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Thread: RE: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

  1. #1
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    Question RE: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

    Hi folks,

    For those forum members who are already familiar, and have kindly helped, with my 'Sony NW-A35 Walkman' saga, I would like to update you that I have recently explored another avenue.

    I was looking at this model ('HD8') from Amazon:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Staging-Pro...A3P5ROKL5A1OLE

    There are, fundamentally, two reasons why I have been interested in this particular device. Firstly, as an alternative 'music player' to my Sony Walkman (which suffers a 'volume' issue - either as a fault or because of an 'EU' Law). Secondly, because I had to ditch my old and battered 'Win_XP' PC recently - basically it died! And so I would still like to keep my work/music PC offline as much as possible. In other words, the Amazon 'Fire' would basically replace my old 'Win_XP' which I used to use for surfing/eBay/Hotmail/forums etc.

    My first concern would be with ascertaining whether or not the 'Fire' has the same volume restriction - as per 'EU' regulations.

    Out of the box, the device cannot play FLAC files, but apparently you can d/l an app. from the Amazon app-store which will perform this task (called 'Power Music Pro'). I would have thought there are others though such as 'VLC'?

    Storage-wise, there are two models: 8GB and 16GB, if I am correct. But you can use a micro-SD card for expansion up to 256GB.

    Let's assume there is no volume restriction, if you will. Do you think it is a good idea to have a music-player device which is going to be multi-tasking across a range of duties, please? Compared to (say) my current Sony Walkman which is, ultimately, just a Walkman.

    The 'Sony 'NW-A35' was (I think) circa 160GBP, and so the Amazon model is half the price.

    Many thanks in advance for any kind assistance offered here.

    Best,

    Paul
    Last edited by monsterjazzlick; 08-05-2017 at 05:35 PM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
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    Re: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

    Quote Originally Posted by monsterjazzlick View Post
    Hi folks,

    For those forum members who are already familiar, and have kindly helped, with my 'Sony NW-A35 Walkman' saga, I would like to update you that I have recently explored another avenue.

    I was looking at this model ('HD8') from Amazon:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Staging-Pro...A3P5ROKL5A1OLE

    There are, fundamentally, two reasons why I have been interested in this particular device. Firstly, as an alternative 'music player' to my Sony Walkman (which suffers a 'volume' issue - either as a fault or because of an 'EU' Law). Secondly, because I had to ditch my old and battered 'Win_XP' PC recently - basically it died! And so I would still like to keep my work/music PC offline as much as possible. In other words, the Amazon 'Fire' would basically replace my old 'Win_XP' which I used to use for surfing/eBay/Hotmail/forums etc.

    My first concern would be with ascertaining whether or not the 'Fire' has the same volume restriction - as per 'EU' regulations.

    Out of the box, the device cannot play FLAC files, but apparently you can d/l an app. from the Amazon app-store which will perform this task (called 'Power Music Pro'). I would have thought there are others though such as 'VLC'?

    Storage-wise, there are two models: 8GB and 16GB, if I am correct. But you can use a micro-SD card for expansion up to 256GB.

    Let's assume there is no volume restriction, if you will. Do you think it is a good idea to have a music-player device which is going to be multi-tasking across a range of duties, please? Compared to (say) my current Sony Walkman which is, ultimately, just a Walkman.

    The 'Sony 'NW-A35' was (I think) circa 160GBP, and so the Amazon model is half the price.

    Many thanks in advance for any kind assistance offered here.

    Best,

    Paul
    Hi Paul,

    Firstly, the Amazon Fire HD8, is probably one of the best sub 100 tablets.

    Being an Amazon tablet, it either doesn't do, or makes it difficult to "do Google". For example, the Google Play Store, and some of the apps available through there, are not a couple of clicks away. This may, or may not, be over-restrictive for you.

    If you can get the Fire to play your FLAC files, the other concern, ignoring volume (!!), maybe, sound quality. You may not achieve, the "luxury and exclusiveness", coupled with the "High Quality" audio, of the Sony. Your salesman should be nominated for an Oscar, if he delivered those lines with a straight face!

