Question Music player app recommendation for classical music

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by jwlawler, Jun 12, 2019 at 12:18 PM.

  1. jwlawler

    jwlawler
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    I currently using an iPod Classic as my primary music source. I am quite happy with it but planning for a future in which it dies, is lost, etc. One route that I am considering is using my Android phone (Samsung S7). I was concerned about the quality but I have managed to connect the phone to my AVR to my satisfaction. Now, I need to find a suitable player app.

    The reason that classical music is significant is that most players seem to be optimised for popular music and they do a poor job of organising classical music. For example, most apps assume the album is a significant unit. For classical music, it often isn't. It is quite common that one CD contains two or more different pieces of music e.g. Beethoven Symphonies 5 and 6 and, quite often, utterly unrelated ones. Even if I want to hear those pieces in succession, I would want a greater pause between the two symphonies than between the movements of one. In the other direction, some pieces are larger than one disc and they are split at an arbitrary point.

    iTunes also handles this badly and the way that it organises the discs into folders is horrible. I ignore this and create lots of playlists. So, if the CD contains multiple pieces, I create a playlist for each. If the piece stretches across multiple discs, then I create a playlist which spans all of the discs. I also create playlists with themes e.g lots of string quartets. So, one piece may appear in multiple lists.

    As a result, I have a huge number of playlists (thousands, no exaggeration). Fortunately, I can organise them into folders. Here's an example: I want to listen to Beethoven's 3rd symphony. I select folder Classical (I have some other genres), I select B (there are loads of composers so that helps), I select Beethoven, I select Symphonies, I select an orchestra (I have three versions of all symphonies), and finally I select number 3.

    So, I need that flexibility from an app.

    Another different requirement is not to lose even a second at the start. Some apps seem to slightly clip the track at the start.

    Perfect gapless playback. In classical music, usually each movement is a separate track but often they are played without a break. Occasionally. a track is portion of a movement. Some players seem to struggle with this.
     
  2. dannnielll

    dannnielll
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    There will be other possibly more informed responses, but I have played with a few ,and on the S7 also. My current favourite is the USB Audio Player Pro. which apparently bypasses the internal Android system and drives the DAC chip directly. Compared with others ,it is pricey, and comes into its own when driving external DACs i have also played with Radson and Neutron and of course the native Samsung player. Despite assistance from this forum, I found Neutron to be ugly in its interface and clunky in operation.
    At the moment my music is going through such convoluted paths that I don't know what is happening or where. But residing on a windows machine, wified onto the home network, BubbleUpnped ,onto either Android tablet or the S7 and either played internally there or Chromecasted to an audio amplifier. But I am not aware of any glitches or gaps.
     
  3. jwlawler

    jwlawler
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    Thanks. I don't mind paying for an app since I even considered buying a replacement physical player but I would want to be sure that I was happy with it. Is there a possibility of a free trial? You don't mention its organisational abilities which, as you can see, are important to me.
     
  4. wongataa

    wongataa
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    When I have come across this I did the following:
    Say the CD contained Beethoven's 5 & 6th symphonies. I ripped the disc. I the created a folder for Beethoven's 5th and moved the tracks making up Beethoven's fifth into that folder and similar for Beethoven's sixth.
    Then I edited the metadata of those tracks so the tracks of Beethoven's 5th all referenced that piece of music alone and the track umbers started at 1. I then did the same for Beethoven's 6th. Basically no reference of the original CD was left in the album name or other significant unit of metadata.

    Anything that plays flac files should have perfect gapless playback with those files. Gapless playback with flac is easy. It is harder with mp3 or aac.
     
  5. jwlawler

    jwlawler
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    Thanks. I have experimented a little and adopted the same system. It partially addresses my needs. I can have a neat tidy folder structure and my primary navigation to the music is sorted. However, this does not help with my desire for additional playlists with other organisations.

    Most of my music is currently in Apple Lossless or AAC.
     
