Spotify vs Tidal - initial review

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Womaz

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SteveR750 said:
I personally find the difference between Spotify and FLAC usually so small it's not worth the extra cost. If it is, I'd buy the CD and be done with it. That way I'm not entirely dependant on a PC and t'internet, neither of which I trust to be 100% reliable.

Even through your system ??

I cant thell the difference between a CD and a ripped FLAC file on my gear, but Spotify and FLAC its a huge difference for me.

I actually prefer Spotify from my I pad through my AKGs
 

SteveR750

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Womaz said:
Even through your system ??

I cant thell the difference between a CD and a ripped FLAC file on my gear, but Spotify and FLAC its a huge difference for me.

I actually prefer Spotify from my I pad through my AKGs

If I'm honest no its hardly night and day, and not as obvious as switching components around. I assume you're using the highest bitrate?

Also don't forget Spotify is resampled by your operating system, through the kernel mixer. I'm using W7 64 bit.
 

Rayving

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My streaming set up comprises of a 4th generation ipod touch or iphone 4s connected to my Arcam Solo Mini using the Pure i20. I have a pair of Castle Pembroke floor standing speakers.

Ive been using Spotify premium for a couple of months and have been very pleased with it. I did trial Tidal on my iphone 4s for 7 days. I did find the application slow compared with Spotify.

I did conduct a sound comparision test using the same track and alternated between Spotify and Tidal within seconds of each other. In all honesty the difference between the two was negligible and if I'd conducted a blind test between the two it's highly likely that I would not have been able to differentiate between them.

I then conducted a similar test alternating between the Arcams CD player and spotify. Again using the same track I alternated between tracks within a few seconds of each other. The CD provided a slighter fuller sound. But again I think I would have had difficulty distinguishing between CD and Spotify if I'd conducted a blind test.

For me Tidal is too expensive for something which isn't {using my set up and ears} any better than Spotify.
 

Leeps

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To the tune of American Pie...

After many years of happy Spotify use, I've just cancelled my subscription. I've indulgently had both Spotify and Tidal subscriptions together for a few months to help me properly compare the two before deciding which way to go.

In some ways I can sympathise with the previous poster's comment. When I initially did comparisons the first few seconds of each track I compared didn't seem that different, but once I did spot the differences, they appeared to be there in pretty much everything I played;

Spotify had a slightly muddy flayling treble, where Tidal was sharp, detailed and clean. But the most pronounced difference to my ears at least was the soundstage. It was much larger through Tidal which gave more space to discern each instrument playing. This was more noticeable through the genres I like to play most; jazz/latin / classical and singer/songwriter/folk.

But that's not the only reason for dumping Spotify. I prefer using Tidal. Yes it's a little slower to react, but the layout seems much clearer and logical: Spotify seems a little messy in comparison. (I'm only referring to iPad apps here because that's all I use).

And I do like the way Tidal's looking to the future with the adoption of Meridian's MQA format and the possibility of hi-res streaming being incorporated into the service reasonably soon. Exciting times.

Although the difference in quality might be small, it's those small differences that add that extra bite, zap, emotion and enjoyment in the tracks I play. Today I was listening to some albums reviewed in the latest Songlines magazine, most notably Perota Chingo's eponymous debut album.

I was glued. I was only going to put it on for background music and do something else. But I ended up listening to the whole album. Gorgeous stuff. (Do listen BTW).

So I'm converted over to Tidal. For me it seems to have the best combination of catalogue, user experience and sound quality. I think £20 is an acceptable price considering what I used to pay for CD's every month (only to discover that some of them were subsequently dross!) And the step up in quality now means that this one streaming service does (almost) everything I want in one package. I don't need to faff with NAS drives, backups and messing around with my computer which to my mind are time-consuming barriers to listening to the music. I honestly think that downloading's days are beginning to be numbered, although I'm sure it'll keep going for a while. But the times certainly are a changing.

The only other one to watch with interest is Deezer.

Deezer has the largest catalogue by some margin and has the promise of CD quality streaming too. But with their marketing hype calling that "hi-res", I doubt if they'll be looking at genuinely hi-res for the foreseeable future and their current limitation to Sonos is a deal-breaker for me at the present.

So for my money Tidal is at the top of the pack. Well done you.
 

SteveR750

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Leeps said:
To the tune of American Pie...

After many years of happy Spotify use, I've just cancelled my subscription. I've indulgently had both Spotify and Tidal subscriptions together for a few months to help me properly compare the two before deciding which way to go.

