CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

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sal paradise
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CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

Post by sal paradise » Wed Sep 21, 2022 6:22 am

Ok, hyperbolic title. I’m angry at the lack of Spotify hifi, and with the announcement of audiobooks today we can only assume it’s more or less shelved.

I was all set to buy a nice DAC for my stereo & bask in barely perceptible improvements to the audio quality.

So, I keep coming back to thinking about different companies. The only problem is that I’ve used Spotify since the day it launched. I’m so wedded to their layouts that anything else is just painful.

Amazon is a straight no with the most hideous app I’ve seen in a long time. Apple Music’s search & the way albums are collected doesn’t work for me…

What do you use? Anything with a free trial period would be ace.

Having the DAC would let me use other downloads from vinyl & bandcamp etc, so that’s a nice bonus.

P.S. I know steaming companies don’t pay artists fairly
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Re: CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

Post by mbene085 » Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:03 am

I subscribed to Tidal for a year. They have the highest quality streams I'm aware of - for certain labels, they even have access to 24 bit/96 kHz masters, and CD quality lossless streaming for the rest.

It's as good a digital listening experience as I think you can find.
I was all set to buy a nice DAC for my stereo & bask in barely perceptible improvements to the audio quality.
Yeah, at this point, most people's rooms are the limiting factor when it comes to hi-fi. The source material is great, the price/performance of modern DACs, amps and speakers is great, and then it all falls apart when things start bouncing off walls in their actual home.

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Re: CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

Post by panoramic » Wed Sep 21, 2022 8:45 am

I use spotify and amazon, i agree amazon is just a garbage pile. I am so far from listening to digital at home though so I am not exactly upset about these issues as it's usually only used in my car at high volumes. At home i still listen to vinyl and cd's
i used to be cool

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Re: CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

Post by sal paradise » Wed Sep 21, 2022 10:52 am

mbene085 wrote:
Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:03 am
I subscribed to Tidal for a year. They have the highest quality streams I'm aware of - for certain labels, they even have access to 24 bit/96 kHz masters, and CD quality lossless streaming for the rest.

It's as good a digital listening experience as I think you can find.
What’s the app like to use?

I’m not really worried about lossless, cd quality is good enough for me. That said, I’ve always wondered what tidal is like.
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Re: CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

Post by sal paradise » Wed Sep 21, 2022 10:54 am

panoramic wrote:
Wed Sep 21, 2022 8:45 am
I use spotify and amazon, i agree amazon is just a garbage pile. I am so far from listening to digital at home though so I am not exactly upset about these issues as it's usually only used in my car at high volumes. At home i still listen to vinyl and cd's
That sounds fun. Makes me miss having a car.

I tried using Apple Music just for the CD quality streams, but even that annoyed me. And would have been prohibitively expensive for the amount of hours I really clock up streaming via the hifi.
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Re: CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

Post by tdksa90 » Wed Sep 21, 2022 1:26 pm

Give Qobuz a try. I've been using that integrated with Roon, playing back via Raspberry Pi with a good DAC.

I stayed away from Tidal because of their MQA format.
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Re: CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

Post by mbene085 » Wed Sep 21, 2022 1:46 pm

sal paradise wrote:
Wed Sep 21, 2022 10:52 am
What’s the app like to use?

I’m not really worried about lossless, cd quality is good enough for me. That said, I’ve always wondered what tidal is like.
I found it decent to use, but I don't know if my use case would be the same as yours. I used it exclusively on my computer that's connected to my monitors.

I didn't use it on my phone or in my living room, so for all i know there might be features I never used or never noticed were missing.

The quality was great though, and that was my primary concern. I was using it to audition reference material and for educational purposes (critiquing mixes, etc).

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Re: CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

Post by marqueemoon » Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:00 pm

Spotify sounds like hot garbage. Hot garbage is ok in the car or walking the dog but on a good system, nope.

It was so depressing hearing how Spotify crapped all over them after listening to the 24/96 masters of my band’s EP.

I will be watching this thread with interest.

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Re: CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

Post by mbene085 » Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:38 pm

marqueemoon wrote:
Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:00 pm
Spotify sounds like hot garbage. Hot garbage is ok in the car or walking the dog but on a good system, nope.

It was so depressing hearing how Spotify crapped all over them after listening to the 24/96 masters of my band’s EP.

I will be watching this thread with interest.
Two thoughts.

1) Did your mastering engineer prepare a file specifically for Spotify? Their normalization algorithm can be very unflattering, particularly if it's fed too hot of a master.

2) You should give Tidal a shot. I don't care about quality if I'm listening on wireless earbuds while gardening or working out, but on nice monitors there's definitely no comparison, Tidal sounded great and Spotify...is Spotify.

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Re: CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

Post by marqueemoon » Wed Sep 21, 2022 5:11 pm

mbene085 wrote:
Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:38 pm
marqueemoon wrote:
Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:00 pm
Spotify sounds like hot garbage. Hot garbage is ok in the car or walking the dog but on a good system, nope.

