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    The Computer Audiophile

    The Next Track: Episode 159 | Amazon Music HD

    Hey Guys - I was a guest on @kirkmc and @DougAdams The Next Track podcast this week. The episode is now available everywhere podcasts are consumed. 

     

     

    Here is the show for listening right now. 

     

     

     

    More information and show notes can be found at The Next Track website - https://www.thenexttrack.com/162



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    28 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    I know of zero cases of a reseller changing the sample rate of what it was delivered. 

     

    @#Yoda# and others have caught otherwise reputable download resellers offering upsampled albums as Hi-Res many times. As you say, those files probably came from the labels that way and it was not the resellers who changed the sample rate. Once presented with an analysis the resellers usually did offer refunds, but did not remove the files. Not sure if you can analyze a stream the same way. Anyway, given that otherwise reputable companies like Qobuz and HDtracks have been caught with such files, I do wonder about the provenance of Amazon's "Ultra HD" catalog.
     

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    5 minutes ago, left channel said:

     

    @#Yoda# and others have caught otherwise reputable download resellers offering upsampled albums as Hi-Res many times. As you say, those files probably came from the labels that way and it was not the resellers who changed the sample rate. Once presented with an analysis the resellers usually did offer refunds, but did not remove the files. Not sure if you can analyze a stream the same way. I do wonder about the provenance of Amazon's "Ultra HD" catalog.
     

    Just need to capture a stream for analysis. 

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    1 minute ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Just need to capture a stream for analysis. 

     

    OK. I'll leave it to others to determine if one can do that given the way Amazon's app currently works.

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    I think it would be worth measuring, if for no other reason, than to do a santity-check.

     

    Subjectively, it sounds different/more bassy.  Even if this turns out to be true, there is the question of whether it is an artifact of my (or other user's) playback chain, software, etc.

     

    I'm not sure how you could tell whether the file is being delivered to the DAC bit-perfectly, but if it is possible, that should put all concerns to rest (unless Amazon uses a noisy power supply on their servers).

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    3 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Just need to capture a stream for analysis. 

    Indeed, that is an option, but who will do this? It is much more complex than simply analysing the downloaded HiRes files frequently with appropriate tools and send a proven complaint to the download store.

     

    As an experienced listener you can notice a difference to the CD version of the same master in many cases, but the difference is usually subtle and for an upsample from a 24/44.1 origin even more. 

     

    For Pop/Rock fans this fact becomes more and more unimportant because if new albums are available in HiRes anyway, they are in usually published at best in minimum HiRes resolution of 24/44.1 or /48 (perhaps in foresight of the MQA dusk and still protecting the crown jewels somehow).

     

    Anyway, it should be not the task of the consumer to evaluate the quality he has bought or streamed because the delivered quality is only verifiable with external analyzing tools.

     

    It is a matter of trust with the streaming portals as POS who are finally responsible for their content and legal have to ensure that they distribute the correct resolution, indicated in their stores and metadata of the files. Anything else is negligent fraud, IMO.

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    15 hours ago, bbosler said:

     

    That means nothing, I can resample 160K MP3 files to 24/192 and it will show on your DACs as 24/192, so unless you look at the spectrum you can't rely on what the DAC is telling you

     

    You can capture the digital output with an app like Audio Hijack, then analyze it. Not hard to do. While you can't test every file, because it would take a long time, anyone who really wants to check could take a sample from a number of albums and look to see if they have any data above 20 KHz.

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    13 hours ago, wgscott said:

    I think it would be worth measuring, if for no other reason, than to do a santity-check.

     

    Subjectively, it sounds different/more bassy.  Even if this turns out to be true, there is the question of whether it is an artifact of my (or other user's) playback chain, software, etc.

     

    I'm not sure how you could tell whether the file is being delivered to the DAC bit-perfectly, but if it is possible, that should put all concerns to rest (unless Amazon uses a noisy power supply on their servers).

     

    "a noisy power supply on their servers..." 

     

    Um, okay. I guess you need to worry about every server between Amazon's A3 repository and you, including every ethernet cable and power supply in every datacenter through which the data transits. And your ISP's hardware. And your telco's hardware. And everything els. 

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    On 9/27/2019 at 2:38 PM, bbosler said:

     

    I am suggesting that it is odd that all of the sudden they have Neil Young at 24/192 and Elvis at 24/96 along with many others. I am stopping short of accusing anybody of anything, but if they want to make a believer of me and many others they need to tell us where they got all these high resolution files. 

     

    We got burned by HDtracks when they first started up when they were selling upsampled files. They claimed they were victims of the people supplying the files, but If I could see they were upsampled why didn't HDtracks take the time to verify what they had? And again, not accusing Amazon of anything, just a bit leery. Ask yourself this, do you think the executives at Amazon really understand the difference between  16/44.1 upsampled to 24/192 and files that are natively remastered at 24/192 ??

