Amazon Music HD - Thoughts, comparisons

Truthslayer

Truthslayer

Full Audioholic
I don't think I'd go as far as soul suckingly bad, but I did detect a difference. As a streaming option with a pretty good library it definitely sounds better than their basic and comes close to cd. I probably won't keep it when time comes to start paying for it but I was pleasantly surprised and the library is pretty extensive for my tastes in music.
Well I think I may have found the issue. I had originally installed the app from the Microsoft store. After doing some searching on this issue. I uninstalled the app, then reinstalled it directly from Amazon. I don't why this would or should make a difference, but it definitely did.
However whether or not I prefer this over spotify premium is yet to be determined. Comparing identical tracks one versus the other, I do like the vocals better coming from spotify. But I do like the older tracks on amazon hd, seems to give more spaciousness. So I am now more pleased with the amazon hd than I was originally.
 
Truthslayer

Truthslayer

Full Audioholic
So here are my final thoughts on comparing Amazon hd vs Spotify.
1) Amazon HD obviously has more detail and spaciousness over Spotify.
2) The biggest thing I have come to notice is- Spotify is a more upfront presentation and in your face. While the Amazon HD is more laid back and a deeper presentation.
3) Depending on the music style, your speakers and room size-layout. I can see benefits for both streaming services.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Ninja
I’m actually saving money not having to buy CDs anymore. Also it’s easy to have Alexa search.
 
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baronvonellis

Audioholic
I downloaded Amazon HD and am comparing it Tidal HD. Amazon still sounds like grainy mp3s even in the highest sound quality setting. It seems they just take their mp3s and call it UltraHD. Comparing the same tracks side by side, Tidal sounds crisp and clear like a CD while Amazon sounds grainy and almost mono, the soundstage and spaciousness is collapsed. No thanks, I'll keep Tidal, maybe I'll try Apple. Does Apple have lossless streaming?
Tidal just annoys me when they are constantly pushing their hip hop content in my face when I don't listen to that style of music.
 
Truthslayer

Truthslayer

Full Audioholic
I downloaded Amazon HD and am comparing it Tidal HD. Amazon still sounds like grainy mp3s even in the highest sound quality setting. It seems they just take their mp3s and call it UltraHD. Comparing the same tracks side by side, Tidal sounds crisp and clear like a CD while Amazon sounds grainy and almost mono, the soundstage and spaciousness is collapsed. No thanks, I'll keep Tidal, maybe I'll try Apple. Does Apple have lossless streaming?
Tidal just annoys me when they are constantly pushing their hip hop content in my face when I don't listen to that style of music.
I know when I first started with amazon hd I was not to impressed. I originally downloaded the app through Microsoft apps. Once I uninstalled the app and downloaded directly from amazon, it actually made an improvement.
Also I notice it seems to make a difference in the preference settings. Choose HD/UHD and not the auto best sound quality setting. Plus don't use the auto loudness normalization, uncheck that box and it makes a big difference. Now it actually sounds pretty good.
 
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baronvonellis

Audioholic
I know when I first started with amazon hd I was not to impressed. I originally downloaded the app through Microsoft apps. Once I uninstalled the app and downloaded directly from amazon, it actually made an improvement.
Also I notice it seems to make a difference in the preference settings. Choose HD/UHD and not the auto best sound quality setting. Plus don't use the auto loudness normalization, uncheck that box and it makes a big difference. Now it actually sounds pretty good.

Hmm, ok I downloaded it from Amazon and changed those settings to what you suggested. That actually did make a difference. It sounds better now, I can still hear a slight difference but it's not so big as before. They must still be doing some slight compression.
I used Glasswire to monitor my internet traffic. Amazon doesn't actually stream, it downloads a 30MB file when you click play, and then there is no data from it while the song is playing. For a 6 min song 30MB seems to lineup with a lossless sound file. While Tidal is actually streaming at 1MB every few seconds.
 
