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Spotify vs Apple Music vs Tidal


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Tidal by a long shot. Spotify & AppleMusic sounds like mp3's. Not that hard to tell the difference.

That may depend on what comes after the source. The author's conclusions are interesting, to say the least:

 

"The results were very, very surprising to me. It was generally random across the board, though Spotify fared slightly worse than Apple Music and Tidal overall. In roughly 29 percent of the tests, subjects couldn't tell any notable difference at all. Tidal — which wants you to pay more for lossless quality — most definitely didn't take the crown, and in several cases, subjects actually identified it as the worst-sounding of the three.

 

What are the takeaways? Having been a longtime Tidal subscriber and run blind tests on my laptop between Tidal and Spotify in the past, it seems possible that the difference in quality is particularly irrelevant when you're using your phone — maybe it's one thing to use better components, headphones, and speakers, but a phone's hardware creates a baseline that renders Tidal's advantage totally useless. (That's good news if you mostly listen to streaming music on your phone, since Tidal's lossless service is $10 more per month.)"

 

I have no personal experience with Tidal, but I need to fix that (if only for educational purposes).

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Well, on $79.50 headphones driven by an iPhone, I'm not surprised they don't hear a difference.

 

But think about all those people who will expect to do so and be grossly disappointed. When color TV first came out, I remember as clearly as if it were yesterday watching the NBC peacock unfold while hearing "the following program is brought to you in living color". Of course, it came on in black and white because we didn't have a color TV - but I ran to tell my parents that the TV set was broken.........

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Well, on $79.50 headphones driven by an iPhone, I'm not surprised they don't hear a difference.

 

How about on a Sonos product then? That would be the next rung up the ladder for MOST of the masses I'm betting. That and streaming AirPlay to a wireless home theater receiver, etc. What do you suppose most are hearing then?

David

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But think about all those people who will expect to do so and be grossly disappointed. When color TV first came out, I remember as clearly as if it were yesterday watching the NBC peacock unfold while hearing "the following program is brought to you in living color". Of course, it came on in black and white because we didn't have a color TV - but I ran to tell my parents that the TV set was broken.........

 

Heck even going from standard definition television to high def Blue Ray on a 1080p display is pretty much impossible to miss. I get your drift.

David

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I think some of this is due to the people and their lack of having ever heard something that really sounds good. Many people think in terms of black and white;

"Can you hear it?", "yes"

"Does it sound good?", "yes"

"Which is better?", "a"

"Why?", "huh?"

 

Had my teenage son and his friends hear the difference between MP3 and RBCD. They didn't get it at first, then I started pointing some things out, they started to get it after that. It seems that most people hear the 4 or 5 primary sounds in a song and never pay attention to all the little details going on.

 

I had a friend over last week and played Blood Sweat and Tears' Spinning Wheel. His comment was, "I've never heard that version". This was a 30+ year old album, this was THE version, what he had never heard before were that many instruments.

 

Bottom line - uneducated ears. I bet if someone taught the staff at The Verge what to listen to the results would be very different.

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Glad you started this thread.

 

I'm hearing a difference between Apple Music and Google Play. While GP claims mp3/320 and Apple claims aac/256, I'm hearing less glare and a generally more round sound from Apple Music. It's not a subtle difference I'm hearing but tangible.

 

Only theory, naive at best, is the transcoding or other infrastructure component.

 

Compared to Tidal lossless, neither Apple Music nor GP can compete.

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It's still pretty rare to find a "common person" who can play TIDAL through ASIO or something that bypasses all the Windows Audio stuff. I find that levels the playing field enough that just playing out of my browser I have to strain to hear a difference even through a Project Ember II, Schiit Loki, and Senn HD650 setup. And when I'm working, I'm not going to strain to hear a difference, I just want some music on, as decent quality as I can get (so I stream from my home library through JRiver so I can convert to DSD, lol). Fact is, we here are more atuned to what "good" audio sounds like and even better, have the equipment to reveal those differences.

 

It's like people who prefer sporty, enthusiast automobiles juxtaposed against the tens of millions who just want an appliance to drive. We're a niche, and that's just fine by me. It's also why I don't invest in TIDAL :)

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Wow- talk about being guilty before you even get to trial... ;)

 

Seriously, in most cases, I cannot tell the difference between Apple Music streams and Tidal, and often, I find I prefer the Appke Music version over Tidal. And I sure as hell and nit making that judgement based upon $79 headphones, though I admit, it is the same even when listening with an old set of Koss Pro/4as.

 

It would seem that AAC is pretty darn indistinguishable from Redbook streams, much as we might not like to admit it. At leadt it is when streamed from Apple. (shrug)

 

Expecting Tidal to sound better because they charge more and stream uncompressed is, it woukd seem, not really justified.

 

Of course, folks need to judge with their own ears, but Kanye will just have to get along without my cash. :)

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I would love to also think there is no significant difference between Tidal and Spotify as the later is half price and has better catalog (for my likings) ...but unfortunately the difference is very significant so I am forced to be with Tidal

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Iphone 6 driving Koss PortaPros the Apple music is leaps and bounds better sounding than Spotify Premium. I no longer have Tidal but it was not as good as lossless from my NAS. I would personally choose AM over Tidal because of the cost ($10 vs $20) considering neither is as good as my NAS anyhow.

