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The Computer Audiophile

Article: Amazon Music HD Launches

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16 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Bluesound and BluOS now support 24/192 from Amazon Music HD. Update your device is you haven't already today. 

 

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Hi Chris,

 

Didn't know you had Benchmark gear. Many many years ago I thought you did a review of the original Benchmark DAC 1 and added it in your CASH list. It's not there anymore so did I imagine it? Are you planning a review of the DAC3? 

 

Apologies for the off topic but I just bought 2 x DAC2s for less than US$1,000 each. Best HiFi bargain going around in my very humble opinion.


LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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16 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Hi Chris,

 

Didn't know you had Benchmark gear. Many many years ago I thought you did a review of the original Benchmark DAC 1 and added it in your CASH list. It's not there anymore so did I imagine it? Are you planning a review of the DAC3? 

 

Apologies for the off topic but I just bought 2 x DAC2s for less than US$1,000 each. Best HiFi bargain going around in my very humble opinion.

What don't I have now days!

 

Karthick at Audeze actually arranged for Benchmark to send the DAC and amp to me so I could evaluate the LCD-4z with a system that measures well and is a known good combo. I've always loved Benchmark. The products are great as are the people. The company is first class. 

 

Not sure about a review right now because I'm really backed up with products at the moment. 

 

You can't go wrong with a couple DAC2s for less than $1,000. 

 

You care correct that the DAC1 was on the CASH list, but it's quite long in the tooth now, so it's no longer listed. Still as good as the day I reviewed it though. 


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8 hours ago, Gus141 said:

Another BluOS issue maybe: 

Music on Amazon Music labeled as “Ultra HD” with a “Track Quality” of 24 bit / 44.1 kHz played through Bluesound Node 2i-(S/PDIF Coax)->RME ADI-2 DAC shows on the RME display as only 16 bit.

 

Per the RME manual: “The Bit column shows the amount of bits found in the SPDIF audio signal. Note that a 24 bit signal that is shown as 16 bit is indeed 16 bit, but a signal shown as 24 bit might contain only 16 bit real audio plus 8 bits of noise…”

 

So RME is pretty confident I’m only getting 16 bits from a 24-bit “Ultra HD” track.

 

This only happens with Ultra HD tracks that are 24/44.1 (couldn’t find any 24/48 to try yet). Higher SR Ultra HD tracks (24/96, 24/192) show 24 bits.

 

So what is happening with 24/44.1 “Ultra HD”? Is Amazon sending 16/44.1 even tough saying it’s Ultra HD at 24/44.1; or, is the Node 2i striping the last 8 least-significant bits; or, is the RME misinterpreting the S/PDIF stream?

 

Anyone else with a DAC connected to Amazon Music that has a bit-depth display for S/PDIF? USB connections don’t usually display bit depth, just SR.

 

A couple of tracks that show this to try for yourselves (make sure to select the Ultra HD versions):

You Say, by Lauren Daigle

Bad Liar, by Imagine Dragons

If You’re Gonna Lie, by FLETCHER

Born Without a Heart, by Faouzia

 

Cheers

Gus

 

Hi Gus - I can confirm the same 24 / 16 bit issue. I'll email the BlueOS team now. 


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I do have  DAC that reports bit depth but unfortunately I can't access my audio system until the builders that are carrying out work at my place quit. However,as a corollary I haven't found any 24/44.1 files from Qobuz that display as 16 bit when played.

 

Nevertheless I have always had a suspicion that there is something odd about 24/44.1 recordings. After all if you are going to master @24 bit why do this with a sample rate of 44.1 when, almost certainly if you have a 24 bit ADC , 96KS/s is available to you? It is also not a standard for supplying to clients  in the A.E.S. guide to studios where 24/96 is the recommended minimum.

 

Having met many administrators at record companies over the years I have to say that not all are particularly technically savvy. So imagine that Amazon asks or even requires a record label now to send it 24 bit files in preference. That instruction gets passed to whoever sends out files to radio stations, streaming services etc. They therefore ask the studio ( nowadays probably independent) to send them a copy file of a given album but in 24 bit. The studio finds that their copy master is 16 bit. But their client has requested 24 bit. So they take the master and run it through a sample rate converter and , hey presto, 24 bit. The studio has met its client's request and the record label Amazon's. Everyone is happy. Nobody outside the studio  is any the wiser until somebody analyses it.

