Deezer Review

March 7, 2022 § Leave a comment

Regardless of the device used, subscribers can access a catalogue of over 90 million songs, which Deezer now assures us are all available in the CD-quality FLAC format. It’s an impressive figure, but with all music streaming services making similarly huge claims, the numbers game is rendered a little academic. 

What matters is whether the tracks you’re looking for are available and, in our experience, Deezer produces the fewest blanks after Spotify. It’s rare to find a song in Spotify’s catalogue that isn’t also available in Deezer’s – and in that higher-quality format. 

We find Deezer stocks pretty much every track of the diverse range we search for, and all in CD quality too. Just be aware that, unlike Apple Music and Tidal, Deezer doesn’t have artist or album window ‘exclusives’, although it does occasionally release its own live sessions with big artists.

Spotify Review

February 13, 2022 § Leave a comment

Spotify’s intuitive interface looks much the same as before, although minor layout changes have been made to accommodate new features, and the desktop app has been brought in line with the mobile version.

The Search page is a well-maintained section that throws up playlists from various genres to suit various moods. It has constantly updated UK and global charts and a ‘New Release’ area for your attention. Don’t miss the ‘Concert’ section, which flags up gigs fitting with your music tastes and location. The same goes for the ‘Podcast’ tab, which opens up a rich zone of targeted podcast suggestions, genres and playlists to search through.

For more familiar listening, the Home page is where you’ll find your current favourites and most played, as well as assorted compilations along the same lines. You won’t find much new listening here, but it’s a handy welcome splash. 

Music discovery through a series of personalised algorithmic playlists is at the forefront of Spotify’s innovation, though, and is essentially where the service leapfrogs its rivals. Head to the ‘Discover’ tab in the Search/Browse section for this.

AURALiC Sirius G2.1 and Aries G2.1 $7189 Review

October 18, 2021 § Leave a comment

So what can the Sirius do? It can upsample of course, and it can change formats between PCM and DSD or vice versa. It supports up to DSD 512 and PCM sample rates up to 384kHz. It is a re-clocker, because all of its digital inputs are cached, and then re-clocked using not one but three 72fps clocks. The Sirius can also perform speaker placement compensation, and supports full parametric EQ functionality. On top of all of this, it also provides digital volume control, and while not as good as an analog volume control, in my testing I found it to be a better then using a source device (such as a streamer or a computer) to control the volume digitally.

Now some of you may wonder why you need an up-sampler. Many DACs, after all, support many different sample rates, and many argue that you cannot “create or add detail” if it is not there. We will talk about the create/add detail part a little later but let’s focus on other DACs first.

Bluesound Node Hi-Res Music Streamer Review

October 12, 2021 § Leave a comment


October 10, 2021 § Leave a comment

A monthly subscription costs $12.99, but you can save a few bucks with a yearly subscription ($9,99/month). And if you want to show your dedication, or REALLY don’t like to subscribe, Roon also has a lifetime subscription, for an eye-watering $699, or approximately 6 years of monthly installment.

But, I’ve been using Plex for years now. Not because I find it better – head to head, Roon literally rolls over the competition when it’s about music – but because I own a big movie database. And, to this day, no other options gave me the same level of refinement when sorting my movies and series. Sure, Plex also sorts my music but as good as it is, the sort engine remains sub-optimal, compared to Roon.

Last but not least, Plex is MUCH cheaper than Roon. A monthly subscription costs $4.99, a yearly one $39.99, and a lifetime only $119.99. I took the yearly one and after more than 6 years, I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Plex.

Bluesound Node Gen 3

October 10, 2021 § Leave a comment


Apple Acquires Primephonic Music Streaming Service

September 1, 2021 § Leave a comment

Métronome Technologie DSS Network Player and Streamer

August 13, 2021 § Leave a comment

There’s no getting around it, the DSS is a very expensive little box, and has mostly the same features as many cheaper streamers. However, once you get inside the chunky steel housing and peak under the hood, the price makes a little more sense. The power supply is handled by a toroidal transformer from Talema, and feeds multiple capacitor banks. File recognition and playback are handled by a Korean manufactured board made specifically for Métronome, and clock duties are given to an AKM AK4137 chip. The company has spared no expense in assembling a streamer with impeccable build quality, fed by a dedicated and massive power supply to a first rate set of parts. You will not find these things in your cheap and cheerful Bluesound streamers, and this is how Métronome has distinguished itself in the digital source domain.

Amazon Music Unlimited review

August 1, 2021 § Leave a comment

Amazon Music Unlimited is compatible with smartphones and tablets via its Android and iOS apps; PCs and Macs via either its web player or desktop app; Fire tablets and Fire TVs; some in-car entertainment systems; Sonos multi-room wireless speakers; Bluesound and NAD BluOS devices. It’s worth noting that you can’t actually access CD-quality music or hi-res tracks in Amazon Music HD through your browser, though. This can only be done through the dedicated desktop and mobile apps, which is no bad thing.

Hi-res music streaming services compared

June 29, 2021 § Leave a comment

Tidal is perhaps the most established. It’s our favourite service, too, and holder of a 2020 What Hi-Fi? Award in the music streaming service category. Since January 2017, its £20 ($20) per month HiFi tier has granted access to hi-res (typically 24-bit/96kHz) Tidal Master streams, encoded using MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology. So is Tidal the answer? It’s certainly one answer, but not the only one.

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