Login / Register
 
Sound quality: Spotify vs. mp3?
New Reply
Subscribe
u b k
Thread Starter
#1
18th July 2011
Old 18th July 2011
  #1
Pragmatic Snob
 
u b k's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2004
Location: The Land of Sunshine
Posts: 12,297

Thread Starter
u b k is offline
Sound quality: Spotify vs. mp3?

Opinions?


Gregory Scott - ubk
#2
18th July 2011
Old 18th July 2011
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Sep 2004
Location: West Haven, CT
Posts: 3,312
My Recordings/Credits

Send a message via AIM to Steffmo
Steffmo is offline
Just got it....my first imprssion is that it sounds better than I expected.
#3
18th July 2011
Old 18th July 2011
  #3
Gear interested
 
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 23

desipate is offline
I think Spotify sounds pretty good. Their FAQ says that most of their mp3 downloads are 320kbps. Does anyone know what the bit rate is when you're streaming?

And what do mastering engineers think of the "set the same volume level for all tracks" feature?
#4
18th July 2011
Old 18th July 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 2,907

Stiff is offline
Spotify is Vorbis q5 (around 160) for non-paying customers and q9 (around 320) for subscribers.

When it was a fairly new program there were some complaining about the quality and I heard all kinds of weird rumors about them uploading MP3 versions of the songs. Whatever the case, I don't think it suffers from this anymore.

Vorbis q9 is better quality than my MP3's and I don't know any streaming service that can match these rates and do it without a hiccup on top of that!
__________________
Daily news & reviews
ProToolerBlog.com
#5
18th July 2011
Old 18th July 2011
  #5
Lives for gear
 
jindrich's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2003
Location: Palma+Stuttgart
Posts: 1,684

jindrich is offline
I find Spotify (the subscriber version) pretty good sounding, best I've found anywhere on the net by far.

BTW, we've been enjoying it for a couple of years in the EU already. To me particularily, it has replaced iTunes and mp3 players. To be able to have ANYTIME, anywhere, pretty much the entire music catalog from the last 50 years -save for a few exceptions-, and in a "all you can eat" fashion, for the price of 4 expressos, it has been a total game changer.
Want to compare some tune/recording to that Rod Steward song? Duran Duran? Smashing Pumpkins? Nat King Cole? Too lazy to reach for the CDs. Two clicks and it's here. Boom!
#6
18th July 2011
Old 18th July 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 712

Dayo is offline
Agree. Spotify is the best deal on the web - a no brainer.
u b k
Thread Starter
#7
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #7
Pragmatic Snob
 
u b k's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2004
Location: The Land of Sunshine
Posts: 12,297

Thread Starter
u b k is offline
Thanks for the feedback gents, I'll be signing up for the premium now.

I love Pandora, and the sound quality is fine when it's on the little system in the background but it kills me when I'm in the car and need to turn it up.

My plan is to build up playlists based on the feeds I get from Pandora and, at some point when I've got everything included, cancel Pandora.


Gregory Scott - ubk
__________________


Kush Audio: Where High End Keeps Getting Higher

.........

Kush Audio: Where High End Keeps Getting Higher
____________________
#8
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #8
Gear addict
 
D.F.'s Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Bristol, U.K.
Posts: 432

D.F. is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich View Post
I
BTW, we've been enjoying it for a couple of years in the EU already. To me particularily, it has replaced iTunes and mp3 players. To be able to have ANYTIME, anywhere, pretty much the entire music catalog from the last 50 years -save for a few exceptions-, and in a "all you can eat" fashion, for the price of 4 expressos, it has been a total game changer.
Want to compare some tune/recording to that Rod Steward song? Duran Duran? Smashing Pumpkins? Nat King Cole? Too lazy to reach for the CDs. Two clicks and it's here. Boom!
+1. It's kinda the norm here in the UK for instant reference and is becoming ubiquitous.

Shame no-one gets paid.

#9
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #9
Lives for gear
 
JoaT's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Eastern block, Finland
Posts: 1,587

JoaT is offline
Spotify has expanded my musical horizons more than anything before it. I was quite lost from the new stuff before that. Now it's so easy to just check it out when you became aware of it. There's still artists that can't be found from there, but most of the times you found what you're looking for.