In some ways I can sympathise with the previous poster's comment. When I initially did comparisons the first few seconds of each track I compared didn't seem that different, but once I did spot the differences, they appeared to be there in pretty much everything I played;

Spotify had a slightly muddy flayling treble, where Tidal was sharp, detailed and clean. But the most pronounced difference to my ears at least was the soundstage. It was much larger through Tidal which gave more space to discern each instrument playing. This was more noticeable through the genres I like to play most; jazz/latin / classical and singer/songwriter/folk.

But that's not the only reason for dumping Spotify. I prefer using Tidal. Yes it's a little slower to react, but the layout seems much clearer and logical: Spotify seems a little messy in comparison. (I'm only referring to iPad apps here because that's all I use).

And I do like the way Tidal's looking to the future with the adoption of Meridian's MQA format and the possibility of hi-res streaming being incorporated into the service reasonably soon. Exciting times.

Although the difference in quality might be small, it's those small differences that add that extra bite, zap, emotion and enjoyment in the tracks I play. Today I was listening to some albums reviewed in the latest Songlines magazine, most notably Perota Chingo's eponymous debut album.

I was glued. I was only going to put it on for background music and do something else. But I ended up listening to the whole album. Gorgeous stuff. (Do listen BTW).

So I'm converted over to Tidal. For me it seems to have the best combination of catalogue, user experience and sound quality. I think £20 is an acceptable price considering what I used to pay for CD's every month (only to discover that some of them were subsequently dross!) And the step up in quality now means that this one streaming service does (almost) everything I want in one package. I don't need to faff with NAS drives, backups and messing around with my computer which to my mind are time-consuming barriers to listening to the music. I honestly think that downloading's days are beginning to be numbered, although I'm sure it'll keep going for a while. But the times certainly are a changing.

The only other one to watch with interest is Deezer.

Deezer has the largest catalogue by some margin and has the promise of CD quality streaming too. But with their marketing hype calling that "hi-res", I doubt if they'll be looking at genuinely hi-res for the foreseeable future and their current limitation to Sonos is a deal-breaker for me at the present.

So for my money Tidal is at the top of the pack. Well done you.

Bear in mind Tidal cannot sound better than the original CD, so if they sound dross, they will on Spotify and Tidal. Neither of them remix the originals.

Out of interest, what is the codec that Tidal uses? The difference between Spotify and FLAC is pretty small, you've got to really concentrate to hear it. In truth, I only buy CDs so that I have a permanent copy in my house, as I still cannot rely on t'internet as the only source; and because the data tells you that CDA is "better" than lossy compressed files.
 

Womaz

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gowiththeflow said:
SteveR750 said:
Out of interest, what is the codec that Tidal uses?

AAC on "Standard" (i.e. low) and "High" (320kbps) quality services.

FLAC on the "HiFi" quality service.

If you are on the free trial would it be the HiFi quality service you receive?
 

Leeps

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SteveR750 said:
Leeps said:
To the tune of American Pie...

After many years of happy Spotify use, I've just cancelled my subscription. I've indulgently had both Spotify and Tidal subscriptions together for a few months to help me properly compare the two before deciding which way to go.

In some ways I can sympathise with the previous poster's comment. When I initially did comparisons the first few seconds of each track I compared didn't seem that different, but once I did spot the differences, they appeared to be there in pretty much everything I played;

Spotify had a slightly muddy flayling treble, where Tidal was sharp, detailed and clean. But the most pronounced difference to my ears at least was the soundstage. It was much larger through Tidal which gave more space to discern each instrument playing. This was more noticeable through the genres I like to play most; jazz/latin / classical and singer/songwriter/folk.

But that's not the only reason for dumping Spotify. I prefer using Tidal. Yes it's a little slower to react, but the layout seems much clearer and logical: Spotify seems a little messy in comparison. (I'm only referring to iPad apps here because that's all I use).

And I do like the way Tidal's looking to the future with the adoption of Meridian's MQA format and the possibility of hi-res streaming being incorporated into the service reasonably soon. Exciting times.

Although the difference in quality might be small, it's those small differences that add that extra bite, zap, emotion and enjoyment in the tracks I play. Today I was listening to some albums reviewed in the latest Songlines magazine, most notably Perota Chingo's eponymous debut album.

I was glued. I was only going to put it on for background music and do something else. But I ended up listening to the whole album. Gorgeous stuff. (Do listen BTW).

