Wayne_M
Lead Community Manager

Smart Speaker Firmware Update – June 2021

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On Tuesday, June 8th, 2021, a new OTA firmware update will be made available for Bose Smart Speakers and Soundbars for a small number of users. The full rollout will then follow for all users two weeks later, on Tuesday June 22nd.

 

Firmware Versions:
Soundbar 500/700 & Home Speaker 450/500: 11.0.16

Smart Soundbar 300: 4.0.16

Portable Home Speaker & Home Speaker 300: 8.0.16

 

Bug Fixes and Enhancements:

  • These speakers will now support Bluetooth AAC Playback 
  • New Spotify enhancements
    • Gapless Playback
      • Gapless Playback means your tracks will flow into the next song without pause (with the exception of Spotify ads, of course). This will now be on by default.
    • Spotify Hifi support (Premium Subscription required)
      • Spotify HiFi is the popular music streaming service's long-anticipated entry into CD-quality streaming. Set to launch in 2021, it will allow Spotify Premium subscribers to 'upgrade' their membership so they can listen to higher-quality, lossless audio streams.
  • SimpleSync™ Enhancements
  • General Bug Fixes 

 

Edited on 6.16 to remove some incorrect information on gapless playback.

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41 REPLIES 41
Waveform
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Feb 14, 2020

Re: Smart Speaker Firmware Update – June 2021

Hi Wayne,

Tested my Soundbar 700 last night with Apple High-Resolution Lossless - via airplay from Iphone. I watched the data rate on my Amplify Router and it was spiking up to 42Mbps....

ALAC up to 24-bit/192kHz. It works fine - and I tested it using the Foo Fighters album "Wasting Light" which is in that spec.

 

Am I correct in saying the Soundbar 700 is delivering the Lossless OR is it down converting it?

Thanks

Shane

Wayne_M
Lead Community Manager

Re: Smart Speaker Firmware Update – June 2021

Hey @Waveform!

 

Sorry for the delay. I spoke to one of the engineers on this and the answer is we never downmix the audio - we decode it straight from the source and play it as high of quality as it comes in. 

 

Hope that answers your question!

 

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Adam K
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Re: Smart Speaker Firmware Update – June 2021

@Waveform,

 

Apple has confirmed that users running iOS 14.6 that have Lossless enabled can AirPlay this audio quality from the iPhone to AirPlay 2 compatible speaker. Apparently, the way to confirm whether you receive it in lossless format is to make sure the icon appears as “iPhone -> Bose”. If it’s that way, you will see a little “lossless” icon above the Play/Pause button. If it only appears “Bose” in the AirPlay, it won’t stream in Lossless audio quality. 

 

Here is an article that may be helpful. Mind you Apple confirmed this specifically for HomePod but it should apply to every AirPlay 2 compatible speaker as the protocol works the same across the board. 

https://9to5mac.com/2021/06/09/ios-14-6-airplay-lossless-homepod/

 

Please note that what you are getting is Lossless ALAC up to 24 bit/48kHz. NOT High-Resolution Lossless up to 24bit/192kHz. Although Hi-Res is available, we don’t have much info besides it requires external DAC and wired headphones to enable the capability. 

 

Not sure which Bose speaker you got but if you really want to hear spectacularly upgraded sound from your music, try playing one of the Dolby Atmos tracks (Spatial Audio) through your Apple TV’s Music app, if you own an Apple TV that is. I have the Soundbar 700 with Base Module 700 and surround speakers, which is e-ARC compatible, and I get LPCM 7.1 sound while playing Dolby Atmos tracks. It sounds simply spectacular. I have the latest Apple TV 4K (2nd generation), and my Soundbar 700 is connected to one of those e-ARC adapter that splits the video and audio so I can bypass my old TV’s passthrough limitations. The end result is amazing. It really puts you in the middle of the track. Sound is super wide, instruments are very well separated and my surround speakers come to life. If you ever watched one of the music documentaries from, say, Apple TV+, such as 1971 or Billie Eilish, where you can get up to LPCM 7.1, all the Atmos tracks on Apple Music sounds exactly like that. You gotta hear it to know what I am talking about. 

deepanker100
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Re: Smart Speaker Firmware Update – June 2021

Are you keeping your Apple TV 4K Atmos settings always on to get the LPCM 7.1? I have SoundTouch 300 complete setup and I am sure it should behave the same way as your soundbar 700. 

Adam K
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Re: Smart Speaker Firmware Update – June 2021

@deepanker100, No, Atmos setting is OFF as no sound comes out if I keep it on. My e-ARC adapter does receive the Atmos signal but since Soundbar 700 does not support Atmos, it produces no sound. So it outputs the next available thing which is LPCM 7.1. 

 

As far as I know, you can get multichannel LPCM 7.1 sound only through e-ARC, which SoundTouch 300 lacks, unfortunutely. All your sources need to be compatible also. In my case, 2nd gen Apple TV 4K which has HDMI 2.1, HD Fury Arcana (the HDMI splitter I use to bypass my TV and it can output up to Dolby Atmos and DTS-X) and connected with high speed 2.1 HDMI cables. 

deepanker100
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Re: Smart Speaker Firmware Update – June 2021

@Adam K thanks! This helps. I do not have Apple TV 4K yet but planning to invest if it is worth it. I do have 4K and Dolby Atmos compatible TV. By any chance do you think that Dolby Atmos music will be downmixed to Dolby Digital like the way it happens with Apple TV+ Dolby Atmos shows?

 

For example, I have a Google TV and native Apple TV+ app on the TV through which when I run the musical shows, they absolutely sound fantastic with much wider soundstage and separation as compared to when I run music apps either Spotify or Apple Music lossless through Airplay 2.

