Amazon Music HD Review & Comments

Canti1982

Active Member
Amazon MusicHD App on iOS upsamples all tracks. So many people have reported this MASSIVE ISSUE on Amazon’s own Forums.

See here photo evidence.
Device player source = iPadPro.
Dac connected = Audioquest Cobalt.

Amazon Music HD App Window shows - track is 44.1KHz.
Amazon Music HD App Window shows - device is 96KHz. This is correct as Cobalt DAC is upto 96KHz.
Amazon Music HD App Window shows - track playing at 44.1KHz. [THIS IS INCORRECT. COBALT LED LIGHT IS ‘LIGHT BLUE’ WHICH MEANS IT IS RECEIVING 96KHz. IF IT WAS CORRECTLY RECEIVING 44.1KHz THEN IT WOULD BE GREEN.]

View attachment 1215849

View attachment 1215850
The windows sound mixer is set to 96khz, it resamples everything. Set it to 44.1 and everything will be 44.1. It's the same issue with any dac from PC, unless amazon can allow us to bypass the windows sound mixer we are at the mercy of windows.
 

Abacus

Well-known Member
If you are using a computer use a pro DAC designed for pro use, as it will work way better than any Hi-Fi DAC, (Which quite frankly are a waste of space for computer use) also if you have a Thunderbolt connection get a pro DAC that supports this.

Lossy formats (mp3 etc.) remove data from the original, lossless formats (FLAC etc.) do not. as to whether you can hear a difference will be down to your ears, system and the room it is in, so forget what you read on the web and try them out for yourself, that way you will know which suits you best.
16/44 or 16/48 is all that is needed to reproduce the recording accurately, however this assumes that all the equipment works optimally, which in most cases is not the case, thus going higher pushes any distortion effects out of the normal hearing range making sure you hear an accurate sound. (This is why having a tweeter that goes much higher than the normal hearing range sounds more natural)
24bit is used in studios to allow headroom when mixing and mastering, but complete overkill for domestic use.

Bill
 

Diagnosticz

Well-known Member
How does the music database compare to Spotify? i transferred my music from spotify to tidal during a trial and half of the tracks where not available so i canceled the subscription even though the quality was superior
 

SunnyIntervals

Active Member
I use bluetooth to stream Amazon HD to my Sony 1080 receiver and it sounds great. The built in Chromecast doesn't support hi-res, so although the app will happily connect to it, I can only access the "ultra HD" option via bluetooth. The receiver seems to be showing a streaming rate of 990kbps while tapping on "ultra HD" on the Amazon app gives you info about the file, the device in use and the output rate.

All sounds good to me.
 

Jokerr

Well-known Member
On my Mac with the correct TIDAL DESKTOP App settings - it will automatically play at the correct resolution to my ChordMojo DAC.
same with my iPadPro.

no need to change any settings, download third party software. It works correctly with TIDAL HIFI. only 2 disadvantages with TIDAL HIFI compared to Amazon Music:
1. Cannot download Albums on desktop App. So it will always use internet bandwidth.
2. Price. Tidal HIFI is almost twice as expensive = £240 annual vs £130ish Amazon Music HD.

To my ears after 3 weeks of A/B same tracks I think TIDAL Masters sound better than ULTRA HD version on Amazon Music HD. Listening via Chord Mojo into Focal Clear headphones. I listen intensely - in a meditative state.
 

matthewricha

Active Member
I've tried this on my Denon 6300H amp which is HEOS and also on my SONOS Connect. Sound is good. I have tried Qobuz HD previously and to my ears sounds like they apply DRC to the stream even if it is lossless.

So for Amazon HD I took a lossless 16 bit album and recorded it bit perfect out of my SONOS Connect to Hi-MD in PCM and uploaded to my computer as a WAV. I then compared to the CD version in Audacity and confirm they look identical without additional DRC.
 

Graham

Well-known Member
Thanks very much for the review - really interesting. I’ve enjoyed my tidal three month trial but the difference in prices here is enormous. As you say, if you can pay annually it’s barely more than Spotify and in lossless. Also, a family Amazon HD subscription is £199 vs £360 for a year on Tidal...
 

mt1980

Active Member
I quite like the Amazon app and find the service sounds great on my Denon amp.
The problem is I really dislike the Heos software and it doesn't work for all features with Amazon music.
If there was an option like Spotify connect I would subscribe after the trial. I won't pay for it though if I'm forced to use Heos to get the HD streams.
 

peahead

Well-known Member
Listening to some tracks now with my ATH-M50M heaphones plugged into a SBX AE-5 sound card which has Sabra inbuilt DAC which i have never actually used until now :blush: and it is sounding pretty sweet to ears.

