Amazon Music HD is a new tier of premium quality music with more than 60 million songs in High Definition (HD) and millions of songs in Ultra High Definition (Ultra HD), the highest quality streaming audio available. At just $12.99/month for Prime members or $14.99/month for Amazon customers, Amazon Music HD makes high quality, lossless audio accessible to all music fans. Existing Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers (Individual or Family Plan) can upgrade to Amazon Music HD for an additional $5/month.
Amazon Music HD offers lossless audio in two quality ranges: HD and Ultra HD.
HD tracks are 16-bit audio, with a minimum sample rate of 44.1 kHz (16/44.1 is also referred to as CD-quality), and an average bitrate of 850 kbps. Ultra HD tracks have a bit depth of 24 bits, with sample rates ranging from 44.1 kHz up to 192 kHz, and an average bitrate of 3730 kbps.
In comparison, most standard streaming services currently offer Standard Definition (SD) with a bitrate up to 320 kbps. These audio files use lossy compression, where details of the original audio are removed in order to reduce the file size. By contrast, Amazon Music HD preserves the original recording information to deliver the highest quality sound available, more than 2x the bitrate in HD and more than 10x the bitrate at the highest Ultra HD bitrate. Amazon Music HD will always play the highest quality content available, based on network, device capability and your selected settings.
Alexa-enabled Echo devices (2nd generation and later), Fire TVs and Fire Tablets all support HD quality audio. The Echo Studio, Echo Link, and Echo Amp support Ultra HD quality audio. Learn more about Alexa-enabled Amazon devices.
Amazon Music will always play the best available audio quality that your device and network supports. Since Amazon Music HD has over 60 million tracks available in HD audio, in most cases your music will automatically play in HD quality or better. The best way to browse HD and Ultra HD music is with the Amazon Music app. Songs and albums available in HD or Ultra HD will have an “HD” or “Ultra HD” badge. To play music on your Alexa-enabled device, connect to Alexa Cast by tapping on the Casting icon on the Now Playing screen. Then, connect to your device and select music to start playing. To play Ultra HD music on your Echo Studio, you can also try asking for Ultra HD playlists such as “Alexa, play the Best of Ultra HD Playlist”.
Most iPhones and iPads released since 2014 (devices running on iOS 11, or later) can support HD/Ultra HD (up to 24-bit, 48kHz) without any additional equipment. In order to play songs at higher sample rates (96 or 192 kHz), iPhone customers can connect an external DAC capable of supporting those higher sample rates.
Apple AirPlay supports HD quality playback.
Most Android devices released since 2014 can support HD/Ultra HD playback (up to 48kHz). Please ensure that your device is running on Android Lollipop, or later.
At this time Amazon Music HD is not supported on Chromecast.
Any Mac from 2013 or later supports HD/Ultra HD. However, adjusting the default Mac audio settings is required to listen in the highest quality:
PC support for HD/Ultra HD playback depends on the built-in audio player and DAC, which varies by device. Please check your manufacturer specifications.
Amazon Music is integrated in to many home audio devices, including receivers, amplifiers, speakers, and sound bars. Often, you can control playback directly by signing in to Amazon Music within the manufacturer application. Learn more about our preferred partners.
We are constantly working to bring Amazon Music to more devices by partnering with leading audio manufacturers. If your device is not listed in our preferred brands, you may still be able to play Amazon Music HD through a wired or wireless connection on your device.
If your device has a built-in DAC that does not support HD/Ultra HD audio, then you need an external DAC when connecting your player to your headphones or speakers to listen in HD/Ultra HD.
In order to play Ultra HD, the external DAC at a minimum must be capable of processing files with a bit depth of 24-bit and sample rates of at least 44.1 kHz. Check the DAC specifications to ensure it can play higher sample rates available with Ultra HD (48 kHz, 96 kHz, 192 kHz).
On iOS, disable the Alexa Wake Word feature in Settings to ensure playback through your DAC at the highest resolution.
At this time, external DACs are not supported on Android.
Headphones and speakers with a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz are recommended to best appreciate HD playback. Headphones certified with a Hi-Res Audio logo have an even higher frequency response (greater than 40 kHz), and are best for Ultra HD playback. Most wireless headphones compress audio during transmission and are unable to support HD and higher quality playback. Some wireless headphones and Android devices that use advanced Bluetooth with either the Qualcomm aptX/aptX HD or Sony LDAC wireless standards, can support HD/Ultra HD playback (up to 24-bit, 48kHz).
Yes, exclusive mode is available in the Amazon Music app for Windows and Mac. To enable exclusive mode, click the Devices icon on the player and check the Exclusive Mode option.
When exclusive mode is enabled, the Amazon Music app will block sounds from other applications while music is playing. This provides a number of sound quality benefits, notably that it allows the Amazon Music app to play music in the highest possible quality supported by your playback device. It also reduces the likelihood of playback errors that can occur when multiple applications are playing audio at the same time. It is important to note that other applications will not be able to play audio when a song is playing while exclusive mode is enabled.
The size of a downloaded song depends on the file’s bit depth, sampling frequency, and compression codec used, with higher-quality lossless files being larger in size. Below are examples of file sizes for a 3½ minute song:
By comparison, a 30-minute HD video (1080p) has an average file size of 1.8 GB. That means in the same space as a single episode of HD television, you can store more than 2 hours of HD music on your device.
We recommend a steady internet connection of 1.5 to 2 Mbps for HD streaming and 5 to 10 Mbps for Ultra HD streaming – typically available in LTE signals. For data usage purposes, note that HD audio typically consumes up to 5.5 MB of data per minute, and Ultra HD audio up to 12 MB of data per minute (when listening at the highest sample rates).
When listening to music on Amazon Music HD, you can tap/click on the SD/HD/Ultra HD badge on the Now Playing screen and view the following streaming details -
Your choice of speakers, headphones, and listening conditions also impacts overall sound quality.
3D audio is an immersive audio format included with Amazon Music HD for playback on Echo Studio devices. 3D audio turns stereo tracks into a multidimensional audio experience, adding space, clarity, and depth. Amazon Music HD has over a thousand 3D tracks, mastered in Dolby Atmos and Sony’s 360 Reality Audio codecs from some of the world’s biggest artists. In addition to 3D audio, Amazon Music HD customers can playback HD and Ultra HD on Echo Studio devices.
Songs available in 3D audio music have a 3D badge within your Amazon Music mobile app.
To play 3D audio on your Echo Studio device: