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Streaming services: classical Music, any Primephonic/Apple updates, other?

LuvTheMusic

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My Qobuz annual subscription runs out soon, so it's time to start looking for alternatives. Main interest is classical music, but I do enjoy having access to jazz and a few other stray items. I'm not interested in playlist-based services: I want to search and choose my own choices. I'm looking for Redbook (CD) standard: higher res is fine but not needed.
  1. Idagio still is around, but is strictly classical. Still might consider that: any Idagio users out there who can comment?
  2. Apple Classical Music (the old Primephonic), hasn't shown up yet: any word on when (I've seen rumors revolving around the Apple developers conference in June, but....) Apparently that will include the classical part but also access to the entire catalog of other genres.
  3. Last time I looked (about 2 years ago), Tidal and Amazon interfaces were awful for classical, Tidal because it was all about Jay-Z or whomever and I never could even find classical stuff; Amazon because their search function was incredibly primitive for what is supposed to be a tech company. Improvements recently in either?
One other question: when Apply Classical does come along, how does one get the digital stream to one's DAC? All the other services can be accessed using a music server (Bluesound Node, Raspberry Pi, etc.) but Apple plays in its own universe. I wouldn't mind buying an iPad but the vision of running a cable from it to my DAC isn't too appealing! :^)

Thanks all....
 

JGeez

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I listen to a lot of classical music and I have Tidal and Qobuz. Both interfaces are not good for classical music. So, I use Roon. Regardless of its flaws, it is heads and shoulders over anything else I know about for managing and listening to a classical collection. Both Tidal and Qobuz have a good selection of classical music. Both have some titles the other doesn't. Tidal has a bit more than Qobuz. I have played around with Apple Music but, as you say, it is a pain for how to play it. I don't think that is going to improve in the near future.
 

NiagaraPete

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My Qobuz annual subscription runs out soon, so it's time to start looking for alternatives. Main interest is classical music, but I do enjoy having access to jazz and a few other stray items. I'm not interested in playlist-based services: I want to search and choose my own choices. I'm looking for Redbook (CD) standard: higher res is fine but not needed.
  1. Idagio still is around, but is strictly classical. Still might consider that: any Idagio users out there who can comment?
  2. Apple Classical Music (the old Primephonic), hasn't shown up yet: any word on when (I've seen rumors revolving around the Apple developers conference in June, but....) Apparently that will include the classical part but also access to the entire catalog of other genres.
  3. Last time I looked (about 2 years ago), Tidal and Amazon interfaces were awful for classical, Tidal because it was all about Jay-Z or whomever and I never could even find classical stuff; Amazon because their search function was incredibly primitive for what is supposed to be a tech company. Improvements recently in either?
One other question: when Apply Classical does come along, how does one get the digital stream to one's DAC? All the other services can be accessed using a music server (Bluesound Node, Raspberry Pi, etc.) but Apple plays in its own universe. I wouldn't mind buying an iPad but the vision of running a cable from it to my DAC isn't too appealing! :^)

Thanks all....
There are a number of Airplay2 streamers. You can pickup an Airport Express on eBay cheap.
 

JanesJr1

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My Qobuz annual subscription runs out soon, so it's time to start looking for alternatives. Main interest is classical music, but I do enjoy having access to jazz and a few other stray items. I'm not interested in playlist-based services: I want to search and choose my own choices. I'm looking for Redbook (CD) standard: higher res is fine but not needed.
  1. Idagio still is around, but is strictly classical. Still might consider that: any Idagio users out there who can comment?
  2. Apple Classical Music (the old Primephonic), hasn't shown up yet: any word on when (I've seen rumors revolving around the Apple developers conference in June, but....) Apparently that will include the classical part but also access to the entire catalog of other genres.
  3. Last time I looked (about 2 years ago), Tidal and Amazon interfaces were awful for classical, Tidal because it was all about Jay-Z or whomever and I never could even find classical stuff; Amazon because their search function was incredibly primitive for what is supposed to be a tech company. Improvements recently in either?
One other question: when Apply Classical does come along, how does one get the digital stream to one's DAC? All the other services can be accessed using a music server (Bluesound Node, Raspberry Pi, etc.) but Apple plays in its own universe. I wouldn't mind buying an iPad but the vision of running a cable from it to my DAC isn't too appealing! :^)

Thanks all....
Idargio is good, has a good search function, is a complete catralog for the most part, and has better classical suggestions and play lists.

I also use Amazon HD instead of Qobuz or Tidal, to save money on non-clasical titles and and thus pay for Idagio, but also to use for classical searches, which may surprise. While you are absolutely correct that Amazon has a lousy search function for classical, the underlying catalog is a lot more complete than it seems at first. Amazon's search responses limit the number of recordings that satisfy the criteria for an individual search. If I search for a more obscure recording and it doesn't come back in the initial search response, I enter new criteria and I usually find what I want. With practice, it doesn't take that much effort.

