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But it still upsamples everything to an external DAC. This is my main concern.
Yes it does. But it doesn't degrade SQ, so I'm ok with that. As I've said previously, this is not a bug, they want it this way, I don't believe they will change it...
Ok. I am not very technical. Do you mind explaining in simple terms how it doesn’t impact sound quality?
Also on a very positive note - since this 9.3.0 update I think the quality has improved on my iPad Pro. Now I struggle to decide which is better between Amazon Music HD vs Tidal HIFI/Masters. Prior to the update Tidal HIFI/Masters always sounded better via my iPadPro to Audioquest Cobalt/Chord Mojo. [iPadPro delivers 24bit/192KHz via USB-C to Mojo which is awesome]. Good news.
Upsampling as such is not bad. It‘s only considered evil by bit-perfect purists who consider Non-oversampling-DACs best thing ever. Most of the dacs today are oversampling anyway, so that bit-perfect is mostly a myth anyway. If it‘s not upsampled by your source, your DAC will most probably do it anyway.
So, if upsampling is implemented correctly (it is on the iOS app), there is no real negative impact. But it still unnecessary consumes computing power on iOS device and represents an avoidable additional load to the battery. So, I would still prefer if there was no upsampling in the app, but even though it‘s there, the impact is on an economical, not on a SQ side...
I was told on these forums that upsampling does, in fact, affect SQ. I learned from sources here more in the know than I to try UAPP app, run Tidal or Qobuz through it and listen for the difference. I selected Bit Perfect mode when available and I am hearing a noticeable difference in improved SQ. I thought my music sounded good before UAPP but now it sounds great. YMMV
I would rather the DAC in Chord Mojo do the upsampling. Certainly DACS make a massive difference.
Android is not great with upsampling, neither us windows. And the biggest problem on Android is not upsampling, but volume control reducing bit depth and dynamic range - that‘s what you hear when comparing to UAPP, not the upsampling...
When you are not using UAPP, Android is using software volume control, which means, to reduce the volume, it recalculates the numbers, making them smaller. By this, it is reducing the bit depth and the available dynamic range, making soft details fainting. UAPP doesn‘t do that. Instead, it is using a gain control of the DAC to change the volume, so that bit depth of your music stays the same, giving you the same resolution, no matter what the volume is. This is a biggest advantage of UAPP.
iOS with amazon‘s app is a different story.
As I said, upsampling is not bad, it depends on an implementation.
One more positive development with Amazon Music: all my albums with mixed SD/HD tracks have now been updated, all tracks are now HD.
Also few SD albums in my library have been updated to HD. I don‘t have even a single SD album any longer in a library of 250 albums, all of them are at least HD quality.
Thank you for the update - nice one.
There is a refresh my music option in ios app, not sure if this updates downloaded albums?
Nope, that only refreshes your album list from the cloud, in case you are using multiple devices.
To update the album content (tracks) you need to go album by album, and if there are any updates, it will allow you to re-download. Pretty cumbersome, but this needs to be done once only, so I'm ok with that...
Is anybody able to confirm whether or not 9.3.0 outputs the native sample rate (fixes the upsampling bug)?
It does not and perhaps Amazon does not intend to do anything about it. Only Amazon knows.
Thanks for checking. Part of me still is hoping that they just "haven't gotten around to it"... Maybe they truly don't intend to do anything about it because they are persuaded their upsampling implementation improves sound quality for their core listeners. Hopefully they add an option or a third party app gives us the bit-streams we're hoping for.
I certainly think there has been an improvement to audio quality from my iPadPro. Perhaps the 9.3.0 update which addressed the battery exhaustion also resulted in smoother output. I again today tried A/B with TIDAL HIFI in 12second clips and found unable to decide which is better. Where as prior to 9.3.0 sounded much better.
Tidal (previously WiMP in Europe) launched in the US in late 2014 with users complaining of drop outs, erratic playback, all sorts of SQ problems. It was not reliable then while Qobuz was. Except those in the US could only subscribe to Qobuz at that time using a VPN. Jay-Z bought Tidal in early 2015 and exclusive mode was still not available until after MQA support came along in 2016. So there is still hope for improvement in Amazon Music HD.