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Article: Amazon Music HD Launches

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On 9/17/2019 at 6:49 PM, Archimago said:

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.

 

But strangely enough, Tidal is only $20 Cdn/month in Canada.  Amazon's $15 USD/month will work out to $20 Cdn/month.

 

There's also the cost of Prime membership  -- $119 USD/year or $12.99 USD/month in the US (it's only $79 Cdn / year or $7.99 Cdn/month -- go figure).

 

Maybe Canadians will get a reduced cost for AMZN HD?

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On 9/17/2019 at 9:46 PM, Gus141 said:

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.

 

I had the same problem with the Tidal app on Android. The DF Red indicated 96K no matter what was played.

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On 9/17/2019 at 11:58 PM, cscamp said:

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.

 

I don't think Roon will be the issue -- it will be whether Amazon decides to cooperate or not.

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8 hours ago, firedog said:

Have you checked Qobuz?

    The Qobuz jazz offerings from the bigger jazz labels are good and excellent for recordings by young, obscure European players, who are mostly unknown in the U.S., but they do not do well with small American labels. Of course, Matt Shipp is star of the free jazz scene.  He has even had some notices in the mainstream best-of lists, but in general, their offering of the music I most listen to are poor.  I took the Qobuz free-month offer in order to check it out and have a note on my desk to remind me to cancel.  If you do a search on Amazon for Matt Shipp they find close to 50 albums. He is not the leader on all of them, but the search knows that the dozen or so albums he has made with Ivo Pearlman as leader could be under his name. 

      Qobuz, for ex, has nothing by Kirk Knuffke--a cornet player who I think is still in his 30s.  Or perhaps they have one.  I did a lot searching. Amazon has all of the 5 or 6 albums he has done. 

 

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9 hours ago, firedog said:

 

 

Uh, I think you are pretty interested, based on that setup....just teasing. I get your point, I also find doing A/B annoying and am convinced that I hear/listen differently when doing it, undermining it's usefulness. 

    I understand. I also have a good integrated amp, some excellent speakers, and a comparable head-fi system in the bedroom. My wife is good enough to concede--with a far away look in her eye-- that all of this is important to my health. But we arrived at many workable compromises years ago.

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 I think most of the music streamers claim 35-40 million songs. Amazon claims 50 million, and it seems that to create a library of that size necessarily gets into some pretty rare, edgy, and often strange music, which is mostly what interests me. Check out Neil Rolnick. Amazon has 6 of his albums. He is an old friend, a wonderful composer and performer, but I expect he has given away more of those albums than have sold. 

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Because of the catalog I would switch to Amazon immediately. I am held back by the problem of controlling three systems. The Iphone remote on Roon is excellent. Anyone have any ideas?

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I'm signed up for the 90 day trial. I don't seem to have been charged the $7.99 (I am not an Unlimited member) that some other people mentioned. 

 

The selection seems great and the "search" bar function works flawlessly. However, the UI seems WAY underbaked and I can't believe anyone at Amazon thought this would be acceptable to release as a competitor to Spotify or Tidal. The major things that are bothering me: 

 

1. Lack of "Similar Artists" functionality -- only 4 other artists listed per artist???

2. Lack of Scrobbling (last.fm connectivity)

3. The Play/Pause button looks nice but it should be at the center of the screen/progress bar like Spotify

4. Lack of user generated playlists (I hope this gets fixed)

5. No feature like "Spotify Connect" 

6. UI looks haphazard and not well thought out. Not slick at all. 

7. No way to search for "Ultra HD" titles 

 

Sound quality seems fine, I haven't really done any hard comparison between Spotify and Amazon. I did do a brief test and I couldn't hear the differences. I'll be listening to it more over the trial period before I make a final call, but I'll probably stick to Spotify because of ease/use of functionality and ubiquity. 

 

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On 9/20/2019 at 2:57 AM, PAR said:

If you are a rock/pop music fan, however , there are quite a lot of real 24/44.1 files available. So by setting your computer's sound engine as this you would have a fair percentage of incoming Amazon UHD files playing bit perfect .

yes, that pretty much describes me, pop rock and acoustical.   I do have a license for Amarra SQ+ I had tried to use with Spotify but it really did nothing good that I could hear.  I will try it with Amazon.  SQ+ basically swaps out the audio kernal to the Amarra SonicStream one.  So if I set the SonicStream to 24-bit/192 Khz that should be better than the core audio I hope.


RIG:  MB Pro - Benchmark DAC3 L Nord SE NC500 MKII | Paradigm Sig S6 Cables:   Van Damme XLR Canare 4S11 Biwire Wireworld USB

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On 9/17/2019 at 3:32 PM, The Computer Audiophile said:

I prefer boutique shops with customer service and proprietors who care about each customer. I see Qobuz as fitting this niche for audiophiles

Customer Service at Qobuz is a complete joke at least for U.S. customers.  I would go through the tedious details but they lost a customer when they totally didn't need to.  TOTAL amateurs, non sequiturs in endless content-free emails refusing to address specific, easily understandable issues, etc etc etc....snooze.......  Too bad because its a good product.  I may resubscribe.  I may not.

