Amazon Music HD

Amazon announced a new services called Amazon Music HD. It will offer more than 50 million songs at CD quality and millions more tracks at even better than CD quality as part of a new tier to its streaming music service and cost $14.99/mo, or $12.99/mo for Prime members.

Before you jump on this “incredible” offer be sure that you have both the equipment and the physical environment required to take advantage of the higher sonic quality. To understand what you need to benefit from Hi-Res audio services, read this.

The short answers are: No. You will not hear the difference with earbuds or airpods. No. You will not hear the difference with speakers you’ve built into the ceiling in the kitchen. No. You will not hear the difference on your Echo devices. No you will not hear the difference in your car (no matter how much money you spent on the sound system). This list goes on and on.

When will you hear a difference? You might hear a difference with $500 sealed-ear headphones. Might. But it won’t really be sonically accurate. You would absolutely hear a difference if you have a listening room (as described in the article linked above). Most people do not have a dedicated listening room.

In a blind taste test, I will personally bet you (pretty much any amount of money) that, if you are not listening in the right environment with the right equipment, I can trick you into thinking regular Amazon, Spotify or audio streaming music service is sonically identical to its Hi-Res counterpart by adding a little EQ (equalization). It’s one of my favorite tricks from the old days (learned while selling stereo speakers in my dad’s music store and honed with years of professional audio engineering).

Neil Young is apparently thrilled with Amazon’s entry into the Hi-Res audio business. So am I. No, really, I already subscribe to Tidal’s Hi-Res service. But… I have both the gear and the physical space set up to experience music at very high sonic quality. If you don’t, save your money.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

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About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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