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Lossless music streaming is here

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Amazon Music rolls out a lossless streaming tier that Spotify and Apple can’t match

 

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Amazon is launching a new tier of its music service today, dubbed Amazon Music HD. It offers lossless versions of audio files for streaming or downloading at a price that aggressively undercuts Tidal, the main competition for this kind of audio. Amazon will charge $14.99 a month for the HD tier, or $12.99 if you’re an Amazon Prime customer. Tidal’s Hi-Fi plan costs $19.99 monthly. 

 

Amazon says it has a catalog of over 50 million songs that it calls “High Definition,” which is the term it’s applying to songs with CD-quality bit depth of 16 bits and a 44.1kHz sample rate. It also has “millions” (read: less than 10 million, more than one million) of songs it’s calling “Ultra HD,” which translates to 24-bit with sample rates that range from 44.1kHz up to 192kHz. Amazon Music HD will deliver them all in the lossless FLAC file format, instead of the MQA format that Tidal uses.

 

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Spotify has a quality of an up to 320kbps AAC via the desktop Spotify app and on a premium account. CD quality it is not. I am not complaining though, because back in Ferbruary I still listened to everything (except a handful of CDs) at a 96kbps mutant quality of Youtube and knew no better.

I don't think Spotify is the right option to anyone who is not a poor-ass student like myself. Guys at TalkClassical mostly use some classical-specific services that also have a broad repertoire. Spotify is in this weird spot where it has film music, but only OSTs and not expansions, and also lacks some rarae aves.

 

I wonder whether those "songs" Amazons writes about include songs by John Williams.

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8 minutes ago, Edmilson said:

Great! But how is their catalogue of film and game scores? I use mostly Spotify, and it is quite good, even though they don't have some older scores.

 

I think the Amazon library and Spotify library is roughly equivalent

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I mean, like I said, they are just re-selling what the music labels give them. The music labels either gave them faulty audio - which would be apparent on the samples - or they didn't.

 

They are not altering the audio, like Spotify does

 

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I just received an email for a 90 day free trial, I'm assuming since I'm a Prime member already.  I have until November to start the trial, so I'll probably pull the trigger then to have some listening to do over the holidays.

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Is lossless audio truly that much better than 256 or 320 mp3? I have so much music in the latter format (or lower quality even). I couldn’t even contemplate trying to bring my collection up to lossless.

 

I guess it’s a moot point for me, actually, since I don’t see myself converting anytime soon. The effort would take too long and cost too much. It was the same with SACDs back in the day. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Bayesian said:

I guess it’s a moot point for me, actually, since I don’t see myself converting anytime soon. The effort would take too long and cost too much. It was the same with SACDs back in the day. 

 

 

The catch with iTunes once was that they converted your whole library - if available in their catalogue - to better quality once you joined them. Now with streaming content that's not likely but they still have to give you an option of playback when you are offline so i wouldn't rule the library thing out.

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10 hours ago, ATXHusker said:

I just received an email for a 90 day free trial, I'm assuming since I'm a Prime member already.  I have until November to start the trial, so I'll probably pull the trigger then to have some listening to do over the holidays.

 

That's the catch. I get Music through my Prime subscription but it's like a basic free version. Most music is locked and requires another membership status. Preposterous!

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I don't have any issue with the sound quality of Spotify. What's important is not getting music streaming in lossless, but getting it streaming at all. The soundtrack genre has a ridiculous amount of albums that now exist in a sort of limbo due to rights or whatever. You can't find them on streaming services. Where's the fucken Rocketeer, Masters of the Universe, Star Treks, all that stuff.

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48 minutes ago, Quintus said:

I don't get the appeal personally. 

It's more about the principle than the actual difference it would make to your everyday life. I have no problems with listening to music in lossy quality. In fact that is what I use on my (now ancient) iPod. But if you pay a monthly subscription in 2019 having access to high quality streaming should be a given. So yeah, I'm willing to give it a try.

 

Karol - who will probably cancel his Spotify subscription should this new service catch on

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I don’t want to switch again but this is tempting. I can always tell the difference between lossy and lossless and I will never understand how you could not hear the difference. 

 

And I’m not even using a fancy DAC! Just a good pair of headphones! Audio Technica ATH-MSR7b 

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1 hour ago, toothless said:

I don’t want to switch again but this is tempting. I can always tell the difference between lossy and lossless and I will never understand how you could not hear the difference. 

 

And I’m not even using a fancy DAC! Just a good pair of headphones! Audio Technica ATH-MSR7b 

I am not sure if equipment is that important. I can do the same with my Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 which had 2 previous owners, are 12 years old, and look as if I found them in a junkyard. It's more about getting used to a certain fidelity, I suppose.

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I signed up for the Amazon Music HD free trial, and I was indeed able to download Jabba Flow supposedly in HD (16 bit / 44.1 kHz). However, it is not a FLAC. I have no idea what it is. It will only play in the Amazon Music app.

 

I checked out a couple of tracks from Skywalker Symphony which I had previously purchased as MP3s, and, while I can stream them as (supposedly) HD, when I download them it is just the same old 56 kb/s MP3s.

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7 hours ago, Pellaeon said:

I signed up for the Amazon Music HD free trial, and I was indeed able to download Jabba Flow supposedly in HD (16 bit / 44.1 kHz). However, it is not a FLAC. I have no idea what it is. It will only play in the Amazon Music app.

 

I checked out a couple of tracks from Skywalker Symphony which I had previously purchased as MP3s, and, while I can stream them as (supposedly) HD, when I download them it is just the same old 56 kb/s MP3s.

 

Do you know what format it is in? I'm sure there is some way to bypass the DRM. If not just right-click on the file and click "properties" (if you didn't already know that).

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