Music Streaming Services

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

  1. Metro

    Metro Almost "Made"

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    And on top of that, many download purchases (at least recordings from the major labels) have sound quality that is even further crippled by an audible watermark (basically a form of DRM).
    https://www.mattmontag.com/music/universals-audible-watermark (the article only mentions streamed music, but customers have discovered that it is in downloaded purchases as well)
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/2...phile-files-pisses-off-paying-customers.shtml
     
  2. donjoe0

    donjoe0 Rando

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    Yeah, only just found out about it this past week, haven't had the time to investigate much. I can't say I've heard it in anything I've bought so far, just plain old clipping/overcompression distortion from the Loudness War and/or no-headroom compression.
     
  3. donjoe0

    donjoe0 Rando

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    To keep it fair, I have to add that I just saw it claimed in the HydrogenAudio forum that AAC encoding can mask certain clipping artifacts while MP3 does not. This could explain *some* cases of Loudness War distortion that I can hear in GPM's MP3s but not in AAC copies bought elsewhere or encoded at my end. (Still doesn't excuse their no-headroom encoding, easily shown by mp3gain, which I always have to use to tone down the loudness in their MP3s, to make sure the decoding step will not produce clipping no matter the decoder.)
     
  4. synthwavefan

    synthwavefan Cluelessly Misogynistic - MOT - LH Labs

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    Pandora Premium would be good for someone who literally has no idea about the genre they're listening to. I set my lady friend up with some music on her Pandora (what she uses) and it was very safe, very "popular" hits from related bands (no obscure bands) (still all new to her). Spotify would be better for deep music exploration.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
  5. psuKinger

    psuKinger Rando

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    Google Play Music subscriber here. When I switched to it from Rhapsody, I auditioned several other options on Free Trials (Spotify, Tidal, etc), and chose it for reasons that may not be valid/accurate anymore (support for Cast natively within the app makes it play nice with my 4 CCA's I use for Whole-Home-Audio; the lack of a native Android TV app for my NVidia Shields, of which I own several; etc). But I really did/do like the way it incorporates my local music collection automatically, making 320 kbps MP3 copies of all of my 16/44.1 and HDTracks music (first 50,000 songs are free), and it does so automatically by monitoring my NAS and making the upload with no additional action taken on my part.

    I also liked that it uses MP3 natively and not other codecs, as my lossy collection is pretty much entirely Amazon 256 kbps VBR MP3's, and I know other codecs might have advantages over MP3, but those MP3s are what I already own and I wasn't thrilled with the prospects of a service taking those and converting them to some other lossy codec...

    The "added benefit" of getting commercial-free-youtube-Red shouldn't be slept on, either... we're not cordcutters, either, but the amount of quality high-production-value content on youtube is way higher now than it was 10 years ago. It's not just cat videos anymore. And the fact that you get Red for free with GPM is, IMO, a really sweet "perk".
     
  6. Erikdayo

    Erikdayo Friend

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    I don’t like that GPM converts AAC to MP3 when uploading. Transcoding a very common lossy format to another lossy format. I find that aspect aggravating. Otherwise it’s a pretty nice service.

    iTunes Match keeps MP3 uploads in MP3 format. Keeps AAC in AAC format. On the other hand it’s not free while uploading to the cloud with Google is.

    I’m definitely interested in trying Qobuz when it launches in the US this fall, but I imagine it’ll be too limited for me to drop Apple Music. Much like Tidal. My ideal service would be similar to Apple Music but with ‘hi res’ options and through an app that doesn’t run as shit as iTunes does on Windows.
     
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  7. aamefford

    aamefford Nothing like chamberpot coffee

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    I finally gave up on Tidal. My bank threw a fraud hold on them. I cleared it up with the bank, but Tidal’s “customer service” and I use that term very loosely, could never get out of their own way and clear things on their end. I’m not a JZ or hip hop fan, so most of their front page stuff annoyed me (I know, my problem, not theirs). The usual UI complaints, watermark issues, etc. and I just decided the value proposition was too low. We are an Apple centric household, so Apple Music family plan was a no brainer. Everyone in the house for $5 a month less than Tidal for just me.

    So far, Apple Music seems to be good enough sound quality and very convenient. I even stream from phone to rpi Volumio to Gungnir Multibit to Liquid Crimson and don’t feel the overwhelming urge to bathe immediately afterward. Sure, lossless is better, but 256 AAC definitely appears ”good enough.”
     
