Amazon Music rolls out a lossless streaming tier that Spotify and Apple can’t match

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  • Polkitup2Polkitup2 Posts: 1,591
    In another thread I mentioned that I have been using the Amazon HD music service on a Mac mini with my W4S DAC. I found that streaming the Amazon HD/UltraHD albums did not sound as good as playing the same HDtracks sourced albums played through Jriver.

    Since then I was happy to find that the Amazon HD music app for Mac also lets you download albums or tracks and play them directly from your local storage (maybe NAS too). I compared a few recently released albums that appear to be the same on both HDtracks and Amazon music. I am using the term "same" somewhat loosely as I do not have a detailed provenance for the albums.

    My impression was that downloaded Amazon ultraHD/HD tracks sound better than the streamed Amazon tracks and are closer in sound quality to the Jriver played HDtracks. I still give the nod to Jriver using the HDtracks files. I suspect that the Amazon app has to go through some additional Mac music processing versus Jriver which has exclusive access to my DAC.

    Frankly when casually listening and flipping back and forth between playing the same HDtracks music versus the downloaded Amazon music, I occasionally lost track which player was being used because they both sounded good. But whenever I transitioned into a more serious listening state, my preference was the Jriver HDtracks.

    Hopefully others here can do some testing and provide their opinions on downloaded Amazon ultraHD versus HDtracks sound quality.

    Some other things I learned is that the downloaded Amazon ultraHD/HD tracks does keep the same resolution as the Amazon streamed cloud version - but to make sure you get the full resolution you need to specify in the Amazon player preference settings for downloads that you want "best available".

    Also, with the Mac you have to manually make sure the MIDI app has the correct resolution set when using the Amazon player. If you for example play a 192 kHz file using Jriver then the MIDI app will be set to 192 kHz. Since 192 kHz is currently is the max resolution for Amazon HD music you will be fine if you play an Amazon ultraHD 192 KHz file. However, if you then play a 44 kHz track on Jriver the MIDI setting will change to 44kHz and you must manually change it back to 192 kHz resolution for the Amazon ultraHD tracks. The Amazon app needs to be modified to allow exclusive device access to eliminate this current drawback. Bezos needs to get this done!

    I also noticed that the actual stored file sizes between HDtracks and Amazon downloads are similar, but not quite the same. It does not appear that Amazon is compressing the files, but Amazon uses a proprietary file structure and format to store the download data. I didn't see any .flac listed - lol. Not sure if they encrypt the data.

    Even without the exclusive device access and slightly less sound quality than HDtrack downloads, I think Amazon really has something here. The selection of artists and albums is nothing short of phenomenal. The fact that you can build your own locally stored library for optimum quality is also plus. It is certainly worth trying the free 3 month trial, if nothing else you can preview a whole bunch of music you might of otherwise never heard.


  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,409
    I'm really enjoying Amazon HD; sounds fantastic and gives me a "radio station" option---very cool. My Node 2i works beautifully with it.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 - Cables: Kimber Hero XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 dig coaxial
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 32,462
    I saw a story that said 475 musicians are refusing to work with Amazon, meaning music, until they cut any ties with ICE. What ties they have with them , I don't know, but sounds pretty silly to me.

    How that will affect their library going forward, don't know that either. Just an FYI, but as it sits, doesn't appear to be affecting them at all. Maybe on new music going forward, but time will tell I guess.
    HT SYSTEM-
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  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,409
    There's no winner when everything gets politicized. Stupid.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 - Cables: Kimber Hero XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 dig coaxial
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 32,462
    agreed Steve.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
  • Polkitup2Polkitup2 Posts: 1,591
    Nuts.... On the flip side, I hope Amazon permanently bars these musicians from ever having their music on Amazon or from using any Amazon services. Also, I would hope that these musicians will forgo any profits they receive from their fans who may use any Amazon services including shopping.

    Here's the list, anyone see a name they care about? I don't.

    https://www.fightforthefuture.org/news/2019-10-24-no-music-for-ice-open-letter-from-musicians-to/

  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,469
    FWIW, the Nativ Vita has an app for Amazon Music. I haven't activated it on mine yet, though. The Vita uses an Android OS.

    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • Viking64Viking64 Posts: 5,320
    edited October 2019
    Polkitup2 wrote: »
    Here's the list, anyone see a name they care about? I don't.

