Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Buying Music (Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, etc.)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Buying Music (Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, etc.)

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 


I'm sorry if this has been asked several times already (It seems like the kind of question that would..), but I've spent a lot of time in the headphones/IEM section of this site.  I have finally found headphones I like, but I've made the rookie mistake of still listening to songs that are 190kps.  I usually don't buy CDs, since I hate buying an entire album for one or two songs, so what are some good ways to get ahold of good quality music.


I've heard that iTunes and Amazon offer music at 256 kbps, and that 256 and 320 take a trained ear to notice a difference.  Is this true?


How are songs from Amazon and iTunes?  Should I stick to them or invest in programs like Spotify and pay for the premium membership (which I think lets me listen to 320kbps songs)?

Are there programs that are even better than what I've mentioned?


I'm listening to music unamped from my iPod/iPhone through IEMs (mostly), if it matters. 


Thanks so much for reading biggrin.gif

post #2 of 16







Some artists are offering downloads from their sites in high rez or the labels

Like Rodrigo y Gabriela http://www.rodgab.com/store.html and look for FLAC or other lossless



Mostly buy the CD and rip your own high quality file.

post #3 of 16
iTunes Plus and Spotify Premium should be fully transparent. High-res audio (24/96 and whatnot) is a big fat waste of bandwidth and storage, although it is lossless, which means you can downsample it and transcode it to whatever you like.

I don't know about Amazon, so I can't comment on that.

Edit: it seems that not all tracks in Spotify Premium are 320 kbps. iTunes Plus is a safe bet however.
Edited by skamp - 3/20/12 at 3:11am
post #4 of 16

Quoting the original poster (sorry, I hate Head-Fi's editor):


"that 256 and 320 take a trained ear to notice a difference. Is this true?"

Can't speak for everyone here, but for me it certainly holds.


"How are songs from Amazon and iTunes?"

Both good.


"invest in programs like Spotify"

I like Grooveshark better, it all depends on what genres you like. I find Grooveshark better for more obscure indie and avantgarde stuff (two of my main interests).


If you tell us what genres you listen to, we can be more specific with our recommendations.


Besides the stores already mentioned here, I like 7digital, Bandcamp, Bleep, Boomkat, Deutsche Grammophon.


Two good comparison charts here:



post #5 of 16

If you are listening to artists that are only releasing albums with one or two good songs then you are listening to the wrong artists or you are listening in the wrong way. You will get much more enjoyment out of listening to full albums in mp3 form than you would listening to single tracks in hi res.



post #6 of 16
Please don't tell people what music to enjoy and how to enjoy it…
post #7 of 16
I command you to listen to good music and enjoy it!
post #8 of 16

I would whole heartedly recommend spending your money on streaming rather than downloads. Downloads take up memory and they have no second hand value. Streamed music is already very good from the likes of Spotify and its premium service and it will only get better in terms of SQ (not that with 320kbps you ahve very far to go) and availablity. I ahev an app for my phone so I can listen to Spotify on the move as well.


I prefer Spotify to Grooveshark and We7, the other two I have tried, because of the interface. I would recommend trying all three and seeing which you prefer.

post #9 of 16
Originally Posted by skamp View Post

Please don't tell people what music to enjoy and how to enjoy it…


Agree completely. That's why I didn't do that.


post #10 of 16

Google play is constant 320 d/l. I also like to buy from half.com which is an ebay site. You can often get the whole album for about $4-5 shipped.

post #11 of 16

Amazon is my favorite by far.  Instant downloading for unprotected MP3s means I can actually own the files and transfer them to anything I want to.  

post #12 of 16

Yea, but doesn't amazon use VBR? Gplay uses constant 320...

post #13 of 16
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

Yea, but doesn't amazon use VBR? Gplay uses constant 320...

Amazon's encoding varies... most of it is LAME -V0

some tracks however are 256kbps CBR and some are encoded with ABR settings

and you can't really argue 320 vs -V0 just on bitrates since VBR is handled differently in the encoder from CBR in a way where the highest VBR setting produces a file that is smaller without any real loss of quality over 320kbps CBR (in fact if you start using the microscopic measuring stick on the 2 you'll probably start thinking the VBR file is superior)
post #14 of 16
^ You'd be hard pressed to hear any differences between a 320kbps cbr file and a -V0 file anyway.

Simply go with the music store that sells what it is you are looking for. There are times amazon and itunes don't sell the same product. When they do, amazon MP3 often costs less than itunes, and you're not likely to notice a quality difference.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thank you, everyone, for your replies.  Extremely helpful biggrin.gif


Something interesting I found about iTunes recently is that they've raised the prices of their songs.  The songs that used to be .99 rose to 1.29 and now it's at 2.19. 




New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Music
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Buying Music (Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, etc.)