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Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?

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Joe Offer 17 Jun 23 - 10:25 PM
Stilly River Sage 17 Jun 23 - 11:54 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 Jun 23 - 01:03 AM
gillymor 18 Jun 23 - 07:59 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Jun 23 - 09:54 AM
MaJoC the Filk 18 Jun 23 - 09:58 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Jun 23 - 10:13 AM
Reinhard 18 Jun 23 - 10:31 AM
Stilly River Sage 18 Jun 23 - 11:02 AM
Joe Offer 18 Jun 23 - 08:25 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Jun 23 - 11:45 PM
Hagman 19 Jun 23 - 01:39 AM
Zhenya 20 Jun 23 - 03:55 PM
DaveRo 20 Jun 23 - 05:45 PM
DaveRo 21 Jun 23 - 02:13 AM
GUEST,johnmc 21 Jun 23 - 12:14 PM
cnd 21 Jun 23 - 12:18 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Jun 23 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,Rob Mad Jock Wright 27 Jun 23 - 05:43 AM
Joe Offer 29 Jun 23 - 05:57 AM
DaveRo 29 Jun 23 - 07:08 AM
Stilly River Sage 29 Jun 23 - 12:19 PM
DaveRo 29 Jun 23 - 03:13 PM
Hagman 29 Jun 23 - 08:50 PM
DaveRo 30 Jun 23 - 02:25 AM
Joe Offer 30 Jun 23 - 02:36 AM
DaveRo 30 Jun 23 - 02:59 AM
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Subject: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jun 23 - 10:25 PM

I've been using Spotify as my primary music source for a long time - I got an advance membership a couple of years before it was formally introduced in the U.S. I pay for the premium service.
I've noticed lately that the sound quality is often quite poor, especially on classical music. I get much better sound and less interference when I play Amazon music.
Should I be switching to Amazon?
How does the folk music selection on Amazon Unlimited compare to what I'll find on Spotify? Will Amazon Unlimited play on Android Auto?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 17 Jun 23 - 11:54 PM

I use Amazon Prime and sometimes stream the music that I've purchased from Amazon (if I buy an album as mp3 then it keeps a copy for me to listen to online). What I've listened to, generally with earphones, sounds very good. I don't pay for any extra Amazon music services.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Jun 23 - 01:03 AM

I have used Spotify for years too. Can't say that I have noticed any degradation recently but my ears have never been that well tuned!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: gillymor
Date: 18 Jun 23 - 07:59 AM

I run it through my home stereo via an interface and I haven't noticed any drop off in sound quality but it has been doing that "stuck record" thing of late where it repeats a very short phrase for a few seconds which, to me, is only a minor annoyance. At this moment I'm listening to O Give Thanks Unto the Lord: Choral Works by Thomas Tallis and the sound is glorious.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Jun 23 - 09:54 AM

Listening to Leonard Cohen's Sister of Mercy this morning and it was very 'buzzy'. Other stuff sounded OK though.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 18 Jun 23 - 09:58 AM

Mebbe it's that people who upload music aren't as fussy these days about recording quality? or that they can't tell it's awful, as their kit ain't no good?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Jun 23 - 10:13 AM

Going through a playlist called 'Songs to test your headphones' and they are fine. Although I am using a Bluetooth soundbar rather than headphones


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Reinhard
Date: 18 Jun 23 - 10:31 AM

As this playlist is intended for testing, I'd presume Spotify would carefully ensure not to use overcompressed tracks in it...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Jun 23 - 11:02 AM

Most recently I have the Amazon Echo dot connected via a Bluetooth device to the big JVC receiver and speakers. The dot does send a stereo signal so it sounds pretty good. (Often what I have playing there are various SiriusXM channels).