  6. dannnielll

    dannnielll
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    I am not great with playlists...never got the hang of them,what I tend to do is just find an album and play everything..Its how I used to listen to LPs back in the day. When the files were put on my hard disk they automatically went into albums and the albums into subdirectories under the name of the singer or band or conductor..whatever the CD data recommended, and the artwork linked to the CD. Then all the Music is in a top directory called surprisingly Music. All my music..or at least the vast majority is FLAC conversions of CDs , ripped using a Sony application. If your library is made from Apple files, it may not be as amenable.
     
  7. jwlawler

    jwlawler
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    That approach works well with music written in the LP or CD eras since the music was often written with the disc in mind. However, as I mentioned, it does not work well with classical music.

    My approach is to rip the disc, ignore whatever ugly folder structure iTunes has used, and immediately create one or more playlists depending on the content. I then only use those playlists. I never use the albums.
     
  8. dannnielll

    dannnielll
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    On the contrary it works very well with classical music as the sequential movements are always in sequence. I would have an increasing number of DG and lots of Naxos Classical CDs in my system. I would have ripped the CDs to FLAC, and can access them by Album..in which case they play in numerical order or by artist or random on the Sony DAP.
     
  9. jwlawler

    jwlawler
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    Yes, the sequence will be correct but I find two problems which I mentioned earlier.

    1. The disc contains two or more different pieces of music. I like to be able to easily to listen to the one of my choice without it running immediately into something else.

    2. Large pieces of music, e.g. an opera, may stretch over two or more discs and the breaks might not be at neat points such as between acts. In fact, I insert silent tracks between acts in the cases.
     
  10. wongataa

    wongataa
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    Those situations are perfect for my method of splitting up those discs into the individual pieces. They then appear as albums of just those pieces in the music library even though they didn't start that way on CD. Then you don't need a playlist for every piece, just select the 'album' of the piece.

    It is simple enough in the software I use. I don't use iTunes so I can't comment on how easy it is in that.
     
  11. jwlawler

    jwlawler
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    It comes close and it is the system that I am using for my testing. What is missing are my alternative playlists.
     
  12. dannnielll

    dannnielll
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    I am not an opera buff, but I find it hard to believe that any single Act will last longer than 79 minutes 50 seconds ,or that any major CD label catering to the Classical Opera community would so crass as to cut off at an arbitrary point in order to save another disc of perspex. . Von Karajan was adamant on that point at the inception of the CD standard.
     
  13. Candaules

    Candaules
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    Act 3 of Wagner's Göterdämerung, as conducted by Reginald Goodall (a notoriously slow conductor, lasts 93 minutes. James Levine gallops through it in 80 minutes.

    UPDATE: Act 1 of Parsifal (Wagner again) lasts 117 minutes.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019 at 5:35 PM
  14. scarty16

    scarty16
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    remember iTunes is now dead.
     
  15. scarty16

    scarty16
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    • Does it have to be an apple device?
    • Does it need to store the music files locally?
    • Is streaming ok to use?
    • Do the music files need to be any particular format?
     
  16. jwlawler

    jwlawler
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    None, that I have, are so bad as to split an aria into two but they will switch discs between arias. It is common that an act is split across discs. A common case is 3 acts with a total length too big for one disc but not for two. Disc 1 contains act 1 and some of act 2. Disc 2 contains the rest of act 2 and act 3. So, you get only a brief pause between the acts but you need to intervene (change discs or select a new folder) part way through act 2. I would combine both discs into one playlist and insert one of my silent tracks between the acts.

    Not opera but here is a real example of both problems. I have Bernstein's West Side Story. It spans two discs. The split is between The Rumble and I Feel Pretty. This is not a break point in a typical performance (no more so than either side of these two tracks). The whole piece does not fill both discs and the second is filled out with unrelated pieces. So, when West Side Story ends, it wanders into something else.
     
