Best music streaming services: free streams to hi-res audio

Mindflayer

Member
Jan 30, 2020
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Deezer does have HiFi steaming, and it is in the mobile app. It is 16-bit, 1,411 Kbps FLAC, so not 24/XXX, it still solid.
 
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JPH

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Mar 14, 2020
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The Dodge

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2007
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I would like to try Amazon music HD but cannot seem to find anyway of benefiting from the HD quality on my AV receiver.
I have a Yamaha RX-A860 which hasn't got an in built app , it has Qobuz , Tidal & Deezer and wondered if anyone could assist and tell me if it is possible to get this?

Thanks
 

fredphoesh

Member
Apr 7, 2020
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One thing I believe is missed from this review is the fact that with YouTube music you can upload your flac files and then take a look at the kbps when playing the files back. I suspect the files are not compressed. They are available immediately after uploading... so as far as I can tell, this is the only service on the planet that allows you to upload vast quantities of music, for free, and then allow you to play back WITHOUT adverts FOR FREE! I'm busy doing that, track 6, no adverts! It has on screen lyrics too, so this makes the perfect companion for an Android TV box connected to your TV and your DAC and HiFi... LOVE IT!!! (I don't have tools to verify the stream is lossless)
 
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spizzlo

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Jun 15, 2020
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As sad as it is to say, I think Amazon is the best choice for hi-fi streaming (assuming you have prime). At $13, it's the cheapest option, and it has a lot of hi-fi music. I like Tidal the best, but $20 is just too much to pay per month on music streaming.
 

Brantome

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Feb 1, 2020
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As sad as it is to say, I think Amazon is the best choice for hi-fi streaming (assuming you have prime). At $13, it's the cheapest option, and it has a lot of hi-fi music. I like Tidal the best, but $20 is just too much to pay per month on music streaming.
You don’t need to be a Prime customer to use Amazon Music, they’re separate services - all that being a Prime customer offers you is a discount on some tiers.
 

spizzlo

Member
Jun 15, 2020
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You don’t need to be a Prime customer to use Amazon Music, they’re separate services - all that being a Prime customer offers you is a discount on some tiers.
Right, I was basically saying it's the best option if you have Prime because it's cheaper. If you don't have Prime, it's the same price as Qobuz, so it makes it a harder decision, at least for me.
 

Hifiman

Well-known member
Apr 17, 2020
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As sad as it is to say, I think Amazon is the best choice for hi-fi streaming (assuming you have prime). At $13, it's the cheapest option, and it has a lot of hi-fi music. I like Tidal the best, but $20 is just too much to pay per month on music streaming.
I agree, with the U.K. costs of Amazon Music Unlimited HD being about the same in £ as it is in $. Like others have mentioned about the Amazon Prime free tier, I am surprised this hi-res service does not get a mention either.
 

Konchog

Member
Sep 7, 2020
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I would shift to Tidal if they brought their premium price down to £9.99 - but until then I have no motive to migrate at twice my current subscription for the small number of masters currently available. If I was a hip-hop fan, well then maybe. But I’m not.
 

medicine_man

Well-known member
Jul 6, 2015
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One thing I believe is missed from this review is the fact that with YouTube music you can upload your flac files
I uploaded some FLAC files and then played back via the YouTube music windows client that has a 'nerd' option to display the current file being played. It reports the file Codec as 0 / mp4a.40.2 (141). This is beyond me except the mp4a which means the FLAC file has been compressed via the upload process. I will try to do some back to back comparisons later...
 
Oct 15, 2020
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I wonder why Napster (formerly Rhapsody) gets so little attention? They've been in the top tier of bitrate quality, at their base price, for years! Currently 320 kbps. And the selection is great. I've always preferred their ability to select albums and individual tracks, but I've found that their "radio" feature works really well now too, beats the pants off of Spotify and Pandora, imo.
 

Hwrd

Member
Jan 22, 2021
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20
In view of the fact that WhatHiFi reviews and promotes quality equipment and services, surely the benefit for, or impact upon the artist or artists should be factored into any discussion of streaming services.