    For my sins, I sold specialist Hi-Fi (sorry, garym!), very much pre CD ripping, and the Audiophile part of me, is saying that, the Sony utilises better DACs, in a more optimised layout, and should, sound better, not just different. I will absolutely concede that, just because a product costs more, that is no guarantee that it sounds better. Only you can decide, what is a good enough sound.

    The one piece of advice that is as true today, as it was 25 years ago, is: if you don't enjoy listening to music via a certain piece of equipment, then it is a waste of money, regardless of cost. If you don't use it, because the sound puts you off listening to music, then it is money down the drain.

    If you need a PC, people are practically giving Windows XP, and Windows 7, systems away, complete with a decent monitor.

    I still have a PC, but it is totally inaccessible! I've been donated my son's laptop, so use that solely for ripping, and editing tags. This would be quicker and easier, for me, on a bigger screen, keyboard and mouse, but with the addition of external DVD drives, the laptop is fine.

    I am typing this, on a 110, 10" Android tablet. I literally use the laptop for ripping via dBpoweramp, and occasionally editing with, Mp3tag. The same tablet, is the control point for my player, has an Android version of Foobar2000, and apps for accessing my NAS, which holds my music files.

    I don't know if your player must be portable, but ignoring sound quality and your volume issue, a player is only as good to use, as the software choices, and the app. allows it to be.

    These days, we are spoilt for choice on how to store, and playback our music files.

    Good luck,

    Oggy
    Last edited by Oggy; 08-06-2017 at 05:46 AM.

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    Question Re: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

    Hi Oggy,

    I did check out a whole range of different tablets.

    Incidentally, I do own a couple of Amazon TV Firesticks and also sampled a 'trial' of Amazon 'Prime' recently. I am using Amazon more and more compared to eBay (which I used to favour). There are just too many disingenuous 'sellers' on eBay and they are openly allowed to get away with it (in my experience). But back to Amazon and listening to music files, I have no intention of 'streaming' (for a fixed monthly subscription fee) as many Amazon customers do.

    I am pleased that you consider the 'Fire HD8' tablet device to be of an acceptable standard. I tried my sister's 'Kindle' out that morning which, for all intents and purposes, is roughly the same size/feel/weight/features; and I thought it felt fine (as regards to typing, watching You Tube, navigating, etc).

    One concern with the 'Fire HD8' is that of it's RAM - which is only '1.5GB'. Assuming (which it is) my internet speed at home is quite fast, is '1.5GB' likely to cause much interference from buffering, please?

    I do not particularly use many apps to be honest. In fact, whenever I purchase a new mobile phone, I delete a tons of apps of which come pre-loaded. I only use (on my Nokia) the calculator and alarm clock! I did once own an Android Motorola handset and I don't recall ever using or d/l any apps - perhaps apart from What's App and a Scientific Calculator. I just used it for phone calls and text messaging.

    As for Sony's 'High Quality' mode on the 'NW-A35' Walkman, I have read in a few reviews that this is a complete case of the emperor's clothes!

    Regarding the quality of the audio, I am not sure how high/low the Amazon tablet ranks? There is, as you note, the question of the 'DACs'. I would guess - logically - that if you buy a piece of hardware which is designed to perform one single specific role, then it is likely to perform this role much more effectively than if it was designed to multitask? For example, I would think that a (say) professional photographer would purchase a dedicated camera (be it digital or otherwise) to use exclusively for taking pictures, as opposed to a device which you could also use for 'Twitter' and 'Skype'!

    Concerning portability, 70% of my listening is whilst relaxing, undisturbed, on the sofa or bed; and through a pair of 50+ Sennheiser phones. This is because I like to concentrate on the music as well as training my listening skills. It has to be said that if it were not for the 'volume' issue, then I would give the Sony 'A35' a five-gold-star rating! I mean, I absolutely love it and it is perfect for my needs (as was the now dilapidated Sony Walkman I purchased in 2007). I would never take it outside (say) walking for fear of losing/dropping it. And I have never seen the point in people wasting hundreds of on portable-audio-gear for the purpose of listening to music in Central London, or where traffic and industrial noise is overbearing?

