Another music-streaming service just jumped into the high-res audio ring, and it’s a big one: Amazon.
Available starting today, Amazon Music HD boasts more than 50 million songs with lossless CD-quality sound, plus “millions” more with better-than-CD “ultra HD” sonics.
And then there’s the price: just $14.99 a month, or $12.99 a month for Amazon Prime subscribers. That’s a price point that neatly undercuts the $20-per-month high-resolution subscription prices for the likes of Tidal, Deezer, and Qobuz.
Current Amazon Music subscribers can upgrade to Amazon Music HD for an additional $5 per month, and you can also sign up for a 90-day free trial.
Amazon says its catalog of 50 million losslessly encoded tracks (16-bit resolution, 44.1kHz sampling rate) will stream at 850Kbps (compared to 320Kbps for MP3), delivering CD-quality sound. Its “millions” of Ultra HD tracks (presumably less than 10 million) promise better-than-CD quality, being encoded in 24-bit resolution and sampling rates of 192kHz.
You can listen to Amazon Music HD tunes over your desktop, Amazon’s iOS and Android apps, compatible Amazon Echo devices, Fire TV devices, and Fire tablets, according to Amazon as well as with on audio components from manufacturers such as Denon, Marantz, Polk Audio, Sonos, Definitive Audio, and Sennheiser. The ultimate resolution and sampling rate you’ll hear will depend on the device you’re listening to, of course; Sonos components, for example, are limited to 16-bit/48kHz.
The arrival of Amazon Music HD’s $15-per-month high-resolution audio plan ups the ante for other high-quality music-streaming mainstays such as Tidal, Deezer, and Qobuz, which generally charge about $20 a month for their high-quality streams (Qobuz charges $25 per month for its high-resolution tier.)
It also puts pressure on streaming audio giants Spotify and Apple Music, which have yet to offer a lossless audio tier.