Select Page
How good is an iPad...
 
Notifications
Clear all

How good is an iPad for (classical) music streaming?

12 Posts
5 Users
11 Likes
66 Views
(@dinah)
Forum Champ
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 287
Topic starter  

Hello everyone 👋

Not exactly an "audio setup" question, but I didn't know where to place this!

I'd need to replace my laptop soon. I was thinking an iPad would be more convenient. Did anyone try it for music steaming? Especially with Idagio and Apple? How is the sound quality? The Idagio desktop app (for windows) is pretty good, with gapless streaming (very important for opera recordings), which is missing from their android app, yet it doesn't feature the lossless option! Apple music is meh... 😐 so I don't think there'd be a big difference between Android and iOS.


   
Odalisque reacted
Quote
(@odalisque)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 20
 

I'm considering a tablet as well, but more for reading scanned sheet music. Following this thread with interest...


   
Dinah reacted
ReplyQuote
(@nenad)
Active Member
Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 25
 

Hi @Dinah

I have never used an iPad for streaming, but iPhone (which I am experienced with) should be almost the same in this regard. In fact, I assume that iPad is even better. 

I have been using Idagio app on my iPhone before Primephonic and for several months along with Primephonic for comparison. The latter easily won the game with much better curation and catalogue. I don't remember that I had any issues with the Idagio app concerning gapless playback. Same as for you - no gapless is a deal breaker for me. 

"So far so good" is all I can say about Apple Music since Primephonic's demise. The catalogue is huge, gapless works fine, search engine usually finds what I look for, the sound quality is more than acceptable if not superb. Yes, there are some recordings with silicone implants (Dolby Atmos) which can be annoying, but most of the classical music are either "common" lossless recordings or "Apple digital masters" in high resolution. I would be really curious to read your comments on Apple Music and its flaws. When I read other people's claims that Apple Music... well... isn't good, it feels like I don't see the elephant in the room. It works just fine for me. 

Now, the sound quality. It will certainly be dependant on the rest of your hi-fi chain. You can use iPad's digital output to feed an external USB DAC to stream in maximum resolution. Alternatively, you can stream music wirelessly to a compatible streamer via Airplay. In the latter option the resolution is limited to CD quality i.e. 16bit/44.1kHz (this is standard resolution for Idagio anyway). And then we come to the point - both options are equally good in terms of sound quality, at least in my experience. The main difference is that Airplay drains battery much faster than wired streaming. It should be kept in mind however that sound quality depends on recording/mastering/sound engineering rather than on bit depth/sampling frequency. 


   
Jen and Dinah reacted
ReplyQuote
(@dinah)
Forum Champ
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 287
Topic starter  

Thank you so much, @nenad. 🙏

I enjoyed reading your analysis.

Posted by: @nenad

 

Posted by: @nenad

Now, the sound quality. It will certainly be dependant on the rest of your hi-fi chain.

You can use iPad's digital output to feed an external USB DAC to stream in maximum resolution.

 

I use a very old-school DAC directly from my android phone/ laptop to a set of headphones (not a very seasoned audiophile, I know 😂).

 

Posted by: @nenad

I would be really curious to read your comments on Apple Music and its flaws.

My main issue with Apple music is the metadata! It's not as extensive as I feel it should be for classical music streaming (sometimes it's even a real mess!)

For example, this recording of Rodelinda:

https://music.apple.com/eg/album/handel-rodelinda-hwv-19/1560865018?ls

There's no way for you to tell what are these last three tracks unless they're playing, then the info will show in the player interface itself!

And customer service is your standard corporate cold politeness. I once got in touch with them on chat to inquire about the possibility of adding some recording to their catalogue, the lady asked me to refer to a website and fill out a lengthy form, it took me about ten minutes and most of the fields had very little to do with requesting a missing recording!

To give credit where credit is due though, they have gapless playback, and you can search by label name 👍


   
Jen and Nenad reacted
ReplyQuote
 Jen
(@jen)
Stalwart
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 375
 

Like @Nenad, I use an iphone rather than ipad for streaming, and agree that they are probably very similar.

