Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by BubbaMc, Sep 17, 2019.
My post was referring to exclusive mode. Not sure about the sidebars.
Thanks I checked this morning and exclusive mode doesn't work at all. Also an FYI to anyone who installed this program check your security access' points, Amazon Music will want or gain access to everything on your device including external backups unless you deny it.
I canceled my Amazon Music HD subscription this week. I recently purchased a new preamp (NAD M12) that streams both Amazon and Tidal. I went with Tidal. The difference is that Tidal implemented a feature called Tidal Connect. I can control it directly from the Tidal app on my smartphone and it sounds great. I grew tired of having to jump through hoops to get the best sound from Amazon (even if I get a slight discount because of being a Prime member). I'm out!
TAS doesn’t publish all their articles on line, but they took Amazon HD to task in their latest issue. Very strident by the polite standards of audio writing.
I'm thinking about killing my Amazon HD subscription as well, even with the Prime discount.
Although they seem to have finally somewhat fixed their app. It no longer consumes insane amounts of CPU horsepower on my new little media PC. It still eats up way more cycles than any other music playing app, including Spotify and MediaMonkey, but less than half of what it did before. So, maybe they finally got some programmers who know what they're doing onto the team...
I’m on my trial version of three months. So just checking it out.
tidal will be my main squeeze most likely in the future as well.
I know this sounds corny but I don’t really want to give more money to the Amazon empire. It’s getting a tad scary.
Hmm, I just checked and with the app paused on my Windows 10 laptop, unlike in the past, the CPU usage is now 0%. It used to draw up to around 8% with no track playing. Now, when I play a track, it goes up as high as 20% CPU and GPU up to about 2%.
Yeah, as much as I love voice control, they don't have a good solution yet. I thought sure I'd just plug an "Echo Show 8 Studio +" with a digital out directly into my Amp, have infrared out on the Show turn on/control the volume and that would be it, digital HD Ultra bliss. Amazon seems to have spent a fortune building the service then left it to partners to deliver the hardware...which is silly. Or worse, Amazon wants everyone to buy Echo Studios to get Atmos...that will really drive those subscriptions 8>.
Maybe time to fire up my SB3/LMS server out of retirement one more time and give Qobuz a try. Maybe THEY have Aerosmith.
Giving it to a company offering a scam product doesn’t seem any better to me but if your stuck between the two you don’t have much of a choice.
Mine also runs around 15-20% playing a track, but it used to go much higher - up to 50% in bursts. That stopped happening. So they fixed...something.
Mind you, MediaMonkey uses like 2%. Spotify a similar amount. So 20% is still inexcusable, but it's better than the ridiculous performance from before.
Qobuz quite surprisingly does and a good amount of it is in 96/24 with the rest at 44.1/16.
Waiting on Chris’s results with his latest tests. Article: Amazon Music HD Is Still Lossy
Yes Amazon HD is still lossy but here is an update from Chris.
UPDATE: Amazon Music HD Is Still Lossy*
I cancelled my subscription a week ago as using Amazon Music HD had started to cause my Marantz amp (with Heos) to freeze up and need resetting. Airplay, Spotify and music from my NAS drive did not cause the same issue.
Cancelled my subscription a while back, on Tidal now because of the connect feature. More and more folks are providing support to it and that makes me so happy!
You digital guys are a tough crowd lol! Crazier than the analogs I think!
I'm primarily committed to analog with a pretty good table with a couple of arms and two decent cartridges, good phono preamp etc. and digital has never really interested me. Generally just did not like the sound. But a couple of audio friends encouraged me to look into Tidal or Amazon (no Qobuz in Canada sadly) so I bit the bullet and bought a very inexpensive (but reasonably thought of) DAC, decent quality USB cable and already had a very reasonably priced linear power supply that I was using with a matchbook DAC I bought about 4-5 months ago strictly for Netflix duty (which the new DAC now also does over optical).
