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Amazon HD Music goes live

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

  1. SKBubba

    SKBubba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tennessee
  2. mtrot

    mtrot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tyler, TX
    I listened to a bit of the SiriusXM app(set to the highest streaming quality level) yesterday on my HP laptop, and it barely used any CPU at all.
     
    sunspot42 likes this.
  3. sami

    sami Mono rules

    Location:
    Down The Shore
    Okay, at the risk of sounding like the streaming novice that I am, could you please explain in layman's terms what 'exclusive mode' is? I have an idea, but I'm sure it's a lot more involved than I know.

    Playing my phone hooked directly from the headphone jack into my receiver's Aux RCA's produces no extraneous noise whatsoever, as you suggested. The sound is shockingly good, but what I was getting with Qobuz/UAPP > external DAC > receiver was better.
     
  4. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Wow, they're hiring for Amazon Music in San Francisco, the most expensive job market in the country. This is both a good sign - they must be serious - but also a bad sign, because if this product doesn't deliver it's bound to get dropped, due to the expense.

    They also seem to have a TON of positions open. They're probably having trouble finding qualified candidates. Or else they're just trolling for fish and none of these positions are actually real...or they're currently occupied but they're preparing for turnover...
     
  5. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    You have a link to that? I couldn't find anything...
     
  6. TonyCzar

    TonyCzar Forum Resident

    Location:
    PhIladelphia, PA
    It's not really involved. It is a protocol for "locking" your audio device (a DAC, a sound card) to the output from a specific piece of software (Foorbar2000, JRiver, Tidal, Qobuz). Your operating system AND your client application both have to play along. Your operating system has to allow for exclusive mode (Windows standardized on what they called WASAPI in Windows 7)
    as opposed to "shared mode" (the default out of the box). So even if you make a mistake or choice that would normally elicit a loud "DOINK!" from your system... if it wasn't generated by the application running in Exclusive Mode, it simply will not find its way to your DAC or sound card and become a part of your listening experience. (Also, it means the operating system isn't resampling everything to deliver a certain bitrate to feed your audio device. You can silence all the bells and whistles on a system, but "shared mode" (at least on Windows) means that the music is being resampled.)

    The Amazon app forces "shared mode" on all flavors made for all operating systems. Shared mode is not the root of all digital audio evil, but being able to run in exclusive mode would mean one less problem area to rule out when you find yourself trying to improve the sound you hear.

    You want to be careful with that. The "Line In" on your receiver expects a certain fixed energy level (5V?) coming down through the cable. The headphone output from a portable device is designed to vary in energy level, and you can distort by turning the volume on your phone too loud, or miss things by having it too soft.

    Is your DAC output going to your receiver via the aux RCA inputs or something else (like HDMI)? In general, DAC LINE OUT analog output is designed to be compatible with the energy level expected by LINE IN inputs on receivers. I'm not surprised at all that analog headphone output over a mini-to-RCA cable running from your phone to your receiver's LINE IN input is giving you less than stellar results.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2019
    mtrot likes this.
  7. sami

    sami Mono rules

    Location:
    Down The Shore
    I'm not sure I fully understand, but there is no computer that is part of the chain here, just my phone as the source and a vintage receiver, so Windows isn't an issue. If I'm reading you right, Qobuz offers 'exclusive mode', and therefore could be run through an external DAC and then to the receiver, whereas Amazon does not offer 'exclusive mode', and is not compatible with the DAC? I only have the RCA's on this receiver - this is an early '70's unit.

    It's actually quite stellar - that's why I described it as shockingly good. No distortion whatsoever, and full, balanced sonics.

    Thanks very much for your help, it's just an odd setup here. Like I said, this is my first go-round with streaming.
     
  8. Big Richie Thunder

    Big Richie Thunder New Member

    Location:
    Detroit
    Has anyone else encountered Download Failed, download error 200. I used to have my library uploaded onto Amazon's music storage, now each of these songs I uploaded prior cannot be downloaded in ultra hd. I try removing songs from the Amazon library hit nothing works. Customer service is of little help and says it is looking into the matter. Error occurs with or without the sd storage card so that is not the issie.
     
  9. mtrot

    mtrot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tyler, TX
    [​IMG]
    Okay, here is the shot from my sound settings where I select the sound quality with my HP laptop. What does this "Exclusive mode" do? Will it not work with Amazon Music? If not, then I guess I have to set it to the correct resolution for every track that I play, for optimal sound quality? Thanks for helping out a newb to this stuff!

    [​IMG]
     
  10. TonyCzar

    TonyCzar Forum Resident

    Location:
    PhIladelphia, PA
    Okay.

    You earlier mentioned UAPP, which is an application which provides support for external USB DACs on phones with apps like QOBUZ and TIDAL (but not Amazon's app).

    The ability to have hi-res digital USB audio out to a DAC WITHOUT any additional app (such as UAPP) is phone-dependent, and OS-dependent. It would make things easier all around. Perhaps your phone does support it, but you'd have to read around about the capabilities of your phone, and experiences others have had with your hardware combination. (So then, assuming you had hardware that doesn't really require UAPP, you could run Amazon Music through the DAC also, but you still wouldn't be able to select "Exclusive Mode" for Amazon listening. But it would still beat the heck out of using headphone-jack output for your Amazon music.)
     
    sami likes this.
  11. sami

    sami Mono rules

    Location:
    Down The Shore
    I haven't been able to find it yet, but will explore further. If Amazon ever offers it, or at least is compatible with UAPP, then problem solved. Thanks very much for the info.
     
