Tidal

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Sep 20, 2020
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Signed up to Tidal only to then find it doesn't work for streaming via an Amazon Echo. A search of it leads you to Tidal's own help pages on how to set it up but buried in the FAQs it turns out this is a US only feature, which is disappointing as the rest of the service I like. OK, the quality benefits of tidal are lost when listening through an echo, but I'm not prepared have a second subscription to a different service just to listen to music in the kitchen, particularly given Tidal's initial high price point.
 

djh1697

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2008
126
21
18,595
Roon + Tidal + Qobuz excellent! March DAC as a Roon endpoint, all working well with my Naim 200/202, Kudos X3's/KS1, Titan mains leads, TeddyPardo power supply
 

Hels

Member
Nov 1, 2020
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Hi whathifi

Great review but please could you take into account the customer service with subscription services. I've moved from Spotify to tidal and while the high res audio is excellent, the customer service has been appalling and when you look them up online my experience is par for the course. Spotify was the opposite end of the spectrum. As their customer service is an important part of the subscription fee I think it should be taken into account.

Would have made a difference to my choice knowing what I know now.

Thanks
 
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Sweb

Member
Nov 5, 2020
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I now use Qobuz and Spotify. The new music listings for jazz and classical of Qobuz match my interests. Qobuz also appears to pay artists better which matters to me. The sound quality is excellent. I find the Spotify interface to be very friendly and intuitive .

I found the What Hi Fi article
How to cancel your Tidal subscription
By What Hi-Fi? January 28, 2020

Tidal and Qobuz sound great. While Tidal sounds great the process of leaving Tidal for double billing, I had tried the service prior with an old email prior, was very painful. The process felt more like the customer service exists solely to protect a monopoly. The complexity of extraction was because having cancelled the service, I was no longer receiving the service under either email, I had cancelled, and they continued to bill while knowing that they were not providing service. If you leave Tidal for Qobuz please read the What Hi Fi article above as it is excellent. Thank you.
 

PISCorp.

Member
Nov 5, 2020
1
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20
I sat up my Tidal through a Turkish (VPN) account. Tidal HiFi is a very cheap option in Turkey. I'm paying about 3£ for a family HiFI account. But as others stated the service is very rap/hiphop oriented but for the price it's excellent.
 

superhans

Well-known member
Oct 19, 2020
31
11
45
Sony STR-DN1080 with Dali Oberon 5 and Bluesound Node 2i streamer

More out of boredom, I sat for hours playing familiar tracks on both Tidal (MQA using BlueOS) and then Spotify Connect. I honestly could not tell the difference. To my ears, they sounded the same on the SONY/Dali combo

A week later...

NAD T-758 V3i with Dali Oberon 5 ( the NAD has BLueOS built-in)
Same testing as above. The NAD sounds fantastic with both TIDAL and Spotify but this time the Tidal MQA tracks sound more open with more detail. There is a marginal difference to my ears but in a blind test I'm not sure I'd be able to tell them apart.
The biggest difference is how much more musical the NAD is over the Sony. Not that the Sony is bad, but the NAD is a cut above. For now, Tidal is the better option and the newly released 'Tidal Connect' feature is superb on BlueOS. Very happy with this new set-up but was surprised at how well Spotify holds up despite its MP3 quality. Still don't think the difference is worth the Tidal price difference so its a lockdown luxury for now.
 
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React2

Member
Nov 6, 2020
1
0
20
I’m enjoying Tidal but the MQA decoding via my Explorer2 on the iPad Pro is not reliable thru iOS, but it all works perfectly using the thru the PC..!?

Some tracks give me the full unfold when playing in Hifi mode but others do not, Tidal can‘t seem to help. I think there needs to be an option to force MQA pass thru as in the PC application.

Anyone else having problems, I would though Explorer2 would be an obvious option given they invented the format............ Seems to be a Tidal issue, other apps unfold MQA perfectly on my iPad Pro and the Explorer2 with purchased MQA files...... frustrating
 

CatVsGrizzly

Member
Nov 25, 2020
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I commonly use a Charge 3 for streaming music and listen at a 320 kbs quality (or comparible). I actually found Tidal to sound substantially inferior to Deezer and Spotify. The file rips sounded muffled, with many rogue frequencies and overly premature treble roll offs. I actually preferred listening to songs on YouTube rather than Tidal. Not sure if the conversion to SBC had an effect on the sound quality? In saying that, spotify and deezer still sound great on the Charge 3. Certainly worth considering for anyone thinking about subscribing.
 

