Amazon Music HD Now Available in Australia
Amazon Music is not the newcomer to the music streaming market, but audio lovers often overlooked it while its 'HD' tier was unavailable in Australia.
Bizarrely, Amazon has not made a big song and dance about flipping the switch on Music HD locally, in contrast to Qobuz, who launched in Australia earlier this year to much fanfare.
Amazon Music offers three streaming levels - Standard, lossy compressed files up to 320kbps resolution. High Definition, technically considered 'lossless' at CD quality and 16bit/44kHz resolution. And finally, Ultra HD, which is better than CD quality at up to 24bit/192kHz.
Amazon Music was only available in Australia in its 'Standard' format until recently, a sticky issue for anything other than casual listening on the go or as a background filler. Instead, Amazon Music's latest media hype has been all around its launch of Spatial Audio, which promises to “put the listener inside the music with an immersive, multi-dimensional audio experience.” No doubt, this announcement is in response to Apple Music's big launch back in May this year. The truth is, 'upmixed' spatial audio really isn't that great. At least, that is when compared to music that artists have specifically created from scratch to take advantage of Atmos and Spatial Audio techniques - and fortunately, we're now starting to see more of those releases.
But Spatial Audio aside, what we're actually excited about is Amazon Music HD. At the time of writing, it now offers over 75 million tracks in HD and over 7 million tracks in Ultra HD. The platform has also snared exclusives UHD remastered albums and offers curated HD and UHD playlists.
You will need appropriate hardware to take full advantage of HD and Ultra HD, but most current phones easily support 16bit/44kHz and higher resolution already. Further, many of today's popular audio devices (smart speakers, headphones, AV receivers) from Denon, Marantz, Klipsch, Arcam, Bluesound and many more already support high-res formats or Amazon Music natively.
The best way to get Amazon Music HD right now is Amazon's Music Unlimited plan for $11.99/month (Individual) or $17.99/month (Family). For a limited time, you can sign up for a 3-month free trial right here.
StereoNET’s Founder and Publisher was born in England and raised on British Hi-Fi before moving to Australia. He developed an early love of music and playing bass guitar before discovering the studio and the other side of the mixing desk. After a few years writing for audio magazines, Marc saw the future in digital publishing and founded the first version of StereoNET, known at the time as Planet Audio, in 1999.
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