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Yes, there are edge cases. I’m lucky to be on the other edge: I have had great support the three times I have asked for assistance with Qobuz support.

 

As for Amazon Music HD (AMHD): I can’t help thinking they could be the last man standing. I’m replicating my favorite TIDAL and Qobuz playlists on AMHD anticipating the long game, but playing music on Qobuz & TIDAL and not AMHD until they fix:

—their desktop app exclusive mode capability

—BluOS shows 24/44.1 playing as 24bit and not 16bit

—iOS external DACs passed pit-perfect audio and not upsampled audio

 

EDIT: oh, I would love if the Amazon Music apps would support generic DLNA/UPnP; but, that’s probably asking too much.

 

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On 9/17/2019 at 9:07 PM, emcdade said:

Is another race to the bottom on price with artists presumably getting less and less per stream really what we want to support?

 

Does anyone know what Amazon is paying artists per stream compared to the other guys?

 

It really is a race to the bottom. I assume Amazon is going to continue the quest for total domination until they are broken up.

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1 hour ago, rickca said:

I simply was identifying the VP responsible for Amazon Music HD.  He is the guy we need to hear our feedback about the service.  I just found it interesting that he has ivy league degrees in law and EE.  I wasn't making any other point.

 

Anyway, don't ever underestimate Amazon.  They can make this a world class offering if they see a business case for it.  Amazon has a huge amount of computer science talent.

Agree Amazon didn't get this big by being some fly by night company.  IF it makes sense, and they see the interest which usually means the $$ received from customers they will do it right. 


The Truth Is Out There

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On 9/20/2019 at 8:27 AM, rn701 said:

Update on my first impressions after a couple of days.

 

Amazon’s own Fire TV does not appear to support HD playback. The installable Amazon Fire TV Music app does not include HD. The Android app does not cast to Fire TV. The Android Alexa app does not see Fire TV as a playback device and also does not seem to include HD anyway.

 

 

 

UPDATE/CORRECTION: Fire TV app plays HD files and ULTRA HD files in 16/44.1 over HDMI. (My receiver reports it as 48K, though.)

 

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26 minutes ago, rn701 said:

 

UPDATE/CORRECTION: Fire TV app plays HD files and ULTRA HD files in 16/44.1 over HDMI. (My receiver reports it as 48K, though.)

 

 

Your TV HDMI system is likely resampling it to 48 kHz. It still may sound better than Apple Music or Spotify played through the same TV, because it starts with better source files, but there's no way to achieve "Ultra HD" results in there.


Everyone wants to date my avatar.

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On 9/20/2019 at 4:46 PM, bbosler said:

as for the so called "free" trial

 

I signed up yesterday thinking what's to lose with a free trial. Then I see a $7.99 charge from Amazon Music on my credit card today. I call and am told that the HD trial is free but you have to have a $7.99 unlimited account to get the free trial. Of course, I ask how can it be free when I get charged $7.99? They said again, only free if you pay for unlimited

 

I canceled and got my $7.99 back

 

first they have a setting that says you get HD downloads when it turns out that is not actually a download even when you pay for the song like I foolishly did,  it is only for offline listening, any actual download is low resolution MP3, now this

 

f**k em, I'm done with em

 

 

I saw your post just now, and my heart sank.  That is absolutely outrageous, and probably illegal.

 

I can't find a similar charge on mine (yet).  Did you have an Amazon Prime membership to begin with?  (Even with prime, you don't get "unlimited" by default, which has me even more worried...)

 

 

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22 minutes ago, left channel said:

 

Your TV HDMI system is likely resampling it to 48 kHz. It still may sound better than Apple Music or Spotify played through the same TV, because it starts with better source files, but there's no way to achieve "Ultra HD" results in there.

 

The FireTV is plugged into HDMI on an AVR that supports pretty much all sampling rates up to 24/192 and usually reports them correctly. So I'm thinking it's the FireTV that is resampling. Not a big deal, was just testing and won't be using it for playback as the Windows app on a PC works/sounds better. 

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4 minutes ago, wgscott said:

 

 

I saw your post just now, and my heart sank.  That is absolutely outrageous, and probably illegal.

 

I can't find a similar charge on mine (yet).  Did you have an Amazon Prime membership to begin with?  (Even with prime, you don't get "unlimited" by default, which has me even more worried...)

 

 

 

The deal is if you have (or ever had) an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription, the HD addon is free for 90 days. You still pay for the Unlimited subscription. 

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2 minutes ago, rn701 said:

 

The FireTV is plugged into HDMI on an AVR that supports pretty much all sampling rates up to 24/192 and usually reports them correctly. So I'm thinking it's the FireTV that is resampling. Not a big deal, was just testing and won't be using it for playback as the Windows app on a PC works/sounds better. 

 

Odd. Something's resampling it somehow. As on other systems, it's possible the Amazon app detects only a max sample rate of 48 kHz (incorrectly, in this case) and resamples to that. Anyway, I guess we can live without knowing. Main thing is you're the second person I've seen in the last 24 hours reporting that Fire TV produces 48 kHz output. He was running it through his TV though.


Everyone wants to date my avatar.

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