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Here's an amusing little finding on Spotify this morning:

 

velvet_frog.jpg

 

The velvet FROG???????

 

Reminds me of that old Warner Brothers cartoon:

 

[video=youtube;bkjsN-J27aU]

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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I think the real debate is based on price and not what sounds better. There seems to be a big resistance against Tidal based mostly on price. For me spending $20 dollars a month on something that sounds better is worth it to me. Hell I spent hundreds for upgrades to my digital audio system for minor improvements in sound quality. Not to mention spending a couple hundred bucks every time I go to a record store. $20 bucks on a streaming service is nothing. I hope Tidal sticks around, or AppleMusic starts offering high quality music.

 

and BTW i dislike Kayne West lol

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I think the real debate is based on price and not what sounds better. There seems to be a big resistance against Tidal based mostly on price. For me spending $20 dollars a month on something that sounds better is worth it to me. Hell I spent hundreds for upgrades to my digital audio system for minor improvements in sound quality. Not to mention spending a couple hundred bucks every time I go to a record store. $20 bucks on a streaming service is nothing. I hope Tidal sticks around, or AppleMusic starts offering high quality music.

 

and BTW i dislike Kayne West lol

 

(grin)

 

I think the real debate centers around does Tidal actually sound better than Apple Music? Most agree both Apple Music and Tidal sound better than Spotify.

 

The cost is just a red herring I think. Tidal is like the cost of a couple CDs per month, plus the streaming cost, if any.

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Very misleading topic title, the authors conclusion was you can't hear a difference on an iphone6, which is true, everything sounds mediocre on an iphone!

'What are the takeaways? Having been a longtime Tidal subscriber and run blind tests on my laptop between Tidal and Spotify in the past, it seems possible that the difference in quality is particularly irrelevant when you're using your phone — maybe it's one thing to use better components, headphones, and speakers, but a phone's hardware creates a baseline that renders Tidal's advantage totally useless. (That's good news if you mostly listen to streaming music on your phone, since Tidal's lossless service is $10 more per month.)'

 

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Very misleading topic title, the authors conclusion was you can't hear a difference on an iphone6, which is true, everything sounds mediocre on an iphone!

'What are the takeaways? Having been a longtime Tidal subscriber and run blind tests on my laptop between Tidal and Spotify in the past, it seems possible that the difference in quality is particularly irrelevant when you're using your phone — maybe it's one thing to use better components, headphones, and speakers, but a phone's hardware creates a baseline that renders Tidal's advantage totally useless. (That's good news if you mostly listen to streaming music on your phone, since Tidal's lossless service is $10 more per month.)'

 

[/Quote]

 

Or conversely, an iPhone is plenty good enough to show up any differences in Tidal, Apple Music, and Spotify, and Tidal just doesn't sound any better than Apple Music, at least to some people.

You know it really all comes down to what people hear and consider important. The aspects of Hi Fi sound I find most important are reproduced as well by Apple Music as by Tidal. That would be soundstage, imaging, depth, musicality, whatever you call whatever you really like.

 

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Well, on $79.50 headphones driven by an iPhone, I'm not surprised they don't hear a difference.

Exactly.

 

On better hardware what you will hear is a bigger difference between good and bad recordings as well. I have experienced many cases where I actually prefer the sound on a low end reproduction chain than my main system, simply because in my main system I can hear all sorts of compression and other issues that get masked when listening on an iPhone. Brutal example: anything by Rihanna.

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SME 20/3 + SME V 9” + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

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Or conversely, an iPhone is plenty good enough to show up any differences in Tidal, Apple Music, and Spotify, and Tidal just doesn't sound any better than Apple Music, at least to some people.

Well, my personal Tidal experience is that it sounds good but not as good as my personal rips from CDs (at least the ones I have compared). I am a Tidal subscriber nonetheless - simply for music discovery use.

mini+Roon > RAAT > dCS Rossini DAC + dCS Rossini Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V 9” + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo

system pics

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Is there anything besides rap and overproduced pop music on Tidal? I've been a fan of Apple Music since it was Mog and definitely had the best quality out there. As Beats the discovery process was great. The playlists were full of surprises and I enjoyed them quite a bit. These have largely been carried over to Apple Music, for example, there is an "experimental music for kids" playlist! But if I want an intro to some performer, I can get a curated selection of cuts pretty quickly. Tidal's home page suggests its nothing but Beyonce and JayZ. I'd be glad to find out I was wrong.

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everything sounds mediocre on an iphone!

 

I would respectfully disagree. The iphone 6 sounds as good as many of the dacs that were hundreds of dollars just 5-10 years ago. I actually prefer it to the first generation Dragonfly which the critics went nuts over. Sure there are better dacs/daps out there but the i6 is definitely good enough to reveal the differences in streaming providers.

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I think all of them have their pros and cons, however I would recommend Spotify the most, because it is actually the best Audio Streaming Service, no doubt! And why should I Switch, I mean ok the Family deal in case of apple sounds fine to me, however it is a lot of effort.. I don't understand People who Switch only because of the brand.. I mean apple didn't reinvent the wheel, did they?

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