Truthslayer

Truthslayer

Full Audioholic
Hmm, ok I downloaded it from Amazon and changed those settings to what you suggested. That actually did make a difference. It sounds better now, I can still hear a slight difference but it's not so big as before. They must still be doing some slight compression.
I used Glasswire to monitor my internet traffic. Amazon doesn't actually stream, it downloads a 30MB file when you click play, and then there is no data from it while the song is playing. For a 6 min song 30MB seems to lineup with a lossless sound file. While Tidal is actually streaming at 1MB every few seconds.
Glad it helped out and made a difference.
I think on some music your probably right about the compression. On some of the music I think there is some upconverting foolery going on. Certain songs actually sound better on Spotify vs Amazon hd.
However when it comes to Jazz, classical and instrumental music. Amazon hd is really spectacular. The spaciousness, separation and dynamic range is really wonderful.

When my youngest son came over this weekend, he wanted to compare a few of his hip-hop, rap songs etc, vs spotify. I was surprised by how much tighter the bass was on amazon vs spotify.

So I will keep Amazon HD for now and let spotify premium go. But if Spotify ever upgrades their service to lossless, I will go back to them. I think Spotify beats out amazon when it comes to recommendations and user interface. And I like the fact with spotify the music never stops. With Amazon, when your done with an album, it's time to search for another album. Seems like Amazon should be able to have that capability in their system.
 
B

baronvonellis

Audioholic
Glad it helped out and made a difference.
I think on some music your probably right about the compression. On some of the music I think there is some upconverting foolery going on. Certain songs actually sound better on Spotify vs Amazon hd.
However when it comes to Jazz, classical and instrumental music. Amazon hd is really spectacular. The spaciousness, separation and dynamic range is really wonderful.

When my youngest son came over this weekend, he wanted to compare a few of his hip-hop, rap songs etc, vs spotify. I was surprised by how much tighter the bass was on amazon vs spotify.

So I will keep Amazon HD for now and let spotify premium go. But if Spotify ever upgrades their service to lossless, I will go back to them. I think Spotify beats out amazon when it comes to recommendations and user interface. And I like the fact with spotify the music never stops. With Amazon, when your done with an album, it's time to search for another album. Seems like Amazon should be able to have that capability in their system.
I'm curious have you tried Tidal HD? To me it sounds truly lossless, I can't tell a difference from it and wav files of cd's. The app is good about recommendations and creating playlists for you. It's pretty similar to Spotify. I think you get what you pay for with Tidal HD. I remember I used to buy 5 CD's a month back in the day, so for the cost of one CD now I can stream anything I want in CD quality.
 
Truthslayer

Truthslayer

Full Audioholic
I'm curious have you tried Tidal HD? To me it sounds truly lossless, I can't tell a difference from it and wav files of cd's. The app is good about recommendations and creating playlists for you. It's pretty similar to Spotify. I think you get what you pay for with Tidal HD. I remember I used to buy 5 CD's a month back in the day, so for the cost of one CD now I can stream anything I want in CD quality.
I tried tidal, but I was not keen on the user interface. Plus when it came to older music, it didn't seem to have a very good selection. ( who knows maybe it's gotten better now )
As far as comparing Tidal HD vs Amazon HD, it would be difficult to give a good opinion seeing that I no longer have Tidal and unable to compare back to back.

However if I was just to make a guess from memory, I don't know if I could say there was a significant noticeable difference. (still keeping my fingers crossed that Spotify will step up )
 
allegro

allegro

Enthusiast
Amazon Music HD sound quality is not as good as Qobuz on Windows 10. Amazon Music HD plays in shared mode only so any song you listen to will be up or down sampled to your system setting, while Qobuz and Tidal have had exclusive mode for years. It seems Amazon is not interested in enabling exclusive mode and it is not bitperfect.

There are also reports of high resolution and MP3 quality tracks on the same album. I did not continue past the 3 month free trial and took Amazon Music HD off my computer. In the U.S. Qobuz at $14.99 a month bests Amazon Music HD and they actually have customer service. Their U.S. manager answers questions at a dedicated thread at the Audiophile Style forum.
 
