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1463 posts

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  #2480379 10-May-2020 11:36
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I just listen to Youtube Music these days.

 

for me, music comes down to the way the producer mixed it.  I find a lot of pop music is usually full of symbols and drums with a lot of space, or little width.

 

Examples are Tailor Swift - Me, Gwen Stefani - Rich Girl ft. Eve

 


When I listen to rock music I like to be able to follow the instruments and in classical music I more like to here the noise of the string or reverb on the percussion.

 

Example are Kate Melua - Secret Symphony (orchestra), the Eagles - Hotel California (Acustic), AC/DC Thunderstruck (And the Steve n Seagulls live version).

 

 

 

 

 

 





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Master Geek


  #2480625 10-May-2020 16:16
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Am certainly no expert & also nil experience of Sonos/Tidal/Spotify etc but, w/these beginnings and reproduction gear, w/out a proper listening room, unless you've a youthful & superbly trained ear, you likely wouldn't notice a great difference* between between (for example) iTunes ripped files and more roomy files of larger size ripped w/a specialised program that performs correcting whatnot etc etc.. 

 

Setups using Spotify/Tidal/youtube/computer/cellphone/tablet/Bluetooth/Wi-Fi/SONOS etc are not 'Hi-Fidelity' setups, you aren't starting w/a detailed source or passing signal over quality interconnects, no gear subsequent can replace a detailed source (say a quality recording on vinyl) followed by costly interconnects/amplification/cabinets etc etc 

 

The variety of free music available online is truly extensive and offered in a variety of file types/sizes… someone already said as much, dl music you want to listen to, cancel subscriptions, put the savings towards audio equipment upgrades :)

 

Again like someone said, an essential idea is listening to familiar music in high vs low density forms over your setup, see what difference* (if any) you notice with your gear, ear & environment, tell us the results.

 

With real Hi-Fi, 'there is no end’.

 

 

 

1024kb: @harlansmart - your opinion please. This guy has high end sound gear to die for.





 

 


 
 
 
 


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  #2480673 10-May-2020 16:45
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Just like the comment of the best camera is the one in your hand, (phone vrs the SLR which is at home), for me music is similar, a reduced quality signal being enjoyed on a regular basis as you walk around, drive around bringing a smile to your face probably beats a perfect signal enjoyed in perfect conditions on amazing gear which is rarely achieved because of chaos of kids work etc.

At the end of the day its whatever makes you happy

2273 posts

Uber Geek


  #2480676 10-May-2020 16:51
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I like Spotify the best, What helps is it is the most widely used, so for sharing/viewing your friends playlists it's quite handy. Also the playlists Spotify creates for you like "release radar, "discover weekly" "your daily mix" ETC are awesome. Apple Music had some similar stuff but just didn't do it for me. Spotify also has the extreme quality setting which is 320kbps which is more than good enough for most people.


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  #2481221 11-May-2020 15:01
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I think it's easy to get locked in to a provider.  I used Google Play Music free trial, cancelled then went to Spotify and just couldn't be bothered changing.  Ended up with a "family" subscription to Play Music with YT Premium, then gradually shifted over to YT Music. YT and Play music have a "quality" setting "Low", "Normal" and "High" (48/128/256), default is 128kbps AAC. The setting seems to be per device (not by account), my phone is set to normal though I could set to high when on Wifi and save bandwidth by using normal or low on the mobile network.  At home it's set to high on HTPC.

 

As for audio quality differences.  Blind testing seems to confirm the "golden ears of delusion" theory.  I know that I can in some circumstances hear a difference between a well encoded 128kbs MP3 and an uncompressed or losslessly compressed file - but in terms of what sounded best, I've selected the lossy 128kbs MP3 multiple times on some re-randomised music samples. Oof.

 

It reminds me a bit of image compression with raw camera files.  I know that I can use lossless or lossy compression, and that at the extremes of post-processing then a difference can be shown, but it's never going to be the difference between a good photo and a crappy one.  Yet I use lossless compression anyway.

 

 


251 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2481323 11-May-2020 15:28
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Fred99:

 

I think it's easy to get locked in to a provider.  I used Google Play Music free trial, cancelled then went to Spotify and just couldn't be bothered changing.  Ended up with a "family" subscription to Play Music with YT Premium, then gradually shifted over to YT Music. YT and Play music have a "quality" setting "Low", "Normal" and "High" (48/128/256), default is 128kbps AAC. The setting seems to be per device (not by account), my phone is set to normal though I could set to high when on Wifi and save bandwidth by using normal or low on the mobile network.  At home it's set to high on HTPC.

 

 

I followed a somewhat similar trend; starting on a Spotify trial, shifting to Tidal on a student deal, and now with YT Premium for $3 a month. Considering the fact that I only listen to music through a pair of Sennheiser HD380 pros, I don't think overall audio quality will affect me too much. 

 

Re: OP & Sonos Playbase, I guess choose another streaming company or lower Tidal audio quality, and see if you notice any difference? 