    I do listen to music via a PC and through a pair of (flat-response) speakers - which amounts to another 20% of my regular listening time (again, this is to concentrate on the music as well as training my listening skills - which I will open up a thread on under separate cover). And the final 10% of listening is through my old Sony Walkman whilst in the gym!

    Many thanks,

    Paul
    Last edited by monsterjazzlick; 08-06-2017 at 09:57 AM. Reason: spelling

  4. #4
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    Re: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

    Quote Originally Posted by monsterjazzlick View Post
    Hi Oggy,

    I did check out a whole range of different tablets.

    Incidentally, I do own a couple of Amazon TV Firesticks and also sampled a 'trial' of Amazon 'Prime' recently. I am using Amazon more and more compared to eBay (which I used to favour). There are just too many disingenuous 'sellers' on eBay and they are openly allowed to get away with it (in my experience). But back to Amazon and listening to music files, I have no intention of 'streaming' (for a fixed monthly subscription fee) as many Amazon customers do.

    I am pleased that you consider the 'Fire HD8' tablet device to be of an acceptable standard. I tried my sister's 'Kindle' out that morning which, for all intents and purposes, is roughly the same size/feel/weight/features; and I thought it felt fine (as regards to typing, watching You Tube, navigating, etc).

    One concern with the 'Fire HD8' is that of it's RAM - which is only '1.5GB'. Assuming (which it is) my internet speed at home is quite fast, is '1.5GB' likely to cause much interference from buffering, please?

    I do not particularly use many apps to be honest. In fact, whenever I purchase a new mobile phone, I delete a tons of apps of which come pre-loaded. I only use (on my Nokia) the calculator and alarm clock! I did once own an Android Motorola handset and I don't recall ever using or d/l any apps - perhaps apart from What's App and a Scientific Calculator. I just used it for phone calls and text messaging.

    As for Sony's 'High Quality' mode on the 'NW-A35' Walkman, I have read in a few reviews that this is a complete case of the emperor's clothes!

    Regarding the quality of the audio, I am not sure how high/low the Amazon tablet ranks? There is, as you note, the question of the 'DACs'. I would guess - logically - that if you buy a piece of hardware which is designed to perform one single specific role, then it is likely to perform this role much more effectively than if it was designed to multitask? For example, I would think that a (say) professional photographer would purchase a dedicated camera (be it digital or otherwise) to use exclusively for taking pictures, as opposed to a device which you could also use for 'Twitter' and 'Skype'!

    Concerning portability, 70% of my listening is whilst relaxing, undisturbed, on the sofa or bed; and through a pair of 50+ Sennheiser phones. This is because I like to concentrate on the music as well as training my listening skills. It has to be said that if it were not for the 'volume' issue, then I would give the Sony 'A35' a five-gold-star rating! I mean, I absolutely love it and it is perfect for my needs (as was the now dilapidated Sony Walkman I purchased in 2007). I would never take it outside (say) walking for fear of losing/dropping it. And I have never seen the point in people wasting hundreds of on portable-audio-gear for the purpose of listening to music in Central London, or where traffic and industrial noise is overbearing?

    I do listen to music via a PC and through a pair of (flat-response) speakers - which amounts to another 20% of my regular listening time (again, this is to concentrate on the music as well as training my listening skills - which I will open up a thread on under separate cover). And the final 10% of listening is through my old Sony Walkman whilst in the gym!

    Many thanks,

    Paul
    My son has a Kindle, and it has proved to be robust! My father bought one, didn't like the absence of Google apps, so bought a true Android tablet.

    I only know that for the money, the Fire HD8, is good value. I don't know, if it "goes to 11", volume wise, sounds good with decent headphones (I've not tried my Shure earbuds, which are as inaccessible as my PC!), and I certainly haven't a clue, what apps you could get to work, after you've got your FLAC files playing. Others, or your friendly, PC World, staff, may be able to advise!

    For an alternative solution, have a read of your other thread, where I'll be posting a different suggestion shortly!

    Oggy

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    Question Re: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oggy View Post
    My son has a Kindle, and it has proved to be robust! My father bought one, didn't like the absence of Google apps, so bought a true Android tablet.

