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Primephonic launched a new, classical only, streaming service in the USA and UK on 14th. It offers CD quality plus downloads. They assert that the platform has been specifically developed for classical music . At circa $15 a month (I expect that becomes 15 gbp), it does look attractive and I will try the free trial period at least.
As I listen to music other than classical now and again I will stick with Qobuz (or maybe Qobuz Sublime+ in the next couple of days). However I have to say that Primephonic initially looks like a more attractive proposition for a second service for me to subscribe to rather than Tidal.
Well, I've played around with this new service, including some back-and-forth with Customer Support, and this is what I've discovered:
If you sign up and create an account, you can listen to full albums uninterrupted. They do not ask for any payment information during the sign up, so I'm guessing that pitch comes when your 30 days are up.
So far they just have the browser engine. I used Chrome (sorry, Ivan) for my tests. First, the navigation is a little slow, but not bad. I did a couple of searches and the results seemed reasonable. I did determine that the playback is not gapless, a real downer for me. I used my reference gapless checker, Noriko Ogawa's Paganini Rhapsody on BIS, for this test. The sound was good. It seemed to be CD-quality.
They do not have apps for either iOS or Android. I asked them about that and was told that the web browser version will play FLAC on Android devices (but not on iOS) and that an iOS app was in development and hopefully will be available "before the end of summer". An android app will therefore be of less urgency.
I tested the web version on Chrome on my Samsung Galaxy Tab A. You may or may not get a warning about being limited to mp3, but press on bravely and select an album/track to play. When the screen for that track comes up, if you press the mp3 button it will change to flac. I listened to the second movement of the new Bruckner Ninth with Muti and Chicago all of the way through using my Oppo HA-2 to bypass the Samsung headphone jack, and it sounded very good. Until there is an iOS app, I won't be able to use my AudioQuest Dragonfly Red or my Chord Mojo to listen because they do not work with my Samsung without going through the USB Audio Player Pro (which does have a Tidal engine), but they do work through the regular apps on iOS.
The gapless thing is a big deal to me. If Apple and Spotify and, most of the time Tidal, can do it, it should be a given with any new entry in the field. Also, I really need an iOS app because that's where I do most of my headphone listening.
..I continue to be unable to get their homepage to load into MS Edge on my dedicated music computer. I am in dialogue with them over this but so far no solution.
That no gapless issue rules it out as a viable medium for anyone who is interested in classical music. As this genre is the service's entire reason for existing then this is a major own goal. It rules it out of consideration. Are you sure that there isn't a setting that allows gapless?
On to what I hope is a more positive note:
" I won't be able to use my AudioQuest Dragonfly Red or my Chord Mojo to listen because they do not work with my Samsung without going through the USB Audio Player Pro"
I know exactly what you mean but have you upgraded your Dragonfly Red to v.1.06? Everyone sees that upgrade as only for MQA rendering. However AQ also say that the upgrade offers " optimizations for use with Android devices."
I did the upgrade and now applications not within USB Audio Player Pro are accesible directly via the USB port (assuming that you have a Dragontail). It means for me that I can now use the Qobuz phone/tablet app and also BBC i-player directly into my Dragonfly. Of course the USB Audio Player Pro has other advantages (DSP etc) but you are no longer limited to using only it with your Dragonfly.
I have sent my comments on the lack of gapless playback to their Customer Service folks. They have usually responded in one day before.
I will check out the Dragonfly Red tonight on my Android tablet. Thanks for the suggestion.
Classics on line had the gapless problem also which they denied
These guys need to get things right before releasing. This site has to many problems before I pursue it. I signed up for the trial and now with the password I established it won't let me in. I hope the new HD Tracks streaming service gets things right
I heard back from Customer Support, and they said they thought they had gapless playback, but it seems their buffering scheme isn't robust enough "on some devices". They say they are working on it now.
So far only Warner classical and Sony. 4 to 6 months to integrate there catalogs. Will have to see what other labels join up
Naxos, PENTATONE, Harmonia Mundi, LSO Live, Channel Classics, BIS, Chandos Records, BR Klassik....
Claim to have a number of other lables but the above is a good start especially if they have all of the minor labels that Naxos handles distribution for.
Yes. And the album tracks might be in the correct sequence on this site.
" So far only Warner classical and Sony."
They have more labels than that as they launched with 100,000 songs. Though the use of the term " songs" in itself is not encouraging for a classical only medium. I hope that is down to Billboard and not Primephonic. The article says only that they signed Warner and Sony last week, it doesn't exclude anyone else.
Anyway I have tried to sign up to the free period offer. However their webpage does not appear to load into MS Edge ( the only browser on my dedicated music computer). So not a positive first impression.
. . . although plain old CD resolution seems like such a come down these days! -)
Chris, I will take a look also and see how it sounds. Plain old cd resolution can be really good with a ladder dac
I got onto the site. Lots of labels but in a quick check many labels have very few albums. For example went to Reference Recordings and the have a total of 5 albums. Will continue to explore. Sound is ok but hard to tell because the trial only plays short samples
" hard to tell because the trial only plays short samples"
Thanks for that Alan. Puts me completely off trying it especaily given the continuing intermittent difficulty of getting their site to load into MS Edge.
Another phrase I like is "middle class tragedy" :)
BTW - did you mean to respond to my post a bit further down, rather than here? ;-)
Just another first world problem.
Ain't life a bee-atch?
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