Music streaming services sometimes leave a lot to be desired when it comes to audio quality, especially for those who prefer uncompressed music. But it looks like lossless music is making its way to some of the more popular services as Apple Music announced it will soon be getting it. Now it’s Amazon Music Unlimited’s turn as they will be bundling Amazon Music HD into the service at no additional cost. Not all tracks have HD lossless quality but there are still millions of tracks that already do.
Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers will soon be able to enjoy lossless audio with their subscription at no additional cost. They are adding Amazon Music HD which has more than 70 million tracks in High Definition (HD) audio that plays at 16-bit, 44.1 kHz, and up to 850 kbps. There’s also Ultra HD music with more than 7 million songs that play up to 3,730 kbps, and up to 24-bit/192 kHz. They are also including 3D Audio formats including Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio system (for supported Sony devices of course).
Amazon Music HD actually currently has an additional $5 per month on top of the $9.99 per month ($7.99 for Prime members) regular subscription. But with this latest update, that $5 will disappear from your next billing cycle if you were already paying for it. For now, it’s only available in the US, the UK, Germany, Canada, France, Italy, and Spain. It looks like adding lossless audio is the must-have for streaming services now, with Spotify rolling out their own HiFi service to Premium subscribers later this year.
But of course, to really enjoy and take advantage of HD music, you will need equipment or devices that can leverage this extra audio quality. For Amazon Music HD, any recent smartphone or quality headphones will do. Lossless audio also eats up a lot of data and storage so you must make sure your data connection can deliver at least 1.5 Mpbs and if you plan to download the tracks, you must have enough space.
As for the Ultra HD quality, you need headphones or speakers that support at least 40 kHz dynamic range and possibly a USB DAC as well. For 3D audio, Amazon’s Echo Studio can support that or Sony’s RA5000 or RA3000.