This might explain why Qobuz is having such a hard time getting started in the USA.
Rob Darling of Roon Labs was interviewed in February for the Audiostream podcast and he predicted all the major services will eventually offer lossless streaming.
I just don’t ever see Apple doing it.
Are they having a hard time? I thought they were on a roll, making major efforts at the audio shows. I hope they do well.
Interesting… I really appreciate you sharing this. For streaming and music exploration I’ve had a hard time leaving Spotify, though something like this might sway me.
I think Spotify Connect is very well designed and works on so many devices.
I’m surprised how good Spotify (I realise the heresy of admitting this) sounds on my system. It is my favourite way of finding new music - both Tidal and Qobuz are woefully lacking in this respect.
Agreed! Spotify has music exploration very well fleshed out. The discover playlist is consistently great, and rarely do I have to go elsewhere to find the music I want to listen to.
It’s almost to the point where the exploration is my primary reason to use Spotify. So not only would Amazon need to better the performance, they’d at least need to match the exploration aspect for me to stick with the switch.
Now if Amazon would just offer full resolution digital purchases instead of just MP3.
I’ve tried Amazon Music Unlimited and find the apps and web interface to be a mess.
In my opinion, it’s a great example of a service cramming content in your face while making certain types of discovery (genre based) tough.
However, I think it may be designed for their majority customers who have smart speakers in the house and voice activate the service to play music.
@Schroedster: I don’t use Spotify much, but my “kids” (all twenty-somethings) love it. FWIW, Roon 1.6 with integrated subscriptions to Tidal and Qobuz is an awesome tool for finding new music. Roon 1.6 made significant changes to the “Radio” function. I am like a kid in a candy store when I fire up the Radio feature with some of my old and new favorites. The new artists and deep tracks it pulls in can be a lot of fun. I have started adding to my Roon library a whole lot of new stuff earmarked for purchase.
I don’t mean to be that guy, but I always get a little annoyed when people use mp3 in a ubiquitous sense. I don’t think ANY current streaming service, whether it be Amazon, Apple, Spotify or even YouTube uses mp3 and if they have in the past it was a LONG time ago. The distiction here is important because newer audio encoders are vastly superior to mp3, especially at lower bitrates. OGG Vorbis and AAC encoders that these streaming services use these days (especially OGG Vorbis at 320kbps like you’d get with a Spotify Premium account) can come a lot closer to lossless audio quality than I think most here realize. I’m not saying lossless audio is useless, just that I don’t think most here realize how narrow the gap has become in recent years with lossy encoders. I just don’t like it when people incorrectly say mp3 because that’s not what any of these services use. It does them a disservice when people say mp3 due to the negative connotation associated with that audio format.
Here is a good blind listening test to show what I mean. In my system the 160kbps clip is easy to pick out, but it’s definitely hard to differentiate between lossless and 320kbps:
I can’t think of any audio service that still uses MP3. It was used mostly in the very early days. Apple never used it - Youtube may have done but I don’t think they do any more. Spotify has always been OV if I remember right and that is quite refreshing given that it is not a proprietary format.
In my personal experience the difference between most of these second/third generation lossy formats at high bitrates like 320kbps vs redbook quality uncompressed is very small even on a highly resolving system. On the low cost systems that most people use I very much doubt anyone could tell the difference.
I suspect at those bitrates we are getting close to the threshold of being indistinguishable for most people .
Some people will still swear blind that there is a night and day difference even though blind testing does not support that, I feel that to some degree there is a placebo (or nocebo) effect going on here. That is why blind testing is sometimes important to give people a reality check.
Simply knowing that something has been compressed could affect your perception of it, even if on blind listening it may be indistinguishable. I think most people don’t realise how fluid and malleable our perception is and how strongly suggestion alone can affect us.
Even this knowledge does not make us immune to it.
I think the logic is that, even if there’s only a 5-10% discernible difference (and I think that percentage is fair), considering how much we all spend on our systems, paying extra for lossless audio is worth it. So even though I freely admit that it’s difficult at times to tell a difference, I would still like a lossless audio option within Spotify. Just to get that last nth degree of audio fidelity and the placebo affect that listening to lossless audio has on our minds.
Same for me although I think that difference may be less than even 1% if it could be quantified. I think we want the best we can get even if the increment is only 0.1%!
It depends on the recording. I’ve heard plenty of high-resolution tracks that clearly sounded better than the lossy version. If the recording has proper dynamic range and transient detail, there is most definitely an advantage on the lossless and highres/lossless version of the record.
I was once told that all APPLE has to do, beside app/os updates, would be to flip a switch to turn on lossless. A former Apple employee said the downsampling takes place on the “output” side of Apple servers. Everything (or most everything) is stored in hi rez or at least 16/44.
I think Amazon Music Unlimited and Google Play Music still use mp3.
No, they use AAC. Spotify uses OGG Vorbis. No one uses MP3 for their streaming services. MP3 was only used for download services. These newer codecs are more efficient, especially at lower bitrates. Because they’re more efficient these companies spend less on data to get the music to you. MP3 doesn’t make sense for them to use. They’d be throwing money out the window.