I'we been running a free version for about two years now. It's time to go premium.
__________________
More free stuff is about as good as it gets. Anywhere.
#10
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #10
Gear nut
 
Joined: Feb 2011
Location: Nanaimo, BC
Posts: 132

Ed Zeppeli is offline
Anyone care to invite me for the free service?
#11
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #11
Lives for gear
 
T_R_S's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2004
Location: Canuk
Posts: 6,270

T_R_S is offline
It's looks appealing for some users. But I have an amazing CD collection (due to the fact I get a lot of stuff sent to me for free. One of privileges for adjudicating for several industry awards. So for me the icloud thing looks better. But I can see the attraction for Spotify.
As D.F. mentioned the royalty thing thing does make me wonder.
__________________
FB Page

==========

SURPLUS GEAR SALE
#12
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #12
...just a guy.
 
cianthreetimes's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2010
Location: Los Angeles, CA

cianthreetimes is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by D.F. View Post
Shame no-one gets paid.

They say on their website that they pay out royalties based on play counts... no?
__________________
cian riordan
engineer - producer
#13
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #13
Gear addict
 
lobsty's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Berlin
Posts: 386

lobsty is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by cianthreetimes View Post
They say on their website that they pay out royalties based on play counts... no?
Depends on what you call "pay":
How Much Do Music Artists Earn Online?
#14
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
 
AlexK's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: South West UK
Posts: 1,740

AlexK is online now
Quote:
Originally Posted by cianthreetimes View Post
They say on their website that they pay out royalties based on play counts... no?
It's negligible, bordering on nothing at all.

As for using Spotify, I do have a premium account which I won't be renewing. Why would I want to go for Spotify when it's IMHO quite clearly a massive step back from CDs? Okay it's cheaper, but you get what you pay for.

Spotify is a great big list of music, how dull is that? It's all compressed OGG Vorbis, which doesn't sound as good as CD, there's no gapless playback etc. I actually find the Ogg compression on Spotify to become quite fatiguing after an hour or two of listening (even with the Premium subscription).

I'll stick with CDs and Vinyl thanks...
__________________
Alex
#15
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
 
claend's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,148

claend is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexK View Post

I actually find the Ogg compression on Spotify to become quite fatiguing after an hour or two of listening (even with the Premium subscription).

I'll stick with CDs and Vinyl thanks...

Oh, that's not my experience by any stretch of the mind... Quality for Premium users is quite good, but just check it for yourself.
007
#16
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #16
007
Lives for gear
 
007's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2003
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 1,911

007 is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by claend View Post
Oh, that's not my experience by any stretch of the mind... Quality for Premium users is quite good, but just check it for yourself.
He already has a premium account, nothing for him to check out.

As for his other comments, well whatever, to each his own.
Some will love it while others will just find whatever reason to dislike it.

For me, it's been a godsend for the past 6 months using a premium through my friend's account. Gave me the opportunity to 'catch up' so to speak, with all the artists I kept hearing about but never got a chance to actually listen to. All this music available, with playlist ability and Pandora-style artist radio functions, for $10/month, it's a no brainer. I'm not in a great financial spot right now so this is really worth every penny for me. A CD costs more than that and even then, the artists never got that much from those either, although I do hope that in the near future, they can restructure the payment plan to the artists so they can generate a bit more revenue.

Sound quality is good enough for me, and has always been beyond an afterthought since using it. I want to listen to music, for fun, for reference, quickly jump to similar artists, I'm not wearing a lab coat dissecting the minutiae of Vorbis vs. 320 vs. compression-data-bit-dot-com-who-cares-bull$hit.
#17
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #17
Lives for gear
 
claend's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,148

claend is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by 007 View Post
He already has a premium account, nothing for him to check out.
I was talking to the OP though, sorry for not being clear enough.
u b k
Thread Starter
#18
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #18
Pragmatic Snob
 
u b k's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2004
Location: The Land of Sunshine
Posts: 12,297

Thread Starter
u b k is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexK View Post
I'll stick with CDs and Vinyl thanks...

An excellent choice given your priorities. For me, I'm looking to greatly expand my access to music far beyond my catalog, and while I love good sonics, I love good music a great deal more so I will favor any option that increases my access to the latter at the expense of the former (up to a point).

When I want to sit, be still, and listen to music with all I've got, I tend to prefer vinyl, it's simply the most engaging. For the other 95% of the time that I listen to music, these streaming services are nothing short of a godsend.


Gregory Scott - ubk
#19
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #19
3 + infractions, forum membership suspended.
 
