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About Abstraction

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  1. The offerings at Quobuz, for a person who is interested almost entirely in unpopular music, are frankly poor. I distrust Amazon as much as anyone, but if they make their product more usable, I will certainly change. With the price cut at Quobuz, I may hold on to my Amazon subscription too.
  2. As far as I can tell, like everything else, it works out for the celebrities, and the artists who are picked by the labels to sponsor (instant celebrities), but the people who really keep the art on edge and creating new ideas are left out. There seems to be no clear solution.
  3. Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I don't doubt that for most people who listen seriously to music Qobuz is a better product, but no stream is any good if it does not stream the music you want to hear. To be sure my interests in music are fringy, some might say weird. The cutting edge of jazz is mostly to be heard in venues often with audiences less than fifty. These people are not being recorded by ECM. I rarely use an audio service to discover music. I search for new music on the NYC Jazz Record and the jazz blogs. It's a quandary. I retired and moved to an NYC apartment, so I could hear live music. I sold my vinyl, but there is no place to store CDs. I don't know what I will do. I still have free time left on Amazon. Tidal is somewhat better for my musical interests than Qobuz. The point is, I guess, that the problem of digital music distribution is still not solved. The musicians, especially the ones who are not big sellers, are being ripped off. I feel somewhat better about this because I hear and pay for a lot of live music, but that does not deal with the issue. I have Roon and Sonore rendus running on two systems. So, then what?
  4. What is 100x better? Right now I have Tidal running with Roon, a trial subscription to Qobuz and to Amazon HD. I also have over 3tb of CDs ripped to a drive. I am not the kind of person to make my ear's bleed doing a-b comparisons, but it seems to me that the noticeable variation in sound quality is more from recording to recording than from service to service. I am more interested in the catalog offerings of relatively, what should I say, far out music-- jazz from small record companies, avant-garde contemporary classical music, and non-pop world music. This involves a very large amount of music, and I haven't scratched surface, but there is no question that Amazon on my measure--the offerings of the music that I listen to--is incomparably better.
  5. 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?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. There are 50 million songs on Amazon. Let's say 4 to 6 million albums. In 2011--the most recent data I can find--1,215 albums sold more than 10k copies. In another post I listed 20 or so consummate musicians, some of whom live in my neighborhood. I see them at Trader Joe's. I would suppose all of them together do not sell 10k albums a year. This is what one reviewer said, rightly, I think, of an album by one of those artists, Matthew Shipp: "[It is] the kind of record we talk about and play for each other decades later... This is music that frames up a whole history: of an artist, of listeners, of the artists who formed the history of the art form, of the culture and time that allowed this art to flourish." Music is not a commodity like new speaker cables. Music, literature, and art are not entertainments or investments; they are the very core of meaningful lives. No doubt there will be other albums like Come Away with Me or Kind of Blue that audiophiles will play to show off their systems. The systems will sound great; the music will sound great, but the reason musicians can't make a living is because people listen everyday to an album that is 20 years old.
  10. It's a rather largish scene with people coming in from Europe and Chicago (and elsewhere). Search Kris Davis, Tyshawn Sorey, James Brandon Lewis, Tomeka Reid, Mary Halvorson, Ingrid Laubrock, Tom Rainey, Montana Roberts, Stephen Gauci, Steve Swell, Rob Brown, Whit Dickey, Kirk Knuffke,Taylor Ho Bynum. Some of the more established figures are William Parker and Matthew Shipp, who were members of the David S. Ware Quartet. Much of this activity is around the Vision Festival. This is the line-up for the 24th, which was last spring. Andrew Cyrille, who has been on the scene for 50-60 years ,was honored. https://www.artsforart.org/vision.html
  11. I like high quality audio, but I am not interested in it. I find nothing more boring that A-B testing. If the music sounds good enough not to call attention to itself, I don't notice. The music is the point, right? The system I use most is Tidal / Roon / Ultrarendu/ Mytek Brooklyn / HD800. 3.5tb from a drive feeds into this stream. Much of the music I listen to is not particularly well recorded, most of it is not recorded in hi-res or MQA. When I listen to music, I rarely know the format or the location of the source in my system. Early Duke Ellington recordings don't sound great--the bass mostly was out of the range of the available mics-- but some of the music is fantastic. I have MQA implemented on my DAC but have never really noticed if anything I listened to was MQA. I just signed up for the 3 month free deal. I suspect the sound quality will on average be about as good as what I have now. I think there is no doubt, however, that I will stay with Amazon, and I decided this in about 30 minutes, listening on my desk computer and the speaker in my monitor. I listen to a range of music--classical, classic rnb, blues, and classic rock--but I mostly listen to jazz--all kinds of jazz, but especially the music that follows Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, et. al. There is a renaissance of this music especially in New York in the last 20 years. Many of the players are young, many of them (rare in the history of jazz) are women, and week to week they push the limits of the music. Their CDs, and there are a lot of them, are made in small studios and beautifully engineered, but hi-res offerings are rare. I hear this music live regularly, and I can only say, unless it happens to be a venue with good acoustics, and you get a seat in the best spot, a well-engineered CD has its advantages. Of course, the highest-rez recording will never capture the excitement of a great live performance, but then I don't have to go to the subway and go to some bar in the outer-reaches of Brooklyn. Okay, here is my point: Amazon has immensely more of this music than Tidal and my local drive together. I haven't checked out the more common jazz material, but I assume that, if they have a more or less complete catalog of the Matthew Shipp trio, it will be quite complete. I would be interested in hearing from people with expertise in various categories of music with reports on Amazon's offerings. I also am interested in contemporary, avant-garde classical music. I haven't checked that.
  12. I listen almost exclusively to free jazz since 1960--the music that follows from Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, et al. I am especially interested in younger players, such as Matthew Shipp, Ingrid Laubrock, Tyshawn Sorey, Tomeka Reid (just examples). They record almost entirely on small labels, but Tidal does fairly well by them. Has anyone who knows this music made a serious comparison?
  13. Thanks. Sad to hear. Kris Davis is a major figure for me. But Kirk is a friend. Glad to know they have his work.
  14. I have the opposite question. I'm interested in Qobuz for the current European jazz, and assume it will be better or at least as good as Tidal, but I am primarily interested, in relatively obscure, young, players--Jaime Branch, Kris Davis, Kirk Knuffne, for example--the people I hear live in NYC... If someone would check for me you'd be rewarded with some of the best music I know of.
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