CatVsGrizzly

Member
Nov 25, 2020
3
0
20
Sony STR-DN1080 with Dali Oberon 5 and Bluesound Node 2i streamer

More out of boredom, I sat for hours playing familiar tracks on both Tidal (MQA using BlueOS) and then Spotify Connect. I honestly could not tell the difference. To my ears, they sounded the same on the SONY/Dali combo

A week later...

NAD T-758 V3i with Dali Oberon 5 ( the NAD has BLueOS built-in)
Same testing as above. The NAD sounds fantastic with both TIDAL and Spotify but this time the Tidal MQA tracks sound more open with more detail. There is a marginal difference to my ears but in a blind test I'm not sure I'd be able to tell them apart.
The biggest difference is how much more musical the NAD is over the Sony. Not that the Sony is bad, but the NAD is a cut above. For now, Tidal is the better option and the newly released 'Tidal Connect' feature is superb on BlueOS. Very happy with this new set-up but was surprised at how well Spotify holds up despite its MP3 quality. Still don't think the difference is worth the Tidal price difference so its a lockdown luxury for now.
How did you find the comparison between spotify and tidal at similiar 320 kbs qualities?
 

Azreil24

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2014
1
0
10,520
I use Tidal since launch and they have evolved steadily when it comes to interface and recommendations. When I say recommendations I'm referring to the My Mix playlists, which I really enjoy and find songs and artists that maybe I never heard before and in many cases I really enjoy them, plus they do multiple playlists based on genres that you listen to. Yes, they still push so much of their hip-hop, rap music, that I really hate, as it's full of the wimpy rappers of our days, but, I can live with that, as the sound quality is best for me (Qobuz only available in US, so can't test it). Using it on my Node 2i and really love how it feels, how easy it is to use and where I live it costs me like £ 7.50 for a single Masters subscription and around £10 for Family. Could be better in terms of diversity though.
 

Mike Knibbs

Active member
Dec 10, 2020
5
1
25
Here’s my experience .
After the initial 'wow' factor of Tidal (Masters vs CD) I tired of the sound. To my ears (old ones for sure) Tidal is playing some games with levels and sound balance. Whether this is intentional or simply a product of their proprietary compression I could not say. I find that to do A/B testing on my usual components (iMac, FiiO K5 PRO, Schiit Asgard 3 and Sennheiser HD600) the I need to reduce the volume on the Tidal steam into which ever DAC / amp combo I use. Once done, the difference in sound is consistent and recognizable in blind sessions. The Tidal sound warmer, heavier and more 'center-staged'. It is less detailed and transparent than Amazon - even on CD feeds that are not 'ultra'. While the warmth, bass and loudness of the Tidal stream is initially attractive, it bugs me after a while. The difference in streaming / source versus DAC/Amp combination is huge. Maybe as much as switching headphones or speakers in the testing. I was surprised.
I've canceled my subscription to Tidal after 3 months - and listen entirely to Amazon HD now.
 

Mike Knibbs

Active member
Dec 10, 2020
5
1
25
After the initial 'wow' factor of Tidal (Masters vs CD) I tired of the sound. To my ears (old ones for sure) Tidal is playing some games with levels and sound balance. Whether this is intentional or simply a product of their proprietary compression I could not say. I find that to do A/B testing on my usual components (iMac, FiiO K5 PRO, Schiit Asgard 3 and Sennheiser HD600) the I need to reduce the volume on the Tidal steam into which ever DAC / amp combo I use. Once done, the difference in sound is consistent and recognizable in blind sessions. The Tidal sound warmer, heavier and more 'center-staged'. It is less detailed and transparent than Amazon - even on CD feeds that are not 'ultra'. While the warmth, bass and loudness of the Tidal stream is initially attractive, it bugs me after a while. The difference in streaming / source versus DAC/Amp combination is huge. Maybe as much as switching headphones or speakers in the testing. I was surprised.
I've canceled my subscription to Tidal after 3 months - and listen entirely to Amazon HD now.
 

Mike123

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2020
5
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520
I used to pay £12 for a single in the 90s and sometimes £22 for an imported album in HMV and there's nothing like the excitement of riding home to unwrap the CD and read the inlay whilst it fires up.
Eventually I got a discern but on-demand can't offer that.

