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Amazon HiRes reviews

71.203.126.20

Posted on May 5, 2020 at 06:01:07
Victor Khomenko
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Has anyone seen a resource with reviews or recommendations of particular files there?


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    RE: Amazon HiRes reviews, posted on May 5, 2020 at 06:43:06
    PAR
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    " Has anyone seen a resource with reviews or recommendations of particular files there?"

    In general reviews from an audiophile viewpoint have been stymied by the fact that the dedicated downloadable player apps from Amazon have no provision to allow the opening of exclusive sessions (e.g. WASAPI etc.). Therefore unless the format resolution configured in the computer's sound mixer fortuitously matches that of the file being streamed a bit perfect stream will not be sent to the DAC, only one that has been up or downsampled by the computer mixer.

    However hardware players incorporating HEOS (Denon, Marantz) appear to allow the opening of exclusive sessions when streaming from this source.

    "We need less, but better" - Dieter Rams

     

    RE: Amazon HiRes reviews, posted on May 5, 2020 at 20:52:07
    niws
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    I'm only in the 2nd week of a 3 month free trial with Amazon HD so I haven't spent a lot of time with it. Streaming is not my primary source for critical listening.
    Amazon's idea of "HD" is streaming at 44k. What they label as "Ultra HD" is either 98k or 192k.
    My totally subjective opinion so far is that the sound quality is a mixed bag. None of the tracks on Amazon sound better than my ripped versions on my hard drive played through JRiver upsampled to 192k. I thought that some of the HD tracks on Amazon were fatiguing to listen to.
    Amazon does sound a little better than Spotify, but that's not saying much. I don't like the fact that Amazon does not seem to work with Chromecast.

     

    RE: Amazon HiRes reviews, posted on May 7, 2020 at 12:13:48
    Victor Khomenko
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    Thank you so much! I already played some files, and a couple sounded fantastic, for instance B B King's "The Thrill is Gone" in 192.

    Problem is - there is no search mechanism to find such files, so I was curious if someone had recommendations.

    From what I know Qobuz is superior in terms of their offerings, and they recently reduced their price, so I am going to check it out too.



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  • RE: Amazon HiRes reviews, posted on May 7, 2020 at 14:11:32
    Kal Rubinson
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    And Qobuz is more equipment knowledgeable/friendly so you can get better sound more easily.

     

    RE: Amazon HiRes reviews, posted on May 7, 2020 at 20:56:41
    niws
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    The ultra hd albums I have listened to so far are America/America, Moody Blues/Days of Future Passed, Simon & Garfunkel/Sounds of Silence and Yes/Fragile. I thought all of them sounded good, especially the America. The Yes had good clarity but sounded a little thin.

     

    Thank you guys, I subscribed, posted on May 8, 2020 at 11:18:39
    Victor Khomenko
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    Will try it tonight.

    Last night I did a test tape of 192K files from Amazon, have not listened to it yet, though. Tape is 2-track, 15ips.


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  • RE: Thank you guys, I subscribed, posted on May 8, 2020 at 14:22:56
    Kal Rubinson
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    Note that Qobuz will likely recognize any/all DACs you have, so there is fun and madness to be had.

     

    First results, posted on May 8, 2020 at 15:47:01
    Victor Khomenko
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    It is working very well, I like the interface and the broad selection, but... so far I have not been able to find and play any 192K files. All HD files that I tried there so far played at just 96K.

    Just to verify that I am still sane and my system is working, I go back to the Amazon files I played previously, and they switched, very nicely, into 192K.

    What gives?

    Is it possible that while I am in the free trial I am limited to 96K, perhaps?


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  • There isn't much but............................., posted on May 8, 2020 at 17:30:30
    Kal Rubinson
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    I do get 192 and multichannel.

     

    You'd mentioned MCh before - how do you get it on Qobuz? [nt], posted on May 8, 2020 at 20:33:03
    Chris from Lafayette
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    How do you play multichannel on Qobuz? , posted on May 9, 2020 at 08:00:19
    Kal Rubinson
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    You cannot do so directly but..................

    Use the Qobuz PC app (not Roon!) and search for "5.1" (or "multichannel" or "surround"). Unfortunately, they will play only as stereo in Qobuz.

    However, if you flag them as favorites in Qobuz, they will also appear as favorites when you access Qobuz favorites within Roon and, with suitable connected equipment, they will play in 5.1.

     

    RE: How do you play multichannel on Qobuz? , posted on May 9, 2020 at 09:01:45
    pbarach
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    So you need Roon to play streamed MCh files on Qobuz?

     

    Yes, for now., posted on May 9, 2020 at 09:56:23
    Kal Rubinson
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    Qobuz says that they can do it and will but it is now only on their to-do list.

     

    RE: First results, posted on May 9, 2020 at 10:16:13
    PAR
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    " Just to verify that I am still sane and my system is working, I go back to the Amazon files I played previously, and they switched, very nicely, into 192K."