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  8. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Yes, Apple Music is pretty decent for casual listening on my walks, for example. I have not tried it on a proper sbaf type HP setup. As soon as I switch over to foobar on my Android though, even through my cheap iems, the difference in quality via an aac download vs lossless wav is apparent. Even with Radiohead, haha

    Then again, it could be how Apple Music App/ Android treats the aac file. Maybe the Apple Music app falls into the same space as those that upsample all content to 96khz within the Android framework, anyone know for sure?

    Still, though, pretty nice for a walk.

    EDIT: After reading @psuKinger post above I discovered YouTube music, free version I suppose. Nice vehicle to sample new stuff at the desktop. eg. they have Robbie Krieger stuff, Apple Music does not. No clue about quality though it seems no worse than watching decent videos on youtube.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2018
  9. aamefford

    aamefford Nothing like chamberpot coffee

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    ^^^ Agreed. If I listen to the same song, Apple Music vs. Alac or flac lossless rip back to back, I can tell that the lossless rip is better. I *think* above and beyond expectation bias. In most cases, if I just stream the Apple Music content, I don’t notice any drastic suckage. If I jump to the lossless stuff off the hard drive, I do notice the improvement with lossless. My habit seems to be one or the other, so even with the *good* rig, I am not defiled by lossless source files. Throw on the AirPods and Apple Music becomes stellar. At least as stellar as one can get on AirPods.
     
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  10. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Spotify's download limit for paid subscribers now increased to 10,000 songs on each of up to 5 devices (formerly 3333).
     
  11. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Very very interested in trying Qubuz + Roon.
     
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  12. Uri Cohen

    Uri Cohen Almost "Made"

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    I just canceled my Tidal subscription just so I can get on Qubuz. Still debating about Roon, but when I had my Roon trail, I must admit that controlling three-five sound setups from one tablet is quite appealing (and use one sound setup to troll my roomies with animu music, priceless).
     
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  13. starence

    starence Acquaintance

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    I tried unsuccessfully to get a US preview code from Qobuz, but maybe this info will be useful to someone here.

     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  14. Metro

    Metro Almost "Made"

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    A member on Head-Fi picked up some Qobuz USA preview codes at an audio show and was giving them away in the Schiit thread (all gone now). I was lucky enough to jump on it and grab one.

    I am listening to Hélène Grimaud's Bach album on DGG (wonderful music and performance). On Tidal lossless, this album is plagued by the UMG audible watermark, which is applied to Universal Music recordings on Tidal, Spotify, etc. In sustained piano notes, the watermark causes a distortion that sounds like a pulsating vibrato. On Qobuz, this album doesn't have watermark distortion and the piano sounds clean and natural. If this holds true for other recordings from Universal Music Group, I'll be ready to ditch my Tidal subscription.
     
  15. allegro

    allegro Almost "Made"

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    If you did not get a Quobuz US preview code here is a workaround that worked for me. Can't guarantee it will for you but if you live in the US and want Quobuz streaming now go to https://www.qobuz.com/us-en/shop and buy a download.

    When I did I was prompted to create an account and in addition to getting the download I was mailed a link to try Quobuz Studio streaming (up to 192) free for a month in the US. Had to give them a credit card so I will be charged after the first month and I have the option to upgrade to Sublime+ for discounts on downloads.

    I was also given a link to download the Quobuz desktop app and am listening to it now. Catalog is pretty good, almost everything I listened to in Tidal is also on Quobuz and I am finding content on Quobuz that is not on Tidal. I've only been listening for a few hours and sound quality is better than Tidal so far. I will probably drop Tidal.

    This might be one of the ways Quobuz is rolling out slowly in the US. I think they are well aware there are a lot of unhappy Tidal customers just itching to switch to Quobuz and they want to beta test their infrastructure before the official launch.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018 at 4:49 PM
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  16. Broberto

    Broberto Rando

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    Good find, the "soft launch" does seem to have started - I just added some items to my cart, made an account, and without even checking out was sent the same e-mail offering a one month free trial of streaming

    From my initial searching for favorite artists the library does seem quite comprehensive. A lot of UK-based artists on there that I wasn't able to find on Tidal as well, so far so good
     

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