How are you listening to what you are listening to right now?


  • Vivaldi Team

    Hi, A popular thread here is "What are you listening to right now". But I'm interested in how are you listening to what you are listening to right now. There's so many ways to listen to music these days I'm curious as to how users here are getting their music fix. There's of course the good 'ol way: A locally stored music collection being played back on a music player. Then there's the streaming services like Pandora and Spotify which claim to learn by your listening habits and over time will present you only with music you like, new and old. There's also edited music streams also called "Internet Radio". There are many very good ones and I use this kind of service a lot. "Radio Paradise" and "Soma.fm" are two good examples. Lately a "hybrid" offering has become quite popular. I'm thinking about Songza (recently devoured by Google of course) who offers up edited playlists based on time of day and moods. You still have the option to vote music up or down, but the playlists are put together by someone. I have come to like this way to listen to music a lot. I got a little tired of only being presented with music I presumably like based solely on my listening habits. With a service like Songza I keep discovering new music more often than I did with Pandora (which I have used since the service started). And how could I forget terrestrial (FM) radio (which often also can be accessed online). I still use that a lot. A related question is what kind of device do you most often listen to music on? Your computer, phone, Sonos music system or dedicated portable music player? Maybe in ways I do not even think of? Let us know how you are listening to music. It will be interesting to see if there's a trend among Vivaldi users in this regard :)



  • I still buy CDs.

    My stereo is ancient. It has a dual-cassette deck in it and no CD player. I used to play CDs through the ancient stereo with a portable player I had connected to it. A couple years ago the CD player broke.

    As a replacement I bought a Sansa Clip+ and connected it to the ancient stereo. I bought a power bar with dummy USB ports to keep the Sansa Clip+ charged all the time.

    I ripped all my CDs to FLAC and MP3. The Sansa Clip+ allows for a MicroSD expansion, but it still doesn't have enough space to hold everything on FLAC. So the Sansa Clip+ just has everything on MP3.

    I keep the FLAC on my PC. I use Foobar2000 as a player (and for ripping the CDs to FLAC and MP3). I also have a Linux partition, but rarely use it. I installed a player called Clementine for music on Linux.

    In the car I also just use CDs. I bought another Sansa Clip player (the ClipZip) for the car. I like having the option of more music, but I don't really like having to flip through menus if I'm driving. I'll have to find a better way.

    I don't use streaming services. I don't really like the idea of not owning a physical copy. It's unlikely, but there's always the chance a service shuts down and you don't have access to stuff you already purchased. I like the Sansa players because they are inexpensive and they don't have any extra proprietary software or services you need to install.

    I guess I miss out on finding new music and recommendations from some of the services out there. But I'm kind of at the point where I don't feel like finding new bands. Just buying the new releases from the bands I like generally gives me enough new music.


  • Vivaldi Team

    One of my best friends also buys CD's. He has an insane collection and are still picking them up wherever he can find them. But even he is now on a mission to rip them all into flac and is trying to prop up his computer to be able to play his new digital collection with the same playback quality as he is used to on his stand-alone stereo. He's is going to need an incredible amount of storage! :)



  • Yeah, manually ripping can be a lot of work. Especially when you start from scratch. I remember it took me a couple weeks to get everything done, but I was in school at the time so I needed something to kill time when I should have been doing homework. Now it's just a matter of doing a new album every once in a while. That's a lot more manageable.

    I don't really even have a ton of CDs. I haven't counted, but I'd guess only a little over 200. My FLAC storage shows 85.7 GB.

    Of course, the problem is that once you spend all that time ripping your CDs, you want to make sure you have enough storage for the music and a backup (or two). You can never trust a hard drive.



  • @christian:

    He's is going to need an incredible amount of storage! :)

    Which would not be needed if he rips the overcompressed music you can find on most of the CDs since about 1995 to MP4 AAC (Nero codec) quality 0.7, VBR. The size would be smaller than a 320k CBR MP3 but the sound quality is much higher, neither I nor some other people I "abused" for some tests could hear a difference.
    Of course this was different for Musik (with a capital m) that was recorded and mixed by people with a working set of ears.

    You can find good hint which CDs to rip to FLAC and which to AAC here: http://dr.loudness-war.info/
    Under normal circumstances CDs below a DR *) 12 to 14 are not worth the space the FLAC files need.
    You can find the link to a stand-alone DR checker and a foobar2000 plugin if you click on "links" at the top right of the page.

    *) DR: Dynamic Range. I would call it dynamic detail resolution instead of dynamic range, because dynamic range normally means the over-all range, which is not what is measured there.