    Did you read my earlier posting about Amazon, the lack of ability to open exclusive sessions and therefore that the files will be up or downsampled to the resolution set in your computer's sound engine? So if I am correct and you are using a mac or Windows computer to play Amazon HD via the downloaded desktop player or via a browser player you will be seeing 192 KS/s of files that are originally 96 KS/s because you are upsampling (or unknowingly upsampling) and that figure is what will be displayed by your DAC. Check whether the Windows Sound mixer or the mac MIDI player is set to 24/192.

    If a file is only available as 24/96 on Qobuz then that is almost certainly the maximum resolution that the record label has supplied to Qobuz and the maximum resolution that there is. Qobuz do not use any form of DSP to alter the FLAC resolution.

    The reason that you will not find many files @ 192 is that not many exist. It is not a common mastering format and as hi-res files go the majority are 24/96. However particularly in the rock/pop field there are also many 24/88.2 and even more 24/44.1 files. I speculate that this is because 24/192 multi-track recorders are uncommon at this time. Most of the 24/192 files that i have encountered on Qobuz seem to be re-digitised analogue recordings from the UMG catalogue ( particularly DGG).


    "We need less, but better" - Dieter Rams

     

    Wow! How weird is that? Thanks so much!, posted on May 9, 2020 at 11:08:04
    Chris from Lafayette
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    I don't have Roon, but I may give it a try with the Qobuz app and Audirvana using your "methodology". How did you ever figure this out? ;-)

     

    RE: Wow! How weird is that? Thanks so much!, posted on May 9, 2020 at 15:28:23
    Kal Rubinson
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    I just tried it.

     

    Not having much success so far - stumped at the search, posted on May 9, 2020 at 20:09:13
    Chris from Lafayette
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    I wonder if the search function of the Qobuz app on Windows is more capable than the same function of the Qobuz app on the Mac. I tried the terms you suggested ("5.1", "multichannel" "Surround"), and the results returned were albums which had those terms in their album titles - not in their meta information. When you do a search, do the resulting albums show as 5.1 or multichannel in their metadata, as opposed to 2.0 or stereo (while you're still in the Qobuz app)? I seem to remember during my very first days of usage of Qobuz (maybe even during my trial period) that I would see some multichannel file listings from within the app, but, as you say, the app itself does not have the capability to playback more than 2.0 channels. But I have not seen these files for quite some time (over a year), and I never seem to run into them anymore, even while doing aimless browsing.

    BTW, full marks to you for successful experimentation to uncover this secret in the first place! ;-)

     

    RE: Not having much success so far - stumped at the search, posted on May 10, 2020 at 05:57:53
    Kal Rubinson
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    Here's a screen grab.

     

    Thanks!, posted on May 10, 2020 at 10:16:48
    Chris from Lafayette
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    RE: Amazon HiRes reviews, posted on May 10, 2020 at 11:13:05
    AbeCollins
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    "The Yes had good clarity but sounded a little thin."

    "Yes" always seems to sound thin to me played from vinyl, my CD's, or streaming. I'm not sure if it's just me but their recordings always seem thin sounding to my ears.




     

    YES!! The MCh playback off of Qobuz works with Audirvana too!, posted on May 10, 2020 at 21:30:37
    Chris from Lafayette
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    Kal - you're a genius! ;-)

    HOWEVER, I've tried excerpts from four albums so far:

    • The CPE Bach Cello Concertos with Ophelie Gaillard (5.1)
    • The Brahms Cello Sonatas, also with Ophelie Gaillard (5.1)
    • The Ravel album with Vanessa Wagner (5.1)
    • The Liszt Transcendental Etudes with Daniel Wayenberg (5.0)

    All of the 5.1 albums seem to send the center channel stream to the subwoofer, with the center channel itself remaining silent - at least on my system. The Liszt Etudes album in 5.0 seems to play properly though all five channels (excluding the subwoofer of course).

    So, even aside from the misrouted channels on the 5.1 albums (once again, at least on my set-up), this is a very exciting development indeed! The only other comment I'd make is that the selection of MCh-capable albums seems to be limited at this point - nothing from Chandos, BIS, Audite, and the other usual MCh suspects. ;-)

    Anyway, thanks again for the helpful hint as to how to get MCh going via Qobuz!

     

    RE: First results, posted on May 11, 2020 at 05:00:09
    Victor Khomenko
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    Thank you for your advice! In my case it turned out to be much simpler - those files were not 192. I was finally able to find one 192 album, they seem to be indeed quite rare at Qobuz. Otherwise it plays nicely the 192 files both from Amazon and Qobuz. The really nice one was Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges: Back to Back. Wonderful sound.


