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Understanding How Streamers Work???

Witterings

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Trying to understand how different streamers and apps work together and what may affect sound quality.

If I have a Echo Dot wired into a amp / speakers ... if I say Alexa play .... what song / playlist I name .... The device then finds it and relays it to the amp.

If I then use a phone / tablet and open Amazon music to see my library, choose what to play and cast it to the same Echo Dot, does it stream it to the phone / tablet and then stream it to the device creating an extras link or is the phone simply telling the device what to stream from where ... in other words am I introducing an extra device in the link (the phone) that may lower it's quality.

Same question as well with streamers say a Wiim Mini Streamer or a Bluesound Node if using their Apps that are logged into say Amazon Music (or Spotify / Tidal) I'm guessing in this instance the phone's just instructing the device what to play directly rathrr than via the phone relayed to the streamer?

Sorry ... dumbass question but relatively new to streaming so any help much appreciated!
 
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jcadduono

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Yeah the devices playing the music run a server that receives an authentication token from the device you choose the song on, which has the playing device retrieve the actual music data from Amazon or Spotify or Tidal, etc.
Whether or not the sound goes through a resampling process depends on the operating system on the device playing the music. I think most will resample audio to 48khz before playing it, in order to mix/fade between tracks and voice control responses. The resampling probably won't be noticeable to anyone's ears though.
Basically, open the official Spotify app and if your device is playable to from the official app then it does run a listener server and will likely just be receiving commands. (note that some streamers running unofficial Spotify daemons may be incompatible with receiving commands from Spotify apps that are logged in with Facebook credentials)

If you're using an app to stream to some obscure streaming device, you'd probably want to send an email to the app developer to ask how they handle relaying audio to the streamer from the app.
I believe there are Android apps (that likely require root) that are capable of capturing the device's audio and relaying it as PCM data to streaming devices, using DLNA most likely. It would depend on the app whether or not that PCM data is compressed/encoded into something else to potentially reduce stream latency. This is the only scenario I have encountered so far that uses this method instead.
 
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telemike

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If you cast to the Echo Dot from Amazon App, the Echo will grab the stream from the amazon server. Your phone then becomes a remote control.
 

RosalieTheDog

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Sorry to hijack this thread with a question of my own, but why do so few streamers and streaming services do gapless, and why does it require the "tidal connect" like services? I haven't the faintest idea about software protocolls and the like, but isn't it a simple question of telling the device to buffer a playlist and minimise the delay between tracks or even provide some overlap? I seem the recall the most stupid and free digital music playback software had this function back in the day.
 

somebodyelse

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Sorry to hijack this thread with a question of my own, but why do so few streamers and streaming services do gapless, and why does it require the "tidal connect" like services? I haven't the faintest idea about software protocolls and the like, but isn't it a simple question of telling the device to buffer a playlist and minimise the delay between tracks or even provide some overlap? I seem the recall the most stupid and free digital music playback software had this function back in the day.
Because only weirdos like us care about gapless, and if you want to do it properly it takes a little more effort, including encoding the tracks in a way that can support it. Most of the market doesn't listen to music where it's an issue, and even the ones that do listen to it sometimes need the problem pointing out as it's "normal" in their playback chain. Overlap is a bandaid to make the gaps less obvious when it's not suitably encoded, but it then gets applied to the correctly encoded ones too, making it wrong. There have been players capable of gapless for a long time, but it was never exactly a mainstream feature.
 
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Witterings

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Most of the market doesn't listen to music where it's an issue, and even the ones that do listen to it sometimes need the problem pointing out as it's "normal" in their playback chain.

This is so true, I didn't know what gapless was 6 months ago and it wasn't an issue but it's one of those things once you do know what it is and have heard gapless you don't want to go back as the gaps seem really annoying.

Reminds me of a story from years ago, my dad had just had a gas, coal effect fireplace fitted and had some friends round, they were chatting about them and my dad mentioned there were 2 types, ones that emitted a hissing sound and ones that didn't and he'd made sure he bought teh type that doesn't.
My parents went back to the friends a few weeks late and the friend said he was really peed off .... before my dad mentioned it he'd never realised his fire emitted a constant hiss whenever it was in use and now it was all he heard and drove him nuts to the extent he no longer wanted to use it :)
 

somebodyelse

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That's the 'be careful what you wish for' element about listening training too - once trained to identify distortion types, compression artifacts etc. you can't really un-hear them.
 

sergeauckland

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Gapless is what stopped me streaming for years until it became available. I mostly play albums, not individual tracks, and whether Beethoven or Pink Floyd, gaps between album tracks was unacceptable. Can't believe gaps are still a thing.

S
 
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