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baronvonellis

Audioholic
I tried tidal, but I was not keen on the user interface. Plus when it came to older music, it didn't seem to have a very good selection. ( who knows maybe it's gotten better now )
As far as comparing Tidal HD vs Amazon HD, it would be difficult to give a good opinion seeing that I no longer have Tidal and unable to compare back to back.

However if I was just to make a guess from memory, I don't know if I could say there was a significant noticeable difference. (still keeping my fingers crossed that Spotify will step up )
What kind of older music are you listening to? I can find almost anything on tidal except a few rare recordings that are hard to find anywhere.
If your son likes rap tidal has tons of rap and puts it in your face on the homescreen. I'm not into rap, but if you like rap that could be a positive.
 
Truthslayer

Truthslayer

Full Audioholic
What kind of older music are you listening to? I can find almost anything on tidal except a few rare recordings that are hard to find anywhere.
If your son likes rap tidal has tons of rap and puts it in your face on the homescreen. I'm not into rap, but if you like rap that could be a positive.
When I say older music, i'm referring to 60's and 70's. I also some stuff from the 30's and 40's. When it comes to genre, rock, jazz, blues, country, southern rock, classical, instrumental, folk and so forth.

As regards to rap, I personally cant stand it. It only gets played when my youngest boy comes over and wants me to hear some song he thinks is cool (LOL). So I just sit there with the fake smile on my face, all while trying not to shout turn that SH.... off. :)
 
Truthslayer

Truthslayer

Full Audioholic
Amazon Music HD sound quality is not as good as Qobuz on Windows 10. Amazon Music HD plays in shared mode only so any song you listen to will be up or down sampled to your system setting, while Qobuz and Tidal have had exclusive mode for years. It seems Amazon is not interested in enabling exclusive mode and it is not bitperfect.

There are also reports of high resolution and MP3 quality tracks on the same album. I did not continue past the 3 month free trial and took Amazon Music HD off my computer. In the U.S. Qobuz at $14.99 a month bests Amazon Music HD and they actually have customer service. Their U.S. manager answers questions at a dedicated thread at the Audiophile Style forum.
You could be right in regards to shared mode. However I believe (could be wrong ) when playing tracks from amazon hd, as long as your system is capable of 24/192 there should be no up or down sampling. But I wouldn't swear by it.

I will look more into Qobuz to see what they offer as far as quantities, selections and so forth.
I still have to admit I really enjoyed Spotify's whole platform and once they step up to high res, i'm sure I will go back. That is unless I find that Qobuz as you speak of meets my needs. One would also tend to think Amazon HD would hopefully attempt to keep improving their platform.
 
allegro

allegro

Enthusiast
Guarantee on Windows any file you play using Amazon Music HD will be resampled to the bit depth and sample rate you have set in Windows mixer. You could manually switch for each song but that is hardly practical, and shared mode introduces other problems. Problems easily solved by Amazon enabling exclusive mode in the app or opening their API to Roon or Audirvana players. Doubt that will happen Amazon wants a closed loop but we will see.
 
Truthslayer

Truthslayer

Full Audioholic
Guarantee on Windows any file you play using Amazon Music HD will be resampled to the bit depth and sample rate you have set in Windows mixer. You could manually switch for each song but that is hardly practical, and shared mode introduces other problems. Problems easily solved by Amazon enabling exclusive mode in the app or opening their API to Roon or Audirvana players. Doubt that will happen Amazon wants a closed loop but we will see.
You could be right. However I thought this was changed in the oct or nov update fixes.
When you set your device up to it's capabilities in windows. Now when you stream, whatever the service is. Your streaming service( amazon, tidal, spotify, qobuz, etc ) Controls all bit depth etc and is a direct stream controlled by the streaming service. Windows (depending on version I guess )no longer up-samples or down-samples your stream, unless you choose to do so.
I agree that is was the way you described in the past, however i no longer believe that to be true. Windows 10 version 1909
 
