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Song that exposes - CD, SACD, Apple Music, Amazon HD - sound quality differences

Belker

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That the masters are different can be objectively proven, so far I've seen no evidence that the differences are audible. If the differences are just encoding technologies it makes me skeptical. If the differences are also due to a re-mix of the multi-track masters, maybe.

As for your last question... we're going to help Apple and Amazon select masters for 60 million or more songs?
Different masters can of course be more or less…different, but if you look at the graphs in my post #66, I’d say it’s quite possible to hear a difference on these. Either on tonal balance or level.
 
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blueone

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Different masters can of course be more or less…different, but if you look at the graphs in my post #66, I’d say it’s quite possible to hear a difference on these. Either on tonal balance or level.
I agree, it is quite possible that there are audible differences. But the only way to prove audibility is a DBT.
 
D

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If Apple are truly manipulating the source/stream, it’s probably the most bizarre thing I’ve heard this (new)year! Ok if they did something at the client to compensate for playback device properties.
I thought the same thing but like I said, just taking their faq at face. I’m def on your side on this one but part of me has to give props for the amount of money it cost them to do that if its true.
 

audio2design

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Apple TV 4k does limit Amazon Music to 24/48; however the song itself is only 24/48k encoded in Amazon Music HD.

Are you sure it is uncompressed. It was compressed on release of HD, I am not convinced they updated it. It is the same for Chromecast. It will only cast the uncompressed stream. When you look at their info Amazon does not claim uncompressed on Apple TV, only on some of their devices, Bluesound, Heos.
 

Jimbob54

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I agree, it is quite possible that there are audible differences. But the only way to prove audibility is a DBT.
Well, let's not go daft here. If the (re) master is known to be different to a previous one I don't think we need to go down that road. Eg, horn tracks added /subtracted, vocal levels changed in the mix etc.
 

blueone

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Well, let's not go daft here. If the (re) master is known to be different to a previous one I don't think we need to go down that road. Eg, horn tracks added /subtracted, vocal levels changed in the mix etc.
You're conflating a remix with a re-master, especially if you're adding new content, like adding horns (to use your example). It's of course possible that a re-master starts with a remix, but that's more of a new album, and costs a lot more to produce. Most albums won't warrant that expensive treatment, especially a low-volume audiophile album like the OP used. Perhaps some old but still highly popular pop music. And then the objective may be to make it sound more compelling with earbuds.

And I don't think asking for more objective proof of a difference is daft. But thanks for reminding me why I don't post much on internet forums.
 

Larry B. Larabee

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Marie,Marie-Shakin' Stevens. One version is bad, another version is correct as remembered on the vinyl issue.
Can't stand it-Velvet Underground. The sound of the snare drum on the CD version was close to perfect. Downloads are unspectacular in the selections found so far.
This is with apple music lossless, which if anyone cares, differs in audibility only 10% of the time when comparing lossless to AAC. This is true only because the recordings are garbage 90% of the time no matter the format.
 

wjp007

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i compared qobuz and tidal once with CD, because qobuz always sounded a smitch better than tidal, and guess what, qobuz sounded exactly if not better than the cd rip and tidal sounded off ( basses are not as deep "subjectivly" and it always got a "bright" treble to it )
so i suggest you to try out qobuz since it seems to be "truly" flac :)
i didnt try any other streaming services beside spotify, and i dont have to tell you that 320kbit spotify always sounded worse than either tidal or qobuz (beside tidal still "coloring" the sound somewhat)
tho i have to say my test is like 1-2 years ago and now tidal started streaming everything in mqa (if i remember right)
I found the same. I really like the sound of the tracks so far on Qobuz, although their UX is crap. It’s clear Apple fiddles with their tracks compressing the sound. Haven’t tried Amazon HD. I think I’m going to stick with Qobuz. For whatever reason Tidal just didn’t sound as good as Qobuz to me.
 

Belker

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I found the same. I really like the sound of the tracks so far on Qobuz, although their UX is crap. It’s clear Apple fiddles with their tracks compressing the sound. Haven’t tried Amazon HD. I think I’m going to stick with Qobuz. For whatever reason Tidal just didn’t sound as good as Qobuz to me.
It would be nice if you guys claiming there is a difference, would dowload/rip the tracks and do a proper DeltaWave null analysis, instead of referring to what it sounds like. I haven’t checked Apple myself, but Qobuz and Tidal are the same, given that the master/versions are the same.
 

valerianf

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Could somebody remove the Apple TV box and replace it with the latest Firestick 4K?
I am guessing that the sound quality may be different as it is staying inside the Amazon HD tested hardware world.
 

iMickey503

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I'm still supprised that Amazon HD being so new still has tracks that skip or don't play right.
Evidience:

It still often stutters on the beginning of the playback with the drums intro.
It has to do with the 360 or 3D sound that gets auto selected I think on some tracks. It causes all sorts of issues. It skips like it is a bad CD rip at the beginning. I had to go into settings. Re select HD and then turn off the 360 sound from the hidden menu that pops up when you touch the Yellow text.