I have just come across my first 24bit/192khz track, Madonna -La Isla Bonita:laugh:

A-Ha -The Sun Always Shines on T.V. sounds amazing :eek:

Spotify cancelled :laugh:
 
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Metalex

Active Member
Let me guess, you read THIS and forever decided it was the last word on the subject?
Interesting article. I remain open minded on this issue, but are there any particular reasons why you would personally dispute the findings of the article, and if so, can you link to anything that would provide a counterargument on a similarly scientific basis?
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
Interesting article. I remain open minded on this issue, but are there any particular reasons why you would personally dispute the findings of the article, and if so, can you link to anything that would provide a counterargument on a similarly scientific basis?
Not in depth- I'm a long way behind on my reviews for here. The best I can do is THIS little piece done with Chord Electronics on the development of their Mscaler (and with it, pushing sample rates past 700kHz). The reasons they're doing so bear no relation to the accusations made in the first article and the measured performance of the device does not exhibit the same tail off that the author of the first piece says will happen. The original article is predicated on the construct that filtering is a fixed element in the process and that no innovation has taken place since the agreement on the redbook standard. This is not true and neither is any sane individual claiming that they have hearing above 20kHz. Competent high res offers the scope to push errors out of the audible spectrum and revised filtering has helped with this.

On a basic level, most finished studio masters are 88.2 or 96kHz. I don't see any harm in simply accessing that 'as is' now technology and delivery systems make it simple to do so.
 

simon194

Well-known Member
.If you use alexa or amazon music app to select music it streams bog standard 256kbps.Bloody stupid if you ask me.If they fix this it will be superb.
My Echo Show 5 and Echo Spot both stream at 16/44.1 and and the Amazon Music app on my LG G5 will stream at 24/48 which is the the limit of the DAC in the phone.

It's a shame Yamaha only supports AAC in the recently added Amazon Music app on the RX-A3080 and other recent AVR's.
 

Morty

Active Member
My Echo Show 5 and Echo Spot both stream at 16/44.1 and and the Amazon Music app on my LG G5 will stream at 24/48 which is the the limit of the DAC in the phone.

It's a shame Yamaha only supports AAC in the recently added Amazon Music app on the RX-A3080 and other recent AVR's.
Yeah my phone will play it OK but if you use the app to stream to AVR or alexa it puts through 256kbps.Only heos will stream HD. Amazon are aware of the problem but decline to say when it will be resolved.
 

simon194

Well-known Member
I use bluetooth to stream Amazon HD to my Sony 1080 receiver and it sounds great. The built in Chromecast doesn't support hi-res, so although the app will happily connect to it, I can only access the "ultra HD" option via bluetooth. The receiver seems to be showing a streaming rate of 990kbps while tapping on "ultra HD" on the Amazon app gives you info about the file, the device in use and the output rate.

All sounds good to me.
990Kbps is about right for streaming via bluetooth because it doesn't support high bitrate formats.
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
Interesting stuff, thanks Ed. Can you elaborate on the issues getting the amazon app to play nice with external DACs?

All they need now is an equivalent to the echo dot that can output digital and it will be easy lossless / high resolution wherever and whenever.
My media/gaming PC has an MSI motherboard where the Audio Left & Right channels are on separate layers to the main board eliminating noise etc. and it supports up to 24/192. Have used a couple of external DAC's but no improvement to my ears.

I have my Kef LSX with its Kube 8b sub connected to PC via 3.5mm jack and it sounds superb. It always plays at the track bitrate. For example the Sound & Fury album mentioned shows as:

Track Quality: 24/96
Device Capability: 24/192
Playing At: 24/96

Du Lipa - Don't Start Now

Track Quality: 24/44.1
Device Capability: 24/192
Playing At: 24/44.1

Also works perfectly on my Hiby R5 DAP at correct bitrate too.

