Amazon Music HD

  • 17 September 2019
  • 53 replies
  • 10750 views

https://www.amazon.co.uk/music/unlimited/hd

Streams on Sonos at compressed lossless bitrates, 16/44 FLAC presumably.

Amazon Music Unlimited HD FAQ

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53 replies

Userlevel 3
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It would be so much easier if the Sonos controller just displayed what file and bitrate it was playing. I think this is a basic requirement for a streaming device particullarly as there are now so many different services and subscription types available.The controller must know what it is playing so surely it can't be difficult to display it or tuck it in a menu somewhere for those who are interested.
Upgraded, playing this “Ultra HD” playlist on Sonos. Sounds fine, but no way to tell the bitrate. Assuming it plays at standard CD rate on Sonos...

it would be nice to maybe discover if the ‘Amazon Music Service’ within the Sonos App supports the new HD service at this moment in time?
That's what I've been reporting on, metering bandwidth on a player to confirm format. It's averaging over 1Mbps on 'busy' music, as expected.
The
It would be nice if music started by Alexa was 16/44 on a Sonos device too (even if it was a single stream).
Indeed. The playback client for an Alexa-initiated session is different. No queue involved for example.
So I won't see any difference on Sonos?
Well... it should stream at FLAC. My system is.

(There are those who maintain that lossless sounds no better than lossy, but we'll not revisit that debate here.)
Sadly, customers like me, who pay the Amazon Music Unlimited subscription a full year in advance, are apparently showing as not eligible for the upgrade to the new HD Service.

However, anyone who has chosen to pay a monthly subscription instead, are eligible to a free 90 days upgrade of HD music.

Hope Amazon will go onto look after their yearly subscribers at some point.



Strange. My yearly subscription is up in December and i was able to add HD. 30 days free, $50 to the family subscription afterwards. Maybe US is different?
Userlevel 7
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Do you feel you could hear the difference for the extra fiver a month?
I'd just comment that I had no paid subscription to Amazon Music before today, but I do have Amazon Prime (paid annually).
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
You beat me to it, but the announcement post for this is live now. You can find it here. Looks like you've already gotten the details though.
Oh.... and the reason (perhaps?) that I put "corner case" in quotes was that you may want to wait a month or six weeks, and try calling them again, to see if that policy has been changed. I imagine that your position is shared by a large number of people. It may be that once the volume of calls goes down, and they have time to rethink the policy, they may be able to change it. Might require some coding and testing, though, in order to get whatever system they're working on to accept the change.
Userlevel 1
Badge +1
Music started via Alexa is still 256k, and limited to one room at a time.

Music started via controller is FLAC, multiple simultaneous rooms.


Hmm according to the service announcement HD playback via Alexa should be possible. Would be good to get clarity on this. I asked the question in the post:
https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/amazon-music-hd-available-on-sonos-6830070

And, can't you send Alexa-initiated music to multiple rooms as long as you have Rooms set up in the Alexa app with the Sonos devices grouped?

Music started via Alexa is still 256k, and limited to one room at a time.

Music started via controller is FLAC, multiple simultaneous rooms.
Hmm according to the service announcement HD playback via Alexa should be possible. Would be good to get clarity on this. I asked the question in the post:https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/amazon-music-hd-available-on-sonos-6830070

When I tested it, the Alexa-initiated stream was only 256k.

And, can't you send Alexa-initiated music to multiple rooms as long as you have Rooms set up in the Alexa app with the Sonos devices grouped?

Grouped, yes. My point wasn't crisp enough. I meant multiple different streams. When I asked Alexa to start a stream and one was already playing she asked me to confirm that I wanted that one stopped first.
Userlevel 5
Badge +9
Well after a quite lengthy phone call, it still appears to be the case (currently) that here in the U.K. 'Annual' Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers are not eligible to upgrade to their HD service. It is open though to existing Prime subscribers and those who pay their Unlimited Music Individual/Family plan on a 'Monthly' subscription basis.

Staff at Amazon were extremely helpful by the way, if not a little perplexed themselves at the policy, though at one point they said they thought that the HD service was not yet available through Sonos devices and the matter was in the hands of some technical department, but I think that was perhaps said to maybe placate me a little.

So the HD Music Service is apparently not yet available to Annual MU subscribers here, but hopefully Amazon will resolve that in the not too distant future.

Makes me wish I had paid them monthly instead.

Hi Ken, I'm on the annual plan in the UK and I get this option when I go into my account settings.

Seems odd they won't offer it to you unless I'm misunderstanding!

