scottlinux here with a quick review of the Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player.
I love Amazon mp3s and their Cloud Player for many reasons:
- Purchased music is not tied to any one device or any device. No DRM!
- Play from anywhere you have an internet connection. Your music is always available!
- Upload your own music
- No desktop client but that is a plus: instantly cross platform as long as you have a browser.
- Android player is great
The main cloud drive and also cloud player URLs are:
Ok first some screenshots.
The interface is clear and simple. Even your parents could use this.
When purchasing mp3s from Amazon.com, the album instantly appears in your ‘Music’ folder of the Cloud Drive. Note that purchased music from Amazon does not count towards your storage quota.
There is an Adobe Air app (cross platform Mac/Windows/Linux) to do a bulk upload of mp3 audio. You are prompted to install and run this when you click ‘Upload to your cloud drive’ at the Cloud Player. The mp3 uploader can even scan your iTunes library if you would like, and choose files to upload. Or just choose a folder of mp3s.
Android player is awesome as well. Stream your music or download to your device. Use as a media player to play other mp3 content on your Android device!
How are the mp3s?
Note that mp3 encoding specs vary in Amazon purchases, ever so slightly.
It is perhaps that Amazon has adjusted their mp3 encoding technique over time, as the encoding software improves and such.
I purchased this album and took a look at the mp3 quality.
The album I purchased provides ~256 kbps VBR mp3s encoded with LAME 3.97. For LAME geeks, it appears this album did not use –vbr-new.
I opened the file with baudline – a spectrum analyzer. I was happy to see that the lowpass was at 16k, rather than at 15k like iTunes and other low quality encoders do. If you examine the image below, you will also see a fair amount of data over 16k – way up to 19.5k.
iTunes information detected from the file is below:
EncSpot info on the example file is shown below:
Does this purchased file have my email address, or other Amazon account information?
No! Examining the file with the string command shows no personal or account information, unlike iTunes content. Just expected mp3 artist and such metadata.
So how is the music?!
With this random example file, it is great. I am curious to purchase a newer album to see if a newer version of LAME is used, and perhaps a higher quality preset is used. In LAME 3.98 and newer the –vbr-new becomes the default algorithm used.
My ideal LAME encoding with the current verison (3.98.4) is: lame -V2 -q0 file.wav file.mp3 which would give slightly higher quality than this Amazon album. Though Amazon’s encoding does reach transparancy and is more than adequate for music fans.