Just how much do the artists get paid for each download? If Tidal et al. paid the artists as much for streamed work as the artists get for a CD or vinyl sale, then I would be happy. However, we all know they don’t.

I am reminded of the ways in which record companies ripped-off the early blues artists, and indeed some of the bands in the 60s. If WhatHiFi is genuinely interested in the music, then surely it should score such products against how well they support artists!

I have stepped away from streaming for this reason.
 

Maks

Member
Dec 17, 2020
2
0
20
In view of the fact that WhatHiFi reviews and promotes quality equipment and services, surely the benefit for, or impact upon the artist or artists should be factored into any discussion of streaming services.

Just how much do the artists get paid for each download? If Tidal et al. paid the artists as much for streamed work as the artists get for a CD or vinyl sale, then I would be happy. However, we all know they don’t.

I am reminded of the ways in which record companies ripped-off the early blues artists, and indeed some of the bands in the 60s. If WhatHiFi is genuinely interested in the music, then surely it should score such products against how well they support artists!

I have stepped away from streaming for this reason.
We have to understand that streaming is advertising as revenue (I hope so) should be distributed to the performer and the service. It's another matter if they don't.
As far as I know that Youtube pays for watching videos (users who posted videos) - so everything is legal here.
 

Wes Mason

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2008
3
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18,525
I am currently on the free month of the highest level of Tidal and I think it's pathetic to be honest.

I will not be proceeding to payment next month. Yes, the quality isn't too bad but the interface is rubbish through Apple CarPlay....

Tracks start on an album downloaded and then when the first track ends, the second one starts playing but the interface display on the car screen stays at the end of the first track... you have to hit skip to get it to show the second track and then sometimes that doesn't even work.

No thanks, I'll just stick with my podcasts and occasional iTunes Library rather than pay the best part of $40 AUD per month for this dysfunctional rubbish.......
 
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botrytis

Well-known member
Jan 1, 2020
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Tidal is number 1? It has the most inaccurate SQ because more of the tracks are MQA, even the ones that aren't Identified as MQA. That is bait and switch. Even the CD quality level is all MQA tacks.

MQA max resolution is 96/17 not 96/24 and then if the MQA is supposedly higher resolution, it is all upsampling.

I wish writers for these magazines would do their homework instead of just regurgitating the same nonsense over and over. Very disappointed in this article.
 

BrianRostron

Well-known member
Apr 3, 2011
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Stating that Tidal has the best SQ is equivalent to stating MQA has better SQ than FLAC or similar. Some may subjectively prefer MQA, but many do not and listening tests have not shown any preference for MQA.

In addition, many will not be using MQA hardware, in which case options like Qobuz and all the others will be fine, but running Tidal with un-decoded MQA would be even worse even worse than mentioned above.
 
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BrianRostron

Well-known member
Apr 3, 2011
11
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Plus one other point, you cannot use software DSP / room correction or similar with MQA. Which is another reason why Tidal might be best avoided for some.
 

erbasically

Well-known member
Sep 26, 2012
26
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18,545
I'd like to see some more in-depth reviews of the music recommendation aspects of these services. It's often claimed in online discussions that one particular service always recommends hiphop even if you never listen to it; I haven't seen that myself but on the other hand I've found that after listening to prog rock and contemporary jazz for a few weeks my current streaming service thinks that what I really need to hear is Simply Red! So it would be nice to see some research into which services are best at finding new music that you like and which just seem to pick any old stuff regardless of your listening habits.
 

dave64k

Member
Mar 3, 2021
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1
20
Been on Tidal for a while and this review caused me to give Qobuz a try to understand why the ratings so different.

Early observations is I can't for the life of me see why the difference especially as Qobuz is cheaper!

The 10 million title difference could be a factor but I have only found 1 EP so far that is on Tidal that isn't on Qobuz.

I think at this rate I will move from Tidal to Qobuz when the renewals come up and see what develops over the next 12 months
 
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johnfryett

Well-known member
Feb 2, 2013
13
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Tidal is always overhyped (including by WHF). Expensive and MQA is not really hi-res IMO. I would go with Qobuz - cheaper and better quality. But, of course, Cambridge don't support it so you'll never see WHF recommend it...
 

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