  • Earphones. Nevermind the brand.


  • Vivaldi Team

    That is great information, thanks! I'll bring that to my friends attention.



  • For the most part almost all my listening is done from locally stored media (CDs) with some of it transferred to an ancient Coby 8Gb mp3 player for on the road.
    There are also several boxes of Cassette Tapes and of LPs. Most of the cassettes are audio books or Spoken Word but the LPs are music from the 1950's to 1970's (artists from Aker Bilk to Frank Zappa). Once I get my turntable refurbished I will be able to listen to them again.
    Then there is Radio, mostly FM but my television provider also provides some alternatives. There is not much music on Shortwave anymore and the quality is usually abysmal but occasionally I dust off the old receiver and scan the bands.
    Having had a very limited internet connection, until very recently, I am not in the habit of streaming any content.
    I like the idea of Internet Radio… my old windows box had iTunes and I fount their Radio selection quite extensive. On Linux now I have GLRP (Great Little Radio Player) which I use occasionally. Not so much selection but I have been able to add some content that is of interest to me.


  • Vivaldi Translator

    I certainly agree with QuHno about the free Nero MP4 CoDec.
    http://www.nero.com/enu/company/about-nero/nero-aac-codec.php
    http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=151559

    I use it very often with "Exact Audio Copy" http://www.exactaudiocopy.de
    Not many CD rippers bother to actually check the track gaps, and EAC can make a big difference with live albums, or CDs with odd gap sizes.
    It also gives you the option to remove the digital silence between tracks completely so your encoded version contains only the actual track data.

    BTW. There is a group at Last.fm for those that still prefer physical media.
    http://www.last.fm/group/I+Still+Buy+CDs
    …and yes I am a proud member B)
    Hardly a replacement for vinyl and massive sleeve-art, but you can't have everything.

    Personally I am surprised the industry never started to use DVDs for albums.
    48k and a larger bitrate, with the easy option for surround-sound, and almost everyone has a DVD player.
    Jethro Tull did a collectors release and did a live album like that (which I converted with Nero MP4 B) ).
    Bingo! use the cheep tech we already have in an alternative way.
    But instead of putting a new tyre on the wheel, Sony re-invent it with the doomed Super CD format.



  • @Dr.Flay:

    Personally I am surprised the industry never started to use DVDs for albums.

    They did, the label L2 from Norway even used BluRay discs for pure audio.

    @Dr.Flay:

    48k and a larger bitrate,

    Which do not bring any benefit to a normal user with normal equipment in a room where he wants to live. In 99.99% of all cases the test listeners were not able to confirm any audible difference to a normal CD with the identical mix [1] in true double blind tests.

    @Dr.Flay:

    with the easy option for surround-sound, and almost everyone has a DVD player.

    This is the only reason that I can accept, but -isn't there always a "but"? :D - it is almost impossible to set up a controlled environment at home that can reproduce multichannel music realistically. While multichannel is nice for sound effects in home cinema, it has too many problems in normal living rooms.

    Theoretically you would need a perfectly symmetric room with the same damping on all walls [2]. Then you would need a double bass array at 2 opposite walls to control the room modes. You have to measure the impulse response for that and that is not a trivial task. Without decent [3] measurement equipment you have no chance to do that right. It gets even worse when it comes to the mid tones, aka the region where our ears are at their highest sensitivity. One wrongly placed speaker (10 cm are enough) can ruin the whole experience. Measuring that is a real PITA and takes a lot of experience. DON'T follow the setup instructions of the Dolby Labs when setting up your system, they are a pile of horse manure when it comes to listening to music[4].
    In most cases you can get a better experience when seriously listening to music if you just use a "simple" stereo setup.

    1. People often claim that SACD or AudioDVD 48kHz 96kHz 192kHz sound better than the "same" CD. When looking closely you could see that they are mastered differently. The only true test is to take a high resolution source after the final mix and then resample it down to the different formats. Until now the probability of test listeners getting it right was 0.5, meaning: You can write CD and (other format) on a banana, use a Chimpanzee to decide which one he wants and declare that the drawn system sounds better, because the Chimpanzee will match exactly the same probability ;)
      But hey, as long as people buy cables for 20k USD to improve the signal quality of the AES/EBU signal … :evil:
    2. Forget your nice snug couch, there is only one place where you can sit. No coffee table too, it ruins the sound etc. You don't want to live in a perfect listening room.
    3. Expensive, a microphone capable to measure below 100Hz and still being able to get the phase correct is about 1000++ USD - and then you still need the real time analyzer. No, a PC sound card input is by far not good enough for that.
    4. and they are bad enough for cinema sound too. DTS offers better instructions, but even they are not at the point.