So I'm converted over to Tidal. For me it seems to have the best combination of catalogue, user experience and sound quality. I think £20 is an acceptable price considering what I used to pay for CD's every month (only to discover that some of them were subsequently dross!) And the step up in quality now means that this one streaming service does (almost) everything I want in one package. I don't need to faff with NAS drives, backups and messing around with my computer which to my mind are time-consuming barriers to listening to the music. I honestly think that downloading's days are beginning to be numbered, although I'm sure it'll keep going for a while. But the times certainly are a changing.

The only other one to watch with interest is Deezer.

Deezer has the largest catalogue by some margin and has the promise of CD quality streaming too. But with their marketing hype calling that "hi-res", I doubt if they'll be looking at genuinely hi-res for the foreseeable future and their current limitation to Sonos is a deal-breaker for me at the present.

So for my money Tidal is at the top of the pack. Well done you.

Bear in mind Tidal cannot sound better than the original CD, so if they sound dross, they will on Spotify and Tidal. Neither of them remix the originals.

Out of interest, what is the codec that Tidal uses? The difference between Spotify and FLAC is pretty small, you've got to really concentrate to hear it. In truth, I only buy CDs so that I have a permanent copy in my house, as I still cannot rely on t'internet as the only source; and because the data tells you that CDA is "better" than lossy compressed files.

Finally the website's allowing me to post (wouldn't let me respond yesterday for some reason)...

Steve, apologies, my original comment should have been clearer. When I mentioned dross CD's, I wasn't really referring to the mastering quality. I was just trying to say that in the past (before streaming services arrived), I'd occasionally purchase albums on CD that I just didn't like. Or maybe there was just one track that was decent. At least with a streaming subscription if you start listening to something you don't like you just move on with no money wasted.

This is another thing that puts me off downloads. It must be gutting to visit Linn or Naim and pay £17 for a hi-res download only to find you don't like the album. You can't even sell it on, or even take it to a charity shop. I guess you just delete it! The more I think about hi-res downloads, the more value a £20 Tidal subscription seems to offer.
 

drummerman

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Leeps said:
SteveR750 said:
Finally the website's allowing me to post (wouldn't let me respond yesterday for some reason)...

Steve, apologies, my original comment should have been clearer. When I mentioned dross CD's, I wasn't really referring to the mastering quality. I was just trying to say that in the past (before streaming services arrived), I'd occasionally purchase albums on CD that I just didn't like. Or maybe there was just one track that was decent. At least with a streaming subscription if you start listening to something you don't like you just move on with no money wasted.

This is another thing that puts me off downloads. It must be gutting to visit Linn or Naim and pay £17 for a hi-res download only to find you don't like the album. You can't even sell it on, or even take it to a charity shop. I guess you just delete it! The more I think about hi-res downloads, the more value a £20 Tidal subscription seems to offer.

Skipping tracks is obviously useful and I doubt anyone would want to do without it but it can also be a hindrance on occasions.

When using spotify I of course use it but it is also why I love my vinyl (even stuff I bought 'blind' from charity shops or ebay impulse purchases). You can't skip stuff (well, my SL-6 is actually programmable but that's another story). I listen to it from beginning to end. I once did an analogy between snacking and going to a nice restaurant, you sit through from beginning to end, savouring everything.

Not every artist is trying to tell a whole story with an album but some do and I did on many occasions discover tracks which grew on me, tracks which I could have otherwise skipped.

Not just that but many CD's can be picked up cheap these days (except much of the jazz I buy :-( ) so the odd undesired track doesn't really matter to much.

Other than that I love streaming services, in particular Spotify. I mostly use it as a tool to find music to buy but quite often use it as main source too.

Tempted by Tidal. Must try it soon but much depends on usability which is great on spotify.
 

Andy Clough

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Lots of interesting comments here, I've been using Tidal a lot in the last few weeks and generally love it, but the lack of gapless playback is annoying (Qobuz has it), and like some other users I find the search a bit erratic with classical music in particular. But the sound quality is excellent.

The question now is: is Tidal worth £20/month when you can get Deezer Elite (as a Premium+ subscriber) for £10/month? Sure, I know Deezer Elite is only available on Sonos (for now), but that will change.
 

fr0g

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I did my own test on this.

Tidal sound quality is good and at first I would have said better than Spotify, but when I try to ABX vs Spotify, there is little or no difference. i.e. I can't ABX them.

