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Amazon launches lossless high-res music service!

wadec22

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My tastes are so scattered that none of the predictive services seem to work for me. I worry that I may have broken them./QUOTE]

That was my experience as well. All the stations also seem to be extremely redundant with the same tracks
 

StevenEleven

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Likely. But I picked obscure Americana artists (Southpaw Jones, Lee Barber, John Statz, Brett Newski...), obscure indy rock guys (Shawn Jones, Kelly Doyle, Roky Erickson, Jack Mazzenga...), obscure jazz guys (Mickey Roker, George Cables...), and obscure w-t-f guys (Suitcase Junket), and they were all there.

Oddly, one of my favorite Sun Ra albums wasn't.
I remember seeing George Cables once or twice, with Dexter Gordon I think. Incredible just to watch his hands. And listen. I’ll have to check out his CDs.

Which Sun Ra album could you not find? He had perhaps the most bizarre and haphazard discography on earth. Bless the folks who’ve tried to make sense out of it. There are a few albums of his I totally treasure. Got to see him, I think two times I recall for sure.

More generally to this thread:

I think the quest for greater than 44.1 / 16 is kind of a red herring. The actual benefit in terms of enjoying the music approaches zero in terms of whether you exceed 44.1 / 16. I get the hobby part of it, I’ve been down that very rabbit hole, but once I got there, it was like, so what. 44.1 / 16 I am happy to have, though, it helps me relax in terms of whether I have full SQ to work with, for upmiximg with, etc.

I remember at some point that around 2013 the macbooks got more capable in terms of very high bitrates. There was an increase in capability around 2012-2013-2014. I have a 2012 MacBook Pro retina so I had to sit around and figure out exactly where my model was in that process, in the middle somewhere. But I believe they’ll all do up to 48 kHz / 24 bit gracefully, without breaking a sweat. The problems with earlier models start when you go above 96 / 24 IIRC.
 
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Guys, I feel like the guy from Oklahoma in _Hair_ who gets off the bus in New York City: I have been lurking here for a while, and you guys are clearly operating way waaayyy above my pay grade.

Question though: how doth one hear all these high-res files from Amazon HD? Is there a streamer that can do it? My understanding is that Amazon's Echo Link cannot get above standard def audio. Does one use a laptop and send it to one's DAC via USB cable? How in tarnation is the thing done?

Many thanks for any heads-ups.







Wow, it happened!

https://press.aboutamazon.com/


Amazon Music Introduces Highest Quality Audio for Streaming with Amazon Music HD

September 17, 2019 at 9:01 AM EDT

Amazon Music HD lets customers access and stream more than 50 million songs in High Definition (HD) audio and millions of songs in Ultra HD, the highest quality streaming audio available, giving listeners a new way to elevate their sound

Subscriptions start at $12.99/month for new subscribers; Current subscribers to Amazon Music pay $5/month plus their regular plan fee
For a limited time, Amazon Music subscribers in the US, UK, Germany and Japan can upgrade to Amazon Music HD for 90 days at no additional cost, and new subscribers can receive a 90-day free trial


SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 17, 2019-- (NASDAQ: AMZN) Amazon Music today announced the launch of Amazon Music HD, a new tier of premium quality music with more than 50 million songs in High Definition, and millions of songs in Ultra High Definition, the highest quality streaming audio available. At just $12.99/month for Prime members and $14.99/month for Amazon customers, or an additional $5/month for current subscribers (Individual or Family Plan), Amazon Music HD makes high quality, lossless audio accessible to all music fans. Amazon Music HD is now available to stream in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan. New subscribers to Amazon Music can receive a 90-day free trial, and current subscribers can try Amazon Music HD at no additional cost for 90 days at amazon.com/music/unlimited/hd.

“We spoke with many artists while developing Amazon Music HD, who were excited about the potential for fans to be able to stream their favorite music, and hear it as it was originally recorded,” said Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music. “From rock to hip-hop to classical and pop, we believe listening to music at this level of sound will make customers fall in love again with their favorite music and artists. As we usher in a new listening experience for our customers and the industry, we’re combining the convenience of streaming with all of the emotion, power, clarity and nuance of the original recordings.”

