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So I bit and I signed up for the free Tidal trial. I tried it for a few days and I was pretty impressed with it. From what I read about them I knew that the HiFi service streamed FLAC files so this gave me a good vibe about them. I figured this would sound just as good as the files I have on my 200GB MicroSD card. Since it was FLAC vs FLAC I decided to do an A/B comparison to see if they sounded the same. The short answer is no. I immediately noticed they sounded different. Tidal's sound was flatter, more dull and it seemed to to image as well as the local FLAC files.

A long while ago there were a few discussions about the sound quality between mp3 compression rates. For those who remember, the difference in sound between the files that were not too compressed (320 vs 196) were minimal at best. In most cases I was not able to tell the difference.

This is not the case between Tidal and local FLACs, there is a difference in favor of the local FLACs. At the end of the song How big, how blue, how beatuful by Florence and the Machine there are these trumpets that sounded really nice on Tidal, but exploded on my local FLAC. Also with Florence's recording the FLAC staged much better. The FLAC was a little brighter and there was better definition on the cymbals. Also, the bass was tighter and less boomy on the FLAC. Again, these differences are minimal but noticeable.

For now I will not renew my Tidal HiFi service, maybe in the future the technology will be up to par with local FLAC files, then I will reconsider it.

Besides the song quality, I found myself searching all the time for stuff to listen. Not a very good idea while driving. I think they should have something like "ok google" or "Siri" to use voice commands to search for music.

For shits and giggles I just decided to compare Tidal HiFi side by side to Spotify and I was amazed by what I found out. To make a short test shorter, Spotify was closer to FLAC sound than Tidal. Local FLAC still rules, but I did not expect this result.

FLAC (and the other uncompressed formats) remains the cleanest sound I can get.

Just for reference my setup is a Samsung Note 4 HDMI out >> HDMI to Optical converter >> Alpine PXA-H800 >> PPI Art series amps >> Illusion Audio Carbon all around.



 

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darn. interested to hear your honest feedback after a comparison.

apple music is a lesser bit rate than spotify @ 256kbps, however something about the way they handle the aac encoding makes it sound remarkably similar to the original. i have a hard time faulting it against .wav files honestly...with reference headphones.
 

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darn. interested to hear your honest feedback after a comparison.

apple music is a lesser bit rate than spotify @ 256kbps, however something about the way they handle the aac encoding makes it sound remarkably similar to the original. i have a hard time faulting it against .wav files honestly...with reference headphones.
right. Spotify is 320 but it uses a different codec. Many have said the 'inferior' bitrate of Apple Music still sounds better than the 320 Spotify service thanks to the better codec.


I also use Apple Music and like it a lot. I can definitely tell the difference in compression on some tracks but it's benign for the most part. There's also the fact that Apple Music plain uses different masters in some cases.
 

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right. Spotify is 320 but it uses a different codec. Many have said the 'inferior' bitrate of Apple Music still sounds better than the 320 Spotify service thanks to the better codec.


I also use Apple Music and like it a lot. I can definitely tell the difference in compression on some tracks but it's benign for the most part. There's also the fact that Apple Music plain uses different masters in some cases.
yeh, a lot of stuff is noted "mastered for apple music".

still, even the chesky discs that are originals (afaik) on apple music...really hard to fault.
 

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yeh, a lot of stuff is noted "mastered for apple music".

still, even the chesky discs that are originals (afaik) on apple music...really hard to fault.
I'm not necessarily talking about the "mastered for apple music" albums. Apple Music uses a lot of "remasters" in lieu of the original album release (as I'm sure all the other streaming services do). Those are typically more heavily compressed (in terms of dynamic range) on top of the and remix/remastered aspect. So before it even hits Apple, the album has changed from the original. IOW, when comparing these streaming services, any differences heard between them and your rip of the CD could be linked more to the source material than the service's codec for compression.
 

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How does the Apple service compare to local uncompressed files?
i noted that it's hard to fault it against local .wav files.

...at least, of my personal reference stuff that i'm familiar with which is also on apple music. for the most part it's really hard for me to pick them apart from one another. it's definitely listenable for my daily casual listening (i'm using it right now at work w/ headphones...as i do every day). occasionally i will hear compression artifacts, but for the most part it's non-existent.
 

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I'm not necessarily talking about the "mastered for apple music" albums. Apple Music uses a lot of "remasters" in lieu of the original album release (as I'm sure all the other streaming services do). Those are typically more heavily compressed (in terms of dynamic range) on top of the and remix/remastered aspect. So before it even hits Apple, the album has changed from the original. IOW, when comparing these streaming services, any differences heard between them and your rip of the CD could be linked more to the source material than the service's codec for compression.
word.
 

