Streaming service vs downloading?
Apr 26, 2015 at 9:06 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

vontokkerths

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I'm using Google music all access and sometimes Spotify but I'm wondering how you audiophiles feel about these compared to flac/mp3 download, I usually download some albums on Google and listen to them on my way to college or in the campus, do you notice any huge difference between these two(three counting Spotify). Excuse the 'dumb' question, I just want to hear some opinions and see some points of view.
 
Apr 27, 2015 at 2:20 PM Post #3 of 14

bigshot

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Streaming used to sound crappy. But Amazon Prime's sound is great. That is the one I use.
 
Apr 27, 2015 at 4:51 PM Post #4 of 14

sonitus mirus

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I have an app that captures a bit-perfect copy of the Google Play stream.  The Google file properties claim to use version 3.98 Lame encoder at CBR 320 kbps.  In all of the ABX testing that I have done, I was unable to hear a difference between the Google files and my own ripped versions from a CD to FLAC or using Lame 3.99r at VBR -0. (I've used Exact Audio Copy or dBpoweramp for the CD rips)
 
For the most part, provided your internet is not struggling, it is trivial to stream these mp3 files without any issues.
 
I am able to identify a difference between a Tidal FLAC and a Tidal AAC 320 track in their online test 100% of the time when I have done this test at home with my Denon D5000 headphones.  It seems that Tidal is intentionally modifying the AAC files so that the bass and treble are slightly weaker.  More information can be found in this thread:  http://www.head-fi.org/t/743658/tidal-lossless-listening-test-whats-going-on-here
 
I could not hear a difference between the Tidal FLAC, my own rip of the same CD to FLAC, or the Google Play streaming mp3 file.
 
So, I've drawn my own conclusions about Google music streaming.  It is my main player.  I have 2 different Chromebooks that I use as jukeboxes connected to my audio systems.  I've added my own ripped mp3 files to Google to fill in the gaps with artists and songs that are not currently available to stream on the subscription service.
 
There are 35+ million songs available, and there are bound to be a few poorly encoded versions out and about, and sometimes the internet acts up, but I have no serious, longstanding problems to report in my 2+ years of experience with the streaming service. (I pay $7.99/month in the US since I signed up before June 30, 2013)
 
I've subscribed to Rhapsody, Spotify, and MOG for multiple years in the past.  The interface is outstanding with Google, and the sound quality is transparent, when compared to a CD, to my ears. 
 
I would only download songs if I was planning on being in the boonies or out of the country for several days.  Everywhere I normally frequent where I would listen to music has good internet service that I can use.   Streaming is a viable solution for me.  I honestly don't believe that I am sacrificing any sound quality.
 
Apr 28, 2015 at 8:30 AM Post #5 of 14

Ike1985

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  I have an app that captures a bit-perfect copy of the Google Play stream.  The Google file properties claim to use version 3.98 Lame encoder at CBR 320 kbps.  In all of the ABX testing that I have done, I was unable to hear a difference between the Google files and my own ripped versions from a CD to FLAC or using Lame 3.99r at VBR -0. (I've used Exact Audio Copy or dBpoweramp for the CD rips)
 
For the most part, provided your internet is not struggling, it is trivial to stream these mp3 files without any issues.
 
I am able to identify a difference between a Tidal FLAC and a Tidal AAC 320 track in their online test 100% of the time when I have done this test at home with my Denon D5000 headphones.  It seems that Tidal is intentionally modifying the AAC files so that the bass and treble are slightly weaker.  More information can be found in this thread:  http://www.head-fi.org/t/743658/tidal-lossless-listening-test-whats-going-on-here
 
I could not hear a difference between the Tidal FLAC, my own rip of the same CD to FLAC, or the Google Play streaming mp3 file.
 
So, I've drawn my own conclusions about Google music streaming.  It is my main player.  I have 2 different Chromebooks that I use as jukeboxes connected to my audio systems.  I've added my own ripped mp3 files to Google to fill in the gaps with artists and songs that are not currently available to stream on the subscription service.
 
There are 35+ million songs available, and there are bound to be a few poorly encoded versions out and about, and sometimes the internet acts up, but I have no serious, longstanding problems to report in my 2+ years of experience with the streaming service. (I pay $7.99/month in the US since I signed up before June 30, 2013)
 
I've subscribed to Rhapsody, Spotify, and MOG for multiple years in the past.  The interface is outstanding with Google, and the sound quality is transparent, when compared to a CD, to my ears. 
 
I would only download songs if I was planning on being in the boonies or out of the country for several days.  Everywhere I normally frequent where I would listen to music has good internet service that I can use.   Streaming is a viable solution for me.  I honestly don't believe that I am sacrificing any sound quality.


Maybe it's muh gut, but I just don't think a song going through the air while being played is the same as a song being played wire from a computer.  Kinda the same way I feel about Bluetooth.
 