Amazon Music HD will always offer customers the best quality recording available for streaming, providing an unparalleled listening experience. Legendary albums including Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors and Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue become revelatory new experiences, almost as if the listener is sitting in on these storied studio sessions. Songs like Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” and St. Vincent’s “Digital Witness”, are also now available in Ultra HD, revealing nuances that were once flattened in files compressed for digital streaming.

“Earth will be changed forever when Amazon introduces high quality streaming to the masses,” said rock icon Neil Young. “This will be the biggest thing to happen in music since the introduction of digital audio 40 years ago.”

Amazon Music HD offers customers more than 50 million lossless HD songs, with a bit depth of 16 bits and a sample rate of 44.1kHz (CD quality). In addition, customers can stream millions more songs in Ultra HD (better than CD quality), with a bit depth of 24 bits and a sample rate up to 192 kHz.
Amazon Music HD will play the highest quality audio the customer’s device and network conditions will support, and is compatible with a wide variety of devices, including desktop, mobile (iOS & Android), select Echo devices, Fire TV, and Fire Tablets. Amazon Music HD is also compatible with many third-party devices, including most products from Denon and Marantz with HEOS Built-in, Polk Audio, Definitive Technology, Sonos, McIntosh, Sennheiser, and many more. To learn more about Amazon Music HD, visit amazon.com/music/unlimited/hd.

About Amazon Music
Amazon Music reimagines music listening by enabling customers to unlock millions of songs and thousands of curated playlists and stations with their voice. Amazon Music provides unlimited access to new releases and classic hits through multiple streaming tiers. With Amazon Music, Prime members have access to ad-free listening of 2 million songs at no additional cost to their membership. Listeners can also enjoy Amazon Music Unlimited, which provides access to more than 50 million songs and the latest new releases. Amazon Music HD, a new tier of the highest quality streaming audio, offers more than 50 million songs in High Definition, and millions of songs in Ultra High Definition. Customers with Echo devices also have free access to an ad-supported selection of top playlists and stations on Amazon Music. Engaging with music has never been more natural, simple, and fun. For more information, visit amazonmusic.com or download the Amazon Music app.
 

SIY

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Which Sun Ra album could you not find? He had perhaps the most bizarre and haphazard discography on earth. Bless the folks who’ve tried to make sense out of it. There are a few albums of his I totally treasure. Got to see him, I think two times I recall for sure.
Live at Montreux. I saw the Arkestra live perhaps 15 times over the years up until the mid-to-late 1980s- they were based in Philly and played a lot of clubs there, in Baltimore (where I lived), and DC. Just incredible shows, impossible to understand unless you've experienced it.
 

StevenEleven

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Live at Montreux. I saw the Arkestra live perhaps 15 times over the years up until the mid-to-late 1980s- they were based in Philly and played a lot of clubs there, in Baltimore (where I lived), and DC. Just incredible shows, impossible to understand unless you've experienced it.
I have Live at Montreaux on LP and CD and it’s ripped to my streaming ecosystem. Seems hard to find on the streaming services. Cheap to pick up the CD on Amazon though. Maybe the best recording to bring back memories for those who have seen Sun Ra in concert. A couple of tunes sound just like you are getting your tooth drilled at the dentist!

Another tough one to find is Sun Ra solo piano Volume 1. (Characteristically there is no Sun Ra solo piano Volume 2.) I have that on LP and CD and ripped to my streaming ecosystem as well. I am amazed to see that the sole remaining CD of Sun Ra solo piano Volume 1 in stock at Amazon runs $800-plus at the moment of this writing. I paid, what, $15. Wonderful piano, including a couple of standards.
 
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Digital purchases of Classical and Jazz albums are usually what I usually do. I want to support the artist in a more direct fashion. Of course, the streaming services and YouTube are the great libraries of music we have to enjoy.
 

SIY

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One simple way to get full resolution from AMHD into your ear holes is:

1) Open Mac or Windows 10 machine.
2) Download the Amazon Music HD app.
3) Sign up for the AMHD service.
4) Use USB cable to connect with external DAC.
5) Make sure settings on computer support sending full bit rates to the DAC.