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  • Center channel streams to the subwoofer?, posted on May 11, 2020 at 05:33:39
    Kal Rubinson
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    Very strange. I am wondering how that can happen. Typically, the channel format is: Lf, Rf, C, LFE, Ls, Rs and it should play as predicted. Often, when playing a 5.0 recording without an LFE source, a player can fail to recognise this format (some older Oppo players are in this category) and, while the front three are OK, the Ls plays to the Sub, the Rs plays to the Ls speaker and the Rs speaker is silent.

    I cannot understand what is happening too you. I will try those files later today.

     

    Yes - the 5.0 format album seems to play OK, posted on May 11, 2020 at 07:55:09
    Chris from Lafayette
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    I'll try some additional titles myself later today (much later because of our cat's eye appointment). Thanks again for looking into this!

    EDIT: Please check my post below for additional info.

     

    RE: Yes - the 5.0 format album seems to play OK, posted on May 11, 2020 at 08:03:40
    Chris from Lafayette
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    I once had a download from Chandos wherein the center channel output went to the subwoofer (similar to the problem I'm having with the 5.1 files I've tried so far with Qobuz). I contacted Chandos about this, and they actually acknowledged the problem and corrected their file, and I was later able to download a problem-free file (of the same album) from them (i.e., with the right outputs going to the right channels). So, in my experience, this kind of thing has been known to happen before.

     

    Aha!, posted on May 11, 2020 at 10:01:11
    Kal Rubinson
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    1. I do not think that anything is wrong at your end or with Qobuz/Roon. I had not previously listened to any of the 4 items you list except for the Wayenberg/Liszt and I began by confirming that was OK.

    2. I checked the other three and, at first, I thought that your description was correct but I do not think so now. If I held my ear to my center speaker with each one of them, I can heard than the channel is not mute/empty but, rather, very low in level and conveying only ambience rather than instrument sound. I have come across this before in some SACDs where the all the instrumental sound is on the two "stereo" channels and there is only ambiance on the center and surrounds.

    3. I checked this out with some of the other 5.1 albums on Qobuz/Roon and they either played with full frontal (L/C/R) sound or they had only "ghostly" ambiance from the center.

    4. FWIW, if there was a channel missing, the order would be shifted up, not down. A missing center feed would put LFE in the center speaker. A missing LFE would put Ls in the sub.

    Let me know if you can hear this. Are you really getting a center signal in the sub or are you just getting the LFE signal?

     

    Interesting - I'll try it again with my ear near the center channel, posted on May 11, 2020 at 16:01:29
    Chris from Lafayette
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    It's possible that I had the overall volume at too low a level. However, I could swear that what's coming out of the subwoofer extends too high in frequency to be an actual subwoofer signal (again, kind of like what I heard on that one Chandos download which turned out to be an actual mistake on their part), although OTOH the frequencies do seem to go down quite low too. In any case, I'll do some more experimentation. Thanks again for your help - I really appreciate your efforts and ability to replicate what I was hearing.

     

    Well! That was fast! Yes - I'm getting a center channel signal, posted on May 11, 2020 at 16:33:47
    Chris from Lafayette
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    This is on the basis of one album (the CPE Bach Cello Concertos - I'm sure the other two will be the same): I resorted to the simple expedient of turning off all the other amplifiers except for the center one, and, sure enough, there WAS a signal in the center channel. (Yeay!)

    However (there's always a however!), what I hear is unlike any other center channel signal I've ever heard before on a MCh recording: it sounds as if everything is way off mike (or, indeed, as if it's some kind of ambiance signal, more suitable for a surround channel). It still doesn't sound right to me.

     

    RE: Well! That was fast! , posted on May 11, 2020 at 17:09:36
    Kal Rubinson
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    Of course, it's not what you expected but, as I say, I have come across a few SACDs just like that. See link for an example of one of my favorite SACDs. There's nothing in that "center" channel but for some ambiance.

     

    I'll try to check out that other album - Thanks again for your help! [nt], posted on May 11, 2020 at 17:21:22
    Chris from Lafayette
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    Great SACD. Didn't know it existed, the "old" one with Paniagua on Harmonia Mundi has always been a favorite., posted on May 12, 2020 at 06:48:47
    jdaniel@jps.net
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    : )

     

    Here's another favorite., posted on May 12, 2020 at 07:19:43
    Kal Rubinson
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    I love this CD but, especially, the last track, "Mozart The Gypsy & Mozart SÓrba," a rip-roaring take on Mozart's Violin Concerto in A major K219.

     

    AmbiEnce, gentlemen. Please! lol nt, posted on May 12, 2020 at 07:41:01
    Tom
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    Here's a demonstration of this., posted on May 12, 2020 at 13:20:50
    Kal Rubinson
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    Interesting, no?

     

    I've got that Karajan Mozart Requiem on DVD-Audio, posted on May 13, 2020 at 00:31:50
    Chris from Lafayette
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    Looks like it's time for another listen! ;-)

     

    And..., posted on May 13, 2020 at 07:07:57
    Victor Khomenko
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    It seems they are increasing their 192 presence.

    I can swear some albums that earlier played at 96 now play at 192.


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