This is using laptop - Beresford DAC - Shure SRH940

The lack of gapless is inexcusable. I listen to a great deal of music that makes this a must have.

My opinion. Spotify at 320 Kbps Ogg Vorbis is indistinguishable from Tidal, or CD for that matter.

Any SQ advantages with the lossless service imo are placebo.

Conclusion, I will stick with Spotify for its vastly superior all-round functionality...
 

chebby

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Andy Clough said:
Lots of interesting comments here, I've been using Tidal a lot in the last few weeks and generally love it, but the lack of gapless playback is annoying ....

Please tell them this. I assume the editor of the best selling hi-fi magazine in the UK can expect a publishable reply on this matter.
 

Womaz

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I think £20 per month is pretty good value tbh.........if it worked that is. Third day of my 7 day trial and unable to stream. Didnt work on Saturday either. So guess they wont be getting my subscrition. Shame as I love the concept.
 

Andy Clough

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chebby said:
Andy Clough said:
Lots of interesting comments here, I've been using Tidal a lot in the last few weeks and generally love it, but the lack of gapless playback is annoying ....

Please tell them this. I assume the editor of the best selling hi-fi magazine in the UK can expect a publishable reply on this matter.

I can certainly raise it with them, whether they will take any notice is another matter
wink_smile.gif
 

Andy Clough

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Official response from Tidal:

"Gapless Playback is a function we have been very keen to integrate into TIDAL from Day 1, it is high on our Product Team’s agenda. The team has been working very hard to deliver this functionality, and although outwardly a simple feature, technically it poses many challenges, so unfortunately this is not a function that will be quickly integrated."
 

fr0g

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Womaz said:
I think £20 per month is pretty good value tbh.........if it worked that is. Third day of my 7 day trial and unable to stream. Didnt work on Saturday either. So guess they wont be getting my subscrition. Shame as I love the concept.

I think £20 a month, compared to other services cost and given no apparent sound quality advantage and no gapless playback is at least 50% too much.

i.e. Not particularly good value.
 

chebby

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Andy Clough said:
Official response from Tidal:

"Gapless Playback is a function we have been very keen to integrate into TIDAL from Day 1, it is high on our Product Team’s agenda. The team has been working very hard to deliver this functionality, and although outwardly a simple feature, technically it poses many challenges, so unfortunately this is not a function that will be quickly integrated."

Thanks.
 

iQ Speakers

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Chap left Tidal account on my Linn Majik DS I bought, I have a 2 month Qobuz trial from the Bristol show. I still do all my listening via Spotify. Draw you're own conclusions.
 

SteveR750

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chebby said:
Andy Clough said:
Official response from Tidal:

"Gapless Playback is a function we have been very keen to integrate into TIDAL from Day 1, it is high on our Product Team’s agenda. The team has been working very hard to deliver this functionality, and although outwardly a simple feature, technically it poses many challenges, so unfortunately this is not a function that will be quickly integrated."

Thanks.

+1
 

Leeps

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Picked up April's Hifi Choice today. Interesting to see their comments about Tidal's superior soundstage & detail which support my own findings (see the first post in this thread).

They didn't seem that impressed with Deezer (albeit in its standard non 'Elite' format). So we'll have to see whether their CD quality service is any good in due course when non-Sonos users get to compare it.

Ultimately we each have to decide which service is best for our needs, but as I've never been into downloading (I persisted with CD's through the ipod generation) or CD-ripping and NAS drives, I'm really looking for a service that can become my main music source without all that additional hardware. It's only Tidal (at present at least) that offers this for me.

And if you happen to be among those who can't tell the difference between Spotify & Tidal, well just be chuffed with yourself at the tenner a month you save. But I'm willing to pay the difference, and I'll be the first to admit that I probably don't own the most revealing system on the planet, but it's still worth it to me.

Qobuz's reputed interface quirks put me off, but I really like Tidal's ipad app. I find Spotify's app far too dark. (Mid-grey font on black background was a poor choice. It's previous generation app was far better IMO).

I await Tidal's genuinely hi-res streaming alternative with interest.
 

eengineer

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Anyone took and passed the test?

http://test.tidalhifi.com

I got 0/5 *clapping*

I did an interesting test. I ripped a song twice to lossless wav and 320kbps aac. In audacity I subtracted the compressed file from the lossless file to see what was left: not much. Some high frequency transient information (high hats) and some minor singing reverb information.
 

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