I'm likley to sign up for the year to get the lowest price

Seems to work correct on my Samsung S10+ too though not as critical for me on that:

Du Lipa - Don't Start Now

Track Quality: 24/44.1
Device Capability: 24/48
Playing At: 24/44.1

So I'd assume 24/96 & 24/192 would play at 24/48 max as device limited by Android Default Audio/App.
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
THANK YOU ED - Excellent article.


ISSUE 1:
I use Chord Mojo and Audioquest Cobalt. Both DAC’s indicate via LED Light that Amazon Music HD upscales everything. So this is not high res.

ISSUE 2:
Other issue more specific to iPhone/iPad - regardless of wi-fi speed the quality drops to Standard and sounds horrible, but then goes back up. Lots of people have reported this.
Regarding your Issue2: I've streamed Wirelessly with my PC, Hiby R5 & S10+ with no issues at all. I do have a great AC1200 5GHz router at home.
 

Jokerr

Well-known Member
Regarding your Issue2: I've streamed Wirelessly with my PC, Hiby R5 & S10+ with no issues at all. I do have a great AC1200 5GHz router at home.
It doesn’t happen on my Mac. Lot’s of people reported this issue for iOS devices over excellent wi-fi.
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
I've little time for "HD" music, it's snake oil and unscientific.
What do you listen with?

I though the same for some time until I improved both my home & mobile kit.

Not trying to be an audio snob or elitist, but I can easily tell Spotify vs Tidal MQA or 24/96+ listening via my KEF LSX speaker system or when using my Shure SE846 IEM's out of a decent source be it smartphone or DAP or DAC.

Now I have bought some expensive cables for my Shure SE846's and that is "Snake Oil" in my opinion regarding sound quality but they are beautiful build quailty (should be for the price).
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
Jeff Buckley’s Grace is 24/192
Yep, just tried that on my 24/192 capable sound card on motherboard and as expected:

Track Quality 24/192
Device Capability 24/192
Current Playback at 24/192

Just need to set your sound card to its highest capability (Using Windows 10 Pro).

One thing I do notice on occasion is that the stream will show current playback at Standard and then rise again if there are some network issues. Never actually drops song.

Seems to work a bit like Netflix, where quality sent is dynamic based on your network when live streaming. Offline is perfect as you would expect.
 
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psikey

Distinguished Member
The windows sound mixer is set to 96khz, it resamples everything. Set it to 44.1 and everything will be 44.1. It's the same issue with any dac from PC, unless amazon can allow us to bypass the windows sound mixer we are at the mercy of windows.
I don't get this on my PC onboard sound with Windows 10. Plays at correct bitrate when each track changes.
 
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psikey

Distinguished Member
I like Amazon HD but due to years as a member & the whole use scenario, if Spotify drop HD tracks at a similar price I'd still stick with Spotify. They have 2.5mths to get their arse into gear :D (Car, TV and speaker system works with Spotify Connect)
 

Mr109

Active Member
....They have 2.5mths to get their arse into gear :D (Car, TV and speaker system works with Spotify Connect)
This all day. Their partner apps are rubbish. No personal play lists in Heos. Android auto integration is a pile.
Al
 

Graham

Well-known Member
What do you listen with?

I though the same for some time until I improved both my home & mobile kit.

Not trying to be an audio snob or elitist, but I can easily tell Spotify vs Tidal MQA or 24/96+ listening via my KEF LSX speaker system or when using my Shure SE846 IEM's out of a decent source be it smartphone or DAP or DAC.

Now I have bought some expensive cables for my Shure SE846's and that is "Snake Oil" in my opinion regarding sound quality but they are beautiful build quailty (should be for the price).
Yes I’ve found that while I was suspicious of the whole HD music streaming thing, I quickly got a pleasant surprise when listening on a new amp with stereo speakers when comparing the tracks to Spotify mp3s. Really impressed by tidal quality, but for me the amazon music value is superb so I’ll definitely try that for a year. Not sure I’d notice much difference on a smaller speaker, but at home listening to music on MA silver bookshelves the Hd sound is terrific and a definite improvement in clarity for me, even if it’s not night and day.
 

Talkshowchris

Active Member
Any ideas how to get Atmos music to my Soundbar?
I'm not prepared to fork out for this service if I can't use it on my main audio system.
 

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