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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
You know how sometimes you find something, and it just works so well for you...you never bother really looking into alternatives? Well, that's how I feel about Rhapsody. It doesn't get much pub, compared like to Pandora, LastFM, etc...but I've been using and loving it for years.


I've tried Pandora and LastFM; RadioIO, etc. They're OK for just putting on a genre of music, and getting a stream. But I have yet to find a service that allows you to save to a library, and play what you want...when you want...like Rhapsody. I mean, IMO, Pandora is a joke. You set-up a "Led Zeppelin" station, and you get one Led Zepp song...followed by their standard Classic Rock stream. Set-up a "Bob Dylan" station...you get one Bobby D song...and their standard Classic Rock stream. Am I missing something; yawn.


I guess the reason Rhapsody doesn't get more traction is the price? In fact, the whole reason for this post is it looks like maybe it's going to cost them; I just read an article about companies facing trouble staying afloat for 2011, and it appears Real Networks/Rhapsody is on its last legs.


So I guess my question is this: is there any service like Rhapsody out there, that I might have missed...because I never needed to look for an alternative? A service with a 10-million+ song library, where you don't listen to what they want to play...but you get to pick, and choose...and stream what you want on-demand?


I'm not asking for such a thing for free; I gladly pay Rhapsody's monthly fee (well, maybe not gladly...lol). I just need to start looking for a viable alternative, if Rhapsody can't stay afloat.


CD
 

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Funny in that I just picked up Rhapsody again last week since they lowered the price--it used to be more than $9.99--but of course if you want to make it available to more than one remote device it is more expensive. I did see a story in Rolling Stone a few weeks back that talked about 4 different services similar to Rhapsody (all of them were $10 a month)--I felt Rhapsody was the best of them and so I didn't really investigate the others--and I don't remember the names. For me, the ten bucks a month is a pretty good price to stream their extensive music collection. I was using Pandora and still like that too but you can't select the songs you want like you can with Rhapsody. I really like the iPhone app too as you can download entire albums to listen to offline.
 

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Zune also had the traditional benefit of 10 downloads a month too or something like that. For me the issue of all these solutions is quality. None of them really offer something that I would pay for. I would be all over it if they used something 256K VBR. Last time I tried rhapsody that certainly was not the case. sounded like FM radio.


Sean
 

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Quote:
I mean, IMO, Pandora is a joke. You set-up a "Led Zeppelin" station, and you get one Led Zepp song...followed by their standard Classic Rock stream. Set-up a "Bob Dylan" station...you get one Bobby D song...and their standard Classic Rock stream. Am I missing something; yawn.

Perhaps what you're missing is the interactive process of fine-tuning the station by adding more artists to it, and by up- or down-checking individual songs.


The value of Pandora, for me, is that once I've created a station and done some winnowing, it will introduce me to new artists that I will be pre-disposed to like. This has led me to some very welcome discoveries.


I'm not saying this is what you or anyone else should want, but it's far from what you describe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski /forum/post/19606769


I don't know exactly what you're able to do with it other than just streaming, but you can choose the songs you want - even whole albums. And it's free:

http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/

Thanks. I did a search for "top music services" and Grooveshark was on a list of top 5. Sounds like it's worth checking out...since it's free. Just have to see how it compares, and if I can get it working through my Squeezebox.


CD
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

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Originally Posted by sean_w_smith /forum/post/19608531


Zune also had the traditional benefit of 10 downloads a month too or something like that. For me the issue of all these solutions is quality. None of them really offer something that I would pay for. I would be all over it if they used something 256K VBR. Last time I tried rhapsody that certainly was not the case. sounded like FM radio.


Sean

Really? I'm not sure how you stream it Sean, but Rhapsody...to my Squeezebox...to an external DAC (which does help with crappy files some) sounds more than acceptable. Quality varies, of course, from title to title...and never matches my own, home-ripped FLACs; but again, more than acceptable...and that's into a pretty revealing, 2-channel system.


CD
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

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Originally Posted by rdclark /forum/post/19608857


Perhaps what you're missing is the interactive process of fine-tuning the station by adding more artists to it, and by up- or down-checking individual songs.


The value of Pandora, for me, is that once I've created a station and done some winnowing, it will introduce me to new artists that I will be pre-disposed to like. This has led me to some very welcome discoveries.


I'm not saying this is what you or anyone else should want, but it's far from what you describe.

No, that's fair; I fully admit, I just kinda checked what all the fuss was about, and I didn't tweak it. However, you're right; I'm not much of a "stream whatever you like of this genre at me" kind of guy...other than very casual listening.


However, for free, I'm sure Pandora can do more than what I've asked of it.


CD
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDLehner /forum/post/19609731


Really? I'm not sure how you stream it Sean, but Rhapsody...to my Squeezebox...to an external DAC (which does help with crappy files some) sounds more than acceptable. Quality varies, of course, from title to title...and never matches my own, home-ripped FLACs; but again, more than acceptable...and that's into a pretty revealing, 2-channel system.


CD


SB3 into my two channel system and it sounds like 128K MP3 at best. definetely not 192VBR or anything like that. Its acceptable like Pandora for free but I wont pay for that content quality. What is the bitrate and codec they use now?


