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Spotify plays louder, bolder, clearer than Apple Music

  • 13 January 2016
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Has anyone lee noticed this? If you fire up a track on Apple Music then play the exact same track on Spotify, the Spotify stream is considerably louder and seemingly better quality.

Is it really just louder or is this AM steaming at a poor bitrate? A difference between Apple's 256 AAC and Spotify's 320 Vorbis shouldn't be this noticeable....

Anyone else have any comment as to the volume and or quality of Apple Music on Sonos? Playing music through the respective Apps yields much more similar sound between the two. Only through Sonos is there such a big difference.
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Best answer by Ryan S 14 January 2016, 21:53

Sonos will play the songs at whatever audio levels they're encoded at, so it's certainly possible Spotify has songs set at a higher normalized volume. I just did a little testing here on the two services and the Spotify track does sound a little fuller, but not by much. That's at least my opinion. When it comes down to it, there are a lot of music services and we don't play favorites, I'd recommend using whichever has the best features for you and has a sound you like.

Anyone else with both services able to test it out and see if they think one sounds louder than the other, or better?
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With Rdio gone, I now listen to Apple Music and I am happy with sound quality even with mixed source playlists using my ripped CDs as a source in Sonos. Rdio had slightly lower sound levels, which led it to sounding inferior until turned up - a problem for mixed source listening.

I don't know Spotify, but even if they are a tad louder, music will sound better, it isn't due to codecs.

I know no reason why Spotify should sound louder only via Sonos though.
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Hi..yes I've noticed that Apple Music is a lot quieter that Spotify, even my iTunes purchases ripped onto my NAS sound quieter than Spotify, not sure why. If I'm paying £10 a month for a steaming service I want the best for my money and that's why I'm sticking with Spotify!
Louder doesn't necessarily mean better. That's why A/B tests are done at the exact same volumes.
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Yes of course "louder doesn't necessarily mean better" - this comment adds nothing to the discussion.

What I'm trying to get at is why it's so noticeable between the 2 services....
If you turn up Apple Music to the same volume (so that it sounds about equally loud to you) is there a quality difference? Can you detect this difference even if someone's doing the selection and volume leveling?
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Sonos will play the songs at whatever audio levels they're encoded at, so it's certainly possible Spotify has songs set at a higher normalized volume. I just did a little testing here on the two services and the Spotify track does sound a little fuller, but not by much. That's at least my opinion. When it comes down to it, there are a lot of music services and we don't play favorites, I'd recommend using whichever has the best features for you and has a sound you like.

Anyone else with both services able to test it out and see if they think one sounds louder than the other, or better?
Spotify doesn't actually normalise it's content on Sonos and this is the reason it's sounds richer/louder. Apple Music on the other hand does normalise it's content through it's ID3 tags and soundcheck values. You'll get a much more consistent volume experience using Apple Music as it will generally brings most of it's content down in volume, whereas spotify will be all over the place with one track playing loud and another playing soft.