It was so depressing hearing how Spotify crapped all over them after listening to the 24/96 masters of my band’s EP.

I will be watching this thread with interest.
Two thoughts.

1) Did your mastering engineer prepare a file specifically for Spotify? Their normalization algorithm can be very unflattering, particularly if it's fed too hot of a master.

2) You should give Tidal a shot. I don't care about quality if I'm listening on wireless earbuds while gardening or working out, but on nice monitors there's definitely no comparison, Tidal sounded great and Spotify...is Spotify.
I believe they did. It’s a professional mastering house and that was part of the conversation from the beginning. It’s mainly the subtle details that don’t come across right.

I’ve made other music that’s on Spotify where its drawbacks are less apparent because it’s mixed in a more heavy handed way.

I’ll do a little more looking into Tidal.

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Re: CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

Post by andy_tchp » Wed Sep 21, 2022 5:31 pm

sal paradise wrote:
Wed Sep 21, 2022 6:22 am
Having the DAC would let me use other downloads from vinyl & bandcamp etc, so that’s a nice bonus.

P.S. I know steaming companies don’t pay artists fairly
FLAC files.

Fuck all of the streaming services.
"I don't know why we asked him to join the band 'cause the rest of us don't like country music all that much; we just like Graham Lee."
David McComb, 1987.

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Re: CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

Post by marqueemoon » Wed Sep 21, 2022 6:26 pm

I have FLAC files of a few Bandcamp purchases. Very impressed based on that limited experience.

I think Gen X is in a weird place with this stuff.

I’ve seen multiple physical formats rise and fall, ripped my CD collection twice, etc…

I really don’t trust anything at this point and many of my favorite artists and albums are not on streaming services and may never be.

I know what good vinyl playback sounds like and know I can’t afford that, and it all seems pretty fussy like being into elaborate bongs or something.

Anyway, carry on.

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Re: CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

Post by sal paradise » Wed Sep 21, 2022 9:07 pm

marqueemoon wrote:
Wed Sep 21, 2022 5:11 pm
mbene085 wrote:
Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:38 pm
marqueemoon wrote:
Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:00 pm
Spotify sounds like hot garbage. Hot garbage is ok in the car or walking the dog but on a good system, nope.

It was so depressing hearing how Spotify crapped all over them after listening to the 24/96 masters of my band’s EP.

I will be watching this thread with interest.
Two thoughts.

1) Did your mastering engineer prepare a file specifically for Spotify? Their normalization algorithm can be very unflattering, particularly if it's fed too hot of a master.

2) You should give Tidal a shot. I don't care about quality if I'm listening on wireless earbuds while gardening or working out, but on nice monitors there's definitely no comparison, Tidal sounded great and Spotify...is Spotify.
I believe they did. It’s a professional mastering house and that was part of the conversation from the beginning. It’s mainly the subtle details that don’t come across right.

I’ve made other music that’s on Spotify where its drawbacks are less apparent because it’s mixed in a more heavy handed way.

I’ll do a little more looking into Tidal.
Silly question- have you changed Spotify settings to play at highest quality?
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Re: CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

Post by sal paradise » Wed Sep 21, 2022 9:08 pm

tdksa90 wrote:
Wed Sep 21, 2022 1:26 pm
Give Qobuz a try. I've been using that integrated with Roon, playing back via Raspberry Pi with a good DAC.
Not heard of Qobuz- looks interesting. Thanks!
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Re: CD quality/lossless streaming & good UX- does it exist?

Post by MatthewK » Thu Sep 22, 2022 4:43 am

I talked about my rig on the other thread but I feed lossless from a Mac Mini to a dedicated DAC via optical, I think it's putting out 24/192 even on an old 2010 machine via iTunes (which I can run remotely from my phone, iPad, laptop etc). I think it's possible to stream from Apple Music but I don't stream - it has my CD collection ripped (a thousand-ish discs, I'm old) plus a bunch of MP3s from old sources, and also a few hundred purchases from Bandcamp. BC allows download in ALAC (lossless) which iTunes will play without blinking. It sounds excellent (and believe me, I care).

I wouldn't piss on Spotify if they were on fire, they gouge and swindle creative artists and leverage their market position to obligate artists to accept their shitty deals for the sake of exposure / findability. I'm sure there are behind the scenes issues and/or label/artist inequities happening through Bandcamp too, but I've heard artists compare the paydays they get from Spotify and Bandcamp, often a single BC Friday will dwarf a year's Spotify income. So that's where I spend my music buying money, and they give me DRM free lossless files. I can even chip in a couple of bucks on top of a purchase.

Oh, I forgot, you can stream your Bandcamp purchases too. And listen to unpurchased music although the streaming has to be manually controlled.

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