Discussion in 'Computer Audiophile: Software, Configs, Tools' started by rott, Feb 22, 2017.
Please share the tracks where you heard this. I'd like to give them a listen.
That listening tests link was enlightening. ~50 to 80% of subjects could pick the watermarked sample out every time. Wow.
Hmm, that was a some time back, can't remember precisely- I think I was on a bit of a classical kick- listen to stuff with a lot of strings. Acoustic jazz stuff should work too.
I can't get back into Tidal to hunt them down for you, but if you go here:
..there's an exaggerated example at the top, and then some more "normal" stuff to play with. I would say this, though- it's probably best not to teach yourself to hear it, as it sucks, and it's hard to unhear it. I was able to ignore it for a while, or maybe was lucky in missing watermarked tracks.. then I hit a streak one evening.
(I can't hear it on the cheap equipment that I use at work, with the meh closed-back Bose, as I recall, either.. Either I have slightly cloth ears or it needs a good chain and a reasonably quiet setting.)
I appreciate Spotify Connect a lot more after using Tidal exclusively for a few weeks. Whatever the differences in sound quality, Spotify makes up for by not being complicated, and functioning within my DAP's capabilities.
With the Fiio X5:
I can bluetooth tether an internet connection, streaming without load or hiccup. Leaving it in my pocket, and using my phone as the general controller (big point for me here). If it were Tidal I would need a wifi, and even then it would hiccup constantly, and frequently not respond to the side button commands. With a more capable android dap, wifi streaming might be more reliable with Tidal
The lack of Connect also means I can't leave usb/dac mode and seamlessly continue listening to music.
I've been using Spotify. One thing that has helped me whole lot is Fidelity. It's a program that allows Spotify streaming with ASIO drivers, which bypassed Windows' horrible kernel mixing. I just send the stream directly to my DAC through Fidelity. The quality of the streams improves significantly for me.
I also used Tidal for a brief period of time. Didn't like it much, so I went back to Spotify.
Toss us a link to that app please. The name of it makes it impossible to Google.
I think it is Fidelify
Looks like an abandoned project... Beta and last update in 2014 (unfortunately).
It's http://fidelify.net/. It hasn't been updated in a while but everything works for me with Windows 10. It needs ASIO4all drivers to work. I definitely can hear the difference between using it and the regular Spotify program.
I recently started using Spotify and I've been using GPM and Bandcamp for about 3 years. Thing is... I prefer critical listening by far to just having something in the background while doing something else, so 1. it would never be worth it to me to pay a flat monthly fee to listen to music (or to discover new music to buy, since I'm extremely picky) and 2. I don't have the kind of mobile Internet connection that would work well anytime and anywhere I'd need it for music, and not having the music I'm paying for whenever I want it would be unacceptable. So the usage pattern is like this:
* I only stream candidate albums that I think might be good enough to buy, and for this I use, in this order: Bandcamp (typically full songs and albums listenable for free several times before buying), Spotify (same but only plays full albums straight through on PC), YouTube (sometimes a full album will be on there), GPM (only short samples available)
* I buy and download the music I've decided I really like, i.e. stuff that I expect to want to re-listen to many times again in the future, and in this case it absolutely has to be in the form of files I can play back with any player I want, on any device I want, so I buy:
- 16/44 FLAC off Bandcamp, then encode to ~310 kbps VBR AAC because I think that's about enough to hear everything humanly possible and still be able to keep my collection fitting comfortably on my phone (plus they have flexible pricing options not found anywhere else that I know of)
- 320-MP3 off GPM (their library is orders of magnitude larger than Bandcamp, but at the same time I've found they're really incompetent at encoding MP3s, as they don't leave enough dynamic headroom and sometimes introduce distortion into the copies they're selling and streaming).
Beyond that, none of these services that either don't allow downloading the music to listen offline, or allow it but keep the files under lock and key and playable only with their own player, will ever see a dime from me as long as I can help it. That kind of business model just doesn't fit the way I consume music, at all.
Anyone use Pandora Premium? They added full on demand streaming in addition to their custom "radio" stations about a year ago and a few months ago they added a web interface for it so it's no longer mobile only.
Their Music Genome Project is amazing for fining new music and with all the watermarking on allegedly lossless steaming services I have no desire to "upgrade" to something else. I checked the creation date of my first Pandora station and I've been using it for 13 years now.
I wouldn't blame the services for those restrictions. They are licensing requirements imposed by the recording labels.
Doesn't compute. Then how can Bandcamp and GPM function without such restrictions? Especially GPM, where they have tons and tons of music from every record label imaginable.
Bandcamp is all indie so there are no men in suits worrying about their epeen to fuck everything up.
As for GPM, aren't you conflating their streaming and purchase models? It sounds like you're asking for a service where you can download and keep all you want for a flat monthly fee. I bet something like that would be super popular and damn profitable, but the record labels are too short sighted to allow it.
I don't need to, that would be beside the point. The point was labels are presumably forbidding these other services from offering DRM-free downloads of their music (for any price). Well they're not forbidding it to Google, for whatever reason.
I don't know where you're seeing that, I haven't had a single positive thing to say about flat fees. If I think about it I guess I could agree with a kind of flat fee, but it would have to be per unit of time of music actually streamed, not per month. I want to pay for the actual value I'm getting, not for time simply passing.
iTunes, Google, Amazon, and many other merchants offer DRM-free purchases, some along with streaming. Some services like Spotify only offer streaming. Any streamed music will always have DRM, otherwise there’s nothing stopping you from doing a free trial, downloading terabytes of music, then canceling.
Exactly. GPM (also Apple and Amazon) integrate streaming and purchase together into their music apps, but underneath they are actually completely separate services. Billing is separate, and purchased music is downloaded from a different server than the streaming service.
I guess I did conflate them when I said the quality problems must affect both - I just assumed they'd naturally prefer the less expensive and simpler solution of keeping a single database for both services (at least for the high-quality mode of the streaming side). Billing could still be handled separately even while storing the music bits on the same machines.
This is the first I hear of iTunes doing any such thing - I always thought anything they sell has to be kept in the iTunes client's database and can't be played with anything else. As for Amazon... 256-kbps CBR MP3 is kind of sub-par these days, some YouTube uploads already sound as good as that, being encoded in VBR at not much lower average bitrates.
Itunes music is just plain AAC these days. You have to download it through itunes but you can just copy the files play it through anything after that. Not much different from Amazon and their own ecosystem.
You're correct about them all being lossy, and mostly poorly implemented lossy at that.
Except for Bandcamp, every place I know of that actually sells lossless DRM free music charges such a premium over lossy that it's at least as expensive as the CD which kind of defeats the point of non-physical distribution.
iTunes has been DRM-free for nine years.
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