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Jun 23 - 08:25 PM

I'm using a Bose Soundbar 900, and it has excellent sound quality on Amazon music. On Spotify it's mixed, but usually a little noisy and somewhat distorted.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Jun 23 - 11:45 PM

If Bose doesn't sound good then I think you have your answer there. The one thing Bose is famous for (other than sticker shock) is sound quality.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Hagman
Date: 19 Jun 23 - 01:39 AM

According to the Spotify website, the Free web player is AAC 128kbits/s, the Premium is 256.

For Desktop, mobile and tablet, Low is 24, Normal is 96 and High is 160. That's for both Free and Premium.

Premium has a Very High rate of 320.

These are switchable if you don't want to accept the default of Automatic. The web player is fixed.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Zhenya
Date: 20 Jun 23 - 03:55 PM

I’ve used the Amazon Unlimited paid music stream for several years. Since last fall, the service has become very glitchy, and because of that I’ve started a three month free trial with the Spotify premium version. For me, they both have their strong points and weak points.

First of all, there is plenty of traditional music on both services. Amazon seems to have a slightly more comprehensive collection, although I found plenty to listen to on Spotify as well.
On Spotify, I’m able to add my own music that isn’t included in the streaming service. Amazon no longer allows you to do that. I do find that the sound is somewhat better on Amazon, but that Spotify is much more user-friendly, in terms of controls. (Such as adding and deleting tracks to playlists, for example.) I also find that Amazon is very slow to respond in terms of starting music, adding things to playlists, etc. whereas Spotify usually responds immediately.

For me, the suggested music selections have been much better on Spotify that on Amazon. On Amazon, while I’m listening to a folk music album, I will get a recommendation for something like rap. On Spotify, after I added two albums of traditional French Canadian music to my library, I then got a suggested playlist, consisting completely of traditional French Canadian selections. I was familiar with most of the artists and several of the tracks, and it was a very good playlist for me in terms of my taste. Just one example, of course but the Spotify suggested playlists have been consistently good.

As of now, I am planning to keep Spotify after the free trial, assuming nothing changes on that service. I have an annual plan with Amazon until November and I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do with that. There have been many problems in the last six months with shuffle play and with voice commands not working. On two occasions, I went to delete one track from a playlist. The app froze, and when it unfroze, the entire rest of the playlist had been deleted. These are just some of the problems. I’ve had using the Amazon service over the last six months. It’s this frustration with the technical aspects of using Amazon that might lead me to drop the service.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: DaveRo
Date: 20 Jun 23 - 05:45 PM

Zhenya: thanks for that comprehensive reply. I've been considering Spotify.

Joe: what device are you streaming with, and how does the sound reach the Bose soundbar?

You may not be getting the Premium quality you're paying for, and it may be reduced in transmission - eg by bluetooth.

Anybody use Naxos Music Library for classical?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: DaveRo
Date: 21 Jun 23 - 02:13 AM

Maybe Spotify are softening you up for this:
Spotify Plans New Premium Tier, Expected To Include HiFi Audio

When Sky TV in the UK started pushing High Definition TV they degraded the quality of 'Standard' definition. My wife noticed: she watches football on Sky Sport and could no longer recognise the players. So we had to get a Sky+ HD box.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: GUEST,johnmc
Date: 21 Jun 23 - 12:14 PM

As an aside, I have given up streaming classical music for playing on speakers through the hi fi: CD sound quality seems better, with more volume.
I also heard that the older CD players have better "mechanical" components and that
helps.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: cnd
Date: 21 Jun 23 - 12:18 PM

I haven't noticed any drop in sound quality. And they seem to have finally ironed out an actually functioning system for hosting local files -- it used to be all kinds of wacky to make it work. No major complaints here


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Jun 23 - 12:28 PM

Naxos Musical Library. I have recordings from the company but I hadn't heard of that streaming service. A streaming service gets past the disappointing tendency of some classical radio stations of playing a single movement from a piece instead of the whole thing.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: GUEST,Rob Mad Jock Wright
Date: 27 Jun 23 - 05:43 AM

