(Couldn’t find a recent thread about this, so starting a new one.)
I’ve noted the predominant use of YouTube on TC. Which, I must say, surprises me just a little bit.
First, there’s the energy consumption issue. Using video streaming when all you are really after is audio is not exactly climate-friendly. And yes, I think that matters. Because it does.
Secondly, a page crammed with embedded YouTube players tend to slow down most computers. Which is, at best, annoying (however convenient the player in itself may be).
Thirdly, there is indeed a royalty system in place at YouTube. But it doesn’t always work. And yes, I think that matters too.
I’ve been using Spotify since (I think) 2009. And, frankly, I couldn’t imagine being without it.
And yes, doing efficient searches for classical will take some practice and experience (it helps learning to use tags, for instance; go google it…). Spotify is tailor-made for popular music, not classical. But the real downside is that any search will yield "extras". It's not pinpoint (but I'm afraid that's how algorithms work these days, and yes, that sucks). Figuring out how search works is nonetheless worth the effort, IMO. And you will
figure that out. It’s not rocket science.
Anyway, Spotify is an incredibly powerful tool for mining the catalogue (off the top of my head, the only big(ish) label I can think of that’s missing from Spotify is Hyperion). With the added advantage, of course, that you can also listen to the catalogue.
It’s also convenient. You can organize your music. As you would any collection. (Really, the worst thing about Spotify is that it's almost too
convenient. Addictive personalities should probably stay well clear of it.)
it also has good sound quality (sound quality-wise Spotify is not vastly but perceptibly superior to anything you can find on YouTube). It's not state of the art audiophile stuff. But it's more than OK (and I'm not exactly insensitive to these matters). If it sounds really nasty, I'm guessing the problem lies somewhere else along the chain between source and ears. And if you get crappy sound from Spotify, you’ll most likely get crappy sound from YouTube as well. (Some YouTube audio is highly compressed, which might account for it coming across as more ”pleasing”.)
Still, if it sounds like **** (compared to cd or vinyl), try this:
- If you’re on a computer (and you should be if it’s classical you’re after) always use the desktop player (downloadable) and always use the highest quality audio setting (obviously).
- Use high quality open headphones (if you do use headphones, that is; I couldn’t live without mine). I have a pair of unbelievably ancient but trustworthy Sennheisers (HD600). (The HD600 aren’t exactly cheap. But there are plenty of more expensive alternatives out there. In comparison I’d say the HD600’s are cheap.)
- Get a good quality headphone amp. Or at least a decent quality one. (Anyhow, decent headphones and a headphone amp is good to have regardless of your listening source.)
- If none of this helps, you probably have an antique sound card in your computer. If that’s the case I suggest you start there.
And yes, it's fairly obvious that using bad equipment results in bad sound. I'm just saying that if Spotify sounds like a bag of nails (as some claim), then there's probably something not quite right further down the line. Because it really shouldn't sound like a bag of nails. And definitely not compared to YouTube.
And no, I’m not being paid by Spotify (I wish I was, though). I’m just a little taken aback by the amount of (in most cases highly unnecessary) video streaming going on around here.