  • Vivaldi Translator

    Dragging this thread back on topic..

    Mostly I use Winamp or XMPlay because being an old-school geek, I still have a large (and still growing) collection of tracker modules.
    Winamp handles most streaming formats and common lossless formats.
    My commercial music is usually ripped from my CDs to MP3 or MP4 (both in VBR mode).
    At some point I hope to transfer my vinyl (and QuHno is making me jealous).
    My free music is downloaded from the various mashup DJs and producers.
    The source and quality varies, but many producers release 320k MP3s, and some times at 48k.

    Streaming sites will almost always be in lower quality for convenience, and offer higher quality for downloads. I usually download.

    I have a Last.fm account but rarely use it to stream. I use it to monitor my music played on other sites, devices or software.
    It's knowledge of my music taste goes beyond it's own catalogue of files.
    This is the only site that can truly learn what you like, because it is not based on files it has or you have played in it.
    The times that I used it to play me new music it thinks I should like, I have been very impressed.
    The new style site relies too heavily on Youtube, and seems pointless for a background music stream, especially as idiots are free to link wrong videos :angry:

    The saviour for me in convenient streaming, is something I found a long time ago in the Opera extensions collection;
    Seesu http://seesu.me
    https://addons.opera.com/addons/extensions/details/seesu-music
    It is also available as a web page that will work on anything that can use flash.
    http://seesu.me/o

    Seesu does not host any files, it simply plays them from various sites with an open API.
    This way the author can add and remove services without reinstalling Seesu or suffering downtime.
    It uses Last.fm as the primary database, and if you login with your account you now have a more convenient Last.fm, your entire music collection, history, and favourite tracks etc.
    It has it's limits and cannot play all my music (but neither can Last.fm or any other service).
    Seesu can also log into VK.com to access more music, and add more controllability (make playlists). Again very handy for me, as I already use VK.com

    Because Seesu looks for the files on several sites, you have the option to swap to another stream if the one you hear is poor quality or wrong.
    This is a fun way to explore a familiar album B)
    I will explain;
    One day I wanted to listen to a Jethro Tull album I don't have on CD, so I put it in Seesu.
    When each track started, I expanded the files list and found a live version or remix etc. I listened to the whole album in order but no album originals, so I got something new, but also familiar B)

    One of the big advantages I find with Seesu, is the wider choice.
    It finds more music from more corners of the world, both commercial and free.
    Because many Asians also use VK.com, and Eastern Russia is very "Asian" I find a heap of stuff I can't find in western sites, (other than a few in Youtube).
    I am now a big fan of Mongolian and Chinese rock and metal :evil:
    The world needs more Mongolian throat-metal singers to bring the Buddhist chants to the unsuspecting !
    http://seesu.me/o#/catalog/Yat-Kha
    Seesu is also handy for sharing links

    If you want to hear what people in different parts of the world listen to, then it also uses Last.fm data for that;
    http://seesu.me/o#/conductor
    It seems the world loves "The Arctic Monkeys" and "Coldplay" more than anything.



  • I use everything - [email protected], soundcloud, youtube, bandcamp, bunch of web radios and google play music. For the last one I use Prime Player extension since it can show lyrics on-page + it has a last.fm scrobbler and turn on/off keys which works system-wide on Mac OS.



  • Mainly YouTube, but also, especially to meet new interpreters and have music in interruptions of my favorite styles, I use EarBits, Highly recommended.
    https://www.earbits.com/
    Free and optional registration to create playlists and entire albums of favorite interpreters



  • I was born in '90 so I remember the times when I have to think which mp3's I can put into my 128-512MB mp3 player while traveling to school. So from that time I'm strong "localman" or how to say. I'm always listening from local place, computer/mobile. At childhood I only downloaded music, but since I'm employed, I'm rebuying the downloaded music from past. I prefer 320kbps mp3. Some albums I have in FLAC, but this is only making problems, with no added value. Takes too much space in mobile, my car radio can't play it. And I don't have 900€ speakers to hear difference between FLAC and 320kbps mp3. Winamp 2.x (do not remmber the exact version) was my only player for 15 years maybe? Then I updated to Winamp 5.x.

    I absolutely don't understand listening to music on mobile via streaming service. First, you have to pay for service, second you have to pay for your mobile data package. Why to spending expensive data on listening to music, when I can buy the album for 10€ and be able to listen it all forever without useless wasting of mobile data?


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