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Primephonic Becoming Apple Music: Alternatives?

MRC01

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The reason I subscribed to Primephonic for the past couple of years is because, like Idagio, they have a great catalog with metadata tailored to classical music, and unlike Idagio, they stream titles uncompressed at their native formats. The lowest quality is 44-16, and it ranges up to 192-24 depending on how the individual title was recorded.

Today they sent me an email saying they're becoming part of Apple Music. I don't own any Apple devices nor do I intend to. And from what I read, Apple streaming always uses lossy compression, they do not have the ability to stream titles at their native formats.

So I will probably be switching back to Idagio. They don't stream in high-res, but they do stream lossless 44-16 which is how most titles are recorded. They resample high res titles down to 44-16, which is not ideal but it's less bad than the lossy compression that other services have.

Any other suggestions?
 

rottencat

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Hi MRC01, you dont need an Apple device to listen Apple Music. It is supported on all major platforms. Apple Music is available in high-res lossless since May this year with no additional cost unlike some of the others. Also Dolby Atmos is supported. You may also want to check out their Spatial Audio.

Apple Music announces Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos; will bring Lossless Audio to entire catalog
https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2021/05/apple-music-announces-spatial-audio-and-lossless-audio/

About lossless audio in Apple Music
https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT212183

Also Apple Music review:
https://www.whathifi.com/apple/music/review

Good luck!
 
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MRC01

MRC01

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Thanks for the references. From what I read, Apple's ALAC format is not available in a browser. If that's true, it seems there's no way I can listen to it from my Linux desktop. However, I read that Apple open sourced ALAC several years ago, so there doesn't seem to be any good reason for them not to stream it to any browser.
 

mocenigo

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Thanks for the references. From what I read, Apple's ALAC format is not available in a browser. If that's true, it seems there's no way I can listen to it from my Linux desktop. However, I read that Apple open sourced ALAC several years ago, so there doesn't seem to be any good reason for them not to stream it to any browser.

What you claim is weird. I feed in fact ALAC files to my linux based streamer solution... so it all depends on the plugin used by your browser of choice to play the music files.
 

mocenigo

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super interested about your entire setup.

Just a Raspberry Pi4 running moOde. The ALAC files are on a hard drive. It can get stream radios in various formats, never investigated which ones.
 

abdo123

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Just a Raspberry Pi4 running moOde. The ALAC files are on a hard drive. It can get stream radios in various formats, never investigated which ones.

oh i thought you had some sort of code that is balls deep in Apple Music’s non-existent API and you’re ‘controlling’ the process via your phone or something to pick whichever ‘ALAC file’ to stream.

In otherwords i though you were spotify connecting this bitch.
 
OP
MRC01

MRC01

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What you claim is weird. I feed in fact ALAC files to my linux based streamer solution... so it all depends on the plugin used by your browser of choice to play the music files.
It also depends on whether Apple's web browser music player exposes the ALAC format for your music files.
 

mkt

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“current Primephonic subscribers will receive six months of Apple Music for free” try it out and see. The metadata or lack there of will probably be the worst part.
 

julian_hughes

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The reason I subscribed to Primephonic for the past couple of years is because, like Idagio, they have a great catalog with metadata tailored to classical music, and unlike Idagio, they stream titles uncompressed at their native formats. The lowest quality is 44-16, and it ranges up to 192-24 depending on how the individual title was recorded.

Today they sent me an email saying they're becoming part of Apple Music. I don't own any Apple devices nor do I intend to. And from what I read, Apple streaming always uses lossy compression, they do not have the ability to stream titles at their native formats.

So I will probably be switching back to Idagio. They don't stream in high-res, but they do stream lossless 44-16 which is how most titles are recorded. They resample high res titles down to 44-16, which is not ideal but it's less bad than the lossy compression that other services have.

Any other suggestions?

Qobuz is good for classical. They have good metadata for classical albums. They make it very easy to listen however you prefer, in their app, via web browser, via official plug-ins for Android apps like BubbleUPnP, UAPP and so on. Lots of Hi-Fi manufacturers integrate Qobuz into their streamers. You can always choose the highest quality flac stream, or any other you like. I've been using Qobuz for about 18 months and it's great on my phone and also on my home audio.
 
