Amazon goes lossless

dud

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Flac has been more than ready for such a long time.

Even my trashy BMW stereo plays Flac off USB sticks.

I think everybody was waiting for some closed thing from Sony or whatever to come along. But Flac is just too good to easily compete with. I wonder whether I can get previous purchases upgraded to Flac?
 

RCHeliguy

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With regard to purchasing music, I have historically purchased and then ripped CD's without ever actually playing them. That way I get the FLAC files and Amazon would make the music purchased on CD available instantly as 256kbps MPEG3's.

Having a music server with nearly a Tb in music files works well, but I have to admit that my wife and I have been using Spotify a lot.

In the car, for BT speakers, I even have an optical out from my Roku to my stereo. Spotify is just everywhere.

To be fair well compressed 320kbps music is nearly indistinguishable from raw files. Meaning it takes a very good stereo and a discerning ear to tell any difference at all. The only reason I store FLAC files is because storage space is cheap and FUD. Worrying about if I'm losing some spatial imaging which I've yet to notice comparing 320k vs FLAC side by side.

However at 256kbs it is noticeable and at 128kbs, it a glaring difference.
 

Turk

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Jul 29, 2011
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I think everybody was waiting for some closed thing from Sony or whatever to come along. But Flac is just too good to easily compete with.
That hasn't stopped Sony in the past.
 

Niels_at_home

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Jan 2, 2011
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Not all compression is equal. I remember burning a CD with the highest quality (slowest) preset in LAME to 128 and up kbs and it wasn't really possible to hear the difference between it and the WAV. Yet if you have some 'fast' 128kbit encoder it sounds terrible and as if the high notes are played under water.

We burned the original and 128, 192 and 320 mp3 versions back on a CD and listened through quality equipment (not that that matters as much as some people think..)

The common theme that I doubt everybody has actually blindly tested is that 320kbs is pretty much good enough, but my audiophile neighbor and another friend, and my own critical ear couldn't really spot the 128kbit one from the original file. Then this sounded so outrageous to another guy that I let him listen and he also couldn't hear the 128 from WAV..
 

Andrew_WOT

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May 11, 2014
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Lossless is lossless, mp3 regardless of bitrate is not.
Amazon Standard is up to 320kbps, HD tier is lossless compression FLAC, either Redbook or high res. Seems like they have a lot high res masters. Now if they only can fix exclusive mode
 
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dud

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To be fair well compressed 320kbps music is nearly indistinguishable from raw files. Meaning it takes a very good stereo and a discerning ear to tell any difference at all. The only reason I store FLAC files is because storage space is cheap and FUD. Worrying about if I'm losing some spatial imaging which I've yet to notice comparing 320k vs FLAC side by side.
Yes, but the problem is that something you want to process, which would mean uncompress and recompress around it. If you start out from already compressed files then you accumulate losses. If you start from flac you can knock yourself out with processing, without having to fear multiple-compression losses.

For example, when I switch from a 2015 to a 2011 Z4 I lost the 7-band equalizer. Now I can just apply the EQ on a copy of all the files made specifically for that car. That would not be pretty starting out from any mp3, no matter the bitrate.

I don't knock your point, in fact in every day life I can live with even lower mp3 bitrate than you.

But as you experienced, decision fatigue is a bad thing. I don't want to have to run 558 experiments to know what losses I take. I want no permanent losses for now, everything else I could re-do later.
 

RCHeliguy

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For example, when I switch from a 2015 to a 2011 Z4 I lost the 7-band equalizer. Now I can just apply the EQ on a copy of all the files made specifically for that car. That would not be pretty starting out from any mp3, no matter the bitrate.
I don't modify to the original source on my stereo. My speakers put out a pretty full range so I use no pre-processing of any kind. Room treatments yield better results.

Async USB -> OPPO 105D DAC / pre-amp -> AMP -> Speakers.

All the issues in my listening room are from reflection and ringing. Fortunately there are no bass nulls to deal with in this room. Those are brutal to fix!

To be fair the ringing at over 100dB in this room can be pretty bad but I've found the Dirac type digital processors don't fix anything and create a very spotty presentation as you move around the room. On a graph like the one below moving the reference mic just a few inches will move the effect of the reflections and generate a completely different graph. It would look similar but the peaks and valleys move around which is why digital correction is so nebulous. It can only fix one position in the room, or try to average the effect over a few listening positions.

This is without a sub. My sub goes strongly to 12Hz and will shake the walls and everything on them.

RoomEQEthos.JPG
 

dud

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I don't just EQ things.

A common one is that I take songs from live albums and cut out the blah-blah that only makes sense when you hear the album in sequence (which I don't have the attention span for). You cannot even do that without suffering from double losses from compression - unless you start with a lossless format.

I really like that Amazon is doing this, I just wonder whether I can get past purchases upgraded. There is stuff that is not available on CD at all that I have as Amazon mp3s.