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Hi-fi music streaming: People can't tell it when they hear it

Discussion in 'Streaming Services' started by Condorsat, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. GChief

    GChief Not well known, super member or other silliness Subscriber

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    That's good to know being a retired squid!!
     

     

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  2. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    Yes I can believe that.
     
  3. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    And you would become aware of this how?
     
  4. eljr

    eljr Koyaanisqatsi

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    i am not, how?
     
  5. chicks

    chicks Lunatic Member

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    Pretty simple, someone will run a valid test, and show proof that they passed it with a confidence level well beyond random chance. Every test I've seen shows it hasn't been done.
     
  6. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    Seems far from simple, having to personally check out the validity of all those tests, the conditions in which they were run, who ran them (and for what purpose) and who they drug in off the street to test it all on (and what their hearing ability was as well as listening skill). And of course what was the quality of the system, listening room, amount of distractions etc. I would then put into question who exactly is funding these tests, what agenda that they might have, and how they might stand to gain from spreading the word that lossy is indistinguishable from lossless on a GOOD system. For me the only thing that might satisfy some doubt of the validity of the tests would be reading some sort of science based peer reviews, not just on whether lossy is indistinguishable, but on the use of the ABX test itself, how the mind perceives subtle differences in SQ, how long it takes to perceive them, and exactly what the music choices used in the test were. Just too many ways these things can get manipulated by pure BS.
    I know I am coming across a bit doubtful and it is for good reason. I really do not like the sound of lossy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016
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  7. for_p1

    for_p1 Addicted Member

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    I compared Tidal lossless streams against file ripped from CD of the same title side by side. Always I heard the difference in favor of file. Likely Tidal adds some processing, like additional compression for certain reason. Lossy streams I could identify even on its own without comparison. But I can distinguish taste of different bottled water brands too, thus it may not be a common thing. I know people who liked Tidal streams more.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016
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  8. eljr

    eljr Koyaanisqatsi

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    Different bottled water is easily distinguishable, audio quality, not so much.

    As to Tidal, I was rather forcefully told by someone who worked with the transfer of the music at Tidal that they use the original recordings, not mastered. This made no sense to me but he insisted.

    So, my question to you is, although you hear a difference, maybe the Tidal sound was better? Or if not worse just not the same? Or just how do you define better and worse? (I know you used no word such as worse but I read your post to imply that. Did I read that right?
     
  9. eljr

    eljr Koyaanisqatsi

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    wonderful post, thanks
     
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  10. GChief

    GChief Not well known, super member or other silliness Subscriber

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    I/we (fellow instructors) noticed while teaching Sonar Techs how to listen that it is very subjective. I believe from what I have seen on Audiokarma that is kind of the theme here also, you like what you like, you hear what you hear and it's all good, at least for most posters. Our tapes for teaching would have a time break down of sounds by minute and seconds and some things I could hear other people could not and somethings they could hear I could not pick out from background. Listening to music is not much different from listening to ocean background noise and picking things out IMHO.
     
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  11. eljr

    eljr Koyaanisqatsi

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    When one learns how to listen and applies it, are they not missing the music in marco?
     

     

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  12. GChief

    GChief Not well known, super member or other silliness Subscriber

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    For me yes and no, I know my hearing level (adult life spent having constant hearing tests) and it is very good compared to most in my age group. I also know my listening ability which I think is fairly good (because of professional training). I listen in micro when I start a new album, CD or stream to make sure I am happy with the listening experience that is as about to happen. I find the limits of the playback equipment no mater how "crappy" and try to adjust to what I feel it was supposed to sound like, maybe way off maybe right on. Either way I get to the that's as good as it gets IMO and it is what it is. Then I switch to macro listening and just enjoy the music. I am a music geek not a equipment geek. I try to get the equipment to a level that I can enjoy the music. Amazon straight from the head phone jack to my Pioneer aux (snicker now) has sounded as good (not often) as some "real" HiFi gear. Not sure what my point is lol, but I think it is if someone has not been conditioned to critical listening then they will never hear the difference nor get why we are music geeks.

    Ok enough of the interwebs! I am off the the Vinyl/Vintage gear shop. I think I need a tube amp to restore in my life.
     