It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that recent ipads (since 2019) run ipadOS rather than iOS.  My understanding is that the only significant differences are: ipadOS has more multitasking functionality; and that an Apple watch can interact with iOS but not ipadOS.  So nothing there that you’d expect to impact streaming…

I’ve found Idagio’s functionality to be excellent on iOS, in terms of the search engine, gapless playback is no problem and (unlike on the browser app) you can search your own Idagio library.  I’d agree with Nenad though that the catalogue is not as comprehensive as Primephonic’s was, and sound quality is limited to CD resolution.

I should have a chance, this weekend to try out Idagio’s functionality (but not the sound quality) on a recent ipad.  I’ll let you know if there are any surprises…

And despite being an Apple fan for more than 30 years (although my enthusiasm wanes), I can’t comment on Apple Music 🤔


   
Nenad and Dinah reacted
ReplyQuote
(@dinah)
Forum Champ
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 287
Topic starter  

Thanks @jen. Two (semi-)votes for iPad so far, sort of.

Posted by: @jen

ipadOS has more multitasking functionality

That's actually great 👍 I'll be using it in lieu of a laptop.

Posted by: @jen

an Apple watch can interact with iOS but not ipadOS

I don't plan on one, so I'm not gonna miss that!

Posted by: @jen

 I’d agree with Nenad though that the catalogue is not as comprehensive as Primephonic’s was, and sound quality is limited to CD resolution.

Indeed, they need to work on their catalogue a little bit! (that's why most of us are using multiple streaming platforms at the moment, I guess.) And CD quality won't be so bad, until they introduce gapless playback to the android app.

Posted by: @jen

I should have a chance, this weekend to try out Idagio’s functionality (but not the sound quality) on a recent ipad.  I’ll let you know if there are any surprises…

Great. I hope you enjoy it, then. Waiting for your verdict!


   
ReplyQuote
(@nenad)
Active Member
Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 25
 
Posted by: @dinah

My main issue with Apple music is the metadata!

I understand completely. This is the major drawback for us classical music listeners. And this is issue with most if not all non-specialised music streaming services. Maybe this will change if Apple fulfil their promise to establish a devoted classical music service. We'll see. 

Posted by: @dinah

Two (semi-)votes for iPad so far, sort of.

Feel free to turn my semi-vote into a full "go-for-it" vote!  Wink  


   
Hugh reacted
ReplyQuote
 Hugh
(@hugh)
Forum Champ
Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 234
 
Posted by: @dinah

you can search by label name

How do you do that?


   
ReplyQuote
(@dinah)
Forum Champ
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 287
Topic starter  

Hi @hugh

In the search box type the label name, for example: naïve. Scroll the tags to the left, you'd find the last two tags (if applicable): curators and record labels. It all depends, of course, on the metadata, and if the label name is catalogued properly.


   
ReplyQuote
 Hugh
(@hugh)
Forum Champ
Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 234
 

Thanks @dinah. How do I then search within the label for a specific recording? Say that I want to find the recording of the Giulio Cesare on Chandos, if I type "chandos" in the search box I get to a page that shows all Chandos albums but I can't see how to narrow down the search; if I type "chandos giulio" in the search box it says that there are no results.


   
ReplyQuote
(@dinah)
Forum Champ
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 287
Topic starter  

I don't think you can search within a label, @hugh. At least I haven't figured it out. It's just a way to browse the label's releases, manually 🤷‍♀️. Sometimes, like you said,

Posted by: @hugh

if I type "chandos giulio" in the search box it says that there are no results.

if I try searching for a specific label release, the search results return nothing, even though I'm sure I came across it on Apple before. I then resort to browsing through the label search results and hope for the best 🤞. Apple's metadata need a complete overhaul, IMHO. I hope this will be fixed with their classical platform/ app!


   
Hugh reacted
ReplyQuote
 Hugh
(@hugh)
Forum Champ
Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 234
 

I think that the ability to filter search results by label was going to be a feature of the advanced Search that was promised as upcoming in Primephonic back in March. Let's hope that Apple will implement it soon.


   
Dinah reacted
ReplyQuote