Maybe I'm just accepting inconvenience in return for saving money for lossless recordings, but between Amazon and Idagio I'm also rarely left out in the cold on classical searches, and I have a huge general-interest catalog as well.

I'd be interested to hear from others how complete the Qobuz classical catalog is; I briefly sampled it once with some semi-rare searches, and it didn't do all that well. But it probably wasn't a complete or fair test.
 
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LuvTheMusic

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One clarification to my OP: I don't have a local library (collection) of music to manage -- my questions are purely about the steaming services only.

There are a number of Airplay2 streamers. You can pickup an Airport Express on eBay cheap.

I tried to find an explanation of how to get lossless CD quality from an Airplay 2 steamer to....well, something other than an Apple device. (I'm referring to the digital stream that needs to reach my DAC). Currently I have a Bluesound Node on the front end of my system; that will connect but not at lossless, unless I buy a MacBook, which definitely is overkill!. Of course, this is moot until Apple finally does something with classical (Primephonic), but I would be curious as to how to pull it off.

Idargio is good, has a good search function, is a complete catralog for the most part, and has better classical suggestions and play lists.

I also use Amazon HD instead of Qobuz or Tidal, to save money on non-clasical titles and and thus pay for Idagio, but also to use for classical searches, which may surprise. While you are absolutely correct that Amazon has a lousy search function for classical, the underlying catalog is a lot more complete than it seems at first. Amazon's search responses limit the number of recordings that satisfy the criteria for an individual search. If I search for a more obscure recording and it doesn't come back in the initial search response, I enter new criteria and I usually find what I want. With practice, it doesn't take that much effort.

Maybe I'm just accepting inconvenience in return for saving money for lossless recordings, but between Amazon and Idagio I'm also rarely left out in the cold on classical searches, and I have a huge general-interest catalog as well.

I'd be interested to hear from others how complete the Qobuz classical catalog is; I briefly sampled it once with some semi-rare searches, and it didn't do all that well. But it probably wasn't a complete or fair test.

Sounds like I need to check out Amazon HD.
 

NiagaraPete

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I tried to find an explanation of how to get lossless CD quality from an Airplay 2 steamer to....well, something other than an Apple device. (I'm referring to the digital stream that needs to reach my DAC). Currently I have a Bluesound Node on the front end of my system; that will connect but not at lossless, unless I buy a MacBook, which definitely is overkill!. Of course, this is moot until Apple finally does something with classical (Primephonic), but I would be curious as to how to pull it off.
Ipad or iPhone with Apple Music stream to an Airplay2 device S/PDIF to your DAC.
 

MaxBuck

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My Qobuz annual subscription runs out soon, so it's time to start looking for alternatives. Main interest is classical music, but I do enjoy having access to jazz and a few other stray items. I'm not interested in playlist-based services: I want to search and choose my own choices. I'm looking for Redbook (CD) standard: higher res is fine but not needed.
  1. Idagio still is around, but is strictly classical. Still might consider that: any Idagio users out there who can comment?
  2. Apple Classical Music (the old Primephonic), hasn't shown up yet: any word on when (I've seen rumors revolving around the Apple developers conference in June, but....) Apparently that will include the classical part but also access to the entire catalog of other genres.
  3. Last time I looked (about 2 years ago), Tidal and Amazon interfaces were awful for classical, Tidal because it was all about Jay-Z or whomever and I never could even find classical stuff; Amazon because their search function was incredibly primitive for what is supposed to be a tech company. Improvements recently in either?
One other question: when Apply Classical does come along, how does one get the digital stream to one's DAC? All the other services can be accessed using a music server (Bluesound Node, Raspberry Pi, etc.) but Apple plays in its own universe. I wouldn't mind buying an iPad but the vision of running a cable from it to my DAC isn't too appealing! :^)

Thanks all....
I have Idagio and enjoy it, but I also have Qobuz for music that doesn't qualify as "classical." Qobuz actually isn't too bad for classical, but Idagio is really useful in getting me to think about composers and works outside the "chestnut" category. Right now I'm listening to Goossens' "Five Impressions of a Holiday." Doubtful I'd have found that one on my own.
 

