Author Topic: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.  (Read 16895 times)

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Offline Clever Hans

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #40 on: July 23, 2011, 04:28:20 PM »
I've been a bit taken for a ride by spotify and I feel quite disappointed by them, and indeed distrustful. True their catalogue is impressive and the system works. But the sound quality is not good enough. You can't tell what bitrate they stream at: they hide that information and even the Squeezebox doesn't divulge it. But you can hear very clearly that it's not high quality. Not 320kbps. At least not in the handful of recordings I just tested in a like for like comparison with the CDs.

Whether I will feel that the premium service is worth keeping remains to be seen. I suspect not.

It's 160kbps and some tracks 320 for premium subscribers, with more planned in the future, whatever that means. I think it's a good deal for sampling records, and people who listen to pop/indie music can't tell the difference. No gapless though.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2011, 04:31:19 PM by Clever Hans »

Online Mandryka

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #41 on: July 24, 2011, 04:05:04 AM »
It's 160kbps and some tracks 320 for premium subscribers, with more planned in the future, whatever that means. I think it's a good deal for sampling records, and people who listen to pop/indie music can't tell the difference. No gapless though.

Just now  I compared my BBC Legends disc of Baker/ Guilini in Nuits D'ete with the spotify stream played through exactly the same hi fi and the difference is shocking.

Other discs where the difference was palpable were in Arrau's analogue Beethoven Sonatas for Philips (I checked op 101) and some Grumiaux Bach Concertos with the Guller chamber orchestra. Muraro's Ravel was far worse in sometracks than others.

They promised 320 for everything 2 years ago but have not kept the promise. There's some stuff on the web which suggests that 90 per cent of classical goes out at less than 320. The marketing is misleading and they don't publish the quality of their downloads. I suspect they are not a reputable organisation to deal with.

My advice is keep away if quality matters to you. Use youtube to check recordings or their free service.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

DavidW

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #42 on: July 24, 2011, 08:06:09 AM »
My advice is keep away if quality matters to you. Use youtube to check recordings or their free service.

When most (at standard rate) streaming is at 64k, you're saying that spotify offers a much better compression rate of 160k even at standard pay and then you conclude that they don't offer quality sound?  Your expectations are unreasonable.

As for not divulging bit rate, well that does sound a bit dishonest.  But your ears can be your guide.  Does it sound bad?  Then stop giving them your money.  If it sounds fine, then who cares what the bitrate is?

Offline Todd

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #43 on: July 24, 2011, 08:11:06 AM »
I just signed up for Spotify yesterday, and I plan on going for the free option.  I did some browsing of classical, and while some things are obviously missing (no Annie Fischer LvB cycle?!), there are some other gems in there.  I'll be able to hear Andrea Lucchesini play some Brahms, for instance.  I have very low expectations for sound quality, but since it's free, who cares? 
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

DavidW

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #44 on: July 24, 2011, 08:12:54 AM »
Can anyone compare it to the other streaming services-- how is it for content?  Does NML still reign as king?  What labels seem to be on spotify?

Offline Todd

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #45 on: July 24, 2011, 02:16:02 PM »
Can anyone compare it to the other streaming services-- how is it for content?  Does NML still reign as king?  What labels seem to be on spotify?



Spotify supposedly has 15 million+ tracks across all genres, so it's big.  If you do a search on classical big names (Pollini, Andsnes, Rattle, etc), you'll get a lot of titles.  I read that Spotify has the entire catalog of all the majors, but a quick search for Eric Heidsieck's recordings, for instance, show that not to be true (no LvB sonata, no Mozart concertos).  I'd bet that NML is bigger on independent label stuff and Spotify on big name stuff.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

DavidW

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #46 on: July 24, 2011, 02:37:23 PM »
Okay spotify has about the same amount of music as napster (and probably same labels too).  Across all of the major ones (spotify, rhapsody, napster, mog etc) it boils down to how easily you can find things, how good their apps are, bitrate, other features and community.  Hmm...

Offline Tamsin

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #47 on: July 25, 2011, 06:18:55 AM »
What I like best about Spotify is that doing a classical search is considerably less painful than with other services (Rhapsody was the worst!)
I'm using the free plan & the sound quality is much better than I expected. It is great for previewing albums I may want to buy!
My only complaint is that it installs its wannabe-iTunes app on your desktop. I have no desire to use it for managing my offline library/portable devices so it's just cluttered.

DavidW

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #48 on: July 25, 2011, 06:28:34 AM »
What I like best about Spotify is that doing a classical search is considerably less painful than with other services (Rhapsody was the worst!)

Oh neato I like to hear that!  I'll try it out when I've conquered my unwieldy cd collection.