What annoys me much much more is the paltry fee paid by Spotify to artists.
What I suggest we all do is that everyday you set your phone tablet or whatever to play Spotify all day whether you listen to it or not . Put the lesser known artists you like on repeat and get your friends to do similar.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jun 23 - 05:57 AM

Dave, I play Spotify on a direct WiFi connection to my Bose Soundbars. I would think that should be the best way to do it. I espected terrific sound, at least on newer recordings - but it ain't.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: DaveRo
Date: 29 Jun 23 - 07:08 AM

Joe: I was wondering if you connected via Bluetooth. BT audio connection - eg to BT speakers - can be low quality, depending on what codec it uses.

I agree that using wifi - I presume from Windows - ought to be as good as you can get, but I can find out nothing about it. It's obviously sharing your wifi with other things, and it will depend on the wifi strength. Are you able to connect it via ethernet?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Jun 23 - 12:19 PM

WiFi has to do with the modem and router, not Windows. In the US the lower 2G versus the 5G on your router - I'm told the 2G reaches further but in a relatively close environment, the quality of 5 is better. I set up an Ethernet switch at the back of the house to strengthen the signal and so my next door neighbor can reach it if need be. She would use the 2G for the distance, but around the house I connect to the 5G signal.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: DaveRo
Date: 29 Jun 23 - 03:13 PM

I was assuming that the Spotify streaming was done by a Windows computer, rather than, say, a mobile device. Windows probably negotiates a codec with the Bose then sends the audio, via wifi or cable, to the Bose - via the router.

If the computer and the Bose are both on wifi then both the streamed router-to-Windows input and the Windows-to-Bose transmission will compete for the wifi. If the wifi is poor that might struggle. Just speculation.

What does it sound like on the desktop's soreakers, if there are any?

We have 2.4GHz and 5GHz in Europe too. Not to be confused with 2g (generation) and 5g mobile/cellular bands.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Hagman
Date: 29 Jun 23 - 08:50 PM

If the audio quality of the original file the streamers push out is low, which it is with Spotify, then no amount of high-end equipment or bandwidth will improve that. Only lossless or better (FLAC etc.) will equate to CD-quality sound. The trade-off is increased bandwidth usage - 500Mg as opposed to around 50MG for a standard-length CD/LP. We're getting what we pay for...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: DaveRo
Date: 30 Jun 23 - 02:25 AM

Well, Joe's says he's paying for the Premium service, and you said that was 320kbps. So it ought to be good. Is he not getting what he's paying for - and how would he test that, assuming it's Window - or is the quality being lost on the way to, or in, this Bose thing?

But in his OP he mentions 'interference' and it being less with Amazon. What does 'interference' mean? Is there actual interference to, say, the wifi, which could affect this 'double streaming', and which he hears on Spotify because that's what he mainly plays?

Another thought: it could be his Windows box doesn't have enough processing power to decode and re-encode two 320kbps streams, and loses some data. ISTR he didn't think much of it. But why only Spotify? Perhaps because Amazon's stream is lower quality?

Joe: you'll need to experiment with different combinations of equipment and services to get to the bottom of this!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jun 23 - 02:36 AM

Hi, Dave - I suppose "noise" and distortion might be a better term than "interference." The Bose soundbars are connected directly to my network by WiFi, and do need not go through my computer. They are controlled by my computer or phone, but will keep playing even when the phone or computer are turned off. The sound on Spotify is inconsistent - sometimes it's good and sometimes it's not. But it is consistently good on Amazon music.

So, I'm tempted to switch to Amazon.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Spotify - comments on sound quality?
From: DaveRo
Date: 30 Jun 23 - 02:59 AM

OK. I misunderstood. I thought this 'soundbar' was essentially a speaker. So no 'double streaming'. Maybe Bose is bad at decoding 320kbps Spotify.

What does it sound like when played on a PC - if you have some decent speakers? If not can you play it on Windows and use the Bose as speakers - via a wire? Just for comparison.


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