Music Streaming Services

Discussion in 'Computer Audiophile: Software, Configs, Tools' started by rott, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. TheBarnard

    TheBarnard Friend

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    I just realized Tidal doesn't have this and it's seriously a deal breaker now that I'm using my speakers again
     
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  2. Marc Shivers

    Marc Shivers Acquaintance

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    I've used Spotify and Tidal, and played around a bit with Google Play Music. GPM looks kind of cool and I plan on playing around with it more, since it's free with Youtube Red, but don't have an informed opinion yet. Tidal is a huge disappointment. I signed up for their $19.99/mth HIFI version last month. I hate the GUI, you can't stream to other devices, and new music discovery is horrible. The only thing they've got going for them is their lossless streaming. I've done some A/B testing with listening to snippets of tracks at different bitrates; there's a clear improvement from 160 to 320, but I have to really concentrate to tell the difference between 320 and lossless. And I can't say it makes any difference at all to me in terms of musical enjoyment.

    For me Spotify is the clear winner: easy music discovery with lots of both curated and user playlist, great search features, very good "similar artists" links, and Spotify Connect to control music output to/from any pair of devices.
     
  3. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    Whether you can hear if something is lossless or not depends on your chain, and your experience as a listener*. For non-critical listening on so-so gear (or on a noisy train) etc., lossy is fine if the bitrate is ok, and the coder competent.

    Of course, on a a good chain, there's the issue of so much stuff having an audible watermark too- if you know how it should sound, it's easier to notice. That's awful, as then you can't unhear it.



    * A lot of hearing happens in the brain. Obviously the mechanical business of hearing is a bottleneck, but perceptually, the business of hearing is about your brain deciding what's "important", how to recognise and separate sounds and what information to discard. You can learn to a good listener just like you can learn to notice birds camouflaged in trees in a forest. That old woodsman may have more knackered eyes than you, but he's better at seeing.
     
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  4. Taverius

    Taverius Acquaintance

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    Like quite a few who got into digital audio early in a big way, I used to be able to tell what mp3 encoder was used on a file, and the approximate bitrate, by hearing a short sample.

    Nowadays?

    Ogg 320 - aka Spotify highest quality - is perfectly good enough for any situation where I don't want to just stream the flac from my nas.

    Certainly good enough to figure out if I want to own the album.

    Any album I want to own I'll get the lossless whichever way gets me a watermark-free file.

    If it wasn't for the watermarks - and the terrible remasters - I'd be happy to use spotify as a primary source on mobile.
     
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  5. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    If we want to be codec hipsters, I ran LAME before the first public release. I used to hang on the same IRC channel as Mike Cheng, and my CPU was loads faster than his (welcome to the m68k ghetto), so it was good to get me try very early versions on my godly 68060 *ahem*

    I also participated in formal listening tests under lab conditions run by a major broadcaster to see see how Vorbis stacked up against the alternatives, carefully chosen by evil signal processing experts to break them. I never want to hear another bagpipe as long as I live. Please give generously to the appeal for the bagpipe victims.

    (Also, the then organiser/pimp dude of Xiph generously repeatedly stopped me falling out of my chair in a long boring meeting once, when I had been awake.. err.. celebrating for a couple of days prior. What a nice guy. Discrete, despite the Batman design Bermuda shirt.)

    Now where were we? (fx: dispels nostalgia, stops with silly dickwaving)

    I carry FLACs on my DAP, synced from my NAS. If I'm using my phone, it's 256k AAC, which trumps Vorbis at equivalent bitrates. Still, people who want to go full Stallman are more than welcome to use Vorbis- it sounds a fair bit better these days, especially with respect to temporal resolution and pre-echo.

    I do completely agree with "If it wasn't for the watermarks - and the terrible remasters". Even with these, Tidal or Spotify are usually enough for me to tell if I want to buy a "proper" copy of an album though. However, it's a lot to pay for the pleasure, esp for Tidal lossless. Also, I am a bit salty about the months of Jay-Z spam I got from them. Fuckers. Nearly cancelled there and then.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
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  6. Taverius

    Taverius Acquaintance

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    Why.

    WHY.

    Now I remember those bagpipe killer samples again q.q

    Those were making the rounds, the scars, man.
    I could never find a record store in Italy that had the music I wanted to listen to anyway, being able to preview before buying feels kind of new still

    Tidal though, I'll pass - there's crusty unix software from 30 years ago with better ui, and it's free.

    The phone gets 256-ish opus these days.

    SQ aside, the battery drain is noticeably better than anything else, with only ogg coming close.
     
  7. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    Along with harpsichords and the acapella Tom's Diner, of course!
     
  8. Taverius

    Taverius Acquaintance

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    *searching for the dislike post button*

    Back on topic, I haven't tried Qobuz yet.

    When my stack is back up and running, I think I'll give the 44/16 a go.
     
  9. Marc Shivers

    Marc Shivers Acquaintance

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    Another plus for Spotify: integration with facebook lets me see what my friends and family are listening to... adds some fun to Spotify's already-great music discovery tools.
     
  10. jnak00

    jnak00 Rando

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    RE: control from other devices.

    I just discovered that I can control Spotify from my PC, even if the music is playing over a different network. At my office, we aren't really supposed to stream music on PC as it eats up too much bandwidth and affects performance across the office. We also have public wifi (different network, isolated from our office network) that we can stream to our heart's content on. All our PCs are connected via ethernet, though, so we can't stream to PC at all over wifi.

    With Spotify, I can start music from my phone over wifi on a Chromecast audio, and then start the Spotify PC app and control the music from my desktop. Now I can stream all the time, and have keyboard control of my music.

    It's a pretty unique use case, but it's super slick. I'm on a $0.99/month trial of Spotify Premium and will be ditching GPM once the trial's up.
     
  11. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    Oi, behave ;)

    Harpsichords were actually incredibly good at showing up codecs with poor temporal resolution. At the time, they caused noticeable pre-echo with Vorbis, in fact.

    I've not tried Quobuz either, but then it's tough to even remember that it exists, most days.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018

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