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Tidal Sound Quality

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Finally, I have decided to stream music and choose Tidal HiFi. However, the sound quality was not as good as playing my original CD rips through the JRiver. The classical master version sounded good but Norah Jones Don't go away (master) did not have the bite that I was used to. Here are the measurements which probably explains why I find the CD rips through JRiver sounded better.

 

83302418_TIDALDIFFHagnstM.thumb.png.7a2533be02e6bdce365e17f47b877380.png

 

The HiFi version is slightly louder than the master. Having said that I preferred the "Master" version. 

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

TidalHifiandMaster.thumb.png.ffc2c1d5d9854a158baf7ce9e9cd4897.png

Both files did not extend beyond 20 plus KHz.

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

JRandTidalmaster.thumb.png.627af75e08c22ab872b8b48ced068cdf.png

 

This is the final output (in digital domain). The original file in my library was ripped from Norah Jones SACD album. The version in the JRiver library is the PCM layer ripped with iTunes. It is 16/44.1kHz version. All files were streamed through 24/96 project setting of Reaper. The DAC was set at 96000 sampling rate. One thing is clear from this that all three files were differently mastered. I will attempt another measurements with EQ'ing the Tidal output to match the JRiver and see if the SQ is to my liking.

 

 

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Can you compare a trial version of Qobuz, with these results.  I'm surprised you picked Tidal over Qobuz, unless selection of genre's or content was your final decision.  The MQA point is mute.


PC/NAS/JRiver/Roon - PS Audio P5 Regenerator - KEF LS50 Nocturne - Rel 328 subwoofer - PS Audio AC5 Power cables 

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Streaming will never sound quite as good as a high quality local rip, even with the exact same source material.

This will be obvious to most with a half decent set up using JRiver 26 for example. ¬¬


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 26-12-2019

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21 minutes ago, kumakuma said:

 

I used to believe this as well... until I actually tested it myself.

I should have qualified this by adding streaming from  Tidal over Qobuz, but we were talking about Tidal and

Quobuz, not local streaming

 Neither does it surprise me that you are unable to hear the kind of differences that are blindingly obvious to members other than those who post almost exclusively in the General area of the forum, which is the area where the closed minded sceptics like yourself mainly congregate, instead of areas like Rajiv's massive thread where they invariably use far better equipment than you use. :P

 Note that Chris, for example, realises the need for vastly improved mains power in a 60HZ 117 VAC country , and other things such as the need to better match signal levels without the need for excessive attenuation !


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 26-12-2019

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1 hour ago, sandyk said:

I should have qualified this by adding streaming from  Tidal over Qobuz, but we were talking about Tidal and

Quobuz, not local streaming

 Neither does it surprise me that you are unable to hear the kind of differences that are blindingly obvious to members other than those who post almost exclusively in the General area of the forum, which is the area where the closed minded sceptics like yourself mainly congregate, instead of areas like Rajiv's massive thread where they invariably use far better equipment than you use. :P

 Note that Chris, for example, realises the need for vastly improved mains power in a 60HZ 117 VAC country , and other things such as the need to better match signal levels without the need for excessive attenuation !

 

Have you actually tested streaming services versus locally stored files?


Girl, you want it, you take it, you pay the price

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30 minutes ago, kumakuma said:

 

Have you actually tested streaming services versus local stored files?

 I don't need to. I can hear the obvious degradation when my own uploaded .wav files are DL from Dropbox etc.again  , saved   and played using JRiver 26 compared with the original copy.

I will not be further responding to the usual garbage from you about your so called perfect little Digital World where even all error free USB cables sound the same, and the PSU area, whether SMPS or Linear , of the PC/Server doesn't matter, even that of Tidal or Quobuz.


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 26-12-2019

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7 minutes ago, sandyk said:

 I don't need to. I can hear the obvious degradation when my own uploaded .wav files are DL from Dropbox etc.again  , saved   and played using JRiver 26 compared with the original copy.

I will not be further responding to the usual garbage from you about your so called perfect little Digital World where even all error free USB cables sound the same, and the PSU area, whether SMPS or Linear , of the PC/Server doesn't matter, even that of Tidal or Quobuz.