    I only know that for the money, the Fire HD8, is good value. I don't know, if it "goes to 11", volume wise, sounds good with decent headphones (I've not tried my Shure earbuds, which are as inaccessible as my PC!), and I certainly haven't a clue, what apps you could get to work, after you've got your FLAC files playing. Others, or your friendly, PC World, staff, may be able to advise!
    Oggy,

    Then I guess I would have to take my earphones down to the store to try them out on the Amazon 'HD8'. But, because you can only install Amazon's available/compatible 'Apps', I doubt that the likes of 'Foobar' will be available? Which would mean settling for 'VLC' or similar. I am sure you would agree that ripping my CD collection to FLAC via 'dBpa' would be a pointless exercise if the end player was going to be a piece of trash!

    Perhaps, in trying to find one single device to solve the music-player and also internet issues I have, I have created an even more complex problem along the way! I mean, it may be wiser (though circa 75 more) to keep the music-player and also internet-surfing devices entirely separate. Apart from the worry that the Amazon device is going to be inferior (musically) to the Sony Walkman, the 'HD8' was otherwise 100% perfect for every other task I needed it to perform.

    Many thanks,

    Paul
    Last edited by monsterjazzlick; 08-06-2017 at 01:56 PM. Reason: spelling

  6. #6
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    Re: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

    Quote Originally Posted by monsterjazzlick View Post
    Oggy,

    Then I guess I would have to take my earphones down to the store to try them out on the Amazon 'HD8'. But, because you can only install Amazon's available/compatible 'Apps', I doubt that the likes of 'Foobar' will be available? Which would mean settling for 'VLC' or similar. I am sure you would agree that ripping my CD collection to FLAC via 'dBpa' would be a pointless exercise if the end player was going to be a piece of trash!

    Perhaps, in trying to find one single device to solve the music-player and also internet issues I have, I have created an even more complex problem along the way! I mean, it may be wiser (though circa 75 more) to keep the music-player and also internet-surfing devices entirely separate. Apart from the worry that the Amazon device is going to be inferior (musically) to the Sony Walkman, the 'HD8' was otherwise 100% perfect for every other task I needed it to perform.

    Many thanks,

    Paul
    Hi Paul,

    You should be able to get Foobar2000, to work on the Fire. Google is your friend; if not Amazon's!

    I've kind of lost, what your end goal is now! If it's the best sound, the Sony has the potential, to sound better, because of possibly having better DACs, and maybe a better, headphone amp / audio circuit. Without listening, I haven't a clue how big the improvement, (if there at all), is!!

    I've always sold by demonstration, not recommendation, so can offer no opinion on this. Yes, I can make assumptions, but they are, just that, assumptions. The other real problem in sonic improvements, is that, what may be, a small difference, for one person, is a massive improvement, for another.

    The choice, is yours, Sir!

    Oggy

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    Question Re: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oggy View Post
    You should be able to get Foobar2000, to work on the Fire. Google is your friend; if not Amazon's!

    I've kind of lost, what your end goal is now! If it's the best sound, the Sony has the potential, to sound better, because of possibly having better DACs, and maybe a better, headphone amp / audio circuit. Without listening, I haven't a clue how big the improvement, (if there at all), is!!
    Cheers Oggy,

    OK, thanks for the comments on 'Foobar'.

    I started this thread just to try and deal with a few parts of the equation in isolation. But it's all got a bit amalgamated again!

    I would doubt the 'Fire HD8' could match the Sony Walkman 'DACs' and circuitry. Which goes back to my earlier point of purchasing a device which has been exclusively designed to handle one specific job ('volume' issue aside).

    Paul

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    Re: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

    No clue about foobar2000 on fire. I'm using a beta portable foobar2000 app for playback on my iPhone and ipad. For me all the portable stuff is mostly irrelevant. Portable for me is on airplane or Bluetooth in car. For home I'm using networked music streamers connected back to a central music server that holds all my music. I use squeezebox players or some newer Roon RAAT endpoints, feeding non portable DACs.