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,082

RainbowStorm is offline
#20
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #20
Gear nut
 
amenbrother's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 141

amenbrother is offline
Spotify is great. Premium Let you Have spotify in iphone.
#21
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #21
Gear Head
 
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 51

Fertil is offline
I don't know how it is when you download it now, but when I first got it a few years back 'Normalize' was checked in preferences by default. Now it says 'Set the same volume level for all tracks', but before I got premium it normalized all songs to -4dB (or was it -2?) while pumping out the ads brickwalled to the zero. Mighty irritating but easily fixed.
__________________
GS1: "Dude, nothing sucks nuts like Avalon. I don't have one, but I have the Universal Audio. Dude, just look at it. The Avalon has too many lights. The 610 doesn't need an EQ because it automatically adjusts EQ for whatever source you put in it. I have a friend that used the 747 it to record cheese, and there was so much noise. And the compressor blows, if it has a compressor."
-mrnemo
#22
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #22
Gear addict
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 326

crille_mannen is offline
Premium account dont have advertising interruptions. Just that makes it worth it, not if the quality is 160 or 320kb/s who cares. And who hear the difference honestly??

Spotify is a revolution, it is awesome.
#23
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #23
Lives for gear
 
T'Mershi Duween's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: worldwide
Posts: 695

T'Mershi Duween is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by crille_mannen View Post
Premium account dont have advertising interruptions. Just that makes it worth it, not if the quality is 160 or 320kb/s who cares. And who hear the difference honestly??
Well, I'm one of the ones who cares! If you really can't hear the difference in quality (and it matters not), you probably shouldn't be an audio engineer.

Is convenience and access to tons of music that's had it's sonic impact neutered really more important than the actual experience of listening to well recorded music?

This lowest common denominator (it's good enough) thinking is why the music industry is in the crapper and why people are not as emotionally engaged with music anymore. If you like your latest Ke$ha single playing back on a smartphone speaker, well yeah... who cares!

Spotify (in it's current sound quality state) is like Netflix streaming... Alright if you if you like Micheal Bay type movies and don't give a shit about the audio/visual quality of the playback, but if you're a film buff, you'll want the BluRay dvd option.

And don't get me started about the indie/mid-level artists that will be getting screwed (even more) on royalties and the dubious "accounting" thereof with this subscription model...

If us (the "content providers") don't champion a music delivery medium of high quality and easy distribution/storage, then well, like you said... who cares?

Most people that listen to mp3's on earbuds have probably already destroyed their hearing to where it really doesn't matter to them about audio quality any way.

It's like two opposing forces: One is trying to get digital to replicate the impact of good quality analog while the other is content to degrade an already compromised audio format even further.
007
#24
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #24
007
Lives for gear
 
007's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2003
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 1,911

007 is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by T'Mershi Duween View Post
Is convenience and access to tons of music that's had it's sonic impact neutered really more important than the actual experience of listening to well recorded music?
I love a great sounding record as much as the next guy.
In an ideal world, I am buying every cd, every vinyl, in fact, one of each, of every artist I'd like to buy music from, sit on my couch and do just that, listen to every sonic detail and remain in awe of it, but that ideal world is elusive and it's far far down the road for me and many others.

So while we can incessantly debate the sound quality of Spotify, it is really leaps beyond listening to things like Ke$ha and similar pop on earbuds. It's just an online radio station, which you can tailor how you want, and a well recorded album still comes through well enough, at least to my ears, enough to appreciate all the effort that went into making it. It may not be quite the same as the cd or vinyl version, but to have access to such a library, and for the sake of just enjoying music, I've signed up with the "who cares" camp.
#25
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #25
Gear Head
 
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Stockton, UK
Posts: 65

21stcenturykid is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexK View Post
It's negligible, bordering on nothing at all.

As for using Spotify, I do have a premium account which I won't be renewing. Why would I want to go for Spotify when it's IMHO quite clearly a massive step back from CDs? Okay it's cheaper, but you get what you pay for.

Spotify is a great big list of music, how dull is that? It's all compressed OGG Vorbis, which doesn't sound as good as CD, there's no gapless playback etc. I actually find the Ogg compression on Spotify to become quite fatiguing after an hour or two of listening (even with the Premium subscription).