 

Are you certain that the original and DL'ed versions are identical, using, say, the DOS FC program, Alex?


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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18 minutes ago, fas42 said:

 

Are you certain that the original and DL'ed versions are identical, using, say, the DOS FC program, Alex?

Who cares ? All that matters to some is that their precious checksums remain identical, which of course I make sure they are.

Even a single error, perhaps muted, provided that the file still plays, won't alter the overall sound of the audio, which amuses me where so many reject ripped  audio or Video files that aren't "bit perfect" even though they may not have even noticed a single muted error when the file is played.

 Different USB cables can make much larger audible differences even when the digital output is found to be error free !


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 26-12-2019

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3 minutes ago, sandyk said:

Who cares ? All that matters to some is that their checksums remain identical, which of course I make sure they are.

Even a single muted  error, provided that the file still plays, won't alter the overall sound of the audio, which amuses me where so many reject ripped  audio or Video files that aren't "bit perfect" even though they may not have even noticed a single muted error.

 Different USB cables can make much larger audible differences even when the digital output is found to be error free !

 

Well, I would do that, just to be absolutely certain.

 

What I just thought of, as a further test: get a fresh memory stick, and make a copy of the orig to the stick, Orig_A. Then make a copy of the DL, DL_A.Then rename the DL, temporarily, to DL_B, and copy that to the stick. Finally, rename the orig to Orig_B, and copy that to the plugged in memory. So, what you now have on the initially new stick, is Orig_A, DL_A, DL_B, Orig_B - in that physical order.

 

Now, play them in that order; and. then play them in the reverse order, Orig_B, DL_B, DL_A, Orig_A - are you still able to clearly hear that difference you feel is there?


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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23 minutes ago, fas42 said:

Well, I would do that, just to be absolutely certain.

 Well I couldn't be bothered.

 I have already done pretty much what you described way back in 2009 with 3 lots of 20 renamed pairs of .wav files, created by DIY Audio member Greg Erskine from my original files on USB memory, then copied to and shuffled between his HDDs before renaming them. NONE of the copied files sounded as good as the original .wav files that I added for comparison purposes, making 3 files in all of each track in each of the 3 versions of  20 tracks.

 

 

 


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 26-12-2019

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1. Comparing the Tidal MQA version with the CD rip, there is about 20dB increase at 20KHz. The progressively increase slope begins around 2000Hz. That explains why I found the Tidal version sounded rather mellow. 
 

2. There is a possibility that a mellower SQ version was uploaded to Tidal for audiophiles mainstream music. it could be a way to encourage audiophiles to buy the better version in physical format. 
 

3. The MQA version had less smoother peaks comparing the lossless version of the same. 
 

4. I think I was listening to unfolded MQA because the Tidal app most likely will be doing the job. Can anyone confirm this?

 

5. The biggest surprise was identical files stream through two different digital cable sounded different. They are supposed to send the data to the DAC and wasn’t expecting any difference. 

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2 minutes ago, STC said:

 

 

5. The biggest surprise was identical files stream through two different digital cable sounded different. They are supposed to send the data to the DAC and wasn’t expecting any difference. 

 

 That would be far from a surprise to numerous members .¬¬


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 26-12-2019

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1 minute ago, sandyk said:

 

Wouldn't you rather go to a Dentist and have root canal therapy ? :D


Dentist will be a good way to limit the number of the people who could see the holes unlike blind tests where many could see holes in some of the extraordinary claims made by them. 

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7 minutes ago, sandyk said:

 

 That would be far from a surprise to numerous members .¬¬


I will be surprised if they knew what a virtual connection is and doubt any of them using one or ever will.  Pro audio members exempted. 

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33 minutes ago, sandyk said:

 Well I couldn't be bothered.

 I have already done pretty much what you described way back in 2009 with 3 lots of 20 renamed pairs of .wav files, created by DIY Audio member Greg Erskine from my original files on USB memory, then copied to and shuffled between his HDDs before renaming them. NONE of the copied files sounded as good as the original .wav files that I added for comparison purposes, making 3 files in all of each track in each of the 3 versions of  20 tracks.