Offline Tamsin

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #49 on: July 25, 2011, 08:16:51 AM »
Oh neato I like to hear that!  I'll try it out when I've conquered my unwieldy cd collection.

I wish I had that problem!

Online Mandryka

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #50 on: July 25, 2011, 10:59:58 PM »


As for not divulging bit rate, well that does sound a bit dishonest.  But your ears can be your guide.  Does it sound bad?  Then stop giving them your money.  If it sounds fine, then who cares what the bitrate is?

It's hard that one because sometimes you don't know what you're missing until you compare. And what you are missing may be important. In the Baker Nuits d'ete the prominence of singer vis-a vis orchestra was different, very different, on the spotify stream. With Arrau's analogue Beethoven the issues are about the reality of the piano, the overtones, the positioning of the piano in the stereo image. With Muraro the issues are to do with cleaness, crispness -- and background noise (I often hear background noise on my system with mp3, even at 320kbps)

I've calmed down a bit now. I need to pay for the premium service because that's the only way I can pipe it to my hi-fi, using their Squeezebox app. I'm not going to listen to music at the computer. And I've started to value the combination of these music forums and spotify. You know, someone mentions Belcea Quartet's Schubert or Gavrilov's Rachmaninov . . . makes me curious . . .  bish bash bosh I'm listening to it through spotify. That's fun.

« Last Edit: July 25, 2011, 11:01:47 PM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Tamsin

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #51 on: July 26, 2011, 03:09:15 AM »
The paid plan is looking more and more attractive every day

The free plan is supposedly unlimited listening for the next 6 months but when it's time for an ad break you will often get interrupted in the middle of a piece with a louder sound clip of some random song  >:D

Mn Dave

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #52 on: July 26, 2011, 03:44:26 AM »
I listen to music on my computer the majority of the time so Spotify's premium plan is perfect. $10 a month? No-brainer.

Offline Tamsin

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #53 on: July 26, 2011, 04:14:41 AM »
I listen to music on my computer the majority of the time so Spotify's premium plan is perfect. $10 a month? No-brainer.

Yeah but I could use the $10 to buy 2 records!
Actually I haven't paid because it doesn't have a Roku app (yet) to properly replace my MOG subscription

Mn Dave

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #54 on: July 26, 2011, 04:19:02 AM »
I'm selling all my CD's! ;)

Offline Tamsin

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #55 on: July 26, 2011, 04:34:13 AM »
I'm selling all my CD's! ;)

:o

Whatever floats your boat man.
Your sig makes me almost want to update my neglected RYM list.

DavidW

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #56 on: July 26, 2011, 05:42:22 AM »
(I often hear background noise on my system with mp3, even at 320kbps)

Compression doesn't add background noise. You must have a problem with your gear.  Please test each part to find the culprit.  Is it only when you stream from your pc to the squeezebox? Or is it whenever you use the squeezebox?  Or is it even when you play mp3s from another source (i.e. not your squeezebox)?  You're not enjoying the music to the full potential until you resolve this problem.

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #57 on: July 26, 2011, 06:27:24 AM »
Compression doesn't add background noise. You must have a problem with your gear.  Please test each part to find the culprit.  Is it only when you stream from your pc to the squeezebox? Or is it whenever you use the squeezebox?  Or is it even when you play mp3s from another source (i.e. not your squeezebox)?  You're not enjoying the music to the full potential until you resolve this problem.
Perhaps he's referring to sound artifacts.
"Maybe the problem most of you have ... is that you're not listening to Barbirolli." ~Sarge

"The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

DavidW

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #58 on: July 26, 2011, 06:32:46 AM »
Perhaps he's referring to sound artifacts.

Compression artifacts don't sound like noise though.

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Spotify - high quality, legal, free, streaming music.
« Reply #59 on: July 26, 2011, 06:39:12 AM »
I just signed up for Spotify yesterday, and I plan on going for the free option.  I did some browsing of classical, and while some things are obviously missing (no Annie Fischer LvB cycle?!), there are some other gems in there.  I'll be able to hear Andrea Lucchesini play some Brahms, for instance.  I have very low expectations for sound quality, but since it's free, who cares?
Yep.  I just use web downloads and streaming to preview anyway.  Rhapsody used to work fine for that (and torrents), letting me hear enough to decide whether to buy a recording or not.

Compression artifacts don't sound like noise though.
Some do.  Granted, I've never heard anything that sounds like what I think of as background noise--i.e. tape hiss--but have heard much that someone else might characterize that way, akin to the pops and clicks of ill-cared-for vinyl. 
"Maybe the problem most of you have ... is that you're not listening to Barbirolli." ~Sarge

"The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

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