allegro

allegro

Enthusiast
I stopped using Amazon Music HD last week when my 90 day free trial was up. They had not enabled exclusive mode at that time. Since my external DAC shows the sample rate it is being sent it was easy to verify the up and down sampling that was taking place in Windows. If you follow the thread on Amazon Music HD at Steve Hoffman music forum Amazon has still not enabled exclusive mode even with the latest updates. Ask @Matthew J Poes here, he and Gene wrote the article comparing Tidal and Qobuz.
 
Truthslayer

Truthslayer

Full Audioholic
I stopped using Amazon Music HD last week when my 90 day free trial was up. They had not enabled exclusive mode at that time. Since my external DAC shows the sample rate it is being sent it was easy to verify the up and down sampling that was taking place in Windows. If you follow the thread on Amazon Music HD at Steve Hoffman music forum Amazon has still not enabled exclusive mode even with the latest updates. Ask @Matthew J Poes here, he and Gene wrote the article comparing Tidal and Qobuz.
While I can't say what was what in the past with exclusive mode.
Now I can tell you, when I play a track ( through amazon hd ) it show's the track quality, my device quality and the play back quality that is being streamed back to my device.

When I set up my device and drivers. If say I only check the box for 16/44 then a track being played at below or above that quality will be converted to 16/44. But if I check all the playback boxes it's capable of playing, Then windows mixer is bypassed and all tracks are played back in the quality being streamed from that track. Example a track a 24/96 will playback at 24/96. Also says this app has exclusive control.

Now lets say, (Example ) I leave only the box checked in my device for 16/44 and playback a track on amazon that is 24/192.
The amazon app will show, track quality 24/192, device quality 16/44, playback quality 16/44. But as long as I check all the boxes that my deive is capable of playing. I don't have to change it or adjust for every different track quality. it is automatically done by the app which is doing the stream. So I would say it is bypassing windows mixer like you described. There is NO up-sampling or down-sampling occurring.

So if you are or were experiencing the up-sampling or down-sampling on your computer and or dac. I would say it was due to what version of windows you are running, or your dac. Or as you said this could have been an issue with Amazon hd app in the past. I will also add I had issues with the app when downloaded from Microsoft store apps.
But when I uninstalled the app from microsoft and reinstalled straight from amazon, there are no issues.
I understand exactly what you are saying and I think it's all pretty much true for what was happening in the past.
However on windows 10, version 1909, these issues were fixed in the update on Nov 26th.
 
allegro

allegro

Enthusiast
Don't trust what the Amazon Music HD app is telling you on the screen. Does your external DAC confirm that the track you are playing is what the app is telling you? My DAC always showed the sample rate set in Windows mixer and did not agree with the app. The DAC does not lie if it has a display. If Amazon Music HD has all of a sudden enabled exclusive mode it is not being discussed on Steve Hoffman forum, which is usually the best source of up to date info on what Amazon is doing. There are also continuing complaints on Amazon Music's own forum.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
Don't trust what the Amazon Music HD app is telling you on the screen. Does your external DAC confirm that the track you are playing is what the app is telling you? My DAC always showed the sample rate set in Windows mixer and did not agree with the app. The DAC does not lie if it has a display. If Amazon Music HD has all of a sudden enabled exclusive mode it is not being discussed on Steve Hoffman forum, which is usually the best source of up to date info on what Amazon is doing. There are also continuing complaints on Amazon Music's own forum.
I've read of DACs not displaying correct info before....depends on specifics.
 
allegro

allegro

Enthusiast
I've read of DACs not displaying correct info before....depends on specifics.
Not on a Yggdrasil. Displaying correct sample rate has never been a problem with Tidal or Qobuz both autoswitch sample rate as they are capable of taking advantage of exclusive mode baked into Windows. At present Amazon Music HD is not. Maybe that will change next year.
 

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