I'll stick with CDs and Vinyl thanks...
As far as I know, 320k quality is only on downloaded playlists? is 320k really not good enough for you?
Deleted User
#26
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
  #26
Deleted User
Guest
 
Posts: n/a

oh yeah.. the Yanks have just got it haven't they ;-)

It's 320kbps if you have the "Premium" subscription, which is £10 a month in the UK, it's half that for the free and unlimited subscribers. For the price you pay, can't complain.
#27
20th July 2011
Old 20th July 2011
  #27
Gear Head
 
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Stockton, UK
Posts: 65

21stcenturykid is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by jampottt View Post
oh yeah.. the Yanks have just got it haven't they ;-)

It's 320kbps if you have the "Premium" subscription, which is £10 a month in the UK, it's half that for the free and unlimited subscribers. For the price you pay, can't complain.
Must just be streaming on my iPhone where it's half quality so it loads quicker on the move I guess.

I'm on premium (obviously) and have been for about a year now I think? Love it. Listening right now.
Deleted User
#28
20th July 2011
Old 20th July 2011
  #28
Deleted User
Guest
 
Posts: n/a

Quote:
Originally Posted by 21stcenturykid View Post
Must just be streaming on my iPhone where it's half quality so it loads quicker on the move I guess.

I'm on premium (obviously) and have been for about a year now I think? Love it. Listening right now.
on devices it's 96kbps on normal quality, or 160kbps for "high quality mobile streaming", which is still impressive.
#29
20th July 2011
Old 20th July 2011
  #29
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 21,154

theblue1 is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stiff View Post
Spotify is Vorbis q5 (around 160) for non-paying customers and q9 (around 320) for subscribers.

When it was a fairly new program there were some complaining about the quality and I heard all kinds of weird rumors about them uploading MP3 versions of the songs. Whatever the case, I don't think it suffers from this anymore.

Vorbis q9 is better quality than my MP3's and I don't know any streaming service that can match these rates and do it without a hiccup on top of that!
Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich View Post
I find Spotify (the subscriber version) pretty good sounding, best I've found anywhere on the net by far.

BTW, we've been enjoying it for a couple of years in the EU already. To me particularily, it has replaced iTunes and mp3 players. To be able to have ANYTIME, anywhere, pretty much the entire music catalog from the last 50 years -save for a few exceptions-, and in a "all you can eat" fashion, for the price of 4 expressos, it has been a total game changer.
Want to compare some tune/recording to that Rod Steward song? Duran Duran? Smashing Pumpkins? Nat King Cole? Too lazy to reach for the CDs. Two clicks and it's here. Boom!
I've similarly been using online streaming subscriptions since 2006. I really love the freedom and convenience of being able to pick what I want, when I want. It's amazing.

And the service I have now, Rhapsody, unlike the previous two I had, has a good selection of classical -- which is pretty crucial to me. How is the classical selection on Spotify?


The downside with Rhap seems to be that the sonic quality of what the labels supply seems to vary pretty substantially. Or something. Mostly it sounds pretty good (I'd put the quality range in the 160-192 kbps range by guestimate) but some tracks sound pretty low bandwidth, which, seems to me, is a foolish economy for a label. (If, indeed, that's what's going on, some labels supplying low bandwidth, lo-ish fi tracks.)

Assuming that those reported bitrates for the tiers are accurate and that the current Vorbis sounds at least as good as Mp3, give or take, the top tier sounds pretty interesting to me (and from what I've read elsewhere the restrictions on the $5 US tier make the $10 tier seem like the only sensible pick).

But I like Rhapsody a lot, sonic quality issues notwithstanding -- and it would be hard to leave the classical selection behind -- if Spotify doesn't have a good one.
#30
20th July 2011
Old 20th July 2011
  #30
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 21,154

theblue1 is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
Thanks for the feedback gents, I'll be signing up for the premium now.

I love Pandora, and the sound quality is fine when it's on the little system in the background but it kills me when I'm in the car and need to turn it up.

My plan is to build up playlists based on the feeds I get from Pandora and, at some point when I've got everything included, cancel Pandora.


Gregory Scott - ubk
I heard way more than my share of 128 kbps Mp3s in the late 90s and early decade and I could tolerate that -- but as much as I wanted to like Pandora, the sound quality of the free service just made it unlistenable. And the picks by the affinity engine drove me nuts. Outside a classic jazz groove devined by Coltrane and/or Parker, I couldn't last a half hour on any other 'seeds' or combination of seeds I tried... I'd just run out of skips. And by the end of the half hour, I'd be so irritated by all the horrible music Pandora's 'smart' robots thought I'd like, I'd go read a book in silence. Or something.
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+ 
 
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.