If you sign up for MOG or Spotify and leave everything at the default settings, you could be missing 50% or more of your music. That’s because Spotify defaults to ~96 kbps on mobile devices, and 160 kbps on the desktop. The settings outlined below will bring your Spotify mobile streams up to 160 kbps, and desktop streams up to 320 (for tracks available at the higher bit rate).
MOG on mobile starts out much worse (but gets much better). MOG defaults to an anemic 64 kbps for mobile streams, but can be kicked up to 320 kbps when using Wi-Fi.
NOTE: Information in this article is based on Mac desktops and iOS devices; your device may vary. You will need a premium account to get the 320 kbps streams from Spotify, and paid accounts to stream to mobile devices on either service. If you’re wondering why you should care about the kbps, check out part 3 of Hi-Fi 2.0: Let’s do the math!
Getting the most from Spotify
- Spotify offers 320 kbps streams to premium subscribers, but will default to 160 kbps. From the desktop menu, select Spotify > Preferences. Under playback, check High quality streaming.
- While you’re there, make sure Set the same volume level for all tracks is unchecked. This will let you hear the music’s full dynamic range.
- Over on your iOS device, start up Spotify and press the Settings icon on the lower right. Next to Stream, select High Quality.
- Next, go down to Sync, and select High Quality again.
- Premium subscribers need to use the desktop app to get the higher-quality 320 kbps streams. If you want to send that audio to your home stereo and you’re not close enough to plug in, check out Airfoil from Rogue Amoeba. Airfoil will send audio from any desktop app to AirPort Express or AppleTV.
- Oh, and now you’ll want a remote control for Spotify — try Remoteless.
- Getting AirPlay going on the Spotify iOS app is much easier. Tap the info button while a song is playing. Then tap the AirPlay icon to the right of the volume slider and select an output.
Getting the most from MOG
- Start up MOG on your iOS device, swipe to the second page, and select Settings. Next to High Quality Streaming, select ON.
- Next, set High Quality Downloads to ON.
- AirPlay is built-in the to the MOG desktop app for Mac, and the icon is always at the bottom right of the window, so that’s easy. Getting AirPlay blowing on the iOS app is a bit trickier. From any screen, press the volume + or – button on the side of your iThing. The AirPlay icon will reveal itself to the right of the volume slider — tap it and select an output.
- For the very best sound (well, as good as you’re going to get from an MP3) use a dock that bypasses the low-quality DAC in your iPod, iPad, or iPhone. The MMT Editor’s choice is the iD100 from Cambridge Audio. For more info, see Part 1 of Hi-Fi 2.0: Getting good audio in the iPod age.