Apr 28, 2015 at 10:18 AM Post #6 of 14

sonitus mirus

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I don't know much about the Bluetooth audio codec, but for most of the popular audio codecs, there really should be no degradation in quality from playing the file over standard internet protocols, either wired or wireless.  Tidal streams FLAC files over the internet without issue.  There are other similar services available in certain regions, like Deezer or Qubuz.  I can set up my own NAS and stream music to my Squeezebox Touch or a SONOS device.  These devices are designed to play music from a streaming source, and they advertise audiophile capabilities.
 
I think it is your gut.
 
Apr 28, 2015 at 11:40 AM Post #7 of 14

vontokkerths

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I have an app that captures a bit-perfect copy of the Google Play stream.  The Google file properties claim to use version 3.98 Lame encoder at CBR 320 kbps.  In all of the ABX testing that I have done, I was unable to hear a difference between the Google files and my own ripped versions from a CD to FLAC or using Lame 3.99r at VBR -0. (I've used Exact Audio Copy or dBpoweramp for the CD rips)

For the most part, provided your internet is not struggling, it is trivial to stream these mp3 files without any issues.

I am able to identify a difference between a Tidal FLAC and a Tidal AAC 320 track in their online test 100% of the time when I have done this test at home with my Denon D5000 headphones.  It seems that Tidal is intentionally modifying the AAC files so that the bass and treble are slightly weaker.  More information can be found in this thread:  http://www.head-fi.org/t/743658/tidal-lossless-listening-test-whats-going-on-here

I could not hear a difference between the Tidal FLAC, my own rip of the same CD to FLAC, or the Google Play streaming mp3 file.

So, I've drawn my own conclusions about Google music streaming.  It is my main player.  I have 2 different Chromebooks that I use as jukeboxes connected to my audio systems.  I've added my own ripped mp3 files to Google to fill in the gaps with artists and songs that are not currently available to stream on the subscription service.

There are 35+ million songs available, and there are bound to be a few poorly encoded versions out and about, and sometimes the internet acts up, but I have no serious, longstanding problems to report in my 2+ years of experience with the streaming service. (I pay $7.99/month in the US since I signed up before June 30, 2013)

I've subscribed to Rhapsody, Spotify, and MOG for multiple years in the past.  The interface is outstanding with Google, and the sound quality is transparent, when compared to a CD, to my ears. 

I would only download songs if I was planning on being in the boonies or out of the country for several days.  Everywhere I normally frequent where I would listen to music has good internet service that I can use.   Streaming is a viable solution for me.  I honestly don't believe that I am sacrificing any sound quality.
Thanks for all the info and all the details, I too feel the same way about flac vs streaming service. :)
 
Apr 28, 2015 at 12:46 PM Post #8 of 14

Roly1650

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I don't know much about the Bluetooth audio codec, but for most of the popular audio codecs, there really should be no degradation in quality from playing the file over standard internet protocols, either wired or wireless.  Tidal streams FLAC files over the internet without issue.  There are other similar services available in certain regions, like Deezer or Qubuz.  I can set up my own NAS and stream music to my Squeezebox Touch or a SONOS device.  These devices are designed to play music from a streaming source, and they advertise audiophile capabilities.

I think it is your gut.

I agree, streaming music, (even hi Rez if you want, like the SB Touch), is trivial compared to streaming HD video with sound and we passed that milestone some years ago.
 
May 6, 2015 at 6:31 AM Post #11 of 14

DiscoProJoe

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You should download your music and keep backups at alternate locations in case there's ever a cyber war, civil war, world war, major coup, widespread civil unrest, and other man-made disasters that could severely limit the Internet for many years.
 
Just sayin'. 
cool.gif
 
 
May 6, 2015 at 9:54 AM Post #12 of 14

RRod

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  You should download your music and keep backups at alternate locations in case there's ever a cyber war, civil war, world war, major coup, widespread civil unrest, and other man-made disasters that could severely limit the Internet for many years.
 
Just sayin'. 
cool.gif
 

 
Just as long as said war doesn't destroy your power as well
frown.gif

 
May 6, 2015 at 10:01 AM Post #13 of 14

superjawes

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Streaming for access. Download for quality. Although this is mainly for listening from my phone. At home, I don't hear much difference between the two. As long as you're getting the content and quality you want, do what makes you happy.
 
May 6, 2015 at 10:09 AM Post #14 of 14

castleofargh

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  You should download your music and keep backups at alternate locations in case there's ever a cyber war, civil war, world war, major coup, widespread civil unrest, and other man-made disasters that could severely limit the Internet for many years.
 
Just sayin'. 
cool.gif
 

 
Just as long as said war doesn't destroy your power as well
frown.gif


bike+dynamo!
now we just need to find a way not to die, and something to protect from the EMP of all kinds of bombs.
no big deal really .
triportsad.gif
I just realize that most likely vinyls would resist best. arrrgh!
 

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