That's it. The complications with AMHD come into play when deciding whether their higher resolution files (beyond 16/44) matter, and which devices will support. For example, an Fire HD 8 tablet will only support 16/44, sometimes (must be a glitch) 24/48, while the Fire Stick 4K only supports 16/44. My iOS and Android phones will send 24/48 to a DAC, and I can only get full resolution (up to 24/192) while using my MacBook Air or Windows 10 laptop.

In general though, get device, get AMHD app on device, use the correct cable(s) to send stream to DAC, off you go.



Guys, I feel like the guy from Oklahoma in _Hair_ who gets off the bus in New York City: I have been lurking here for a while, and you guys are clearly operating way waaayyy above my pay grade.

Question though: how doth one hear all these high-res files from Amazon HD? Is there a streamer that can do it? My understanding is that Amazon's Echo Link cannot get above standard def audio. Does one use a laptop and send it to one's DAC via USB cable? How in tarnation is the thing done?

Many thanks for any heads-ups.
 

stunta

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One simple way to get full resolution from AMHD into your ear holes is:

1) Open Mac or Windows 10 machine.
2) Download the Amazon Music HD app.
3) Sign up for the AMHD service.
4) Use USB cable to connect with external DAC.
5) Make sure settings on computer support sending full bit rates to the DAC.

That's it. The complications with AMHD come into play when deciding whether their higher resolution files (beyond 16/44) matter, and which devices will support. For example, an Fire HD 8 tablet will only support 16/44, sometimes (must be a glitch) 24/48, while the Fire Stick 4K only supports 16/44. My iOS and Android phones will send 24/48 to a DAC, and I can only get full resolution (up to 24/192) while using my MacBook Air or Windows 10 laptop.

In general though, get device, get AMHD app on device, use the correct cable(s) to send stream to DAC, off you go.
This does require having a PC next to the DAC though. I am using Chromecast audio into a topping DAC. Android app doesn't tell me what resolution its playing at but i am pretty happy with how it sounds.

My main system is a different story though with the Fire TV 4K stick. Not sure what that is doing but its very inconvenient to use with no casting support.

Would be good to have a streaming DAC that measures well and natively supports Amazon music.
 
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Amazon seems to throw stuff at the wall, not always in a coordinated manner. Imagine if they had anticipated offering AMHD and build full resolution capacity into their gadgets across the spectrum. It would crush many/most of the other streaming outfits overnight IMO. Instead, it's a complicated patchwork of confusion and differing capacities. The consumer, who really wants a toaster, winds up having to figure it out.

Still, I love having AMHD and am OK with streaming at the 24/48 that my phones will send to a DAC. I'm even OK with 16/44 knowing that I almost assuredly cannot hear the difference. Still, for now, there is only one way to be sure you're wringing the full stream from AMHD, and that is to connect a Mac or Windows 10 computer, running the AMHD app, to an external DAC. You do that, and you're system is getting (if AMHD has it) up to 24/192. Love it.



This does require having a PC next to the DAC though. I am using Chromecast audio into a topping DAC. Android app doesn't tell me what resolution its playing at but i am pretty happy with how it sounds.

My main system is a different story though with the Fire TV 4K stick. Not sure what that is doing but its very inconvenient to use with no casting support.

Would be good to have a streaming DAC that measures well and natively supports Amazon music.
 

Bamyasi

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More AMHD updates: They have finally added Exclusive Mode to their Windows desktop app!

Well, let's say they've tried. There is now a device selection icon in the Now playing tab, which looks like a tiny speaker. Clicking on the speaker icon brings up a dialog which shows all your built-in & connected audio devices, including your USB DAC. There is also a checkbox at the bottom of the dialog window labeled "Exclusive Mode".

Unfortunately, it still does not work (on my laptop, that is). My DAC's capabilities are recognized and reported correctly by the app and it even reports switching playback sample rate automatically according to the track's original one but the DAC display clearly shows it is still played back at fixed sampling rate (highest supported by the DAC). And if you try checking Exclusive Mode box in the Devices selection menu the sound just turns into garbage, like extreme clipping distortion or something.

