Amazon Music HD - Thoughts, comparisons

lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Yes it would, but apparently that's to difficult (lol) or they don't care all that much.

One of the guys last night (or I should say early this morn) made an interesting comparison or observation however you want to characterize it. He said to him, comparing the services was like comparing amp classes.
He felt Spotify had a more tube amp feel to it. Where as Amazon HD had a class a/b or possibly even a class d feel to it. I thought it was a unique way of looking at it. Since then I keep thinking about it and realized it's not that bad of an analogy.
I was thinking it sounded like an amp comparison....meh. I can maybe understand the tube thing having a flavor, but A/B vs D? Nah....
 
Truthslayer

Truthslayer

Full Audioholic
I was thinking it sounded like an amp comparison....meh. I can maybe understand the tube thing having a flavor, but A/B vs D? Nah....
Ya, I thought it was an interesting way of looking at it. Not having a class D or using one, I couldn't really say. But the tube and class a/b used as a comparison to spotify and amazon, gives me a new outlook at the service comparisons.
 
allegro

allegro

Enthusiast
Maybe I somehow wasn't clear. Yes, it is confirmed by dac. It changes according to the bit rate being sent. So if you have this problem and some others as you say. ( I read earlier the Steve Hoffman area and discussion as you said before, many have this issue, but not all )
I know the setting when setting up dac in windows varies from one to another ( so that could also make a difference) Drivers being used I would imagine would also play into it. Shared mode vs exclusive mode also makes a difference. Dac being used I would imagine would also make a difference. whether it is capable of auto switching or not.

I'm not saying they didn't have a previous problem before or some people are having this problem now. And when they fixed the issue.

However i dont have this issue. My Dac auto switches according to the sample rate. Maybe some people dont have the version of windows i spoke of before (1909 ) with the nov 26 update to resole audio playback issues. Where it shows you all the formats your dac is capable of and you have to check all those boxes and check auto. Plus you have to check exclusive control. Windows mixer is not control my bit rate when the DAC is being used, it's just a pass through. I agree with you the DAC does not lie. And im not having any issue.
But it's good you posted your concerns as im sure it will help some folks out.
Windows 10 1909 was a minor update. I updated and Amazon Music HD is still using shared mode and does not automatically switch sample rate and bit depth on Windows 10.
 
M

mtrot

Full Audioholic
I've never had any streaming app before Amazon HD, so I have no baseline for comparison. Already being an Amazon Unlimited Music subscriber, when they announced their HD music service and the free three month trial, it was no-brainer to me. I never listened to their service before, since it was such low bit rate audio. So, I had no experience with any of these streaming services.

After using Amazon HD for these four months, my observation is that it's just so dang convenient that I'm hooked! I can find almost any of my CDs, SACDs, or vinyl. The sound is good enough on their HD content, and the Ultra HD is great. I do wish they allowed exclusive mode, however. I find myself going into my laptop's sound settings and finding my DAC and setting Windows to play at whatever resolution each track is, which is quite the hassle. And the other problem is that sometimes the streaming quality will drop from high quality to their Standard level.

Now, I did receive a CD for Christmas, Mahler: Symphony 5, which I had been wanting. However, I looked it up in Amazon Music HD and they offer it in Ultra HD, which turned out to play at 24/192. I checked in Discogs, and, sure enough, one of the versions shown there is comprised of 24/192 data files.

So, I went ahead and listened to it. OMG, this is just incredible music. The sound is so smooth and pure, just fantastic. I can't see any CD sounding this good. So, I just returned the CD yesterday. Amazon also has high resolution files of one of my other favorite classical pieces, which is Gustav Holst's The Planets with Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Decca. Again, just fantastic sounding. So, as I guess you can gather, I am quite happy with the service, overall.
1577910383402.png

 
allegro

allegro

Enthusiast
@mtrot you owe it to yourself to give Qobuz a listen. I think it could very well change your impressions of Amazon Music HD. Qobuz has a one month free trial offer in the US at present.
 
J

JengaHit

Junior Audioholic
No experience with other streaming services but like others since I was already on Amazon Music Unlimited, I made the jump to Amazon HD. I'm listening exclusively via my LG V50 phone--which has an ESS Sabre DAC--and Sennheiser cans. Have yet to try it on my main system.

I've found SQ highly dependent on the source. On some 70s classic rock and late-70s and 80s New Wave/punk tracks that were poorly mastered and recorded in the first place I really can't tell the difference between standard and HD. Still sounds crappy. As others have suggested, Amazon seems to be upsampling lots of crappy tracks, with little audible benefit. But the Queen Platinum Collection and Beatles Abbey Road (Super Deluxe Edition) sounded rich and full in Ultra HD. Classical and opera, if the originals were mastered well, also sound superior. Grainless and not strident. No listening fatigue.

The Amazon interface can be glitchy and frustrating with playlists. I'll update a playlist by adding tracks and the updates don't show, even after repeated attempts. I'll download a playlist and half the tracks are greyed out and unavailable. A dialogue box says this is because the track is no longer available or my subscription has expired. Yet these same tracks play fine streamed and my subscription has not expired. Hope they fix these bugs.
 
P

ParleyW

Junior 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.
I’m using a Definitive Tech W Adapt with Amazon’s service. You can put the device into high res mode, and the DTS/DefTech device shows its playing high res, and my Lexicon shows the higher bit rate. It’s got issues with consistency on my gigabit fiber line.
 
P

ParleyW

Junior Audioholic
I've never had any streaming app before Amazon HD, so I have no baseline for comparison. Already being an Amazon Unlimited Music subscriber, when they announced their HD music service and the free three month trial, it was no-brainer to me. I never listened to their service before, since it was such low bit rate audio. So, I had no experience with any of these streaming services.

After using Amazon HD for these four months, my observation is that it's just so dang convenient that I'm hooked! I can find almost any of my CDs, SACDs, or vinyl. The sound is good enough on their HD content, and the Ultra HD is great. I do wish they allowed exclusive mode, however. I find myself going into my laptop's sound settings and finding my DAC and setting Windows to play at whatever resolution each track is, which is quite the hassle. And the other problem is that sometimes the streaming quality will drop from high quality to their Standard level.

Now, I did receive a CD for Christmas, Mahler: Symphony 5, which I had been wanting. However, I looked it up in Amazon Music HD and they offer it in Ultra HD, which turned out to play at 24/192. I checked in Discogs, and, sure enough, one of the versions shown there is comprised of 24/192 data files.

So, I went ahead and listened to it. OMG, this is just incredible music. The sound is so smooth and pure, just fantastic. I can't see any CD sounding this good. So, I just returned the CD yesterday. Amazon also has high resolution files of one of my other favorite classical pieces, which is Gustav Holst's The Planets with Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Decca. Again, just fantastic sounding. So, as I guess you can gather, I am quite happy with the service, overall.
View attachment 33062
What device are you streaming with?
 
Long Audio Beard

Long Audio Beard

Audiophyte
Not sure, but I think I get better results with Amazon Music (the free version for Prime members, not the HD one) when I choose to download the files before playing them. I wonder if during pure streaming playback they throttle sound quality for various reasons but not when you download the tracks. I was surprised they let you download the tracks and they are available as files on your computer to move them around and play them with other music players. The downloads are unfortunately MP3 but they are reasonably high bitrate at least. For some of the stuff I listen to which is probably pretty compressed on CD to begin with, I detect little difference. When I do the pure on the fly streaming thing, I think sometimes I get lower quality music (more compression) compared to downloading the track from them first. This is not scientific but I have been experimenting.
 

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