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Spotify Reproduction Advice for Better Sound Quality

lofey

Member
Aug 12, 2020
2
0
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Hello everyone. I've been listening to CDs and LPs for years but a novice of digital streaming. I listen to Spotify in my second system by connecting my PC to a Schitt USB DAC and feeding to a tube amp and bookshelf speaker.

I want to incorporate Spotify playing in my main system and want your opinion and suggestions on gears and connection method for a high quality sound reproduction. The Marantz SA14 SACD player I use in the main system has can be used as an USB DAC. Will it have a much better sound quality to play Spotify through a streamer and a stand alone DAC than from a PC? Is connection through LAN much better than wireless? Which streamer or DAC would you recommend? I don't listen to hi-resolution files, only Spotify and sometimes Tidal.

Thank you.
 

Markmaguire

Well-known member
Mar 8, 2012
15
1
18,525
Agreed. Spotify is the lowest quality of the streaming services. You can add any hardware you like, but better to deal with it at source and subscribe to a better platform. Tidal, Qobuz or Amazon HD would give better files.
 

jjbomber

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
693
232
19,270
Firstly, make sure that your settings in Spotify are set to the highest quality for downloads, assuming you listen off playlists, albums and the like. Even then it maxes out at MP320. Only Cr-Apple are worse. So you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear I'm afraid. So in normal circumstances a LAN connection would be best, but for MP320 playback it won't matter.
 

Jimboo

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2019
510
210
770
He doesn't listen to hires files. He listens to Spotify.
I am genuinely interested in how your set up improves Spotify and what you are comparing it with.
 

StratDoc

Well-known member
Jun 21, 2020
43
10
45
Sure. Comparing it to Spotify itself. Was streaming off Spotify using a red dragonfly DAC without Vox. The irDac ii made a significant improvement over the dragonfly. There is an added improvement including Vox in the mix. Again, the quality is not great, but decent and certainly an improvement over previously just using the red dragonfly dac.
 

lofey

Member
Aug 12, 2020
2
0
20
Thanks everyone for your reply. I understand that compressed Spotify files cannot be compared to CDs regarding fidelity. Listening to Spotify would be a good alternative for exploring new genre or different interpretation of classical music. I mostly listen to Spotify in my office setup, where I play only in low volume, and it's not bad at all even for Spotify.

I am very satisfied with my "conventional" playback system and want to add Spotify as another source, not replacing my CD and LP collection. I just hope that Spotify quality can be "closer" to CD reproduction. That's why I want to know more about gear and setup suggestion.

Thank you again for your time and precious feedback.

Main system:
Sources: Marantz SA14 SACD player, Audio Note CDT 2
DAC: Audio Note 2.1x Signature DAC
Analogue: Project The Classic
Amplification: Audio Note M2 phono, DIY 6L6 SE amp
Speakers: Tannoy Prestige Turnberry GR Limited Edition

Office system:
Source: Spotify / Tidal streaming through PC,
Analogue: Teac TN-300
DAC/ Preamp: Schiit Lyr 3
Amp: DIY 45 SE amp / 6V6 SE amp
Speakers: DIY KEF LS3/5A kit
 

jjbomber

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
693
232
19,270
Thanks everyone for your reply. I understand that compressed Spotify files cannot be compared to CDs regarding fidelity. ...., and it's not bad at all even for Spotify.
Indeed, and in blind tests people struggle to tell the difference. All we are saying is that it can't be improved upon no matter how much more money you spend on your (already great) system.

Should Spotify introduce a high Res version, then it's time to look again, but not now.
 
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record_spot

Well-known member
May 30, 2015
56
17
10,545
Set up Spotify to play at its highest playback setting, for both streaming and download. You'll find it compares well to Tidal (I use both, and have been a Spotify subscriber for a decade or so now). I stream through several sources, though mainly off my phone and through an Arylic S10 into a Tisbury passive pre into the AVI actives. Play it back at its highest settign and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

As with any streaming service, you're stuck with whatever mastering is made available to you. I've found Spotify can be surprising and sometimes even has a digitised vinyl source on the (very) odd occasion. I'll be consigning Tidal to the lapsed subscription again later this month and not renewing.

I'd ignore the scoffers as well. Readily.
 

jjbomber

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
693
232
19,270
Have you tried the Iris Listen Well software? I've had a big improvement with loads of tracks on Spotify using that, as well as some that sound the same. However the app is free, so give it a go.
 

Jimboo

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2019
510
210
770
The bottom line is that at the end of the day it isn't needed. It turns turds to gold , wow.
Spend 300 quid to have the stereo image shift why?
 
Last edited:

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
593
66
18,970
Set up Spotify to play at its highest playback setting, for both streaming and download. You'll find it compares well to Tidal (I use both, and have been a Spotify subscriber for a decade or so now). I stream through several sources, though mainly off my phone and through an Arylic S10 into a Tisbury passive pre into the AVI actives. Play it back at its highest settign and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

As with any streaming service, you're stuck with whatever mastering is made available to you. I've found Spotify can be surprising and sometimes even has a digitised vinyl source on the (very) odd occasion. I'll be consigning Tidal to the lapsed subscription again later this month and not renewing.

I'd ignore the scoffers as well. Readily.
Spotify sounds generally very good, but I’ve heard Pink Floyd and Roxy Music, and they’re quite inferior to my cd FLAC rips.

Now, if you set aside the politics and fees around MQA, in theory I would agree with it for streaming where it would use up much less bandwidth than full high res streaming.

If I had the full MQA equipment I suppose I would investigate Tidal.
 

record_spot

Well-known member
May 30, 2015
56
17
10,545
Spotify sounds generally very good, but I’ve heard Pink Floyd and Roxy Music, and they’re quite inferior to my cd FLAC rips.

Now, if you set aside the politics and fees around MQA, in theory I would agree with it for streaming where it would use up much less bandwidth than full high res streaming.

If I had the full MQA equipment I suppose I would investigate Tidal.
Compared the Division Bell and it's pretty good. Then again, I prefer the original to the Guthrie remasters. What I've heard though is excellent.

The issue about politics and MQA misses the mark. It's a shill based around a problem that was resolved a decade ago. Unless you're on a very limited data package, MQA offers no discernible benefit, except maybe another revenue stream for the labels and plenty of obfuscation for the consumer.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
593
66
18,970
I would guess modern recordings sound very good, like Ellie Goulding’s latest. But Dark Side and Wish definitely sound flat and lifeless compared to my cd rips.

That said I’m a regular subscriber, but still collect cds.
 

record_spot

Well-known member
May 30, 2015
56
17
10,545
I would guess modern recordings sound very good, like Ellie Goulding’s latest. But Dark Side and Wish definitely sound flat and lifeless compared to my cd rips.

That said I’m a regular subscriber, but still collect cds.
No idea what you're playing it on, but flat and lifeless they're not, either on my stereo or on my headphones.

Spotify isn't my main source, but with the addition of the Arylic streamer, it's something I've been making use of. FLAC CD rips are terrific too.
 
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iMark

Well-known member
May 16, 2008
237
55
18,870
I would prefer it if Spotify would start streaming at CD quality. But for lossy streaming it sounds pretty good on our system. Spotify Connect is integrated in our Yamaha R-N602 and it's easy to use an iPhone or iPad as the remote control.
 

Jimboo

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2019
510
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770
It seems that they believe the majority of users are not bothered about the quality.
I cannot help but feel they could have wrapped up the market as improved perceived sound quality would have covered all the bases.
 
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