Amazon launched lossless streaming a few months ago and it came as a surprise to everyone. The service, Amazon Music Unlimited HD costs around a $5 premium over the standard pricing model. This means that it can be gotten for a low price of $12.99 per month for Prime Members. For a $5 charge, it can be added to family plans.
For the initial 90 days, this $5 fee is waived. This discount amounts to more than $20 per month as opposed to Tidal’s considerably higher fees. Also, Amazon’s tracks are of high quality because they are delivered in a FLAC format.
Tidal presents high quality files in the MQA file format and many people believe it is barely a complicated DRM scheme. To get the best out of the MQA, you need a chain of expensive equipment that performs proper unfolding procedures.
This is not the case with the newly released Amazon Music Unlimited HD. All you need is to download its standalone player software and you are good to go. You can also use an Echo device or the Amazon music app if you have it.
Amazon tried to avoid the questionable “hi-res audio” term popular in the music industry. The company plans to introduce their terms for music quality which can be easy to understand by everyone including non-audiophiles.
Also, the music on Amazon Music Unlimited HD is categorized into “Ultra HD” and “HD.” The latter is 16-bit/44.1Khz, the standard CD quality. It is easy to get fooled by the hi-res audio, but CD-quality standards are still the best. The level of audio reproduces the frequencies the human ear can hear. When the CD-quality is combined with FLAC lossless format, it delivers all the audio data from the original source. This alone makes it stand out.
Amazon tracks are 24-bit and the “Ultra HD” denotes higher quality audio from the production source. The sampling rates start from 48Khz to 96Khz and 192Khz. The sound is excellent at a standard sampling rate. The player is also quick and smooth and some of the processing can be offloaded into the GPU.
The sound quality is also up to standard as a FLAC powered service. So, you don’t need to worry about getting the best audio quality when you stream. With a sound card of around 48khz, the audio quality is simply wonderful. All tracks played on it sound pristine.
The interface is also pleasing and well designed. It has little yellow badges that are fun to click and oddly satisfying. The $5 premium add-on is also consumer-friendly. The large library of songs contains several playlists already available so the user can find Ultra HD songs to sample.
Considering all the amazing features, Tidal seems more expensive when you consider the few artist exclusives. Amazon is easily the best pick for streaming music for people who are particular about audio quality. Other streaming services like Spotify and Apple are currently under pressure to launch lossless services to compete with Amazon.
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