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Amazon launches Music HD with lossless streaming

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by gemNeye, Apr 26, 2019.
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  1. Soundizer
    I will try this.
  2. a-LeXx

    The information, when clicking at that yellow badge, is plain wrong. It‘s not showing the actual sampling rate. I use DFR as a DAC, and with new amazon music app, it‘s showing the data stream to alway be 24/96 (purple LED color on DFR), no matter what the yellow badge is showing. Amazon‘s app upsamples/downsamples EVERYTHING to the highest possible resolution/sampling rate supported by the DAC. That‘s how simple it is...
  3. exdmd
    Yes up and down sampling is going on. My Yggy supports 192. One note: it is not the highest sampling rate supported by the external DAC but the sampling rate and bit depth you chose in sound settings for your laptop.
  4. Left Channel
    There are over 150 million Netflix subscribers. Netflix is in over 190 countries; I believe that's everywhere in the world except Syria and mainland China.

    Tidal claims about 3 million subscribers, and the service is available in 54 countries. Tidal is not profitable, nor is any other music streaming service anywhere.
  5. Andrew_WOT
    That's how Mixer in shared mode works. It needs to normalize everything going through it to common bitrate set in Control Panel. Amazon apps sends data in bitrate it display as "Currently playing at".
    If you disable all effects and set it to match track sample rate, the only thing preventing it from being completely bit perfect is dithering due to Mixer converting everything to 32-bit float and then back to integer device bit rate. If everything else is set right, the audible difference with exclusive mode will be pretty much nonexistent.
    That's in theory as well as my experience comparing it against Qobuz and local flac files through JRiver in ASIO mode on relatively resolving stack (Auralic Vega DAC/Auralic Taurus/HD800 in balanced drive).

    If any interest you can read more:

    Very enlightening post from ASIO drivers developer
    Also some good condensed info from the same guy on GitHub

    Again, this is Windows, most likely shared mode doesn't work exactly the same way on Android and MacOS.

    And another proof that it is mixer resampler is because upsampled tracks sound horrible, as this is the only resampler on the market doing this horrible thing.

    Audio quality wasn't a requirement for that thing, but speed and minimum performance impact.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
    exdmd likes this.
  6. a-LeXx
    Ok, I want to share my experience with Music HD on iOS, guess all the iOS users would make the same findings.

    I've been using my iPod Touch 6gen for streaming for years, with a DFR attached to it permanently. This also worked fine with Amazon Music, until they updated the app and I upgraded to Music HD.

    HD and SD content still work, when downloaded (I always download first when I play a record, and my listening habits are to listen to a full record).
    However, the play time with a fully loaded iPod's battery is around 3hrs for HD content, then the battery dies. In comparison, I'm getting between 5-6 hrs with MQA on Tidal and around 6-7hrs with Spotify.

    With Ultra HD content, it's a different story. 24/48 plays fine, but on about a half of 24/96 and all 24/192 tracks I'm getting hickups. The playback buffer goes flat and playback stops until the buffer is populated again. And this is with a playback from the internal flash storage, no streaming. The device is getting VERY HOT to touch. Obviously, the amazon's app is using up whole processor power available, which is still not enough for hickup-free playback. And the battery goes flat in 1-1.5hrs, depending on content.

    This is ridiculous, even though it's HiRes, it's still just audio, and iPod Touch 6gen is perfectly capable of playing HiRes Video, not just audio. Amazon's developers really messed up the iOS app.

    Now Part 2. Just by a coincident I ran into a nice deal last week and bought a NOS iPhone 7 with 256GB for 270 Euro. It's even by far cheaper than a new iPod Touch 7gen with 256GB, which is sold for 449 Euro here, and still a much better device than an iPod. I intend to use it solely for music with DFR, just replacing the iPod Touch...

