Music Streaming Services

Discussion in 'Computer Audiophile: Software, Configs, Tools' started by rott, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. Metro

    Metro Friend

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  2. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    Yeah, that's what I mean above. Currently after hours of testing Amazon Music HD doesn't allow you on a PC to run bit-perfect. So everything is going through the Windows Sound Mixer. In other words, if Amazon is streaming in 24/96, the device will tell you via Amazon's own app that the stream is being down sampled.

    Running the app on Android gives the same results. I would presume the only way to run Amazon Music HD in Android bit-perfect is owning a DAP that have a bypass Android Sound Mixer option where music data is running straight to the hardware. So most of the Chi-FI DACs and perhaps the new Sony Android DAP.

    Other serious issues Amazon Music HD needs to do in order to get more people to jump on their bandwagon:

    * Allow Third Party App Support to access their streams. In other words, BubbleUPnP and USB Audio Player Pro (UAPP). At least with UAPP you can hook up a DAC via Phone to DAC and have perfect bit-rate streaming from Tidal and Qobuz. I know plenty of people who accesses their accounts via Third Party Services.

    * Their Desktop app have Exclusive Sound Mode to different sound cards (DACs). The Tidal Desktop app can do this, and it kills the SQ over the Amazon Music HD streams via Amazon's desktop app.

    So far Amazon is on the right direction, they need to decide how open they want their services on Third Party Apps. Having Tidal or Qubuz running UAPP on a phone does wonders in the SQ department. Until Amazon improves on their services to improve SQ and provide Third Party App support to their files, I'll still be on Tidal.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  3. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Curious, can you see what the 24/96 is being down sampled to? And what about 16/44? At least the Tidal app has exclusive mode for CD quality and that "other" thing, and the mixer is dead, and I assume bypassed.

    On the system I use at my desk, I just keep the sample rate set at 44k for the device. who know if it stays that way. That dac has no way of telling me.
     
  4. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    I don't doubt you, but how can you tell? I'd appreciate to know how.

    Does anyone know of a way to get bit perfect from a Kindle fire? They would make a great, cheap source, with expandable storage...
     
  5. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    It downsamples to 16/44. If I set my driver to 96kHz it runs at the full sample rate (and my DAC confirms it).

    But I don't see a way to run Amazon Music HD in exclusive mode or with volume control disabled completely.
     
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  6. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    I hope Amazon integrate their service with 3rd part players like Audirvana or Roon. Most of us have paid money for these players and use VST plugins. Sometime these native apps don’t allow usage of VST plugins for EQ.
    Also would be interesting if I get bigger catalogue on Indian music in Amazon since they are ramping up in India.
     
  7. Inoculator

    Inoculator Friend

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    If you click on HD/ULTRA HD in the player at the bottom it will tell you the specific track bitrate, what your device is capable of (aka what you have windows set to), and "currently play at". So basically you have to keep changing your windows sample rate to match the track quality. Sometimes though even if you have the settings right it will play in "Standard" quality...frustrating for sure.

    So far I am generally impressed, haven't found anything yet that isn't available that I want to listen to (compared to Qobuz where it was obvious in less than a day that their music library was not going to satisfy my needs). If they get exclusive mode sorted out and open up to 3rd party, like YMO pointed out above, then I am on board.
     
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  8. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I’m just hoping this pushes Apple to embrace hi-res, ideally at the same $9.99 they’re already charging.
     
  9. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    Not an expert by any means, but the Amazon desktop app tells me that everything is being played at the native rate, but that my device is capable of whatever sample rate is set in the sound control panel for the dac being used. All other sound devices being disabled. So as long as the device is set to use 192k, any file from cd to 192 plays without having to change the sample rate setting to match the track quality. These rates are confirmed on the one dac I use that displays sample rate.
     
  10. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    As other said, if you click on the HD or Ultra HD on the app, you'll see everything. 16/44 stays the same, but not the higher rez stuff. Big possible fail here ATM with Amazon. Running 16/44 on Tidal on the same album on my PC with executive mode to my Modi 3 blows the Amazon Music HD SQ away. Same on Android if i'm using USB Audio Player Pro.

    Not yet, because since the Kindle Fire is an Android Tablet the sound will run through the Android Sound Mixer. It sounds like ass to me.

    I wouldn't be surprised that Amazon Music will be limited to Third Parties. Maybe it gets on Roon, who knows. It all comes down to will Amazon will allow access to their files by niche programs/providers serving a limited audience.

    No thanks to the Apple Tax.
     
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  11. mkozlows

    mkozlows Friend

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    It's hard to see that happening, though. I mean, they don't even support Chromecast, because they want you to use Amazon devices (as if anyone's going to give a shit if you're streaming lossless to the Echo in your kitchen).
     
  12. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    Ya I do feel the same. Very slim chance of Amazon allowing 3rd party access to their files.
    Let's hope they study the market well and build strategy around it and take feedback from community that cares about hi res music and is ok to pay premium for it.
     
