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    The Computer Audiophile

    Amazon Music HD Launches

    Amazon launched it's Amazon HD music streaming service today. Much more to come as details come out and people sign up. The cost is $12.99 for Prime members and $14.99 for everyone else. An interesting quote from Neil Young on this announcement, "earth will be changed forever when Amazon introduces high-quality streaming to the masses.” 

     

    So far it looks like CD quality music and "higher" up through 24/192. No mention of MQA in the first press releases. 

     

    I'm attempting to sign up right now and will release more as I have more. 

     

    Here's a link to get details from Amazon and sign up. It's an affiliate link so we make a a couple pennies if you sign up. We are beta testing this on items like books and music. 

     

    Amazon Music HD

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 10.13.49 AM.jpg

     

    Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 10.18.10 AM.jpg

     

     

    Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 10.20.03 AM.jpg

     



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    54 minutes ago, Jud said:

     

    I think it's a little more than that. I think they're after making just a couple bucks per customer more than competing mp3/AAC services, aiming at the kid or 30-something with what they consider a decent pair of headphones. If you want to appeal to as wide as swath as Amazon, a couple bucks per can add up pretty quickly. 

     

    Think of it in somewhat the same way as Apple becoming a music industry behemoth, and launching iPods and iPhones, basically on the idea of the 99 cent download.

     

    Yeah, true @Jud.

     

    There are a few more bucks here. And they're smart in packaging this with having a Prime account which also opens up Prime Video. For Prime members already, at $13/m, this is highly compelling compared to Tidal Premium at $20/m. Heck, even without Prime membership, $15/m is undercutting the competition in a rather big way; occupying the price gap between lossy Apple or Spotify at $10/m and the lossless Tidal/Qobuz at $20+/m.

     

    Yup, for once I can agree with Neil Young as per Chris' quote above :-).

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    1 hour ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    The one where you stream into the store and your money streams into the cash register?

     

    They ALL do that.  Costco's streaming service is different because you buy big blocks - the frames are YUGE

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    2 hours ago, shadowlight said:

    I would give it couple of weeks/months to see if it makes any progress.

     

    Folks on the BubbleUPnP thread on xda-developers are already asking if there are plans to add support for that.

    Thanks again, shadowlight.

     

    Patience has never been one of my strengths, but I'll consider this another opportunity.

     

    Joel

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    3 hours ago, Ran said:

     

    The service is not available in Canada (yet...)

     

    bummer...and no Qobuz as well...I'd easily pay for Qobuz if they'd finally get their act together and offer it to Canadians.  Cannot even access their site to get some notion of a timeline.  The French!

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    3 hours ago, shadowlight said:

    @Jud is the Amazon app the same one that you use for Amazon Music or is there a different one?  If different can you share the name.  Search apple store but not finding anything other than amazon music

     

     

    It's the same app,  I had the Amazon app installed on my phone then signed up for the 3 month promo and voila HD content became available.  

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    Very interesting turn of events...

     

    I for one am very happy that Amazon has decided to go this route since it will likely push the bigger services (Spotify and Apple) to follow suit.  It's an open secret that Spotify has been testing this for some time.  Apple has been asking for hi-res recordings from content providers for some time but as it stands, has only been offering 256 kbit "Mastered for Apple Music" recordings.

     

    Yes, the advent of cheaper, wider bandwidth is a motivating factor but disk space in data centers is a lot cheaper too and frankly is a fraction of the space of all the video content out there.  But I think the real motivation is the fact that HiRes music likely has a higher profit margin than regular compressed music given the increased cost to the user versus streaming/storage.  And the streaming services and content providers would love to have higher margins any day of the week.

     

    Of course, audiophiles are a fickle bunch, often difficult to attract as a permanent customer.  Amazon launched HD music today with a lot of partners but not any "front ends" like Roon or Audirvana, at least not yet.

     

    Still, competition is good.  I subscribe to both Apple Music and Tidal so I'l curious to see what Apple and Spotify do in response.

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    44 minutes ago, Superdad said:

    Hi Miguel: 

    I am pretty sure that @kirkmc was being sarcastic regarding Amazon Echos benefiting from the HD service.  :P

     

    I'm thinking the echo link will work with the hd service. Wish it wasn't $200. They have some more announcements coming up soon, so...

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    Wow!  On the launch page https://www.amazon.com/music/unlimited/hd it says

    Hear music the way the artist intended

     

    Geez, didn't MQA use nearly the exact same words?

     

    Given Amazon's world class infrastructure (AWS) and datacenter scale, they can implement this service and make it extraordinary if there's enough interest.  It's a natural fit with lots of other things Amazon is doing.  

     

    Amazon is announcing new devices on 9/25.  It will be interesting to see what they have in store.

     

    Just like Apple is trying to expand its services revenue, Amazon is in the same game.

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    10 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Using BluOS, this abum shows an HR logo, perhaps for high resolution. 

     

    IMG_0191.jpg

     

     

    I tried Amazon Music on my Node 2i  (S/PDIF Coax out connected to an RME ADI-2 DAC, which shows SR and bit depth). I see the “HR” icon too for anything in my library I added via the Amazon apps that was labeled as “Ultra HD”; and the RME shows the correct kHz/bit-depth (based on comparing it to clicking “Ultra HD” text in a native app. to see what it’s playing).