  17. jwlawler

    jwlawler
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    No, does not need to be Apple. In fact, this thread is about the possibility of using my Android Phone. This could be the solution if I find an app that I like. I asked a separate question recently on the hardware.

    Preferably, it should store the music. I have tried a couple of solutions using WiFi and Bluetooth and, in both cases, I get the occasional glitch. I don't get that from the iPod so it would be a step backwards. I don't need greater quality but I don't want to lose any either. Also, one use case is in the car.

    I am not keen on streaming. Partly for the reasons in the last paragraph. Also, I already own most of the music that I want and I am filling little gaps with second hand CDs from Amazon. These are very cheap. Popular streaming services, e.g. Spotify, do not handle classical well enough for my liking. By chance, I saw an advert for a classical streaming service today: Idagio. It is a little tempting; the reviews are quite good but I don't see the point of paying 10EUR a month to listen to music that I mostly own already. Also, the quality concerns would apply.

    I hope that the format does not matter. I expect that I could convert if necessary. In the worst case, I could rip them again but that would be a huge nuisance.
     
  18. Steven

    Steven
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    I agree use playlists or else buy a DAP that supports folder view*, which means you have pre-organised music into a folder structure.

    *which is pretty much everyone far as I know
     
  19. scarty16

    scarty16
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    you could just load all the files onto google play music
     
  20. jwlawler

    jwlawler
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    That may be useful and interesting but I would need an Internet connection to use it. I'd like to avoid that.
     
  21. dannnielll

    dannnielll
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    Sean, if you are prepared to live with 128GB tranches ,the S7 will work fine. This allows about 8000 items of music. Even the Sony Android Application Music centre, downloadable from the Playstore will communicate with Itunes libraries and help collate them into the familiar album directory structure,and allow you to transfer them to the phone memory.
    The headphone outlet of the S7 will drive earphones and the inlet port on stereo systems. But better volume and clarity can be achieved using a plug in DAC... I use a Cyrus Soundkey. Unfortunately these add on DACs consume more phone power.
     
  22. jwlawler

    jwlawler
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    Thanks, that's certainly worth trying.

    I would not want to use the headphone out for a high quality connection but I have solved that. The USB OTG that came with the phone and a USB cable allowed me to connect the phone to my Onkyo digital dock. The quality is fine which is why I just need to sort out the software.
     
  23. wongataa

    wongataa
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    Only on Apple computers at the moment and the music side of it is being taken over by the Music application.
     
  24. stevelup

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    Indeed, all they've done on the Mac is split up all the stuff that used to be in iTunes into separate apps. So there's now a Music app, a Podcasts app etc., and you manage your actual devices (backups / firmware updates etc) from Finder.

    The functionality is identical.

    To the OP - if you've already gone to all this trouble of making hundreds of playlists in iTunes, aren't you best just sticking with an Apple device? You're creating an awful lot of work for yourself.
     
  25. scarty16

    scarty16
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    You can stream from google play music, but you can also download the files to your local phone/pad and it will still play them in off-line mode, I use this alot when I am flying.
     
  26. scarty16

    scarty16
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    Not being a fruit based device person, what happens to iTunes servers, now that iTunes is dead? Do they now become part of he Music app?
     
  27. dannnielll

    dannnielll
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    In which case the USB Audio player app is the best buy. ..it is capable of being used partially.. in that its driver to a USB port can be used and bypassing the standard android handler, but the music selection interface can be still another application.
    The number of potential music transfer paths within the Android, PC , Apple worlds is utterly bewildering and fascinating, I even found another last night.. My HK AVR340 .. equivalent to your Onkyo,has a DAC and optical inputs.but no USBs but no laptop does not have optical, but I figured out / remembered how to configure a an external DAC for optical output and use the internal HK DAC.. so happy days
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019 at 12:35 PM
  28. jwlawler

    jwlawler
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    Thanks though finding an app with a selection interface that I like is the challenge.
     

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