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Which free streaming service has the best quality?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Which free streaming service has the best quality?

 

I was using Spotify free (160kbps?), but lately I've been using RDIO free (192kbps?) because the tracks are louder and seem to be better quality.

 

What is your opinion, and are there better options?


Edited by Grayson73 - 3/18/14 at 9:47am
post #2 of 21

Unless you literally cannot afford it, please pay for one of them. Both are good, but come on. It's dirt cheap and you'll actually be helping keep the service alive. Rdio had a bunch of layoffs last year, and it certainly wasn't because they didn't have enough non-paying customers. 

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

Is it true that spotify free is 160kbps and rdio free is 192kbps?  Are there any free services greater than 192kbps?

post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeGuyDude View Post
 

Unless you literally cannot afford it, please pay for one of them. Both are good, but come on. It's dirt cheap and you'll actually be helping keep the service alive. Rdio had a bunch of layoffs last year, and it certainly wasn't because they didn't have enough non-paying customers. 

I would love to see some evidence of this theory... 

post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by brhfl View Post
 

I would love to see some evidence of this theory... 

 

Uh. What "theory"? That Rdio laid a bunch of people off? That's not really a theory.

 

Unless you actually believe that the revenue brought in from free customers is somehow enough to keep Rdio afloat, LOL. 

post #6 of 21

I would like to see evidence that advertising pulls in less than subscriptions on these services. LOL!

post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by brhfl View Post
 

I would like to see evidence that advertising pulls in less than subscriptions on these services. LOL!

 

Uh.

 

Okay, sure. They earn just as much from the free service as they do from subscription. That's why the difference between ad-based and subscription based is a lot more than just the ads being removed. Because they're just mean and for no logical reason want to keep free subscribers from enjoying all the features even though they don't pull in any less money. Sure. Totally logical.

 

"Yeah, you earn us just as much money, but despite that we won't let you listen at the highest quality, sync to mobile, or listen to on-demand on mobile. Because SCREW YOU, FREELOADER!! Ha ha ha!!"

 

:rolleyes:


Edited by SomeGuyDude - 3/18/14 at 9:43am
post #8 of 21

K, so all you have is conjecture. Got it. I mean I already knew this, because these companies aren't putting revenue breakdowns out there, but seeing as you posed it as fact...

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

So far, it seems like RDIO free is the best available at 192kbps.

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by brhfl View Post
 

K, so all you have is conjecture. Got it. I mean I already knew this, because these companies aren't putting revenue breakdowns out there, but seeing as you posed it as fact...

 

Actually they've released how much artists are paid per stream, but you're just boneheaded if you think any company, and I do mean ANY company, earns as much from their free option as they do the paid option.

 

That's why there's a paid option. They want you to use it. Pandora didn't add Pandora One just because they were feeling generous. LastPass doesn't charge a small fee for mobile access because it costs extra to offer mobile service. Companies earn more from paying customers so they add incentives. 

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grayson73 View Post
 

So far, it seems like RDIO free is the best available at 192kbps.

Rdio is using MP3, whereas Spotify streams in Vorbis... Sonically, I think the two are comparable despite the difference in bit rate.

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by brhfl View Post
 

Rdio is using MP3, whereas Spotify streams in Vorbis... Sonically, I think the two are comparable despite the difference in bit rate.

 

Have you a/b'd? They're actually dang hard to differentiate even at the same bitrate. I dunno what Rdio does with their encoding but it comes out surprisingly clear. 

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 

Found another one.  Xbox Music is also supposedly 192kbps.

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeGuyDude View Post
 

 

Have you a/b'd? They're actually dang hard to differentiate even at the same bitrate. I dunno what Rdio does with their encoding but it comes out surprisingly clear. 

Have indeed, though not with enough scientific rigor. My point was just that the numbers are hard to go by when different codecs are at play. When you go to listen to lower bitrates where it's noticeable that you're listening to lower bitrates, Vorbis shows its edge. At these higher bitrates, the differences are bound to matter less and less. But if someone is going to start nitpicking between 192kbps and 160kbps, they'd better nitpick on the different codecs as well. 

 

I have no idea what Rdio uses to encode either, but that raises a good point about MP3 - there have been a lot of encoders over the years, and even 192kbps MP3 isn't necessarily a great metric if one was encoded shoddily.

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by brhfl View Post
 

Have indeed, though not with enough scientific rigor. My point was just that the numbers are hard to go by when different codecs are at play. When you go to listen to lower bitrates where it's noticeable that you're listening to lower bitrates, Vorbis shows its edge. At these higher bitrates, the differences are bound to matter less and less. But if someone is going to start nitpicking between 192kbps and 160kbps, they'd better nitpick on the different codecs as well. 

 

I have no idea what Rdio uses to encode either, but that raises a good point about MP3 - there have been a lot of encoders over the years, and even 192kbps MP3 isn't necessarily a great metric if one was encoded shoddily.

 

Oh yeah, no doubt. To my ears, Rdio uses better encoding than Google, but the 160 Spotify vs 192 Rdio is pretty much on an even keel. Oddly enough, even at 96 they're not that far apart, as opposed to Google which sounds REALLY rough at low quality, despite being the "same codec" as Rdio. 

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