     

    I haven't figured out how to show the spectrum of the feed from Amazon HD, but if somebody can do that it will clearly show a brick wall filter just below 20KHz if these are upsampled CD files, hopefully they are not

     

     

    Oh well, it's all a money game played like Three Card Monte anyway.  You can remaster and up-sample an original analog recording till the cows come home and it will never be a High Definition file anyway, the resolution and dynamic range never existed. Or you can take a original digital recording and up-sample it to the limits of technology and it will never add a single bit of information that wasn't on the original master.  Mark Waldrep argued for some sanity and honesty in the labeling of digital files and got decapitated by the financially controlled audio industry organizations for his efforts.  Paying extra for anything above Redbook is like throwing money down the toilet in the VAST majority of cases, it not all.  ;)

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    I am confused about the offline listening feature of Amazon Music HD.  I live in the Ozarks and my only internet connection is through satellite internet with significant download caps.  So on-going streaming is not feasible.  I must go into town and download through the public library’s WiFi to successfully stream music for subsequent offline listening.
    I have searched Amazon’s site trying to determine the “quality” of their downloads for offline listening.  Elsewhere it was suggested that the actual downloads were only mp3 quality.  Does anyone know what Amazon is storing under the “available offline” tag?
     

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    57 minutes ago, mindfulhermit said:

    I am confused about the offline listening feature of Amazon Music HD.  I live in the Ozarks and my only internet connection is through satellite internet with significant download caps.  So on-going streaming is not feasible.  I must go into town and download through the public library’s WiFi to successfully stream music for subsequent offline listening.
    I have searched Amazon’s site trying to determine the “quality” of their downloads for offline listening.  Elsewhere it was suggested that the actual downloads were only mp3 quality.  Does anyone know what Amazon is storing under the “available offline” tag?
     

    The offline download is whatever quality you select in the app settings. 

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    3 hours ago, mindfulhermit said:

    I am confused about the offline listening feature of Amazon Music HD.  I live in the Ozarks and my only internet connection is through satellite internet with significant download caps.  So on-going streaming is not feasible.  I must go into town and download through the public library’s WiFi to successfully stream music for subsequent offline listening.
    I have searched Amazon’s site trying to determine the “quality” of their downloads for offline listening.  Elsewhere it was suggested that the actual downloads were only mp3 quality.  Does anyone know what Amazon is storing under the “available offline” tag?
     

     

    As @The Computer Audiophile noted, you can control the offline listening files' quality within the app settings. Your confusion is understandable however: in the settings, the app labels those files "downloads".  However that  "download" library works only within the app, and remains property of Amazon which will delete those files if you cancel your subscription. The MP3 files mentioned elsewhere in this thread are an entirely different type of download, purchased from a different part of the Amazon Music service, for permanent ownership, and playable with other apps. Amazon really should make this distinction more clear.

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    Quote

    The MP3 files mentioned elsewhere in this thread are an entirely different type of download, purchased from a different part of the Amazon Music service, for permanent ownership, and playable with other apps. Amazon really should make this distinction more clear.


    which goes to the heart of my problem with this Amazon service. Even if not intentional, the confusion surrounding it leads one to believe either they have no idea what they are doing, or they are purposely being vague in an attempt to deceive. It would be very simple for them to reveal the provenance of the files and to clarify what they mean by "HD downloads" which we all know now are not HD despite the fact that you can purchase a song within the HD app and "download" it yet end up with an MP3. The fact that they remain silent speaks volumes.... Caveat Emptor

     

     

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    1 minute ago, kirkmc said:


    no, that’s not correct. If you get them as part if a streaming subscription they have DRM. It’s exactly the same with Apple Music vs iTunes Store downloads. 

     

    I fail to see what is not correct. I wrote "that 'download' library works only within the app" without going into further detail. 

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    Sorry, I read too quickly. But I don’t see how Amazon needs to make that distinction. It’s pretty clear that you’re renting, not buying. 

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    6 minutes ago, kirkmc said:

    Sorry, I read too quickly. But I don’t see how Amazon needs to make that distinction. It’s pretty clear that you’re renting, not buying. 

     

    No worries. Your confusion arose because you were not confused. 🙂  But for many people the distinction is not at all clear. I've answered that "download vs. download" question several times on three or four forums so far.

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    But for many people the distinction is not at all clear.

     

    AGREED !!!  and perhaps beating a very dead horse at this point, but when I bought a file inside an HD service and chose the menu option to download it in HD, I assumed  that I was buying and downloading an HD file to my computer. Without any previous experience  buying HD files inside an HD service how could anybody know they would get a low resolution  MP3 file ??

     

    . It would be very simple for Amazon to put a disclaimer on the menus telling you what you are buying and getting, the fact that they do not is on them

     

    IMHO I got burned and have learned a lesson. and now I will let it go.

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    It’s pretty clear that you’re renting, not buying. 

     

    Sorry, just noticed this... how is it "pretty clear" ???

     

    The option on their menu is to download the HD file... download means one thing to me and I assume to many others... when I download something that I paid for then I expect to own it, when I pay for an HD file and download it I expect to have an HD file, not an MP3

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    12 hours ago, bbosler said:

     

    Sorry, just noticed this... how is it "pretty clear" ???

     

    The option on their menu is to download the HD file... download means one thing to me and I assume to many others... when I download something that I paid for then I expect to own it, when I pay for an HD file and download it I expect to have an HD file, not an MP3

    Do you really think people don't understand that this isn't a smorgasbord where they get to take anything they want for a few bucks a month? You can download movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime, and I don't think anyone thinks they are able to keep them forever. 

     

    And I'm not sure what you mean about paying for an HD file and getting an MP3. I haven't started a trial, but I'm assuming each album is correctly labeled as to the type of file available. It's clear that with the "HD" subscription everything is lossless, and that with the Ultra HD only some files are high-res. Amazon says "millions of songs" are Ultra HD, but I assume this is clearly marked. I can't see why you'd get an MP3 file if you have a subscription to the HD plan. 

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