  13. allegro

    allegro Friend

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    Since it was free for three months I decided to give Amazon Music HD a try. After only listening for a few hours I agree with @YMO 100%. I dropped Tidal but Qobuz played using Audirvana+ easily beats the SQ of Amazon HD even on 16/44 files. Songs I like on Qobuz often sound flat on Amazon, with loss of inner details and depth of sound stage. If you had not heard good Qobuz you might really like Amazon so I bet it will be a success. I am hoping that Amazon improves the desktop app so my Yggdrasil can have exclusive control or they integrate with Audirvana or Roon. I'll keep playing with Amazon HD but at present I don't see it replacing Tidal or Qobuz for anyone who really cares about sound quality.
     
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  14. abisai2

    abisai2 Friend

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    So after a quick comparison I have to concur with @YMO and @allegro . I currently use Tidal and Qobuz with Roon. When comparing songs from the same albums across the three services, the Amazon Music version sounded worse. This is noticeable on 16/44 content. On higher bitrate content there is also a difference but, its not as obvious as 16/44.

    Here are the specific tracks I used for comparison.

    The B-52s / Wild Planet / Dirty Back Road
    Simple Minds / Once Upon a Time / Alive and Kicking
    Fleetwood Mac / Say You Will / Thrown Down
    Daft Punk / Random Access Memories / Get Lucky
     
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  15. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    Not going to happen with Amazon, just as Spotify and Apple Music don't allow it either. It isn't so much about access to their files as having control over the user interface, which they use for profiling and collecting data. Tidal and Qobuz allow it because they are tiny companies and need to attract every customer they can.
     
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  16. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    For someone like me, coming from spotify as an only streaming service, with roon never to be seen, and who doesn't stream mobilely at all, it is actually a pretty significant upgrade.

    Clearly I don't fall into this category.
     
  17. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    I decided to give the Amazon Music HD trial a shot, since hey, what do I have to lose (besides I already use Amazon Music Unlimited for the family).

    I was trying to A/B to Foobar2000 and was actually really impressed at one point, until I realized that Foobar was playing instead of Amazon Music HD. Music HD, when streaming the "UltraHD" quality, sounds just a tad more compressed, a touch less detailed, a little more "boring." Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with primarily using this if most material was offered in this format since to my ears, it's doesn't detract from the experience (and yes, I still notice when it's a song I'm familiar with on FLAC with Foobar).

    And therein lies the biggest problem: a LOT of the songs that I listen to aren't available in "UltraHD," or even "HD." The step from UltraHD to HD seems larger than the step from my CD rips to UltraHD, and the gap between those and the standard 256kbps AAC is larger still. Granted, I'm still happy listening to my music, but I definitely notice if the music isn't streaming in UltraHD.

    I think the answer to "should I use this" is contingent on whether or not the material you like is available in UltraHD. And extrapolating from earlier posts, it's still not as good as using some of the other services (I have no actual experience with any other service).

    On an unrelated note, now I'm curious to see if/how Apple and Spotify will respond.
     
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  18. TazerMonkey

    TazerMonkey Acquaintance

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    I thought the three-month free trial and Prime discount were too tempting not to try. I've never used Tidal or Roon, so my only comparison for streaming would be Spotify, over which I do hear an improvement in the "HD"+ tracks.

    But I must concur with the other impressions that the "HD" quality sounds generally worse than my CD rips in Foobar using exclusive mode over WASAPI into my Bifrost 2. "Ultra HD" sounds pretty good to my ears, but for the Karajan Beethoven '70s cycle box set, I still preferred my CD rips over even the "Ultra HD." I also noticed that track quality on the album varied wildly, with Symphony No 5, 1st movement listed as "Ultra HD" but all the other movements in the symphony were merely "HD," which has me concerned about the provenance and quality control of these files, even within the same album. The sound difference for this album in particular may also be due to UMG's stupid watermarking of their streaming files; the CD rips sound cleaner to me.

    EDIT: The Karajan's quality varies all over. I'll upload a screenshot below. Symphony No. 9, 1st Movement is also listed as "Ultra HD" and seems to be a different, louder mastering than my CDs despite being listed as the same album, with much more audible hiss and distortion. The other movements in "HD" quality sound much closer to the CD rips.

    [​IMG]

    I mostly use streaming as a way to try out music before purchasing a copy, and Amazon Unlimited HD is certainly an improvement over Spotify in that regard. But it seems like it's still got some quirks to work through, and the lack of bit-perfect playback in the app is annoying. It certainly has potential to be a true game changer, and I look forward to seeing if it improves any over the next several months before deciding whether to keep it or not.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
  19. allegro

    allegro Friend

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    Don't sell your self short. Tidal is not that much more expensive than Amazon HD, give both a try. Also I am only listening through headphones at present so I expect the differences in sound quality I heard would only be more apparent on speakers. There are also other problems with Amazon HD like no information (liner notes, credits) or reviews of the files I could find.
     
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  20. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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