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Audio quality of Spotify Premium and other streaming services?
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Old 6th March 2011, 11:53 PM   #11
wwenze is offline wwenze  Singapore
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Originally Posted by Johnny2Bad View Post
Interestingly, classical music in my library does compress well; 850~650 kbps is common. However these are average bitrates per second over the entire track, and I would expect complex passages to be significantly higher than relatively quiet passages, which themselves are far more common in Classical music than other genres. If you are subject to a strict bitrate limit, as a streaming service is likely to be, I would be far from surprised to learn complex passages sound congested and lacking in dynamics and detail.
A bit of an OT, to test the hypothesis that things at -20dB compress better, I tried 3 files converted to FLAC in Audacity, one untouched version and one amplified -20dB. All 3 -20dB-amplified files had filesizes of ~702% compared to the untouched FLAC encodes.
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Old 7th March 2011, 04:22 AM   #12
Johnny2Bad is offline Johnny2Bad  Canada
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Originally Posted by wwenze View Post
A bit of an OT, to test the hypothesis that things at -20dB compress better, I tried 3 files converted to FLAC in Audacity, one untouched version and one amplified -20dB. All 3 -20dB-amplified files had filesizes of ~702% compared to the untouched FLAC encodes.
Admittedly OT, and we should respect the OP and keep it on topic, so I won't be adding to this sub-topic after this post.

Im a little confused as to what you were trying to show (and what your results were) but my point was simply that Classical music is not often pegged at 0dB FS like pop music is, so it should compress better during the less than complex passages, but not during the complex ones.

" ... What is the lowest bitrate (or highest compression) achievable with FLAC?

With FLAC you do not specify a bitrate like with some lossy codecs. It's more like specifying a quality with Vorbis or MPC, except with FLAC the quality is always "lossless" and the resulting bitrate is roughly proportional to the amount of information in the original signal. You cannot control the bitrate much and the result can be from around 100% of the input rate (if you are encoding noise), down to almost 0 (encoding silence). ..."

-Soundforge FLAC specification

Lossless codecs will use a constant bitrate within a frame, but vary the bitrate from frame to frame based on the information complexity in the original. So, the bitrate reported for a track will be an average over time.

Also, see http://members.home.nl/w.speek/tables.htm to get an overview of how various lossless codecs compare. Short answer ... they all will generate a similar level of compression in comparison to each other based on the complexity of the original. Typically the median +/- 10%; eg 45~55% of the original if the median is 50%, or 54~66% if the median is 60%, etc

This would be in contrast to a lossy codec like that used in Spotify where the music is "squeezed into" (for lack of a better term) the fixed bitrate [ignoring for the moment that Variable Bitrate (VBR) lossy codecs do exist] regardless of the complexity of the original.

Now, I'm going to respect the OP and try not to derail the thread, so that's all I will say on the subject. Cheers.
" ... Go back to the beginning of a technology before the priesthood was established; that was the time when people were communicating information, not proving why there needs to be Priests. This is why the old texts tend to be so good. ..."

Last edited by Johnny2Bad; 7th March 2011 at 04:36 AM.
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Old 28th April 2011, 05:26 PM   #13
SarahGrosi is offline SarahGrosi  Australia - Aboriginal
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You can use WiFi2HiFi app to stream music without premium account setup
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Old 5th May 2011, 01:58 AM   #14
DougSmith is offline DougSmith  United States
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Try MOG for comparison. They stream everything at 320 kbps (cbr MP3).
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Old 5th May 2011, 03:18 AM   #15
Don Hills is offline Don Hills  New Zealand
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One point expressed in this thread is that "complex" music requires a higher bitrate. In my experience, this is not generally correct when using a perceptual encoder such as mp3 or Ogg. I wrote a tool to display the bitrate when playing mp3 files and played a variety of VBR tracks. At a given quality setting, loud / complex music didn't require significantly higher bitrates than "quiet / simple" music. On the other hand, relatively "soft" and inaudible transients - light percussion, the beginning of piano notes - invariably spiked the bitrate to 320 KBPS. This result is somewhat counter-intuitive, but when considering the way perceptual coding works - it discards content that is "masked" or hidden by other content - it makes sense.

So I agree with OllBoll:
- Find a track that sounds bad in Spotify.
- Obtain a CD or lossless copy of it and confirm that it sounds OK lossless.
- Compress it to the 3 different rates with Ogg and see if any of them match what you hear from Spotify.

I wouldn't expect Spotify to increase the bitrate of a low-bitrate original. There exists the possibility that the original might have been supplied to Spotify in MP3 format and they then transcribed it to a similar quality bitrate Ogg format. For example, a 128Kbps MP3 mithght have been transcribed to a 96 kbps Ogg format.
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Old 2nd June 2011, 09:27 PM   #16
human.bin is offline human.bin  Italy
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spotify streams at 320k? wow. things get better so fast!

soon the streaming thing will free us from the cd standard contraints...
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Old 28th August 2011, 02:30 PM   #17
Pano is online now Pano  United States
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Audio quality of Spotify Premium and other streaming services?
Most of what I hear on Spotify sounds pretty good.
I have the normal bitrate Spotify stream. Yesterday a friend and I compared a CD directly to the Spotify version. My remarks are in this thread:
Spotify in the USA
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Old 26th February 2013, 11:45 AM   #18
WhoopAss is offline WhoopAss  Poland
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Originally Posted by planet10 View Post
Still throwing away half.

Wonder how my car would do with 2 tires flat?

Well, not quite good comparison, imagine your car going with half-worn tires.
wouldn't see much difference to some point.
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