Haven’t tried Amazon HD. I think I’m going to stick with Qobuz. For whatever reason Tidal just didn’t sound as good as Qobuz to me.

Its getting better for amazon. And the single device option is only 3.99 a month. Pretty stellar. But man... It sure is no Apple Music when it comes to playback U.I. Spotify just made their app so bloated its miserable to use even with a flagship device.

Amazon seems to forget settings like E.Q. And others. Its a shame.
Stuff like this just does not happen when you get dedicated hardware.
 
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freemansteve

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Quite often source tapes (or files) are mixed slightly differently to suit different physical media, or different distribution sources.

I don't doubt that you can hear differences, and some not so good, but it is also possible that for a different track from a different musician, you may prefer a non-cd source; it may be better mix, or a better bit of equipment used in the chain.

I admit that I don't actually know what process Apple or Amazon (or other streaming sellers) follow to make or buy-in the music files they sell/stream!
 

Head_Unit

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This song clearly shows the superiority of good CD pressing and the nuance details differences over the streaming Apple Music version at 88.2kHx and Amazon HD's 48 KHz...differences with...mastering
Sorry to have to rain on this parade, but this is NOT a scientific conclusion and proves nothing for sure. Why? Because
- We don't know that the files are actually from the same EXACT source (think of how many pressing of vinyl and CD in the past were mastered differently in say Japan, Europe, etc.)
- ...nor what mastering they might be. I see the same title "XYZ live at ABC's" for years, but it gets remastered, which version is Apple streaming? I think we have no way to tell. And then they started "Made For iTunes" and later some other program with specific mastering requirements.
- The streaming service might well be playing higher resolution files truncated down to 16/44.1, which might include sample rate conversion.
- The streaming itself might not be "pure"? i.e. modified in your phone or PC...this I don't know much about.
- We don't know if the files have been modified en route, for level equalizing or whatever other weirdness. There was an article in Stereophile (can anyone find it? I can't offhand) where the author was sending out files for pressing test CDs. He got the CDs back, checked, and found the bits were not the same as his files. He found mastering houses did all sorts of tinkering, including playing the digital files onto analog tape and then REdigitizing because it "sounded better" :facepalm:.

So this is rather like comparing the "same" album on SACD versus DVD-Audio. One might sound better, however you cannot then conclude SACD is better than DVD-A or vice-versa, because you don't know that the same performances were recorded with complete DSD and PCM chains and then mixed and mastered the same. In fact the only time I ever heard of such was some Mobile Fidelity guys at a surround conference saying they had done that vs the microphone feed, preferred DSD somewhat, and hence used DSD for recording.

Having said all that, it's still interesting to compare if different services sound different, even if comparing that to a CD doesn't prove anything.
 

ferrellms

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2022

During this holiday, I received a gift which is a limited pressing (2000) 32-bit mastering process CD, Cantate Domino, Oscar's Motet Choir.

I compare :
A) Apple Music, coded as Hi-Res Losses, 24bit/88.2kHz, - Apple TV HDMI Out to AVP 7706
B) Amazon Music HD, coded as Ultra HD, 24bit/48kHz - Apple TV HDMI Out to AVP 7706
C) The Cantate Domino CD, 16bit/44.1kHz - Oppo 105D HDMI out to AVP 7706
D) The Cantate Domino CD, 16bit/44.1kHz - Oppo 105D XLR Analog out to analog pre-amp

My favorite is the song titled "Hosiana Dvaids Son".
I uses Apple TV 4k as music stream, its HDMI out feeds to AVR-7706 and use Oppo105D to play the CD.

C) and D) sounds similar but way better than A) and B). B) has the least sound quality presentation/impression.
Playing from CD via Oppo 105tD, the Choir has more life-like dynamic, the articulation has more fidelity and the trumpet, the background organ notes are more defined and the trumpet sounds have more texture.

This song clearly shows the superiority of good CD pressing and the nuance details differences over the streaming Apple Music version at 88.2kHx and Amazon HD's 48 KHz. Could the digital jitter in streaming or the chosen master in which Apple music or amazon HD coded them into file matters?

I played it loud to make it sounds like you were there with the choir .
I wanted to share so you guys can appreciate it especially if one has highly resolving speakers/amp to appreciate the soundstage of such good recording
If anyone know of other songs/albums that provide good quality recording that exposes the differences with bit rate or mastering , please share.

Thanks.
Yet another opinion, no real evidence.
 
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