NiagaraPete

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Bluesound Node
You have AirPlay in your Bluesound Node. Just stream from iPhone or iPad to it. Airplay2 is better but you can get started with another device.
 

jcarys

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I use Tidal. You are correct that it constantly pushes the latest rap/hiphop artists on top. However, it's easy to navigate to the latest classical titles using your computer. I do all my searching for catalog or new releases on the desktop app, mark it as a fave and then it's easy to get to it on the other apps. The recommendation engine is actually pretty good, it has surfaced quite a few things that I like. The catalog is good and growing, although it's certainly less than Idagio.
 

mSpot

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I listen to a lot of classical music and I have Tidal and Qobuz. Both interfaces are not good for classical music. So, I use Roon. Regardless of its flaws, it is heads and shoulders over anything else I know about for managing and listening to a classical collection.
I also listen to classical music using Roon with Tidal and Qobuz, and I like it a lot. I was originally running Tidal/Qobuz on my laptop connected by USB to a DAC. I wanted to untether my laptop and I set up a Raspberry Pi streamer, but I discovered that all RPi software (Volumio, Moode, etc) implement streaming services with truly awful, primitive UI interfaces. Roon came to the rescue, allowing me to stream Tidal/Qobuz through the RPi with a superior UI interface. However, I can understand that many people will not want to pay for a Roon subscription and run a Roon Core server.

I look forward to seeing what Apple comes up with. Here is some recent information from "sources". TL;DR: Apple Classical will probably be announced at WWDC (Apple developer conference) next month and available by September.
 

JanesJr1

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One clarification to my OP: I don't have a local library (collection) of music to manage -- my questions are purely about the steaming services only.



I tried to find an explanation of how to get lossless CD quality from an Airplay 2 steamer to....well, something other than an Apple device. (I'm referring to the digital stream that needs to reach my DAC). Currently I have a Bluesound Node on the front end of my system; that will connect but not at lossless, unless I buy a MacBook, which definitely is overkill!. Of course, this is moot until Apple finally does something with classical (Primephonic), but I would be curious as to how to pull it off.



Sounds like I need to check out Amazon HD.
Idagio is still better for complete searches and a broader catalog. About $10/mo for the privilege, lossless. I like their playlists, suggestions and reviews, too. It's jsut that Amazon is where I have my non-classical library, too, and most of the time I can find classical titles there, too.
 
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Tom C

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Had Apple, switched to Qobuz because of Apple “walled garden.” I thought Airplay wouldn’t give hi-res lossless. Is that untrue? I used lightening cable connector from iPhone or iPad to DAC. Some DAC’s require the use of Apple’s camera adaptor, so yet another expense that Apple will sometime force into premature obsolescence. Got to be a PITA, whereas with Qobuz, I can use a Windows PC and JRiver. Qobuz is also available on Raspberry Pi using piCorePlayer
 
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LuvTheMusic

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Just want to say thanks for the replies and helpful info.

It's a shame that Apple is taking forever to bring out "Apple Classical" (or whatever it will be called) -- given that it's basically the Primephonic acquisition, it seems odd that it has taken this long. But mysterious are the ways of Apple....

I'll play around with some of the other choices and report back at some point.
 

Music1969

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Also anticipated but not announced was AirPods Pro 2. A possibility is a separate music/audio event later in the year.
Yes I am reading the same around the web - to look for big Apple Music feature at the Airpods Pro 2 even
 

Jmudrick

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Just want to say thanks for the replies and helpful info.

It's a shame that Apple is taking forever to bring out "Apple Classical" (or whatever it will be called) -- given that it's basically the Primephonic acquisition, it seems odd that it has taken this long. But mysterious are the ways of Apple....

I'll play around with some of the other choices and report back at some point.
I cancelled my Apple subscription in the meantime. When/if they get their act together I'll reevaluate.
 

Skud

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Does Apple Music give us to the Primephonic catalog now?
 

sarumbear

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MRC01

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My Qobuz annual subscription runs out soon, so it's time to start looking for alternatives. Main interest is classical music, but I do enjoy having access to jazz and a few other stray items. ... Idagio still is around, but is strictly classical. Still might consider that: any Idagio users out there who can comment?
...
I'm late to this thread, but since my musical taste is similar to yours, I'll add:
I subscribed to both Primephonic and Idagio for over a year. After Primephonic got acquired by Apple I subscribed to Qobuz.

Qobuz seems to have all the musical content that Idagio had (and more), but their classical music is not as well organized. Idagio had better metadata for classical music. This doesn't stop me from finding new music, it just takes a bit more searching & clicking.

Qobuz is the only streaming service that plays lossless in a browser, without needing their own player apps. This is important mainly to Linux users like me. Qobuz does have music player apps, but you don't need to use them. Also, USB Audio Player Pro has built-in support for lossless playback on Qobuz, bypassing the Android system's default behavior of resampling everything.

While I don't see the need to pay more for high-res, most modern classical is recorded in high-res so the CD quality stuff is down-sampled. Listening to the music in its native format eliminates this processing. Sure, down-sampling *should* be transparent, but this being the real world, sometimes it is not done properly.

In summary, Qobuz over Idagio:
  • All kinds of music, not just classical
  • Stream the original master recordings without resampling everything to 44/16
  • Don't need proprietary player apps to stream lossless high-def
Idagio over Qobuz:
  • Better classical metadata
  • Better organized, easier search & discovery
 
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