OP
MRC01

MRC01

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“current Primephonic subscribers will receive six months of Apple Music for free” try it out and see. The metadata or lack there of will probably be the worst part.
That's one of the main reasons why Apple bought Primephonic: their custom metadata for classical music. The standard ID3 tag fields like "artist" don't work for classical music. If Fritz Reiner conducts the Chicago Symphony playing Brahms 1st Violin Concerto with Jascha Heifetz, who exactly is the artist? That's at least 4 different values it could have. Primephonic & Idagio both solved this problem by creating their own custom metadata for classical music that doesn't just have an "artist" field, but has composer, director, soloist, etc. and much more.
 

MaxBuck

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Qobuz is good for classical. They have good metadata for classical albums. They make it very easy to listen however you prefer, in their app, via web browser, via official plug-ins for Android apps like BubbleUPnP, UAPP and so on. Lots of Hi-Fi manufacturers integrate Qobuz into their streamers. You can always choose the highest quality flac stream, or any other you like. I've been using Qobuz for about 18 months and it's great on my phone and also on my home audio.
I'm a happy Qobuz user, but I disagree about its being very good for classical. I've added Idagio because the offerings were too meager on Qobuz, and because new releases and associated "liner notes" are so much better.
 

jmtocali

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Primephonic also has a great classical catalogue. For example, the Karajan studio recording of Pelleas et Melisande or the Montpellier recording of Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights are impossible to get on Qobuz or Apple Music. Idagio doesn't have gapless on Android, a critical feature in opera or many classical works.
 

MarkS

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I'm a classical listener relatively new to streaming. I didn't last a month with Qobuz because their search function is completely useless. I switched to Apple and have been happy, except for the meta-data issue. On a multi-composer collection or playlist, it's usually impossible to identify the composer if you don't already know who wrote "Cello sonata in A Major op.98".

Also I encountered early on a CD that Qobuz only had sample tracks for (Denk plays Ives) but Apple had the whole thing.

Just one newbie's experience so far. Oh, and they all sound fine to me.
 

VMAT4

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I'm a classical listener relatively new to streaming. I didn't last a month with Qobuz because their search function is completely useless. I switched to Apple and have been happy, except for the meta-data issue. On a multi-composer collection or playlist, it's usually impossible to identify the composer if you don't already know who wrote "Cello sonata in A Major op.98".

Also I encountered early on a CD that Qobuz only had sample tracks for (Denk plays Ives) but Apple had the whole thing.

Just one newbie's experience so far. Oh, and they all sound fine to me.
Thanks for the ray of hope!
 

Taddpole

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“current Primephonic subscribers will receive six months of Apple Music for free” try it out and see. The metadata or lack there of will probably be the worst part.

Well that may be less of issue next year

"Apple Music plans to launch a dedicated classical music app next year combining Primephonic’s classical user interface that fans have grown to love with more added features."
 

Ata

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I take this as good news for both Apple Music and Primephonic users, as it ensures the continuity of service for classic music lovers. Ever since Apple dropped its Apple Music Lossless/HiRes/Atmos/Spatial at the same price point I am worried about the future of the much smaller players -- Tidal, Qobuz, Primephonic among them. It is a war of attrition and no amount of love from the audiophile niche bodes well for the future of these services, which AFAIK have chosen not to compete on price with Apple, unlike Amazon and hopefully soon Spotify's MIA lossless music service.
 
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MRC01

MRC01

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I started a trial with Apple Music. Here's what I've gathered so far:
  • Their browser player does not support ALAC or lossless. It has no settings for audio quality.
  • Their Android app does support ALAC lossless and high res, but it is constrained by the Android OS which always resamples (unlike USB Audio Player Pro, which bypasses the Android resampling).
  • Each account does not allow more than 1 music stream or device at a time; that requires paying extra for the family plan.
  • Their support site is broken, logins fail saying "Oops! An unexpected error has occurred." But logins work elsewhere on the site, just not in support.
So far I'm not impressed, as I'm looking for a service that streams in the browser lossless without resampling. If Apple Music can do that I'll stick with it, otherwise I'll switch back to Idagio.
 
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MRC01

MRC01

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I called Apple and got more info, sharing here as it may be helpful to others.

Primephonic provided a code for 6 months of Apple Music. I tried that code and Apple's site did not accept it. So, I started a free trial. Apple Support says an account can only have a single promotion, so now the Primephonic code cannot be used with my account. The only reason I started the trial is because the code didn't work in the first place, but that doesn't matter to Apple.

They confirmed that ALAC is not supported in the browser, which has no settings for audio quality.

Looks like it's back to Idagio...
 
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