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My thoughts on the new Amazon Prime Music service

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I checked out Amazon Prime Music Service (PC client) today and was surprised to find out all the tracks I played seemed to have been compressed and the dynamics are almost non-existant. All the distant details and subtleties are brought to the front and the music sound like someone pressed the loudness war button. In addition to the poor sound searching is an awkward 3 step process to find, add, then finally play a tune. You always have to switch between cloud, local and the Amazon Store then select "prime" to make sure your searching the correct place which creates an overly confusing process. Lastly I could only find about 1/4th of the songs I regularly listen to and most of those had to be purchased! Conclusion, If you use a web service for music, stick with what your already using for now!


Edited by ebann - 6/12/14 at 11:51pm
post #2 of 4
I agree. I don't like the sound quality at all. I am spoiled by Qobuz and for 320 loved the now-defunct Mog (its Beats predecessor, IMHO has monkeyed down the 320 quality). Getting tired of sound quality going in the wrong direction.
post #3 of 4

I also have to agree. I had used MOG (and put up with their biggest downside, no gapless playback) because it had the best sound quality among the various rent-a-library streaming services. When it got replaced by Beats, I gave it a try, but was unimpressed with the concept, the app, and, well, it's Beats - need I say more?

 

Since then I've been using the (rather awkwardly named) "Google Play All Access Music". The quality is usually excellent, the library is on a par with other similar services, and I can upload my own music too. And gapless playback is almost perfect, with only the slightest hiccup between tracks.

 

While some people don't care much about gapless, for anyone who listens to live recordings, Progressive (or "Art") Rock or Classical it is a must, as tracks often flow together, and having a several-second pause between tracks simply ruins the listening experience.

 

As for Amazon Prime Music, I figured I'd give it a try since I'm paying for it anyway. I was thoroughly unimpressed. As ebann already pointed out, there s no simple discover-and-play capability, at least not via the web browser (anyone tried the Android or ios apps yet?). You first must find the music, then add to your library, then go find it in your library, then play. It's tiring just to think about. Oh, and the aforementioned gapless playback? Non-existent. In fact, it seems an extra-long pause is added. My guess is it doesn't even start buffering the next song until the one playing finishes.

 

And the selection is poorly lacking. I know they're just starting, and hopefullly they'll get more artists/labels on board, but there are even big holes in the discographies of artists they have. Not only missing complete albums, but, perhaps even more annoying, albums where some, but not all, of the songs are "Prime". So to enjoy some albums in their entirety with Prime, you still have to buy one or more tracks. Ridiculous.

 

Oh, and the sound quality. While it's marginally better than 128K MP3, it's definitely not as good as Google's (or other streaming services, for that matter). While Google and most others rip everything at (at least) 320-360K, Amazon's music is at BEST 256k(average)VBR or even 256KCBR (according to info on their website). The difference is definitely audible to anyone using decent 'phones or speakers. Perhaps they assume their target audience uses cheap earbuds or bluetooth 'phones/speakers for all their listening?

 

Anyhow, that's my take on Amazon Prime Music. I know I was a bit harsh -- I suppose as part of the bundled "Prime" services I shouldn't complain, but it is what it is and I prefer not to mince words.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

I was using Spotify for a while but I was a bit tired of the radio playing songs I thumbed down 5 minutes later so I have been using Rdio ever since they announced 320k for free streaming. The quality is pretty good however the interface for playlists is lacking and the radio stations do not add much variety (ie: a band I like has 9 albums however Rdio insist on playing 1-2 songs off of about 3 albums) At least the thumbs down works. I have to admit Pandora is still my favorite radio player at the moment. I love the genome adding bands here and there based on the thumb activity. My old favorite was Spinner.com. Wow did I discover some really awesome music from that site. Lots of cool music from all around the globe. AOL bought them up in '99 and killed it off.

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