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Amazon HD Music goes live

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by BubbaMc, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. mtrot

    mtrot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tyler, TX
    Yeah, I ended up just setting my sound card to 24/96. Everything sounds good to me. For those Amazon tracks that are 24/192, I will sometimes change the sound card setting to 24/192.
     
  2. SKBubba

    SKBubba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tennessee
    That's been my conclusion.

    Which is really weird given the size and resources of Amazon v. NAD. I guess the "give a s***" factor is much higher at NAD.

    Too bad you can't use the full feature/functionality of Amazon apps to get the full benefit of their hifi offering. Their "give a s***" factor is extremely low.

    The only other system I'm aware of that gives bit-perfect playback of Amazon HD is HEOS. That app, though, is an abomination. It's not even really an app. It's a joke.

    Denon/Marantz really ought to get out of the app business and just embed "connect" type firmware for all the streamers that have it. Oh, wait. The only streamers who have it are Spotify and Tidal.
     
    coffeetime and shug4476 like this.
  3. shug4476

    shug4476 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    I do find it completely insane that Amazon have designed a HD service it is almost impossible to listen to, including through their own apps.

    I will carry on with my elaborate method for authoring my own DVD-As.
     
  4. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I'd just set a laptop or media PC to output everything at 24/192 and call it a day.

    :shrug:
     
  5. shug4476

    shug4476 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    I haven't spent many multiples of thousands of dollars on listening equipment only to put a cheap software bottleneck at the start of the signal chain!
     
    Ham Sandwich likes this.
  6. jmadad

    jmadad Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    I plugged my Echo dot directly into my receiver to listen to Amazon HD. I don’t see that I can control song selection through the app now, only voice telling Alexa what to play (since the Dot is wired, my phone doesn’t control it). Am I just missing something obvious?
     
  7. TimM

    TimM Senior Member

    Location:
    Dayton Ohio
    I admit that even when it is only outputting files at 24/48, I am satisfied with the sound quality. It sounds clearly better than Spotify and Pandora which are the only other streaming services I have used. What frustrates me is the UI. It is almost primitive, with the search function and playlist capabilities being way behind the competition. I have to believe it is just a case of them not caring since they obviously have the resources to do anything they want. I wish my dad was still around to remind them "If it's worth doing it's worth doing well".
     
    sunspot42, BruceS and czyhorse75 like this.
  8. mtrot

    mtrot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tyler, TX
    Yeah, a while back I set my laptop sound selection to 24/96 as a good compromise, because of reading so many negative comments here and elsewhere about possible negative effects of the Windows upmixer, and the general obsession with getting bit perfect playback. I guess I figured that there was very little 24/192 content on Amazon Music and perhaps 24/96 would be best. But if there is no deleterious effect on lower resolution tracks when setting it at 24/192, I will change it to that. As to sound quality, it sounds pretty good to me, but I've never used Qobuz or Tidal, so I can't say how the sound compares. I know that some people change their Windows setting for each track to match the track's resolution, but that is a big hassle. I have tried that and have not really been able to say that doing that for a 16/44.1 track makes it sound any better than leaving my setting at 24/96. Thoughts?
     
  9. BruceS

    BruceS El Sirviente del Gato

    Location:
    Reading, MA US
    I myself did remind them of that. Ignored. My major complaint (not the only one) is the inability to create playlist folders. Doesn't get much simpler than that.
     
    TimM and shug4476 like this.
  10. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Upsampling isn't likely to represent much of a bottleneck, though.

    I think a lot of digital gadgets - like receivers - might be upsampling anyhow prior to working their digital magic (EQ, room correction, sub output, whatever).

    That's my biggest gripe with Amazon music. Also that - unlike Spotify - I can't control one device easily from another. So I can't use my main PC to control my media PC, or use my iPhone to control my media PC. Spotify makes this easy, and it's one of the platform's most-powerful features. I can control playback on any device from any other device. Heaven.

    I did the same, actually. 192 is just overkill, unless you're rocking $100,000 of equipment in an anechoic chamber...and anyhow, Amazon has very little 192 material.
     
  11. fluffskul

    fluffskul Would rather be at a concert

    Location:
    albany, ny
    higher sampling rate = overkill? Forgive me, if I'm ignorant, but I'm confused. Why would a higher sampling rate hurt the sound?
     
  12. dtuck90

    dtuck90 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    I think there’s a suggestion ultrasonic frequencies can cause distortion in the audible range. I think this is one of the reasons why some people consider 24/48 optimal
     
    sunspot42 likes this.
  13. D700

    D700 Just Add Scotch

    Location:
    USA
    The 192 48 44.1 refers to the frequency of sampling, literally samples per second. Digital recordings don’t record the analog sound wave, only samples of the curve at regular intervals. This is different than audio frequency range which is what I think you have in mind. Both measured in Hertz which causes understandable confusion. I find 24 bit depth, which allows for more dynamic range than 16 bit (difference between loudest and softest sound) to matter more than sample rate, if taken advantage of during recording.