     

    Also, Chris, have you tried Amazon Music app with your DF Cobalt with CCK on iPad? My DFC lights up indicating 96kHz even if I play “HD”-labled music (44.1kHZ). Got the same behavior with a Monolith AAA THX Portable DAC attached to iPad via CCK (this DAC has an OLED screen that shows sampling rate, and it shows 192kHz for everything out of the Amazon Music app regardless of actual SR. So I tried an iFi xDSD on 5.3 firmware (versus 5.3c, so that the LED lights mean something) and the LED is indicating yellow (PCM 176-384 kHz) for *All* content.

     

    Something is going on here. It looks like everything is getting upsampled on the iPad when connected to an external DAC. But the BluOS on Node 2i is working fine (just that the UI sucks! for Amazon on BluOS; you can’t see what’s “Ultra HD”, you have to use another app and add it to your library).

     

    I hope mConnect adds this so I can use my DLNA/UPnP capable streamers on iOS (I don’t have Android so no BubbleUPnP).

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    Just received a press release from Lenbrook / NAD / Bluesound / BluOS. It contains some info about the partnership with Amazon for this new service. Mainly stuff we all know, but want to post it anyway. It's attached.

     

    I requested an NAD C 658 DAC with BluOS integrated for review. Could be a great solution for $1,649. 

    NR BluOS Among First to Integrate with Amazon Music HD 18SEP2019.pdf

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    1 minute ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Just received a press release from Lenbrook / NAD / Bluesound / BluOS. It contains some info about the partnership with Amazon for this new service. Mainly stuff we all know, but want to post it anyway. It's attached.

     

    I requested an NAD C 658 DAC with BluOS integrated for review. Could be a great solution for $1,649. 

    NR BluOS Among First to Integrate with Amazon Music HD 18SEP2019.pdfUnavailable

     

    Chris, I get this when I click your link:

     

    Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 8.59.46 PM.png

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    If they implement something like Spotify Connect, I will drop Tidal and Roon pretty much immediately. If they integrate with Roon then I would keep it too.

    Waiting with baited breath for the NAD C658 to support it.

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    Just tested it with my Bluesound POWERNODE and it works Great. Shows up as HR and CD. Wish Bluesound had a category for all HR tracks. 

     

    I tested Qobuz a few months ago and I always thought FLAC sounded better than MQA. Well, after listening to Amazon HD I can definitely confirm that I like FLAC better. More detailed IMHO than MQA. Tracks seem louder as well. What do you guys think?

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    Just tested it with my Bluesound POWERNODE and it works Great. Shows up as HR and CD. Wish Bluesound had a category for all HR tracks. 

     

    I tested Qobuz a few months ago and I always thought FLAC sounded better than MQA. Well, after listening to Amazon HD I can definitely confirm that I like FLAC better. More detailed IMHO than MQA. Tracks seem louder as well. What do you guys think?

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    Just tested it with my Bluesound POWERNODE and it works Great. Shows up as HR and CD. Wish Bluesound had a category for all HR tracks. 

     

    I tested Qobuz a few months ago and I always thought FLAC sounded better than MQA. Well, after listening to Amazon HD I can definitely confirm that I like FLAC better. More detailed IMHO than MQA. Tracks seem louder as well. What do you guys think?

     

    It's too early to say, but think this is a winner from Amazon. Now what to do I do with my Raspberry Pi Ropiee? Roon unfortunately doesn't support Amazon and I doubt that they will.

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    7 hours ago, Jud said:

    So, who should be worried?

     

    - Maybe Apple.  Does anyone doubt if Steve Jobs was around that Apple would have been first to do this?  Apple's always been the boutique brand and has been very closely identified with music, but now Amazon has the boutique service for music. Vanishingly few people will want to pay for more than one of these higher end services.  What's Apple going to offer to get people to switch, if Amazon does indeed find a mass market at this price point?

     

    - Obviously Tidal. What conceivably is Tidal's value proposition now (not that it had one before, but now that's going to be a lot more evident to a lot more people)?  Qobuz in the US, maybe, but for classical and jazz lovers and Europeans they may have enough market differentiation.  Let's see what Amazon may offer in the way of Redbook and higher resolution purchase/download. If they don't, that's the niche @firedog pointed out for Sublime+ members. And if Amazon does get into the Redbook/hi res purchase/download business, then HDTracks, etc., may be in trouble.

     

    - Maybe Roon? They're probably too small for Amazon to notice. But if Amazon does notice, maybe they'll buy the service and give all the employees lousy (or no) healthcare. 😶

     

    - Maybe the music industry. I remember one of my old bosses telling me a story about being invited to breakfast with the other side's counsel the morning of a hearing in which he was representing a smallish pipeline company suing a major petroleum corporation. (Hint: Never accept a breakfast invitation with opposing counsel representing a much larger company.) After buying him breakfast, they let him know that if he didn't settle on favorable terms, they'd just buy the pipeline company and make the lawsuit go away. Wondering if Bezos might have the same inclination with labels that start giving him trouble. (US anti-trust enforcement has been nonexistent, but this Administration hates Bezos, so hard to see where the chips would fall if such an acquisition was proposed.)

     

     

     

    Yup! Roon needs to make a choice here. They may possibly lose subscribers because of this. I love Roon, but supporting only 2 music services maybe their downfall. Glad I didn't buy the lifetime subscription.

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