So far, I have only tested it with my Topping DX3 Pro. I will try updating Topping USB driver on my laptop and also test it with my Audio Matrix X-SABRE Pro MQA. However, I would not hold my breath, not this time yet, but at least Amazon developers seem to be on track now for something real. Maybe next time...

AM app Version: 7.11.2.2191
Windows 10 Pro Version 1909
 
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Does anyone have distortion issues with Amazon HD? Works on my iphone. Works on my Windows Desktop. But on my Mac Mini which outputs to Dirac, then to my dac I get severe distortion. Tried rebooting, deleting the app and downloading new, etc. Outputting to the dac direct, instead of Dirac. All the same distortion. Thoughts?
 
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Does anyone have distortion issues with Amazon HD? Works on my iphone. Works on my Windows Desktop. But on my Mac Mini which outputs to Dirac, then to my dac I get severe distortion. Tried rebooting, deleting the app and downloading new, etc. Outputting to the dac direct, instead of Dirac. All the same distortion. Thoughts?
I've occasionally noticed it clipping SD tracks, or when HD track is being downgraded to SD during playback temporarily (for whatever reason). It looks like SD encoders used by AM providers vary in quality a lot, so it is track dependant. Or maybe they do some compression / encoding in real time and that does not always work the best. Check that it is actually playing in HD/UHD when you hear the distortion.

That said, I do not have a Mac so this may be not relevant to your problem.
 
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I use AMHD through a MacBook Air (2015 model) to external DAC and the only thing I check is the MIDI settings to allow for highest rate accepted by the DAC. I haven't had any issues with distortion so cannot comment on what might be causing it for you. Please let us know what you find.
 
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More AMHD updates: They have finally added Exclusive Mode to their Windows desktop app!

Well, let's say they've tried. There is now a device selection icon in the Now playing tab, which looks like a tiny speaker. Clicking on the speaker icon brings up a dialog which shows all your built-in & connected audio devices, including your USB DAC. There is also a checkbox at the bottom of the dialog window labeled "Exclusive Mode".

Unfortunately, it still does not work (on my laptop, that is). My DAC's capabilities are recognized and reported correctly by the app and it even reports switching playback sample rate automatically according to the track's original one but the DAC display clearly shows it is still played back at fixed sampling rate (highest supported by the DAC). And if you try checking Exclusive Mode box in the Devices selection menu the sound just turns into garbage, like extreme clipping distortion or something.

So far, I have only tested it with my Topping DX3 Pro. I will try updating Topping USB driver on my laptop and also test it with my Audio Matrix X-SABRE Pro MQA. However, I would not hold my breath, not this time yet, but at least Amazon developers seem to be on track now for something real. Maybe next time...

AM app Version: 7.11.2.2191
Windows 10 Pro Version 1909
How did you get version 7.11.xxx? I have uninstalled, reinstalled, check latest version, etc and it is 7.10.xxx
 

stunta

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I am fine with CD quality (16/44). Given that, what would be the best way to stream from AMHD? I currently use Google CCA which I feel is good enough but its tying me to using Android devices and I mostly use iPad. Also, it would be great to have Alexa voice control but not necessary.

Thanks
 
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I've occasionally noticed it clipping SD tracks, or when HD track is being downgraded to SD during playback temporarily (for whatever reason). It looks like SD encoders used by AM providers vary in quality a lot, so it is track dependant. Or maybe they do some compression / encoding in real time and that does not always work the best. Check that it is actually playing in HD/UHD when you hear the distortion.

That said, I do not have a Mac so this may be not relevant to your problem.
Thanks. Yes, it's playing HD. The distortion doesn't ever stop on this setup of mine. Tried getting Amazon help, but they were completely useless. They couldn't even understand what I meant by distortion...
 
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I use AMHD through a MacBook Air (2015 model) to external DAC and the only thing I check is the MIDI settings to allow for highest rate accepted by the DAC. I haven't had any issues with distortion so cannot comment on what might be causing it for you. Please let us know what you find.
Messed with this all morning. I can get the distortion to go away for a song or two, but it always comes back. Really frustrating.
 

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