go there to check them out. Not a great way to demo them, but I thought the 5 sounded better than the 3 which sounded better than the 1.

The Play 5 is pretty heavy but I consider it to be somewhat portable. The 3 and 1 are pretty lightweight. If I were using the 3 as rear channel speakers, I wouldn't want to use them for anything else. I wouldn't want the hassle of having to go into the app to take them in and out of a 5.1 setup (although I'm sure its pretty easy and quick). I'd rather just buy another 1 or 3 to have outside. Or if you'd have it outside in the same spot frequently, get weatherproof speakers and a connect amp.
Schoeps MK41 & MK4V  |  Schoeps CMC6, Schoeps KCY, AKI/2C, PFA, Nbox Cable/PFA  |  Grace V2, Nbox Platinum  |  SD744T, SD MixPre 6, Sony PCM M10

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