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  13. for_p1

    for_p1 Addicted Member

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    I felt that Tidal streams were more compressed - with lower dynamic range. Probably it is more appropriate for background music. But I expected their top tier subscription just send music file as-is, without additional processing. Apparently this is not a case. Now I need to find a way to hear Qobuz (which is not yet officially available here in States).
     
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  14. eljr

    eljr Koyaanisqatsi

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    What setting was it on?

    Normal
    High
    HiFi

    ?

    and tell me about the Qobuz Sublime subscription. You can download 24 bit Hi-Res but does that downloaded music self destruct when a subscription is ended?
     
  15. for_p1

    for_p1 Addicted Member

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    I am not sure what player software settings were. A friend of mine has HiFi subscription, so stream is supposed to be lossless. We had listening/comparison session at his house.
     
  16. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    And more questions about the computer that the streamed music is playing through. Assuming a good quality preferably external DAC was in use, does the Tidal player or other player (Roon etc) have the option set for direct signal process such as WASAPI in exclusive mode (windows) which bypasses the system mixer and puts the data straight to the DAC without further file conversion and the added distortion? Having not messed with Tidal much I don't know if there is such a setting on their PC app. Also if we are talking Tidal's highest (I guess it's called HiFi) quality, but running it through a smartphone app and tiny internal DAC, it will not yield good results when comparing to lossless files played through a quality external DAC in WASAPI exclusive mode.

    Apples to apples with everything in the path being the same.
     
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  17. eljr

    eljr Koyaanisqatsi

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    Here is the interest part.... they have two subscription options, one called Premium, one called HiFi.

    The more expensive HIFI plan offers 3 "settings" which most people seem unaware of. I know I was unaware.

    HiFi - Lossless FLAC:

    16bit / 44.1 KHz 1411Kbps FLAC Files on average will consume about 10MB of data per minute of content.

    • 4 minute track ~ 40 MB of Data that is either used when streaming, or storage space required
    High - AAC 320 Kbps:

    AAC files found under the high setting on average will consume about 2.4 MB of data per minute of content.

    • 4 minute track ~ 9.6 MB of data that is either used when streaming, or storage space required
    Normal - AAC+ 96 Kbps:

    AAC+ tracks found in the normal setting on average will consume about 720 KB of data per minute of content

    • 4 minute track ~ 2.88 MB of data that is either used when streaming, or storage space required.

    For some reason the HIFI setting was not available to most as recently as 6 months ago.

    So first, you need to be sure of the setting.

    Next thing you need to know is; was 10 MB of data per minute available when you listened?

    Then as mentioned, every link in the system must be of the same level.

    Arguments can be made about DAC's but.....
     
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  18. for_p1

    for_p1 Addicted Member

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    In my case that was Mac Mini with Wyred4sound DAC. The rest of the system was real high-end stuff.
     
  19. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    One of the biggest gripes I have been having with digital (I only play lossless) is all the little idiosyncrasies that a misbehaving computer can put into the mix. With my HP pc, I have had trouble with the USB almost since I started playing music on it. Some things are obvious such as the music playing slightly too fast, or cutting out rapidly (think machine gun rapid). Other times I wonder if what I am hearing is the computer screwing up the digital stream or something else. Currently I became convinced that the crossover caps were failing in my JBL's but the problem seemed to be intermittent in nature. I didn't have a good analog source to test whether it was the digital source or the speakers but the other day I got my preamp back and was able to play a few sealed LP's and the speakers performed very well at any volume with no sign of the distortion. So I am back to trying to figure out the digital path again. I think I am heading for some type of dedicated computer for music. Maybe a Raspberry PI, but something to get my music off this computer.
     
  20. xeizo

    xeizo Active Member

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    I love streaming, Spotify Connect is fantastic, but I also love analog and ripped FLAC. Much of the different SQ lies in the companys using different masters/mastering for the various formats rather than which format it is, best sounding masters are usually on original vinyl from back in the day even though vinyl adds noise you can easily hear how good the music sounds, almost as good is CD:s from it's debut in the 80:s up to the beginning of the 90:s when loudness wars started. From then on the masters have gradually started sounding worse as has the "remasters". But this is only much annoying on a high class HiFi-system, for most people listening through iPhone-buds, radios and car stereos it just sounds louder and more "powerful" so mileage may vary depending on how seasoned a listener you are :)
     
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