    Anyway, as expected, the iPhone gives me playback times which are about 2x of those of iPod, as the battery is about x2 in size. And this time, the processor power is enough for hickup-free Ultra HD playback.
    BUT: also this device is getting very hot with Ultra HD. And, more severe, Ultra HD playback is not possible without a trick that further reduces already low playback time.
    The issue with Ultra HD playback: as soon as the display switches off or the app goes into background because you want to do something else while it's playing, iOS would terminate the Amazon music app within seconds. This only happens with Ultra HD content, not with HD. Probably either memory or power consumption is too high for a background app, so iOS decides to kill it.
    Workaround: keep the app always in a foreground, and leave the display always on, so that the app always stays in a foreground and won't be terminated by iOS.

    All described issues, with both iPad and iPhone go down to the same actual root cause: this app is a power hog, and is consuming WAY more resources than is appropriate for Audio playback. I already provided this feedback on amazonforum, hopefully Amazon would do something to fix this...
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 5:51 AM
    grokit and Soundizer like this.
  7. RickB
    My music app on my Mac, Swinsian, has an option in preferences for "Automatically adjust audio device sample rate and bit depth" which works on a per track basis. That's what Amazon needs to add to their apps. If a tiny indie software developer for the Mac can do it, then surely there is no problem with Amazon doing it?
    Soundizer likes this.
  8. Soundizer
    After sticking the Chord Mojo into my iMac I can confirm that Amazon Music HD is buggered in that everything is incorrectly upsampled to whatever is set in Audio Midi Settings. So if a track is actually in 16bit/44.1KHz file format and the Audio Midi Mac software is manually set to 24bit/96KHz, then Amazon will send audio to Chord Mojo DAC incorrectly at 24bit/96KHz.

    This is bad news and not liking it.

    I don’t have any faith that this will be resolved, as Amazon might believe that software upscaling is fine. Based on the huge complaints on Amazon Prime TV software, I don’t think Amazon cares about making improvements and has a history of not listening to Customers in these areas. So we might be stuck with it.

    There is a massive compromise which is to set the Audio Midi setting to 24bit/96KHz and then only use Amazon Prime for 24bit/96KHz music songs. But this is a ridiculous compromise.

  9. grokit
    On Amazon's Mac desktop app at least, this is possible. Go to advanced preferences, and select 'loudness normalization' in the 'audio quality section'. Now all songs will play at the same volume level.
  10. RickB
    I'm referring to sample rate and bit depth, not the loudness or volume of the tracks.
  11. grokit
    Whoops. In the same section, you can select 'best available' for audio quality, which sounds pretty automatic. You can also select/lock in 'hd/ultra hd', but not one or the other, unfortunately.

    edit: I don't know if Audio MIDI Setup overrides this or not ...
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 2:50 PM
  12. RickB
    The problem is, for Mac (and for Windows there is no Exclusive Mode), there is no automatic adjustment of the output to the DAC you're using to match the sample/bit rate of the track you're playing. Music apps like Swinsian or Audirvana on the Mac have long been able to do this. If a track is 16/44.1 and the Audio Midi setup is set to 24/96, the track gets upsampled to 24/96 with Amazon, unfortunately.

    Fortunately, I listen exclusively to albums, so I can make the adjustment in Audio Midi for each album. It would be nice not to have to do this, however.
    grokit likes this.
  13. Taz777
    Just launched the Amazon Music app on my Mac after several days and found there's no update to it. This is very disappointing. It's at times like this I appreciate how good Tidal is - especially on my LG V30 and on my desktop playing through Amarra Luxe. It does cost more every month but I have zero technical issues with it and it delivers bit-perfect sound as far as I am concerned (I only have a couple of MQA tracks in my playlists so nearly all the tracks are CD quality).
  14. clerkpalmer
    Is it me or is the Amazon stream fatiguing? I just had to take my isine off as my ears felt like they were going to bleed. I may have to go back to Tidal and see if it's me, my headphones or the streaming.
  15. exdmd
    Don't forget Qobuz had some problems with their Windows app during the beta test. It would sometimes stutter, distort or hang up and stop playing. Difference between Qobuz and Amazon is Qobuz was serious about customer service and worked hard to correct the problems, and the US product manager had and still has an active presence on another forum. However they rolled out Wasapi exclusive mode with the US beta. I don't have a problem giving Amazon time to improve the app, the question is do we even know if they intend to? I have not read one word from Amazon responding to any of the criticisms being brought up on audio forums.
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