 

Fictional?  The record industry will supply whatever format is wanted, just how it does it can be open to question; from LPs cut from CDs , CD's mastered from old LPs, mono recordings made into artificial stereo ones etc. etc.

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2 minutes ago, PAR said:

Nevertheless I have always had a suspicion that there is something odd about 24/44.1 recordings. After all if you are going to master @24 bit why do this with a sample rate of 44.1 when, almost certainly if you have a 24 bit ADC , 96KS/s is available to you?

It is apparently quite common. One reason could be total bandwidth limits in a multi-track system.

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22 minutes ago, mansr said:

It is apparently quite common. One reason could be total bandwidth limits in a multi-track system.

Plus, many professionals-unlike audiophiles- don't see any advantage in rates above 44.1. Not sonics or anything else.
They are using 24 bit because of headroom when doing lots of processing. 24 bit means they have considerably lower noise floor, meaning they can do all their work more comfortably do lots of manipulations, overdubs, and mixing, especially when recording digital feeds directly into a board, and not worry they might be raising the noise floor to a noticeable level. 
 

Unlike 96 or 192 sample rates, a 24 bit recording doesn't take up that much more space or require that much more time to process. It may seem insignificant to you, but to a professional who might work on multiple albums a day, that time saved is money. 

I think 24/44.1 is actually more common than higher rates. 


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I currently use a Sonore Rendu running SonicOrbiter into a Mytek DAC. I use ROON/Qobuz. I am really happy with what I have and would make changes only if I had to.

 

To access Amazon Hi-Def

 

Am I right that what would be required would be a software rewrite by Sonore or who writes their software to play Amazon Hi-Def and to use Amazon with Roon in addition to Sonore changes also software changes to ROON. 

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57 minutes ago, PAR said:

However,as a corollary I haven't found any 24/44.1 files from Qobuz that display as 16 bit when played.

Me neither. I just played 6 songs on Qobuz listed as 24/44.1 (to include the 4 songs I mentioned in post #237) via Node 2i and they show as 24 bit.

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13 minutes ago, Gus141 said:

Me neither. I just played 6 songs on Qobuz listed as 24/44.1 (to include the 4 songs I mentioned in post #237) via Node 2i and they show as 24 bit.

It's being looked at now. 


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33 minutes ago, Michaelb4 said:

I currently use a Sonore Rendu running SonicOrbiter into a Mytek DAC. I use ROON/Qobuz. I am really happy with what I have and would make changes only if I had to.

 

To access Amazon Hi-Def

 

Am I right that what would be required would be a software rewrite by Sonore or who writes their software to play Amazon Hi-Def and to use Amazon with Roon in addition to Sonore changes also software changes to ROON. 


Rendu will receive over Shairport, no rewrite necessary, though I don't know what the resolution limits of the protocol may be if any.
 

Roon you're correct.


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> wi-fi to router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> USPCB -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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5 minutes ago, Jud said:


Rendu will receive over Shairport, no rewrite necessary, though I don't know what the resolution limits of the protocol may be if any.
 

Roon you're correct.

@Melvin said in the Sonore microRendu thread on the sponsor forum: “I'm listening now using Shairport on the mRendu streamed from my iPad. Of course it's limited to 16/44.1 but it sounds pretty damn good. 

 

Haven’t tested it myself.

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1 hour ago, mansr said:

It is apparently quite common. One reason could be total bandwidth limits in a multi-track system.

That is a very convincing explanation. Being  a classical music type  aside from DGG I tend to forget about 24 track recording.

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38 minutes ago, PAR said:

That is a very convincing explanation. Being  a classical music type  aside from DGG I tend to forget about 24 track recording.

 

This was an issue 15 years ago (Although Al Schmitt was tracking 24/96 then). Not so much these days

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20 minutes ago, Jeremy Anderson said:

add 'Exclusive Mode' playback

On the Mac, we have to set the audio output to 24 bit 192 Khz in Audio Midi so this sounds like we are in the same situation with needing exclusive mode on the Mac application?


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2 hours ago, Gus141 said:

Me neither. I just played 6 songs on Qobuz listed as 24/44.1 (to include the 4 songs I mentioned in post #237) via Node 2i and they show as 24 bit.

I found a way to get 24/44.1 to play via Amazon at 24 bit through BluOS. You have to first play a 24/96 or 192 track, then the 24/44.1 and the bit depth will remain at 24. I can reproduce it 100% of the time. Via Qobuz, not issues at all. 

