Amazon is launching a lossless music streaming service to take on Tidal. Amazon Music HD is $5 more than the current plans (both individual and family). For an individual plan this means you’re looking at $13 a month if you are a Prime member and $15/month otherwise.
The service offers millions of songs with lossless encoding in the so-called Ultra HD quality – 24-bit with a sampling rate of 192KHz. There are also over 50 million HD quality songs, that’s losslessly compressed 16-bit 44.1KHz audio.
If you want to stream music, you’ll need at least a 1.5-2Mbps LTE connection for HD quality and 5-10Mbps for Ultra HD. A large data allowance is a must too – a 3 and a half minute song eats up 51MB in HD quality and 153MB in Ultra HD. A lossy track is 9MB.
The good news is that you can download HD and Ultra HD songs for offline listening (so you can use your Wi-Fi). Current users should note that they need to re-download songs to get the lossless files.
The Amazon app on iOS supports external DACs, the Android one does not. Also, Apple AirPlay supports HD audio, Google’s Cast protocol gets nothing (we thought Amazon and Google buried the hatchet?). Anyway, if you want to go wireless, you can also use Bluetooth headphones with aptX/aptX HD or Sony LDAC, which offer 24-bit 48KHz audio.
Amazon Music HD is now available in the US, the UK, Germany and Japan. There’s a 90-day free trial if you want to take it for a spin. You can listen on desktop, mobile and various Amazon hardware (Fire TV, Fire tablets, 2nd gen Echo devices or newer). Third-party players support the HD service too: Denon and Marantz with HEOS, Pol Audio, Definitive Technology, Sonos, McIntosh, Sennheiser and others.
For more details, check the Q&A section.