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Topic: Spotify has new low-data mode (HE-AACv2 24 kbps) (Read 2705 times) previous topic - next topic
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Spotify has new low-data mode (HE-AACv2 24 kbps)

  Spotify has new low-data mode for slow 2G/3G networks.

I suspect it's HE-AACv2 with its typical artifacts of SBR+Parametric Stereo. Or maybe it's xHE-AAC at very low bitrate. Quality is ok if You have bad connection.

Can someone confirm?


Re: Spotify has new low-data mode

Reply #1
Doesn't Spotify use Vorbis? I'd be surprised if they suddenly shelled out the AAC licensing cost just for their data saver mode?! Maybe they're using Opus?

Re: Spotify has new low-data mode

Reply #2
It's HE-AACv2 24 kbps

https://support.spotify.com/us/using_spotify/system_settings/high-quality-streaming/

"Low - Equivalent to approximately 24 kbit/s (HE-AACv2 format).
Normal – Equivalent to approximately 96kbit/s (Ogg Vorbis format).
High – Equivalent to approximately 160kbit/s (Ogg Vorbis format).
Very high – Equivalent to approximately 320kbit/s (Ogg Vorbis format).
Automatic – Dependent on your network connection. "

24 kbps is too low in my opinion. But I imagine it's the way to go on 2G/3G networks.
~36-48 kbps will be considerably better.  Parametric stereo is quite bad in headphones.

Re: Spotify has new low-data mode (HE-AACv2 24 kbps)

Reply #3
Doesn't Spotify use Vorbis? I'd be surprised if they suddenly shelled out the AAC licensing cost just for their data saver mode?! Maybe they're using Opus?

As far as I know, they also use AAC -- at higher bit rates, of course -- when streaming to a Chromecast and possibly other similar devices.

Re: Spotify has new low-data mode (HE-AACv2 24 kbps)

Reply #4
The Low setting was added mostly for Spotify Lite (new app) to match the ideas of Android Go and it's target on limited cellular speeds and data usage.

Re: Spotify has new low-data mode (HE-AACv2 24 kbps)

Reply #5
It's HE-AACv2 24 kbps

https://support.spotify.com/us/using_spotify/system_settings/high-quality-streaming/

"Low - Equivalent to approximately 24 kbit/s (HE-AACv2 format).
Normal – Equivalent to approximately 96kbit/s (Ogg Vorbis format).
High – Equivalent to approximately 160kbit/s (Ogg Vorbis format).
Very high – Equivalent to approximately 320kbit/s (Ogg Vorbis format).
Automatic – Dependent on your network connection. "

24 kbps is too low in my opinion. But I imagine it's the way to go on 2G/3G networks.
~36-48 kbps will be considerably better.  Parametric stereo is quite bad in headphones.
Seems more like something you put on in the car or train, so you'll hardly notice artifacts against all the noise.

I'm shocked that they went with AAC over Opus, though. I thought they were working on shifting their entire stack to Opus a while back, so I wonder what motivated this decision?

Re: Spotify has new low-data mode (HE-AACv2 24 kbps)

Reply #6
I'm shocked that they went with AAC over Opus, though. I thought they were working on shifting their entire stack to Opus a while back, so I wonder what motivated this decision?
Spotify uses AAC in their web player for quite a long time already, see this support article:
https://support.spotify.com/us/article/audio-quality/

It's important to note that you cannot disable the option to "normalize volume" in the web player like you can in their desktop app which might still use Ogg Vorbis, although it has been updated recently to be similar to the web player. Usually this option causes a sound difference when comparing the same track in both apps, the different codecs will probably contribute to that difference as well (128kbps AAC vs. 160kbps Ogg Vorbis for free accounts, 256kbps AAC vs. 320kbps Ogg Vorbis for Premium users).

Furthermore they announced in Feb 2021 to offer lossless streaming "later this year in select markets", so this probably means at least FLAC with CD specs (44.1khz sample rate, 16bit bit depth/resolution). No other official details known yet like exact date or available HD specs, which markets, how many lossless tracks compared to their full catalogue, supported devices, and most important subscription price - now that Apple Music lossless streaming and Amazon HD come "for free", i.e. not costing more than their usual Premium tier.
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