 

I sent the issue on to Bluesound. 


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31 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I found a way to get 24/44.1 to play via Amazon at 24 bit through BluOS. You have to first play a 24/96 or 192 track, then the 24/44.1 and the bit depth will remain at 24. I can reproduce it 100% of the time. Via Qobuz, not issues at all. 

 

I sent the issue on to Bluesound. 

I got excited when I read this because that wouldn’t be too bad of a workaround; however, it didn’t work for me. I tried at least 10 times going from 24/96- and 24/192-based songs to 24/44.1-based ones. Every time I switched to the 24/44.1 song the bit depth dropped to 16. I made sure to check that they weren’t “HD” (native 16/44.1) files. Nope, all 24/44.1.

 

Since your DAC is working, I’ll bet my RME ADI-2 DAC is the culprit. But what I don’t understand is that I have no issues with Qobuz showing the wrong bit depth for 24/44.1.

 

Anecdotally, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen something like this though. A file I purchased from Qobuz at 24/96kHz shows up as 16/96kHz on the DAC. And, a while back when I was messing around with mConnect DLNA control of TIDAL to an Oppo 205, with the Oppo doing the first unfold of MQA and passing the SR-doubled result out (S/PDIF) to the RME ADI-2 DAC, the result was shown as 16 bit at times (a firmware update made that less frequent). But that anecdote does make me wonder if the BluOS is manipulating 24/44.1 in a similar way the Oppo was messing with the digital stream.

 

Thanks for working this with your contacts at Bluesound.

Cheers,

Gus

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so I may be an idiot but how do you actually play a file through a USB DAC? I use either Pure Music or Roon but I don't see any way to have the Amazon App communicate with either. It only plays through the internal speaker on my Mac Mini. How do I direct it to the USB DAC?

 

AND sorry for the graphics, but this forum keep attaching old graphic files that I trash before I submit? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, bbosler said:

so I may be an idiot but how do you actually play a file through a USB DAC? I use either Pure Music or Roon but I don't see any way to have the Amazon App communicate with either. It only plays through the internal speaker on my Mac Mini. How do I direct it to the USB DAC?

 

AND sorry for the graphics, but this forum keep attaching old graphic files that I trash before I submit? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It can only play through your default audio output. Set that in Audio MIDI setup. 


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8 minutes ago, bbosler said:

AND sorry for the graphics, but this forum keep attaching old graphic files that I trash before I submit?

There's a cache issue with the site right now. Logout and log back in and those images won't attach all the time. 


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42 minutes ago, Gus141 said:

I got excited when I read this because that wouldn’t be too bad of a workaround; however, it didn’t work for me. I tried at least 10 times going from 24/96- and 24/192-based songs to 24/44.1-based ones. Every time I switched to the 24/44.1 song the bit depth dropped to 16. I made sure to check that they weren’t “HD” (native 16/44.1) files. Nope, all 24/44.1.

 

Since your DAC is working, I’ll bet my RME ADI-2 DAC is the culprit. But what I don’t understand is that I have no issues with Qobuz showing the wrong bit depth for 24/44.1.

 

Anecdotally, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen something like this though. A file I purchased from Qobuz at 24/96kHz shows up as 16/96kHz on the DAC. And, a while back when I was messing around with mConnect DLNA control of TIDAL to an Oppo 205, with the Oppo doing the first unfold of MQA and passing the SR-doubled result out (S/PDIF) to the RME ADI-2 DAC, the result was shown as 16 bit at times (a firmware update made that less frequent). But that anecdote does make me wonder if the BluOS is manipulating 24/44.1 in a similar way the Oppo was messing with the digital stream.

 

Thanks for working this with your contacts at Bluesound.

Cheers,

Gus

Gus,

 

Don't lose sleep over this. Tomorrow will be better :P

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29 minutes ago, Superdad said:

 

Yes, and then if you play a 16/44.1 track you'd best set AudioMidi Setup back to that--otherwise you end up with macOS Core Audio engine doing its poor-sounding upsampling!  This exact issue is what drove the initial market for the apps Ammara, Pure Music, and Aurdivana years ago. 9_9

This stinks!  What if we just set it to 24 Bit 44.1 Khz.  I would be happy with that for everything. Or would it have to be 16 bit 44.1 Khz? 


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