Cheers



Userlevel 1
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When I tested it, the Alexa-initiated stream was only 256k.



And, can't you send Alexa-initiated music to multiple rooms as long as you have Rooms set up in the Alexa app with the Sonos devices grouped?
Grouped, yes. My point wasn't crisp enough. I meant multiple different streams. When I asked Alexa to start a stream and one was already playing she asked me to confirm that I wanted that one stopped first.



Ah yes, ok. I asked them in the announcement about Sonos speakers with Alexa built in, because the FAQ states:

Which Amazon devices support Amazon Music HD?

Alexa-enabled Echo devices (2nd generation and later), Fire TVs and Fire Tablets all support HD quality audio.


Sonos is listed as one of the preferred partners for Music HD, with the caveat that it all will be limited to 16/44.1 of course.
Badge +3
Im only an Amazon Prime Member (use Tidal).
If I'm understanding correctly, I can try free for 90 days, then it's only $13/mo vs Tidal at $23/mo.

If it sounds as good or better than Tidal, might be a no-brainer
Userlevel 1
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Im only an Amazon Prime Member (use Tidal).
If I'm understanding correctly, I can try free for 90 days, then it's only $13/mo vs Tidal at $23/mo.

If it sounds as good or better than Tidal, might be a no-brainer


And if you buy the annual plan as a Prime Member, it's $129 which equates to just over $10/month. Amazon is definitely throwing down the gauntlet here, not only to the likes of Tidal but to all the streaming services.
the FAQ states:

Which Amazon devices support Amazon Music HD?

Alexa-enabled Echo devices (2nd generation and later), Fire TVs and Fire Tablets all support HD quality audio.

Alexa-initiated music is for some reason different. For example even when the user has a Deezer HiFi (FLAC) account, Alexa will only play Deezer in MP3.
Badge +3
Im on Amazon Music, but I don't see where to get the 90 trial if HD
Yes I was trying to figure out bitrate. I found it interesting if I airplayed an Ultra HD track to my sonos, the Amazon Music app was telling me it was 24 and not 16. I don't know it this holding true when sent to the speaker. Anyone know this?
Yes I was trying to figure out bitrate. I found it interesting if I airplayed an Ultra HD track to my sonos, the Amazon Music app was telling me it was 24 and not 16. I don't know it this holding true when sent to the speaker. Anyone know this?

Since casting is using Alexa Cast, I'm guessing it's the same as voice control at this point, compressed "normal" bitrate. Sonos has stated they're working on getting Alexa to play FLAC streams, so perhaps when that's done, casting will also be capable of FLAC.

Honestly I can't hear a difference with the HD stream in the Sonos app, even on very high quality electrostatic speakers, which is more or less as expected, especially with 65 year old ears. 20-somethings might hear a difference.
Userlevel 7
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Honestly I can't hear a difference with the HD stream in the Sonos app, even on very high quality electrostatic speakers, which is more or less as expected, especially with 65 year old ears. 20-somethings might hear a difference.

Interesting to see Amazon ( https://www.amazon.com/b?node=14063680011 ) 'explaining' HD using the 'step' thing.
BBC ( https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-49726068 ) reporting on it - also including a link to npr ( https://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2015/06/02/411473508/how-well-can-you-hear-audio-quality?t=1568786352938 ) test. Try to pick out the 128, 320 or HD version of the 3 clips.
Userlevel 7
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The controller must know what it is playing so surely it can't be difficult to display it or tuck it in a menu somewhere for those who are interested.

The controller has no idea about the bitrate, but the speakers themselves do. The speakers could tell the controller (via an API change) then the controller could display it.

The controller must know what it is playing so surely it can't be difficult to display it or tuck it in a menu somewhere for those who are interested.The controller has no idea about the bitrate, but the speakers themselves do. The speakers could tell the controller (via an API change) then the controller could display it.

The controller could obtain the format from the metadata it gets from the service directly, as it does with Deezer.
Userlevel 1
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Is that a piece of hardware or software?It's just an old Linksys WRT54G running Tomato firmware, operating as a switch.


I think M_D_F meant, what are you using to monitor the bandwidth, a setting on your router or an app you downloaded to your computer? (and if so, what app?)
I think M_D_F meant, what are you using to monitor the bandwidth, a setting on your router or an app you downloaded to your computer? (and if so, what app?)
It's an auxiliary tool -- basically a dynamic web page -- on an old WRT54G router that's been flashed with Tomato third party firmware. The box is being used as a switch.