High resolution audio from Amazon

Well if they knock out Tidal,Qobuz or both who have had well documented financial troubles,I will play with the shark.
Amazon can afford losses . Im not sure that Tidal or Qobuz can and they will probably have to drop their price on top of that.

Well, if it’s anything like buying product as a prime member, Amazon users will try to play a track, then receive an email that due to problems beyond Amazon’s control, the track won’t be ready to play until Tuesday, and then on Tuesday it will play a different track by an artist with a similar name, and then you will have to get on a chat with someone in India and wade through 10 canned messages before you get to try to explain how you didn’t get what you ordered. In the end, they will credit you with the equivalent of 10% of the track.


Maybe another reason to support the ‘smaller guys’?

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I find they’re mostly reliable, but when it goes wrong, boy does it become a ball-ache to get sorted.

So I’ve seen Amazon update their iPhone app twice in the last few days. I finally got a chance to try it and the sample rate issue is still not fixed.

This was where it sends the highest upsampled rate to your dac but shows current rate in app. Think most will never notice the problem unless your dac tells you the true rate you’re receiving.

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I’ve recently added a Project S2 in to my study so I can listen to MQA music away from my music room whilst working on my PC so thought this would be an ideal opportunity to briefly compare the new Amazon HD to my Roon/Tidal set up.

I played the first 2 tracks off the new Abbey Road mix and Roon/Tidal won hands down. Amazon’s Ultra HD is supposed to be 24/96 but only played 24/48 through the Project DAC but the Roon/Tidal MQA played at 24/96 and sounded so much better.

Bowie’s Young Americans played at 24/192 via the Roon/Tidal MQA source and yet again will only play 24/48 via Amazon Ultra and sounded much thinner than the MQA version.

Of course this is just a comparison of a few tracks and Amazon may win via other systems. Will be interesting to compare other albums over the coming weeks.

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And yet MQA is not lossless . I can only assume Amazon is not playing bit perfect .

Just tried Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly and they sound closer in quality but MQA still wins, albeit by a hair.

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I like Tidal MQA also, but make sure you’re not comparing apples and oranges. Of course a Tidal that unfolds to 24/96 is going to sound better than a 24/48 from another source.

Obviously this is the right moment to bring help to small actors like Qobuz .Spotify and Qobuz are still losing money (official public figures) and without the support of “audiophiles customers” they really can die since Amazon is a healthy company.
Qobuz started in 2009 to offer HIRES but …sometimes to be the first is not the best place but they did …and in 2015 they have been purchased by another company which put money on the table (Xandrie)
The questions is : does Qobuz spent too much money for the US launch ? for me its a kind of duty and i will still support them …maybe until they die …also coz this is a french company and i live in Paris !!


This is very disturbing to me. It gives me very little confidence that Amazon really knows what they are doing. If they only have a true CD-quality source file, that’s exactly what I want to receive at my end.

Their music catalog is, of course, very tempting and, apparently, they also stream via Roku, which would be an easy path to my system. But I don’t think I’d buy in (except for maybe a trial period) unless Roon is supported.

I just tried AmazonHD with my iPad connected via the CCK to my Woo Fireflies DAC/amp and I am getting the Amazon app to play the native high-resolution stream up to 24/192 kHz. I don’t believe the iPad upsamples (like a PC with a MIDI driver); I tried a lower resolution album and it didn’t scale up to the max bit rate.

It’s not easy for me to do a good A/B test in this setup and I haven’t done any extensive listening but first impressions is that it sounds equivalent to the bitperfect stream I get from Roon to this endpoint.

Does your Fireflies DAC indicate incoming sample rate?

Does it have an LED indicator or something?

The iPad app alone won’t tell you the true sample rate being output. You need to confirm at the DAC end…

Are you able to see the rate on your dac?

I’ve tested this on the iPhone X and two different types of iPad thru the camera adapter. They all have upsampled to 192k since that’s the highest Amazon can output to in my dacs. Tried this on both the original Chord Hugo and Hugo 2. They show the incoming single using different colors.

I can play a cd quality and a Ultra HD file and both output the same. Of course their app tells you it’s playing at the correct level.

If I switch to the Qobuz app, the output changes according to the file type.

Also, 192/24 files are the only ones that play correctly since they match the output level. It’s when playing a lessor file that I need it to change to correct rate. Upsampling in the app sounds worse than receiving the native file rate and having my dac do all the upsampling.

Amazon “hd” has lots of issues, but their artist “stations” work a lot better than roon radio. For one thing it dosen’t just up and quit like roon radio. But mainly they play a lot more variety with great selections of well-matched material.

Have to also say their “now playing” UI is similar to roon but better/cleaner looking (except for not being able to turn off lyrics).

Not much discussion about sound quality of Amazon Music HD. At present it streams to Windows app using the audio stack in shared mode, and SQ is inferior to Qobuz. Disappointed the developers did not enable Wasapi exclusive mode as Tidal and Qobuz have. I signed up for the 90 day free trial but have given up listening to it, staying with Qobuz until they offer exclusive mode, if Amazon ever does. Even though they are advertising streaming up to 24/192 it does not seem audiophiles are their target market.

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Much the same here, tried it for a day or two, couldn’t see the point since it doesn’t have a remote app for Windows, and it doesn’t take exclusive control of the audio so who knows how it’s messed up.

Not quite sure whether Amazon are thinking straight. What’s the point of very high resolution streaming to a phone when in all likelihood the user will be listening on cheap headphones, or even Bluetooth headphones or speakers which will mean the audio is massively downsampled and compressed. Is anyone really going to blow their mobile data streaming 24/192? Even if it worked without dropouts? Nor is there surely much to be gained by HD for a rubbishy little Alexa speaker playing background music in your kitchen. And us tiny minority of music loving hi-fi enthusiasts won’t put up with Windows messing with our audio. So what are Amazon thinking?

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I have assumed that Amazon is just using Amazon Music HD as a loss leader, a way to sell more products from their partner companies. However the fact that they are streaming some 24/96 and 24/192 content would indicate that they do have some audiophiles there. Wasapi exclusive mode is built into Windows all they have to do is enable it in their app, if they do and the resultant sound quality is close to Tidal and Qobuz they could really shake up the streaming market. Right now we can’t tell how good their masters are because of poorer sound quality from using shared mode.


I quit listening to Amazon after a day or two.

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There seems to be a lot of hoop jumping to get Amazon Ultra HD to play through a high-end rig unless you attach a laptop or desktop directly to your DAC via USB. Even then, you have to use Windows’ upsampler to get to 24/192. Is this correct?