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  #2481329 11-May-2020 15:36
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I have used Spotify, Google Music and Apple Music. I have stuck with Apple out of the 3 because of a. All my devices are apple so it "just works" and b. you can upload your own music to fill in any gaps in their catalogue. That second feature was a selling point for Google Music when I first started using it but I believe that feature isn't available any longer.

 

Audio quality is pretty much the same across all the services with the way I listen - BT headphones, Apple TV via HT system and in-wall speakers or Homepod.





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My thoughts are my own and are in no way representative of my employer.


 
 
 
 




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  #2481400 11-May-2020 17:27
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Wakrak:

 

Re: OP & Sonos Playbase, I guess choose another streaming company or lower Tidal audio quality, and see if you notice any difference? 

 

 

Like Geekiegeek, I chose Apple Music because I've used it in the past and I have other Apple products.

 

So far I haven't noticed any difference in the sound quality with my equipment so I'm pretty happy with the result. Thanks again to everyone who commented.


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  #2481418 11-May-2020 17:52
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The biggest issue with lossy IME is when then sending it over more lossy - like bluetooth. Between tidal hifi and spotify in the car - night and day difference on some tracks, hard to tell on other. Over a 3.5mm cable, and when the phone isnt on charge (since that makes a ground loop) - sounds better all round and cant really tell any difference between spotify and tidal hifi.

 

Same with the headphones. When in SBC mode for stability (that is, sounds like crap) my sonys will let me clearly hear more problems on the lossy stuff compared to tidal. Change to apt-x and its not something that stands out. The middle option of less crappy SBC and its not that easy to tell, but some tracks to get that dreaded mechanical sparkle noise on spotify that isnt there on tidal.

 

Perhaps if I was to do a long time ABX testing it I could tell the difference when in the quality mode, but I aint got time for that, apt-x and spotify sounds good enough to me.





Richard rich.ms

959 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2481621 12-May-2020 06:45
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Wakrak:

followed a somewhat similar trend; starting on a Spotify trial, shifting to Tidal on a student deal, and now with YT Premium for $3 a month. Considering the fact that I only listen to music through a pair of Sennheiser HD380 pros, I don't think overall audio quality will affect me too much. 


Re: OP & Sonos Playbase, I guess choose another streaming company or lower Tidal audio quality, and see if you notice any difference? 



Is that what it costs normally? $3? I've been using Google music for a long time which includes YouTube premium, and it's about $10 per month.

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  #2481688 12-May-2020 09:25
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I made this point about streaming video services recently, that you shouldn't be afraid to vote with your wallet and do the ole' switch-and-ditch with some of these services as needed or wanted. I think for most people, the quality of the files will be much less of a concern than convenience of use, UX, certain features, and availability of artists.

 

I recently switched from Spotify to Tidal on a 4 months of Hi-Fi Family plan for $6 deal, and I must admit, I am preferring Tidal. Spotify's mobile app is flaky and their approach to UX seems to involve a wall, some spaghetti, and a monkey. On the other hand, Spotify does have better playlists and search functions though. Musically, can I actually hear a difference? Maybe, maybe not, but at the end of the day, I have enjoyed listening to Tidal more than Spotify. When the trial ends, maybe I will stick with Tidal, or maybe I will give Amazon HD a try, not sure yet.

 

To the lossy vs lossless point; if you can't hear a difference on YOUR gear with YOUR ears, then it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. And vice versa, music listening is such a personalized thing. And like any personalized experience, it needs a bit of room for experimentation to dial it in to your preferences. I definitely agree that it's far more likely that your gear will likely have a greater effect on sound reproduction than minor differences between a well-mastered lossy vs lossless source, digitally streaming or otherwise. All gear adds coloration: some desirable (turntables, tube amps), some not-desirable (low-bitrate transports, low quality DACs, amps, speakers etc). One thing is for sure, high quality gear has a much lower bar for entry than previously.


5735 posts

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  #2481701 12-May-2020 09:37
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One tip.  Don't download anything that has been 're-mastered' since MP3 has become mainstream.  Chances are sound quality has been sacrificed in favour of  a wall of noise.  The original recording is generally better.





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  #2481705 12-May-2020 09:41
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You can squarely lay the blame for that with Europe and their absurdly low output limits on portable music players meaning that any old masters of things will litterally not be able to be heard when on a noisy public transport or similar. The low volume gets complaints and artists have to release the remasters to let people hear it.

 

At least it has driven the market for portable headphone amplifiers, something that wouldn't be needed if the union of ruining everything hadn't done its thing.





Richard rich.ms

704 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2481732 12-May-2020 10:08
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MikeAqua:

One tip.  Don't download anything that has been 're-mastered' since MP3 has become mainstream.  Chances are sound quality has been sacrificed in favour of  a wall of noise.  The original recording is generally better.



I'd argue that the 2009 Beatles remasters are incredible.

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  #2481736 12-May-2020 10:18
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MikeAqua:

 

One tip.  Don't download anything that has been 're-mastered' since MP3 has become mainstream.  Chances are sound quality has been sacrificed in favour of  a wall of noise.  The original recording is generally better.

 

 

I think they have gotten better in the last decade after the loudness wars of the 90s-00s. Remasters from that period seem to be a mixed bag.


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