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I pay for Spotify and was considering changing to tidal. I guess I'll hold off.
My car decided to stop reading from USB so I've been forced to stream over BT. Luckily I can't tell a difference even on the Chesky stuff
 

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I'm not necessarily talking about the "mastered for apple music" albums. Apple Music uses a lot of "remasters" in lieu of the original album release (as I'm sure all the other streaming services do). Those are typically more heavily compressed (in terms of dynamic range) on top of the and remix/remastered aspect. So before it even hits Apple, the album has changed from the original. IOW, when comparing these streaming services, any differences heard between them and your rip of the CD could be linked more to the source material than the service's codec for compression.
Very good point, but the albums I compared were NOT remastered. I need to check it out more as I still have another couple of weeks with the free Tidal trial.
 

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I went back to spotify from tidal too. (play all tracks at same volume disabled)
Some albums sounded bit better on tidal, some worse. Apple music sounded so bad on most albums I didn't continue it after 3 months trial. (ipad to 80prs usb)

Spotify did have some sound quality issues atleast on android devices last year because they changed things again and they took the play all tracks at the same volume option out the client. It sounded so so bad compared to ipad client. Now they have fixed it few versions ago. Now they seem to concentrate to mess around with the UI again.
 

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Okay, I'm sure you did, but have you gone into settings and adjusted everything to HiFi? On all my devices tidal sets default as medium quality, this includes downloads. You must go into settings and adjust streaming and downloads to hi-fi (it's annoying). Second, what FLAC file qualities are you comparing? Tidal is only 16/44.1, so if you are comparing to a higher res FLAC file you will hear a difference.
 

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There is good way to download Tidal music as local FLAC files by using AudFree Tidal Music Converter, which is well-designed for both Tidal HiFi and Premium subscribers to get rid of DRM restriction. Moreover, this smart software can also download Tidal music to FLAC without touching the original audio files and kept all ID3 tags, like year, title, art cover, etc.

With the assistance of this tool, you can play Tidal through Alexa without premium and also play Tidal music on portable MP3 players, game consoles, smartphones, smart speakers, etc. without having to install the Tidal app.
 

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The best solution to download Tidal music to FLAC is to use TunesKit Audio Capture. It can record and capture any music from Tidal and save them to DRM-free audio formats of MP3, FLAC, AAC, and more files. Then you can listen to Tidal music anywhere and anytime. Even though you stop the subscription of a Premium plan or don't subscribe to the Premium plan on Tidal, you can keep Tidal music and get the offline Tidal playlist.
 

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I looked at TIdal. But I'm not really ready to upgrade yet. I really like Spotify. I got hooked on it back in 2014. A buddy of mine always had the new best trance music. Well, he bought a family subscription. He gave me a code to login. After that expired, I bought my own.

Even via the SBC protocol of Bluetooth through my phone, I have to say it still sounds amazing. Tori Amos still sounds great just like it did over my CD's.

Most of the music I really want to listen to at FULL quality, I just buy the FLAC files or Wav Files.

For me, its more about having Spotify be the DJ. There are tons of new music it just introduced me to. I like the premade playlists etc.

I have not had any complaints about SQ of Spotify at the MAX settings over bluetooth. I of course never listen with reference quality headphones to music. Mainly car audio and over the outdoor speakers.

I have had issues with some tracks being mastered and skipping on Spotify. That was odd.

TIdal really in my opinion is really for the real hardcore music buff. I just enjoy listening to new music. And the power of being able to control it from other devices is the best part for me. I can be on my chromebook or laptop and control it. Its really cool that way.

I use to be an apple music fanboy. But as time went on buy, I just let most of library wander. I even have some tracks from google music service. Have lots of Ripped CD's uploaded there as well.

Overall? I like spotify the best out of the many Services I have tried so far. I'm not a fan of the Company per say... But I can live with that.
 

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Hey, there are many ways that can help you fix this issue. Here I would like to share a tip that I had ever used. To save Tidal as local files on your computer, I use the DRmare Tidal Downloader to convert the downloaded Tidal music files to common audios, then save them to my computer for streaming to other devices for oflline playback.
 

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I had Tidal for a while and got a free trial of Apple music, so decided to compare them by listening to the same songs on each service and everything seemed as OP said it flatter and dull on Tidal i’m not sure if having an Apple device had to do with it and i’m not claiming Apple Music sounds as good as a “local Flac file” but it was enough for me to cancel the Tidal and stick with Apple Music
 
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