I don't know why you guys are so hung up over "bit perfect"! I've downloaded the proprietary driver for my new DAC, which does display sampling rate. In general windows setting I've set to 24/192 as maximum (the DAC does PCM as high as 32/384 or maybe even higher) as the max file in Amazon HD is 24/192. In Amazon settings I've selected Exclusive Mode, turned loudness normalization off and selected HD/Ultra HD playback (as opposed to "Best Possible".)
I've experimented with different settings, including 32/384-the Amazon app recognizes the "potential" of the upstream DAC while displaying the actual bit rate of the file while being played. Upsampling (wherever it is completed, in Windows, the Amazon app or the DAC itself-I don't know I'm not a digital techie guy), especially to 32/384, did seem to impart a kind of quirky, fake holographic kind of sound with some music so I decided to simply set at 24/192 as I'd read somewhere that upsampling particularly to 32 bit can create a bit of havoc.
But I've played 16/44 files at 16/44 through Amazon and listened carefully at 24/192, and, for the life of me, cannot hear any difference. And I can hear differences in lots of different equipment and cables (the $55 Chinese USB cable I bought-looks a lot like a $255 North American cable to me!) certainly had much more of an impact on sound quality in my setup than any upsampling that's happening with my current setup and settings when compared with a $10 USB printer cable. But the $10 cable didn't really sound all that bad LOL!
I guess what I'm saying is: can you really hear the difference between bit perfect and not bit perfect when things are set up properly?
FWIW, I think Amazon HD sound quality is pretty impressive, especially in light of the very limited outlay in terms of equipment that I've had. Cheap digital has come a long way in the past 4-5 years. Probably helps that the power side of my system is pretty good as well-even many years ago I discovered that high quality power was really critical in terms of making digital sound "better".
As I said, Qobuz was not an option and the whole MQA thing with Tidal seemed to be a big can of worms that I did not want to get involved in. Purists seem to argue that MQA by nature is not bit perfect either but maybe I'm misunderstanding. I just didn't want to pop the coin for an MQA DAC at this stage in my digital streaming infancy as I wasn't really sure I would stick with it. I will now as I'm impressed. Not as good as my analog front end playing good all analog vinyl, but pretty darn impressive nonetheless and there's a fair bit of Ultra HD stuff on Amazon in the jazz area, which I do have an interest in listening to.
I can understand real hardcore streamers not liking the Amazon software/interface in terms of creating playlists and probably a bunch of other stuff that I may never do , but from a sound quality standpoint, I find little to criticize with Amazon HD. I hope they get the "bit perfect" thing solved, but I really have to wonder whether it will make any difference at all to actual sound quality.
Same here, that's how my setup is. Sounds really good to me. I also did notice a weird sound quality when I tried 24/392 on my laptop pc. I currently have it set to 24/192, since that is Amazon's highest quality.
I am currently running Mac Mini > Optical Cable > Arcam FMJ AV9.
The results are OK. I got better results running USB to a Chord 2Qute.
I don't seem to be able to control the tracks being played on the Mac from my phone. I assume this is a known problem?
Thanks for that tip.
Does JRiver Media Center cost anything? I might be interested to try that and see if there is anything to this bit perfect requirement that many streamers have.
Yes but you can get a 30day free trial to try it.
There's a free trial available, but yes, every new version has a (fairly reasonable) price tag. Current users are all offered a major upgrade discount, and you can keep using any version you buy forever.
Your money is used to pay for ongoing development, of both the current version and the next version.
Thanks! I'm currently listening to John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, which Amazon Music shows to be an Amazon Ultra HD Exlusive, in 24/96. It sounds fantastic, not sure how much better it could sound.
A near-perfect album. Glad you're getting the results you were looking for.
Just signed up for a 3 month free trial - I don't know that I'll keep it, but I thought I might as well see if I like it since I can try it for free.
I use a Bluesound Node 2i as a streamer and feed the output into a Simaudio DAC - right now I'm accessing Amazon music directly through BluOS which seems to work well enough: I don't know if there's any advantage to going to the Amazon desktop app or not but I suppose I'll check it out.
To be honest, I'm one of those who are a bit dubious as to the actual value of high res over CD quality. I've tested myself, and I can't reliably pick out high res. Anyway, we'll see how this goes...
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