 

 

 

 

The key thing is that the way that you add the original has to be done exactly the same as you treat the copies - all done at the same time, no difference in the timing, and procedure used. What one is attempting to do is to make certain that absolutely nothing in the way the files are treated, at any time, could possibly favour the original over the copy, for any possible reason.

 

If you are certain that this was done, then fair enough ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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17 minutes ago, fas42 said:

 

The key thing is that the way that you add the original has to be done exactly the same as you treat the copies - all done at the same time, no difference in the timing, and procedure used. What one is attempting to do is to make certain that absolutely nothing in the way the files are treated, at any time, could possibly favour the original over the copy, for any possible reason.

 

If you are certain that this was done, then fair enough ...

We also did a series of tests with E.E. Frans de Gruitjer from The Netherlands  and 2 U.K. members of a U.K. based forum, where the 2 U.K. members  had no problems hearing the differences between the pairs of uploaded files directly downloaded from Filemail, but had problems reliably picking the differences after being saved in The Netherlands,  renamed, and sent out again.

 There were also a confirming set of results when performing extensive tests with John Kenny and Marcin Ostapowicz from JPlay.

 Anyway, that's more than enough for now.¬¬


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 26-12-2019

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Bigger soundstage with MQA? Phase manipulation? Showing left channels only of 4 different version of the digital file. The top is Tidal MQA streamed using the desktop app to Reaper. 

 

Window000.thumb.png.af1392bafd66937199a6031771132b19.png

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7 hours ago, sandyk said:

Streaming will never sound quite as good as a high quality local rip, even with the exact same source material.

This will be obvious to most with a half decent set up using JRiver 26 for example. ¬¬

Actually the opposite is true, most CD rips sound utter crap. Luckily there are some great masterings on Tidal. 

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4 hours ago, STC said:

Anyone want to take a blind test?  

Yes if you exclude MQA

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53 minutes ago, Rexp said:

Actually the opposite is true, most CD rips sound utter crap. Luckily there are some great masterings on Tidal. 

 

 In that case you must have a lot of CDs that were made after the start of the Loudness wars, or your CD ripping leaves a lot to be desired due to poor ripping techniques including the choice of writer and the PSU used.

 Yes, some CDs were rushed out at the beginning of the CD era that were inferior to the LP mastering where more care was taken in many cases, and the lower maximum output levels used in the AAD days often showed up deficiencies in the player , Preamplifier areas etc.

 If the exact same recording from Tidal sounds better than a local rip then you have MAJOR problems in the Digital area of your PC/Server ¬¬ Don't expect great results from a typical Laptop or a bog standard Mac Mini, as they are usually too electrically noisy, especially where USB is used.


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 26-12-2019

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On 2/9/2020 at 7:38 PM, STC said:

Finally, I have decided to stream music and choose Tidal HiFi. However, the sound quality was not as good as playing my original CD rips through the JRiver. The classical master version sounded good but Norah Jones Don't go away (master) did not have the bite that I was used to. Here are the measurements which probably explains why I find the CD rips through JRiver sounded better.

 

83302418_TIDALDIFFHagnstM.thumb.png.7a2533be02e6bdce365e17f47b877380.png

 

The HiFi version is slightly louder than the master. Having said that I preferred the "Master" version. 

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

TidalHifiandMaster.thumb.png.ffc2c1d5d9854a158baf7ce9e9cd4897.png

Both files did not extend beyond 20 plus KHz.

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

JRandTidalmaster.thumb.png.627af75e08c22ab872b8b48ced068cdf.png

 

This is the final output (in digital domain). The original file in my library was ripped from Norah Jones SACD album. The version in the JRiver library is the PCM layer ripped with iTunes. It is 16/44.1kHz version. All files were streamed through 24/96 project setting of Reaper. The DAC was set at 96000 sampling rate. One thing is clear from this that all three files were differently mastered. I will attempt another measurements with EQ'ing the Tidal output to match the JRiver and see if the SQ is to my liking.

 

 

Was it this album:

https://tidal.com/album/151824

 

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