January 28, 2020 § Leave a comment
“We also noted that Masters music can be hard to find, and that’s still the case. Only a minority of tracks (around 450 albums-worth) are easily discoverable in the Tidal desktop app, found in the ‘Home’ tab under the ‘Master Quality Audio Albums’.
The other million-odd Masters (such as Fleetwood Mac’s remastered Tusk) are buried within Tidal’s 60m+ database of tracks, and there’s no way to specifically search for them.
“However, Tidal has built on its discovery feature with 30 Masters-specifics playlists such as ‘Tidal Masters: New Arrivals’ and ‘Tidal Masters: Essentials’, as well as some genre-specific (‘Tidal Masters: Motown’) and artist-specific (‘Tidal Masters: The Smiths’) options.
January 2, 2020 § Leave a comment
“Next, I shifted gears and cued up Van Morrison’s seminal 1968 offering, Astral Weeks (24/48). So many haunting, moving choices here, but the final track, “Slim Slow Slider,” has always been a particular favorite. I loved how John Payne’s counter soprano saxophone line wafted from the right channel into the left, playing off Van the Man’s otherworldly vocal delivery. Even the notable string buzz at 2:50 sent a chill down my spine.
Recently, I caught a rerun of Saturday Night Live hosted by comedian Chris Rock from November 2014, which featured the late Prince as the musical guest. The uninterrupted 8-minute medley performance by The Purple One and his then-backing band 3rdeyegirl was beyond electrifying. Would Amazon HD have each song from said medley in HD? Must be a sign o’ the times, because they sure did, so I created a Prince SNL playlist to give them all a proper spin”
December 23, 2019 § Leave a comment
“The primary reasons that the ACS10 is a closed system rather than a UPnP-compliant open system is for the control over all internal processes that a closed system can offer. Aurender’s position is that it can deliver superior stability with a closed system compared to an open one. During the review the ACS10 was tethered to the Mytek Manhattan II DAC’s USB input from the ACS10’s USB output.
All the D/A and USB conversion functions were performed by the Manhattan II’s DACs, as would be true of any DAC connected to the ACS10. When I compared Tidal, Qobuz, and my own hi-res and Red Book music files played back either via the ACS10 or via Roon or MControl to the also-Ethernet-tethered Mytek Manhattan II, I could not discern any sonic differences between the two different signal sources. At the worst I found the Aurender ACS10 using the Aurender “Conductor” app the sonic equal to the Roon-connected source during my listening sessions. “
October 28, 2019 § Leave a comment
“Navigating Primephonic’s site, whether on my HP laptop or via the app on my iPhone Xs, has been relatively seamless — and, apparently, it’s a major step up from a previous, more unwieldy interface. While I do have many of my own preferences, I’m often drawn to the topline Editors’ Choice selections that rotate through the scroll at the top. A recent suggestion for German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter’s Hommage à Penderecki — a loving tribute to the noted Polish conductor/composer Krzysztof Penderecki, performed solo, pianoforte, and with the London Symphony Orchestra — was a most welcome experience for these ears, and I immediately added it to my Favorites.
Not only that, but the New Releases (curated by Maryna Boiko), Essential Playlists, Daily Recommendations, and Hidden Gems (major merci for leading me straight into the perils of “Death Valley Junction” by the Jasper String Quartet!) are more than enough to keep any classical listener, both neophyte and expert alike, satisfied for hours upon end. To me, the key to classical recommendations such as these is to both evoke an emotional response and invoke admiration for the level of musicianship, and Primephonic’s ace curators delivered on both fronts time and time again.”
October 23, 2019 § Leave a comment
“I tested iOS with my iPhone 11 Pro running version 13.1.3. I connected my phone to the same Alpha USB and Alpha DAC RS3 for testing. Setting a baseline, I played all sample rates via Qobuz bit perfectly through my iPhone 11 Pro. Just browse, click, and play. Switching to Amazon Music HD for iOS showed a major design flaw in this app. The Amazon app queries one’s audio device, in my case the Alpha USB, EMM Labs DV 2, and dCS Rossini, for its highest sample rate and sets the audio output to 192 kHz if the highest rate is at or above 192 kHz. Thus, whatever music was played via the Amazon app, it was sampled at 24/192 because that’s the max of the Alpha USB, and the other two DACs support higher rates. This same behavior can be witnessed using an AudioQuest DragonFly as well. The Amazon Music HD iOS app will set the DragonFly to 96 kHz no matter what’s playing.
In this configuration, playing Neil Young’s Greatest Hits worked perfectly. The album streamed bit perfect through my iPhone. Switching to any other album that wasn’t available at 24/192 meant that the audio was altered / resampled before getting to my audio system. There’s no way to manually set this sample rate int he app, like there is in macOS. I suppose one could get a D to D converter that supports a max rate of each sample rate and connect it to an iOS device based on the music selected. Oh wait, audiophiles are a strange bunch, but that is a bridge too far”
September 25, 2019 § Leave a comment
“Amazon Music has introduced a CD-quality (confusingly called “HD” by Amazon)-plus-hi-rez (which Amazon calls “Ultra HD” so as (not) to confuse the masses) music tier at $14.99/month ($12.99 for Prime members). That price undercuts Tidal and Qobuz the two subscription streaming services most popular among audiophiles: Tidal charges $19.99/month for the tier that includes MQA, and Qobuz costs $24.99 for its Studio tier, the cheapest plan offering high-definition streaming. Amazon HD offers some 50 million songs in 16/44.1 FLAC format, with millions claimed available in hi-rez, up to 24/192 FLAC. Tidal claims a somewhat larger number of total tracks—56 million—with an unknown number in MQA. France-based Qobuz says it has about 40 million tracks online, including about 170,000 high resolution albums or some 2 million tracks”
September 6, 2019 § Leave a comment
“If you’re on a tight budget, go for Spotify. It offers a free subscription plan supported by some (fairly annoying) adverts. Audio quality is limited to a maximum of 160kbps and you can only skip a track six times per hour on mobile devices. Still, it’s free.
Step up to Spotify’s £10 a month Premium subscription plan and the audio quality shoots up to 320kbps. You also get ad-free music, unlimited search and skip, plus the option to listen offline.
There’s also a Premium Family subscription for the discounted price of £15 per month. It covers up to six users (everyone has to live at the same address) and includes parental controls.”