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Sonos Radio HD arrives: brings the quality, Dolly Parton and loses the ads

New premium tier offers radio at CD-quality audio.

Sonos Radio HD arrives: brings the quality, Dolly Parton and loses the ads
Marc Chacksfield
12 November 2020

Sonos Radio is one of the coolest 'radio' stations around right now. It's a place where the likes of Thom Yorke and Ludwig Goransson drop in to curate decent music and it's also packed with its own stations - from 'hip-hop classics' to 'sunset fuzz'.

Since its arrival in April, it's been a free service that's ad-supported but Sonos has seen a surge in its users listening (it's currently the fourth most listened to service on its platform) and it's looking to take advantage of this with a new premium tier.

For $7.99/£7.99 a month users can get Sonos Radio completely ad-free and at a new higher quality. That's CD-quality which means lossless sound throughout your Sonos setup.

Sonos reckons this is the highest-quality radio on any streaming service (16-bit, 44Hz), although this codec is only in use for its own stations - other rival stations will be played in 128kbps.

For Sonos users who have been craving a better audio through their system this will be music to their ears. But it's not just the quality that has been upped - there will be more stations, too.

Sleep Sounds is a new collection of stations designed to help you drop off. According to Sonos, they are “promoting mindfulness and relaxation for a peaceful night’s rest.”

Sonos has also selected songs to soundtrack your life, with music paired to everything from cooking to working.

The curated - and we think, best - side of Sonos Radio has been overhauled, too. A new original station, Dolly Parton’s Songteller Radio, will continually evolve with Dolly’s hits, her favourite artists and special commentary on songs and moments throughout her career. Alongside this, there will be five new stations in early 2021.

Other new stations include Nashville Now and Americana Ramble. These will be curated by pop music critic Ann Powers and there will be a selection of DJs choosing tracks for jazz station Unforgettable and R&B and soul station Distant Kingdom.

Those who want to stick to the ad-supported tier won't miss out either as this side of the service will also have new stations and content over the coming months.

All of this is available through the S2 Sonos app, so if you are yet to update then now is a good time.