Adam K
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Mar 9, 2021

Re: Smart Speaker Firmware Update – June 2021

@deepanker100


Hi again. Thanks for your response and questions. Ultimately, I think your SoundTouch 300 and potentially your TV might get in the way to achieve multichannel LPCM. Let me explain why. 

 

Your SoundTouch 300 - Lack of e-ARC means you will be limited to uncompressed LPCM 2.0 and/or lossy multichannel formats like Dolby Digital 5.1. That doesn’t mean you are getting inferior sound quality. But the short answer to your question is, yes, most likely Atmos content will be down mixed to Dolby Digital or LPCM 2.0 depending on your settings since standard ARC doesn’t have the bandwidth capability e-ARC offers. Also, I wound’t necessarily call it “downmixed” since the soundbar does not actually downmix anything. It outputs the highest quality your sources provide. This can depend on HDMI specs of your devices, cables you use, settings on your devices,  and the sound formats your sources support. I personally prefer Dolby Digital 5.1 over LPCM 2.0 even though technically DD 5.1 is a “lossy” format and LPCM is an uncompressed format. I find the bass to be punchier and the surround speakers to be more prominent with DD 5.1. May be some music may sound slightly better with LPCM 2.0 but I do prefer the wider soundstage of DD 5.1 decoding. It’s a different story when you hear LPCM 5.1 or LPCM 7.1. Simply sound superior over DD 5.1 or LPCM 2.0. 

 

Your TV - This one is a bit more confusing. Unless you bought your TV in the last year or so, chances are it may not actually be able passthrough multichannel LPCM despite the fact that it may passthrough Atmos. This will all depend on your TV model and HDMI specs. You specifically need HDMI 2.1 ports and e-ARC compatibility. For whatever reason, TV manufacturers were not allowed to passthrough uncompressed multichannel formats until very recently. Rules were not strictly enforced though which is why some TVs incorporated the function while others didn’t. One thing to keep in mind is HDMI ARC can receive Dolby Atmos audio as the format is embedded in Dolby Digital Plus which is still a lossy format unlike LPCM 7.1. 

 

Here is a link explaining differences between ARC and e-ARC. There is a helpful chart too. 

 

https://www.cnet.com/news/hdmi-audio-return-channel-and-earc-for-beginners/ 

 

That said, upgrading to Apple TV 4K (2nd generation) will very much improve your overall experience - both visually and sound - since Apple TV uses superior hardware, silicon and optimized for best experience even if your current setup may not allow you to get multichannel LPCM. Dolby Digital 5.1 quality can vary also depending on where or how you are watching. I had Comcast cable not too long ago which supported Dolby Digital 5.1. It was nowhere near Dolby Digital quality I would get from Apple TV+, Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. One would assume they should sound the same but they simply don’t. Anything I play through Apple TV would have a much higher bandwidth which results in noticeably better sound. It does make some difference too compared to Chromecast which I will get to in a bit. 

 

I admit Apple TV is not cheap but anyone who buys one would tell you its worth every penny. UI is polished and smooth, blazing fast, and supported for years. My six year old Apple TV (4th gen) - they call it Apple TV HD now- is still supported with the latest OS updates and features and will be supported for at least another few years until the hardware can’t handle the updates anymore. Now that I have the latest Apple TV 4K (2nd gen), I use it in the guest room. Both run on latest OS but obviously the new one has all the hardware upgrades. 

 

Simply put, your best bet is to buy the new Apple TV 4K and figure out if the upgrade is worth it or not. I am confident you will find plenty to like about Apple TV 4K, speed and extensive support being major advantages. One of my friends gifted me a Roku stick last year. I thought it was terrible. I borrowed a Chromecast from a friend also and quite frankly didn’t meet my expectations. Both Roku and Chromecast capped at 92 mbps on my network which is equivalent to my six year old Apple TV. The new Apple TV 4K goes all the way up to 320 mbps which makes sure I get the highest bandwidth for both audio and video. Obviously this depends on your internet speeds in your home but still a pretty big difference in terms of antennas being used in these devices. Overall UI and speed was quite a downgrade for me also; especially with Roku since I am used to super fast and smooth UI. You may have a different opinion  but if you decide it’s not worth it, you can always return it. I believe you have 15 days to return it for a full refund. It’s the cheaper than upgrading your soundbar or TV. 

 

I hope this was helpful without being too confusing 🙂 

Adam K
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Re: Smart Speaker Firmware Update – June 2021

@deepanker100, 

 

Here is the good news. I seem to have forgotten Soundtouch 300 has an HDMI IN port to connect a single source directly to the soundbar itself without going through your TV. I checked around and based on my findings, your SoundTouch 300 has an HDMI 2.0b. Can you confirm this to be true? If it is true, all you need is a high speed HDMI cable with ethernet. That should actually let you to get multichannel LPCM sound from, say, Apple TV 4K. 

 

 

See the link below. Scroll down a bit and you will see a chart. 

 

As you can see in the chart, HDMI ARC port can only output up to LPCM 2.0 but HDMI IN allows multichannel LPCM. 

 

https://community.bose.com/t5/Home-Theater-Speakers-Archive/No-sound-from-surround-speakers/m-p/5612...

 

Are you currently using the HDMI IN? Do you have Google TV through your TV’s platform or Chromecast? 

 

Looks like I gave you the correct information but totally forgot you actually have an additional HDMI port. 

kacikoby
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Jun 16, 2021

Re: Smart Speaker Firmware Update – June 2021

will this fix the bug that’s been happening to me? i have the full 700 series, and we keep the subwoofer turned to -100 and off, as it scares one of our dogs. in the app, i turn it off however a day or two later, it’s back on again. very frustrating! we could just unplug but do like to use it often and it *should be* easily accessible through the app 😞