    I just skimmed through the entire list. The only name that looked even vaguely familiar was "Bobby Brown (Rentboy)". I think Frank Zappa wrote a song about him. :p

  • tonybtonyb Posts: 32,462
    Ha, a list of nobodies.....I'm sure Amazon is shaking in their boots.
    HT SYSTEM-
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    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 6,560
    Okay now that that's out of everybody's system, can we get back to talking about the service :p ? Anybody else like to see this integrated with Roon? That's how I get all my music at home.

    On a related note, Tidal is now also integrated with Plex. Since we just moved and are remodeling I haven't really been able to test it out, but I would be curious if others have.
    Living Room 2.1: Dynaudio Contour 1.3mkii; Martin Logan Grotto sub; Musical Fidelity A308; Cambridge Azur 851N
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  • Polkitup2Polkitup2 Posts: 1,591
    edited October 2019
    Seems like Roon and Amazon Music HD would be a great combo. Huge Amazon library and the Roon user experience would be great. But I would want it all for $9.99 per month!

  • verbverb Posts: 10,203
    So this is interesting. Was poking around for other reasons and found this:

    Maynard James Keenan compilation on Prime! :)
    dwj024z0n9mo.png
    Basement: Polk SDA SRS,Cary SLP-05 Pre,Enlightened Audio Designs CD Transport,Northstar Designs Excelsio DAC,Cambridge 851N streamer,Marantz SA-14 SACD,McIntosh MC300 Amp,Silnote Morpheus Ref2 Digital Cable,Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner,Pangea Power Cables,Wireworld Oasis 8 RCA IC's,MIT Shotgun S3 IC's,MIT Shotgun S1 Bi-Wire speaker cables
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    Living Room: Peachtree Nova Integrated,Cambridge CXN v2 Streamer,Rotel RCD-1072 CD player,Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner,Polk RT265 In Wall Speakers,Polk DSW Pro 660wi sub
  • tophatjohnnytophatjohnny Posts: 2,982
    tonyb wrote: »
    I saw a story that said 475 musicians are refusing to work with Amazon, meaning music, until they cut any ties with ICE. What ties they have with them , I don't know, but sounds pretty silly to me.

    How that will affect their library going forward, don't know that either. Just an FYI, but as it sits, doesn't appear to be affecting them at all. Maybe on new music going forward, but time will tell I guess.

    Maybe they were referring to the employees that do the ice!😂😂
    "if it's not fun, it's not worth it & remember folks, "It's All About The Music"!!
    *****************************
  • KrazyMofo24KrazyMofo24 Posts: 1,144
    I just signed up for it and like it so far. I’m on the 90 day free trial and able to stream 24 bit Ultra HD to my apple tv. Just figured I’d mention because I read that it would only do HD via airplay. However saw another support article that it would do either depending on the capabilities. I’m using a iphone 11 pro and the latest non 4k apple tv.
    Setup:

    2 Channel: Vienna Acoustics Mozart Grand, T+A P 1230R, Primare SPA21, Oppo BDP-105
    PC: Vienna Acoustics Haydn Grand, Cambridge Azure 650A v2 , Peachtree iDAC, Denon DVD-3800BDCI

  • codycatalistcodycatalist Posts: 2,667
    I only noticed two artist on there I know...although I did the trial at this point I will stick with spotify as my big rig is tore down and no sense in paying for a service I won't use.
    Just a dude doing dude-ly things

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  • Polkitup2Polkitup2 Posts: 1,591
    I see on Polk's main page they announced that Polk speakers work with Amazon music HD. Amazing! They provide a link to the free Amazon trial.

  • anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 2,669
    Is there a Squeezebox extension that allows it to play from Amazon?
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 6,560
    anonymouse wrote: »
    Is there a Squeezebox extension that allows it to play from Amazon?

    Not the last time I checked, but it’s been a couple months...
    Living Room 2.1: Dynaudio Contour 1.3mkii; Martin Logan Grotto sub; Musical Fidelity A308; Cambridge Azur 851N
    Game Room HT: Denon AVR-X4200w; Definitive Technology SM350; Definitive Technology LCR2000; Definitive Technology Procinema 800; Mirage Nanasats; Sub - HSU VTF-2 MK5
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  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,409
    Still sold on Amazon HD, the more I use it, the more I like it. Since I cut the cord, I have firesticks in all the TV's, so now I have Amazon HD everywhere---pool, shop, house...etc.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 - Cables: Kimber Hero XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 dig coaxial
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