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    Re: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

    Quote Originally Posted by garym View Post
    No clue about foobar2000 on fire. I'm using a beta portable foobar2000 app for playback on my iPhone and ipad. For me all the portable stuff is mostly irrelevant. Portable for me is on airplane or Bluetooth in car. For home I'm using networked music streamers connected back to a central music server that holds all my music. I use squeezebox players or some newer Roon RAAT endpoints, feeding non portable DACs.
    Gary,

    Well if you are happy with it and it all works then congratulations! Stay as you are and no need to change anything.

    I am sure I will be at that stage also once this 'volume' issue is resolved, one way or another ...

    Thanks,

    Paul

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    Re: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

    Quote Originally Posted by monsterjazzlick View Post
    I would doubt the 'Fire HD8' could match the Sony Walkman 'DACs' and circuitry. Which goes back to my earlier point of purchasing a device which has been exclusively designed to handle one specific job ('volume' issue aside).
    If you want sound quality, have you considered a portable DAC/Headphone amp?

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    Re: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

    Quote Originally Posted by mville View Post
    If you want sound quality, have you considered a portable DAC/Headphone amp?
    I was thinking the same thing with regard to the 'volume' issue. Lots of options for high quality portable headphone amp/dacs.

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    Re: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

    Quote Originally Posted by garym View Post
    I was thinking the same thing with regard to the 'volume' issue. Lots of options for high quality portable headphone amp/dacs.
    ... and you could use it with a Windows PC and an Apple PC and an apple mobile device and an android mobile device, as long as the device supports audio over USB.

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    Re: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

    Quote Originally Posted by mville View Post
    If you want sound quality, have you considered a portable DAC/Headphone amp?
    Seems to be the course, a few owners are taking. Obviously you shouldn't be forced down this route, but for owners who use headphones a lot, an improvement in sound quality, along with volume, would be welcome.

    I totally agree that this is the best solution, giving a sonic boost. Because it adds, cost and the need to keep another box charged, I didn't suggest it.

    Hopefully, Sony can resolve the software restriction, so Paul isn't forced into an additional purchase, but has the free choice, of an upgrade, in the future.

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    Question Re: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

    Hi guys,

    Thanks very much indeed for all your helpful suggestions regarding this matter.

    No, I had not thought of exploring this particular avenue.

    I think it is unfair that customers should have to purchase extra h/w to cure an unnecessary underlying fault, but I can't really see any other way around it.

    But will such a 'DAC' device actually (magically!) IMPROVE the quality of the sound/audio, please? Or is it a case of: you can't polish a turd?!

    Secondly - and without wishing to preempt a future thread I plan to post - if you purchase d/l FLAC files of albums which are '24 bit / 196 kHz' (this format does exist for a small hand of iconic albums - I am sure you know), then will the portable headphone amp need to be able to cater for this sample/bit-rate? Or is the device not like a 'soundcard' and therefore much more basic, please?

    Many thanks,

    Paul
    Last edited by monsterjazzlick; 08-07-2017 at 02:11 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Re: 'Amazon Fire' as a Music Player?

    Quote Originally Posted by monsterjazzlick View Post
    Hi guys,

    Thanks very much indeed for all your helpful suggestions regarding this matter.

    No, I had not thought of exploring this particular avenue.

    I think it is unfair that customers should have to purchase extra h/w to cure an unnecessary underlying fault, but I can't really see any other way around it.

    But will such a 'DAC' device actually (magically!) IMPROVE the quality of the sound/audio, please? Or is it a case of: you can't polish a turd?!

    Secondly - and without wishing to preempt a future thread I plan to post - if you purchase d/l FLAC files of albums which are '24 bit / 196 kHz' (this format does exist for a small hand of iconic albums - I am sure you know), then will the portable headphone amp need to be able to cater for this sample/bit-rate? Or is the device not like a 'soundcard' and therefore much more basic, please?

    Many thanks,

    Paul
    Have a look on a Sony site, to see what works and is recommended. As usual, players handle external devices differently. Yes, I'm sure it is possible to get an improvement.

    Secondly, the first answer applies. I have no experience of what works with the Sony, and what the Sony will pass to an USB external device.

    USB aren't all universal, these days!

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