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What is the best streaming service for classical music (available in the US)


wgscott
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I've tried Mog, Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal free trials, but found I didn't use any of these enough to warrant purchasing a subscription. I'm mainly interested in expanding my classical music horizons. Although I would prefer lossless, all other things being equal, availability of what are regarded as the best recordings and performances is more important to me (I would likely purchase anything I really care to listen to more than once or twice).

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I've tried Mog, Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal free trials, but found I didn't use any of these enough to warrant purchasing a subscription. I'm mainly interested in expanding my classical music horizons. Although I would prefer lossless, all other things being equal, availability of what are regarded as the best recordings and performances is more important to me (I would likely purchase anything I really care to listen to more than once or twice).
ClassicsOnLineHD

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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Naxos' ClassicsOnlineHD includes only one of the largest classical labels: Sony. It excludes Universal (DG, Decca, Philips) and EMI/Warner.

 

Too bad we can’t get Qobuz in the US. It does sell all the above labels, although not the entire catalog. Almost all the music they sell as downloads also can be streamed in their paid streaming plan.

 

If you know what you're looking for, perhaps based on reviews on other websites, you can find a surprising amount of classical music on Spotify.

Mac Mini (2012 i7) > HQPlayer > RME ADI-2 v2 > Benchmark AHB-2 > Thiel 3.7

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The classical music streaming radio stations are my hunting grounds for new classical music these days. KMFA here in Austin and BBC3 are a couple of my favorites. Also free.

 

Been a classical music fan for about 45 years, and still hear new (or forgotten) pieces I want to listen to again pretty much once or twice a week.:)

 

Then an Amazon/Apple Music subscription makes sense, because those odd pieces are almost always on Apple or Amazon. Then I buy the CD or download if I want to own it.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I use Tidal with Roon. Biggest Tidal weakness is the search engine. Roon's is much better. Also, with Roon I can immediately access my music collection for quick comparisons with Tidal albums I'm exploring. I do this often.

 

Even without Roon, you can adjust to trying 2 or 3 different search entries before giving up. If Tidal doesn't have it, free Spotify or YouTube sometimes do. Hyperion Records is an exception. You have to settle for 1 minute samples on their site.

 

I've searched ClassicsOnLineHD a number of times and have found generally that if Tidal doesn't have it, ClassicsOnLineHD doesn't have it either. There are exceptions, and YMMV.

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...

 

I've searched ClassicsOnLineHD a number of times and have found generally that if Tidal doesn't have it, ClassicsOnLineHD doesn't have it either. There are exceptions, and YMMV.

 

I use both ClassicsOnline and Tidal (with Roon) for Classical, although the real reason I use Tidal is for Jazz and other non-Classical music. I don't know precisely how much ClassicsOnline's and Tidal's Classical catalogues overlap, although I agree there is a lot of it. But if you are interested in greater-than-CD resolution, ClassicsOnline has it while Tidal does not. Also what was said about searching; ClassicsOnline's advanced search is designed specifically for searching in Classical, whereas Tidal has a blunt tool for searching (somewhat improved by integrating with Roon, but still inferior to ClassicsOnline's advanced search). Qobuz undoubtedly has more labels than ClassicsOnline but (a) it is unavailable in the U.S. and (b) there are hundreds of labels and millions of tracks on ClassicsOnline, and it has grown in the past year since I first signed up. So, definitely, YMMV, but I would strongly recommend you try ClassicsOnline. (They also offer a discounted annual membership, which Tidal does not. And ClasssicsOnline sometimes gives even deeper discounts; in February, I purchased a 12-month subscription for ~$90.)

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