Bottom line: A word of advice to those interested in delving into lossless / hi-fi audio – sample as many free trials as you can to make sure it’s right for you before shelling out extra money for it. The truth is, lots of people can’t tell the difference between standard and premium quality audio. And even if they could, they don’t have the equipment to really make premium quality audio shine.
Amazon on Tuesday announced a new streaming music tier that offers more than 50 million tracks in “High Definition” and millions of additional songs in “Ultra High Definition,” the highest quality streaming audio it offers.
Amazon describes High Definition as music with a bit depth of 16 bits and a sample rate of 44.1kHz, or CD quality, while Ultra HD is said to have a bit depth of 24 bits and a sample rate up to 192kHz. The company says its streaming service will automatically play the highest quality audio supported by the user’s device and network conditions.
The new service, dubbed Amazon Music HD, is now available to listeners in the US, the UK, Germany and Japan. It’s available to try free for 90 days for both newcomers and existing Amazon Music subscribers. After that, you’ll pay $14.99 per month (or $12.99 per month for Prime members) or an additional $5 on top of your current individual or Family Plan subscription.
That’s a bit more affordable than Tidal which many consider to be the leader in lossless streaming. Tidal offers a base plan at $9.99 per month but if you want its highest-quality option, it’ll set you back $19.99 per month.
Masthead credit: playing guitar by carlos castilla