tidal vs spotify/other streaming services

Discussion in 'Music and Recordings' started by kirayamato, Oct 25, 2015.

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Does Tidal sound Better than Spotify/other

  1. Better (please explain)

    22 vote(s)
    45.8%
  2. pretty much the same

    25 vote(s)
    52.1%
  3. worse

    1 vote(s)
    2.1%
  1. Beefy

    Beefy Friend

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    It's worth noting that the regular tier of Tidal is CD quality FLAC. You don't have to worry about MQA unless you go the higher tier.

    So for me, Tidal CD FLAC is CA$9.99 a month. Deezer CD FLAC is CA$14.99 a month. Deezer at CA$9.99 a month is just 320 kbps MP3, just like Spotify.

    Tidal really screwed the pooch on their marketing here, by not making it clear that their regular tier is lossless CD quality.
     
  2. philipmorgan

    philipmorgan Member of the month

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    Which streaming service is best for new music discovery? I feel like Spotify's song radio algorithm is overly influenced by what I've already favorited and doesn't go sufficiently far afield to be good for new music discovery.
     
  3. Metro

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    On the regular tier of Tidal, if an album is labeled as "Master", it will still be delivered as an MQA encoded FLAC. It simply disables the MQA flag and can't be "unfolded" to higher resolution.
     
  4. Beefy

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    Yes, but to the best of my knowledge, when the high res MQA stuff is ignored, what is left is 16/44.1 lossless FLAC. The MQA is a container, with additional info, that is just ignored. My setup supports this, because I setup exclusive mode with MQA software decoding disabled, and my non-MQA DAC reports 16/44.1 input.

    Happy to be corrected though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2022
  5. Woland

    Woland Friend

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    My understanding was that MQA uses 3 of those 16 bits, so you are ending up with 13 bits of PCM music in your FLAC and 3 bits of noise. If the stream was decoded by MQA, instead of noise you'd be getting MQA magic.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2022
  6. Metro

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    I think we're in agreement, it's just that the term "lossless" is ambiguous in the context of Tidal. Tidal streams 48K and 44.1K FLAC files to the customer, and indeed the FLAC files are delivered losslessly without modification.

    However the audio data in the 48/44.1 FLAC file is a lossy compression when it has been MQA encoded.
     
  7. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    In addition to what @Woland said (13-14 bits instead instead of regular PCM 16 bits), Metro's point is perhaps even more important. MQA is an IP protected black box encoding, we don't really know (though we have some understanding from reverse engineering efforts) about what is going on even in the upper bits that are "just PCM" (as Bob Stuart puts it). As @GoldenOne has documented, there appears to be enough noise/IMD on encoding modulation side that the 13-14 bits of PCM you do get is simply not the same (I'm avoiding "lossless" here) as the source 16/44 (or higher) PCM file.

    Still, relative to something like 320 mp3/aac I'd take whatever MQA really is, but you still can not say that simply that it is the original 16/44. MQA, whatever it is, never = PCM 16/44 OG source file
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2022
  8. Beefy

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    Yes, I'd forgotten about the couple of bits lost in the 'lossless' encoding. So I guess the equation of compressed MP3 versus lossless MQA ends up being really intriguing.

    It really does make it messy when the 'master' ends up being lower quality than the non MQA music. Needlessly complex, to say the least.
     
  9. bixby

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    Better-Please Explain- I listen to songs I know well on both services and my ears tell me which one is better.

    Part B- Does it sound better than other?- hmmm, no, not better, actually not as good as some other music players I have used playing my own nice clean wav files, eg.JRiver or Roon.
     
  10. MaxBuck

    MaxBuck New

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    Having tried Tidal, Deezer, Amazon, Apple, Spotify and Qobuz, I'm happy with Qobuz. A bit smaller catalog than Apple and Amazon but not enough to overcome the advantage of Qobuz run through BluOS. It just works seamlessly. And the music quality is unsurpassed.
     
  11. schnesim

    schnesim New

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    A few more notes on Deezer
    • They just raised/lowered their price. Until now the basic price was $9.99 for lossy and $14.99 for lossless. Now there is no more lossy tier and the lossless tier is $10.99.
    • One aspect I didn't cover in my earlier post, Deezer has a somewhat uniquer way of discovering new music.
      • There is a feature called "Flow" which plays random music from your catalogue as well as music based on your catalogue and it never stops playing. On the mobile app you can also set "moods" so you don't get Roger Eno when you wanna be energized.
      • There are random daily playlists, but not like Spotify where one list covers all genres, but instead daily playlists by genre. So you have a "Bach/Beethoven/Mozart" playlist and next to it the "Nightwish/Metallica/Rammstein/ playlist. I do like this approach a lot better. The genre mix always bothered me with the other services.
     
  12. bobboxbody

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    Sorry for grave digging the thread, but hoping for clarification before my yearly Tidal subscription renews. If an album is labeled as "Master" I still have the option to change the stream to "HIFI" - does that mean it's still the mqa file with the 3 mqa encoding bits thrown out, or a separate flac stream? I don't love Tidal's app, organization, or discovery system, but the catalog is pretty good, and it sounds noticeably better to me than Spotify, whose interface I also dislike. I tried Quobuz for a while, but the catalog was too lacking for me.
     
  13. crenca

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    The answer is "it depends". Some tracks/albums only have MQA encoding left. Others Tidal indicates it has both encodings, and still others have lossless PCM with no MQA. Some people have assumed that because Tidal offers a distinction between "HIFI" (aka lossless PCM) and "MQA", that even when no PCM is indicated if the end user selects "HIFI" a hidden PCM file is being streamed to you, but I personally think that is naïve/optimistic on their part.

    Since Tidal is non-transparent about this - what of MQA is transparent? - the only way to tell fur sur would be to capture the stream and run Mann's tester on it, something I'm too lazy to do and most could not technically accomplish anyways.

    MQA really is a pretty transparent "Super MP3", in most situations out resolving your ears and gears anyways. Mostly its the principle of the matter, and since it is a market dead end anyways (it begins and ends with Tidal, itself a walking-dead-end service) it does not matter all that much...
     
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  14. bobboxbody

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    Great answer, thanks!
     
  15. Woland

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    For the reasons @crenca identifies + the broader tech funding crunch that's underway, I wouldn't pay upfront for a year of Tidal. There's the very real liklihood you'll receive less than that.
     
  16. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    How will we stream via Pi2AES then? Qobuz’s library sucks

    f'ing big companies need to open up to upnp!
     
  17. Metro

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    You're implying that Tidal may go under within a year? That's very unlikely. Its owner Block Inc (aka Square) is financially solid and Tidal is the pet project of billionaire CEO Jack Dorsey who pushed through the acquisition. In any case, Tidal HiFi in the US is only $80/year through Best Buy, not much to lose even if something does happen.
     
  18. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Am I missing a link or is it actually $120/year? Which is what I pay now per month.

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/tidal-...9-99-per-year-digital/6407163.p?skuId=6407163
     
  19. Metro

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  20. Woland

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    Unfortunately Tidal's end will have consequences for the viability of Roon, Bubble UPNP, Audirvana, USB Audio Player etc which use its streaming API. Maybe hardware streamers too..
     

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