BTW: I'm the guy who still buys lots of CD's.


Sean
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by sean_w_smith /forum/post/19610756


SB3 into my two channel system and it sounds like 128K MP3 at best. definetely not 192VBR or anything like that. Its acceptable like Pandora for free but I wont pay for that content quality. What is the bitrate and codec they use now?


BTW: I'm the guy who still buys lots of CD's.


Sean

Best I can tell, Rhapsody is 256kbps mp3.


CD
 

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256K would be reasonable but thats not what I heard with my hears. I looked a little further and it seems tracks you buy are 256k and ones you get via the subscription are only 160.


but ya never know what else is going on. My buddy has a zune pass have it running on the acer revo over HDMI. we were listening to John Butler Trio via Zune and it was awful. it was like the levels were clipped. it was not a good rip.


may have to try again. last time I tried it was like 2 xmas's ago when the I got the duet.


would be cool if they had a boxee or xbmc app.


Sean
 

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I love Rhapsody as much as CD.


When I recently took an HOUR OR SO to log-in into it via my Denon 4311 (lol, using the remote to input the user name and password is BEYOND laborious), it reported a 128k stream, unfortunately.



Don't know if my usual streaming over my laptop is any better. I've been seeking out a better, cheap solution over Airfoil to stream to my AppleTV and have yet to unearth one...AF is so bad I can't really make any critiques on Rhapsody SQ alone.


I'm really trying to avoid spending hundreds to go to Sonos or SB for one program.


Airplay looks like it MAY work, but it appears it may be limited to streaming from an apple device...at least as far as non-itunes apps go. I (of course) own a VAIO.



sigh.


James
 

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I'll prolly never really understand I-net, WIFI and streaming like I should, but it just irks me that I can begin watchin a 90 minute 720P 5.1 movie in 10 seconds off my appletv that's glitch-free, but I'm limited to 128/192 audio-only streams from Rhapsody?


My inclination is that it's intended for the lowest common denominator at this point...read: those with "lesser" internet speeds, but man, even with a network TWICE as slow as mine, wouldn't it stand to reason that streamed 320k songs should STILL queue up in a few seconds and be relatively hiccup free at this point in the game?


Heck would they be reinventing the wheel to at least offer the OPTION for increased bit rates...even if at a premium? Don't know if that means their 10+ million song catalog needs to be "re-ripped" (yes I'm serious, I don't know) or if that's an on-the-fly option for them through their server.


If "slower" network speeds for some isn't the answer to the 128/192 limitation, perhaps I'm missing something more obvious. (?) I'm not looking for lossless here, but I and many more music-nuts can decipher a 128 from a 320k.



just askin.


James
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe /forum/post/19619873


I'll prolly never really understand I-net, WIFI and streaming like I should, but it just irks me that I can begin watchin a 90 minute 720P 5.1 movie in 10 seconds off my appletv that's glitch-free, but I'm limited to 128/192 audio-only streams from Rhapsody?


My inclination is that it's intended for the lowest common denominator at this point...

Mebbe but mebbe it is also the result of their agreements with the content owners to not permit high quality internet broadcasts of their material assets.
 

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Well yes, maybe. But for some reason I doubt that those who currently use a 192k Rhapsody AND buy CDs would buy less if it swung to 320.


Ditto for those who do not use a 192k Rhapsody and buy CDs currently out of fidelity concerns. I doubt a considerable sum would start using a 320 rhapsody and abandon their CD/lossless purchases if they sought truly hi-fi sound.


Finally, considering the vast majority of digital music purchases are low bit-rate mp3's to begin with, it appears obvious to me that SQ really isn't a priority to begin with and opening up an app like Rhap to a bit higher quality would do nothing outside of potentialy draw-in more of those few who ARE looking for a bit more fidelity from a music service.


I understand your point though...the fact that Rhap offers 256k copies for sale makes that point that much more interesting, but if they are really streaming in 192, 256 would hardly be a worthwhile jump to anyone who's really looking for a sig uptick in sound quality.


bit of a circular scenario I think.


James
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I think it's like just about everything else in "mainstream" audio these days; they don't feel like the money is in the "hi-end". Sheer numbers-wise, we must represent a small segment...and for the rest, just good is good-enough.


CD
 

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I got rid of Rhapsody after many years for Zune Pass. I love the integration with my zune player, windows 7 phone and xbox. Also, I like the interface much better than Rhapsody. There is a Smart DJ feature that is much like Pandora stations.


A negative is that it doesn't do Sonos very well. Sonos will play downloaded zune subscription songs and my own MP3 Library in Zune but I can not stream Zune music straight off the Zune Pass tap like you can with Rhapsody.


I imagine it streams subscription files at wma files at 192kbs as the is what downloaded to my harddrive with subscription songs. However when I buy music or use my 10 free credits per month the music is MP3 encoded 320 kbs which is what I ripped all my CDs at and is plenty good for me and my ears.


My guess is these services stream and have lower bitrate subscription downloads is to make stripping the DRM off the files a somewhat less desirable option for scammers.
 
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