  12. TonyCzar

    TonyCzar Forum Resident

    Location:
    PhIladelphia, PA
    Amazon's app does not use "Exclusive Mode" at all. Strictly shared.

    No, you do not have to tweak settings for each and every track. But do tweak it to be as high as your system allows, because the Amazon app playback will be limited by either

    1) the sample rate and bit depth of the track as they offer it; or
    2) the sample rate and bit depth you select on your system for "Default Format".

    "Amazon HD" (44.1kHz/16-bit) will not magically play at hi-res if you have set your "Default Format" on the system to be 24-bit/192kHz. But if you have the "Default Format" on your system set at something less than 24/192, Amazon software will detect that, and their 24/192 tracks, when they come along, will be played back at that "Default Format".
     
    mtrot likes this.
  13. sami

    sami Mono rules

    Location:
    Down The Shore
    My phone (Galaxy a20) is capable of, and shows as it's playing 24/48 on Hi-Res material.
     
  14. scottabs

    scottabs Forum Resident

    Introducing Now Playing

    Or search for it on cash back site Rakuten and use their link to get $4 back.
     
  15. SKBubba

    SKBubba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tennessee
    Huh. Amazon seems to be having an effect on the streaming business. Spotify stock dropped when Amazon announced a free tier. Qobuz lowered their price when they announced "HD". Now Tidal is practically giving away five months.

    If Amazon fixes their bit-perfect playback problem the others are in trouble. If Spotify launches a hifi tier for $15 they win.
     
    ClassicalCD, sunspot42 and sami like this.
  16. sami

    sami Mono rules

    Location:
    Down The Shore
    Amazon needs to have an exclusive mode as well, or partner with a UAPP. That would make them unbeatable IMO.

    Hey, you a UT guy? Class of '83 myself.
     
  17. SKBubba

    SKBubba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tennessee
    Attended in the '70s. Didn't finish.
     
    sami likes this.
  18. TonyCzar

    TonyCzar Forum Resident

    Location:
    PhIladelphia, PA
    I get the same result on a Galaxy S4. From what I can find about the A20, USB audio out is enabled by default and can be disabled under the an option buried deep in the "Developer Options" menu. Does your DAC get no audio when you simply hook it up and run the Amazon app? You'll still be "stuck" at feeding 24/48 to your DAC, but it's got to be a better deal than using the analog headphone output.
     
    sami likes this.
  19. sami

    sami Mono rules

    Location:
    Down The Shore
    No, it's just badly distorted, as is everything from this phone through the DAC except when applying UAPP. Funny, but my older, cheaper Android phone was fine with the DAC.

    Do you know how to disable it?
     
  20. TonyCzar

    TonyCzar Forum Resident

    Location:
    PhIladelphia, PA
    Whoops. Those instructions I found were for an S10, not an A20. I'm not sure you WANT to disable "USB audio routing" - it might mess with the operation of your DAC under UAPP - but if the menu on the A20 is similar, it can be easily enough undone:

     
    sami likes this.
  21. sami

    sami Mono rules

    Location:
    Down The Shore
    Thanks so much, I'll check it out when I get home.
     
  22. sami

    sami Mono rules

    Location:
    Down The Shore
    Checked it out - no 'Developer Options' on my phone. No surprise, as it's down the food chain as Galaxy phones go.
     
  23. mtrot

    mtrot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tyler, TX
    Thanks, that all makes sense. But, after being advised to set the device capability for each track to that of the actual track being played, I have been doing just that, i.e., switching it on each track. For example, if my setting on the laptop is 24/192 and a 24/44.1 track begins, when I switch to 24/44.1, it does seem to sound better at that point. Maybe it's just my mind playing tricks on me. I was told that leaving it set to 24/192 would "tell" Windows to upsample the output to 24/192 and that the laptop would not do a good job of that at all and that the resultant sound would be compromised.
     
  24. TonyCzar

    TonyCzar Forum Resident

    Location:
    PhIladelphia, PA
    You were correctly informed. The shared mode soumd (includimg Amazon's 44.1/16 or 48/24 output) will be upsampled to 24/192. There's no reason that HAS to be bad news, but it depends on the installed hardware and Microsft's software meat-grimder. The latter is the weak link because you can always get a different hardware system with a different audio chipset.

    Some believe that, above 24/48, hi-res is all snake oil, anyway. I'm not one of those people, but if I had to pick one config and shared mode and Amazon "HD", I'd probably go with 24/48 if higher settings were having an adverse effect on SQ.

    Changing my system settimgs for each new song seems to combine all the bad things about the vinyl lifestyle with all the bad things about digital. The worst of both worlds.
     
    mtrot likes this.
  25. mtrot

    mtrot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tyler, TX
    Yeah, quite a hassle. BTW, some of this stuff I'm streaming on Amazon just sounds excellent. I find myself playing music on Amazon that I have on vinyl and it just sounds better to me. Granted, I don't have a high end analog rig. But the convenience of just typing in an album or song and playing immediately it is great.

    I think I'll try your idea of leaving it set at 24/48 for a while and see how everything sounds. Some feel that 24/96 is the minimum that they consider high res.
     
    Tim S likes this.

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