    To be fair, I do most of my listening at moderate volume on an Echo Show nowadays while putzing about or cooking, convenience won me over. I don’t enjoy the music any less.

    But if you are chasing the curve, on a good system, 24/48 is going to be damn good as long as it’s not just upsampled from 16/44.1

    Hope that helps, remember, enjoy your music!
     
  14. dtuck90

    dtuck90 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    To be honest I’m skeptical of the “ultrasonics” thing. I was just referring to multiple posts I’ve read on here that denounce anything above 16/44 as snake oil.

    My experience of anything considered hi res or lossless is that it’s never an instantaneous noticeable difference but once you live with lossless and/or hi res for a while and go back to a lossy stream such as Spotify the differences are instantly noticeable. This is where A/B tests fail and should be disregarded.
     
    TimM likes this.
  15. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Well, quite a few possibilities. As others have mentioned, higher sampling frequencies could allow lots of electronic ultrasonic noise to leech thru. That can have unintended effects on your analog components - your amps, tweeters and whatnot. Typically studios were setup to minimize that kind of noise, precisely to avoid those negative impacts, but crap leaked thru anyhow and could make it onto tape, at least once analog tape decks became capable of recording it at any kind of volume.

    Which is another point - most legacy analog kit couldn't record much in the way of ultrasonics even if the engineers had wanted it to. A lot of microphones cut out under 22kHz. They wouldn't have picked up anything ultrasonic coming from the instruments even if it was there. So most if not all ultrasonic content found on any legacy analog recordings is largely some kind of electronic noise.

    More modern analog and digital recorders could in theory pick up ultrasonic frequencies (at sampling rates above 48kHz for the digital kit). But not many recordings have been made with capturing ultrasonic information in mind. I'm leery of "incidental" ultrasonic information, since if the engineers weren't carefully monitoring it on recording, who knows what the hell it is.

    Beyond problematic ultrasonic noise, not all A/D and D/A converters behave well at sampling rates above 48kHz. There was a website years ago that had test files you could download to see if your D/A converters were behaving properly at different sample rates. The receiver I had at the time was problematic - it produced sound on files that should have been rendered as silence! Whoops. I think most recent D/A converters have resolved those issues, but...

    I don't know if it's "snake oil" - I find increased bit depths to be useful, especially in the bass which sounds much more natural and rich to me on 24-bit files - but beyond 48kHz (where you avoid the "brick wall" treble filters needed for 44.1kHz sampling) I think you rapidly hit diminishing returns. 192kHz just seems like a waste of space or bandwidth on your local network. It shouldn't make things worse under most circumstances, if everything is functioning properly (not a given, unfortunately), but I don't know if testing has ever conclusively shown it makes anything better, or if the difference between that and 96kHz is even audible.

    One possible difference when buying downloads - it's conceivable when a vendor is selling 96kHz and 192kHz remasters of the same record that the 192kHz version is actually a separate remaster. I think this has cropped up a couple of times with HDTracks. Whether it's a "better" remaster is another story, but it's certainly possible.
     
    fluffskul and TimM like this.
  16. fluffskul

    fluffskul Would rather be at a concert

    Location:
    albany, ny
    The technical side of things isn’t my strong point. But I do find SACDs and files purported to be hi-Rez in general to be less fatiguing than redbook discs/files. YMMV.
     
  17. Stereosound

    Stereosound Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
  18. Rockin' Robby

    Rockin' Robby Gettin' down so low I'm below ground!

    Location:
    Winnipeg
  19. mtrot

    mtrot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tyler, TX
    A new Amazon Music HD update just dropped -- Version 8.6.0.2271. Whoa, this seems to be sounding really good after the update, although I've only listened to a few tracks so far. Has anybody else gotten this update?
     
  20. glennzo

    glennzo Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    I've updated -still no way to sort an artist's albums sadly.
    If they've somehow improved the sound, that's a positive, I'll have a listen tomorrow.
     
  21. mtrot

    mtrot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tyler, TX
    Yeah, it could just be some sort of bias on my part, but I wasn't expecting to hear any audio improvement, since none of the previous updates produce that. But the album I was listening to seemed to sound great after the update. Perhaps it was the result of the cafe mocha I was drinking at that time!:cool:
     
  22. BruceS

    BruceS El Sirviente del Gato

    Location:
    Reading, MA US
    I have that update and I'm listening right now. Sounds good, but you still cannot create playlist folders. Really could use that.
     
  23. TimM

    TimM Senior Member

    Location:
    Dayton Ohio
    I downloaded the update and am pleased with it. It may sound slightly better, but the main thing for me is it seems to have stabilized the app. I was plagued by dropouts and hesitation in tracks starting, but all that suddenly cleared up when I downloaded this update. I had blamed most of those problems on my modest Dell laptop, but something suddenly cleared those issues up and I am very pleased.
     
    aroney likes this.
  24. HiFi Guy 008

    HiFi Guy 008 Forum Resident

    Location:
    New England
    Is there a way to play HD without going using a laptop?
     
  25. mtrot

    mtrot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tyler, TX
    You can get 24/48 with an Android cell phone.
     
    Rockin' Robby likes this.

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