I'm trialling Tidal and honestly can only hear a 1-3% difference over Spotify through my HiFi set up.
I agree that Spotify's UI, UX and algorithms are better. It's not worth paying the extra cash right now over Spotify.
A shame really as I appreciate that 1% difference but I'd have to migrate and am rooted in Spotify. Also the UI of Spotify is 2nd nature now.
 

komeci

Member
Dec 17, 2020
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Had to register on the forum just to write this. It's hard for me to get how people here, owning a high grade audio equipment can write stuff like Tidal sounding similar to Spotify. Ok I am not paying for Spotify so it didn't let me turn on the "High Quality" mode, but c'mon. It's sounding certainly better than Deezer, but it still sounds like someone rubbed the songs in sand, because it's grainy and dirty.

Haven't listened to Amazon Music HD because it's not available, but I've heard everything else. Tested on apps for macOS.

- YoutubeMusic, not worth the mention.
- After it, Deezer is the worst in terms of audio quality, and their Hi-Fi tier is laughably bad. Vocals sound shrilllll, it's ugly. I took the trial 3 months free and used it 15 minutes. I would rather pay 3 months of Tidal, than listen to Deezer Hi-Fi 3 months for free. It is that bad.
- Apple Music lil better.
- Spotify sounding even better, so I guess good for most people playing music on their phone speaker.

- Qobuz, the only real competition I have just listened to, and it sounds noticeably worse than Tidal. They described it correctly in the review. It sounds less musical. Stereo side channels seem to be accentuated, but in whole it sounds more closed and limited. Vocals don't have the warmth in the low mids so they get buried in the mix. Bass is not weak, but it's missing fullness. You can hear the bass, but you don't feel the warmth. It was such a difference on macOS that I will not even offer the chance to Qobuz phone app and compare it with Tidal on my phone.

- Tidal has that fullness, vocals have real presence and warmth in the low mids so they come through perfectly. It all sounds pleasant, rounded, full and spacious. Because of accentuated side channels in Qobuz, for a moment you can get fooled that it has more resolution, but no. It's a trick. There is no better streaming player, at least for macOS, than Tidal. Bar none. I did the comparison, but there is no comparison really.

Would love to hear Amazon HD though.

I have all my favorite albums stored in FLAC, and yes, Tidal doesn't sound as good, open or detailed as any of those albums when I play them through Vox player. But as far as HiFi streaming, it is the best streaming player. Every month I become a bigger fan, because the sound is such a pleasure.
 
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qduaty

Member
Dec 30, 2020
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Tidal has crazy discounts in Poland. A monthly HiFi subscription fee is 40 PLN (10 EUR). After a year they offered me on a different account, but connected to the same Paypal, a discount to 4 PLN (1 EUR) per month. I took it, then they have beaten their own offer with 2 PLN per month on the original account. A month later my brother had an offer of 1 PLN per month, and now he is a Tidal fan too. Of course I don't plan to pay 2 PLN forever because it's no good for artists, but it was very nice of them. Music industry with human face, so to speak.

There is only one Red Book streaming service here except Tidal, namely Deezer. While their recommendations are obviously better for a native European, their service quality suffers from the lack of bit-perfect support and they have no Hi Res option.

I have solved the "poor music recommendations" issue of Tidal by writing a script that plays last.fm tracks on Tidal instead of Spotify. Why not learn about music in bit-perfect quality?
 
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gavdann

Member
Feb 16, 2021
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Way overpriced for what's on offer.
Why do you think that? It's libraries seem to have as much available as Spotify.

I'm currently 2 days in to a 6 month free trial of the HiFi subscription and it sounds a lot better than Spotify. For the majority of the time I use the Android app, listening through a fairly modest pair of Sennheiser HD 4.50 headphones and was able to tell the difference even at HIGH resolution. I also have some Sonos Connect:Amp's and they sounded great too.
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
765
451
19,270
Why do you think that? It's libraries seem to have as much available as Spotify.

I'm currently 2 days in to a 6 month free trial of the HiFi subscription and it sounds a lot better than Spotify. For the majority of the time I use the Android app, listening through a fairly modest pair of Sennheiser HD 4.50 headphones and was able to tell the difference even at HIGH resolution. I also have some Sonos Connect:Amp's and they sounded great too.
If you like music from the last 20 years or so than the Tidal catalogue is fine, however if you go earlier than that it’s mainly only the big names on there, whereas Spotify is much more diverse, the downside is the sound quality is not as good. (If only Spotify would bring out a reasonably priced HD version they would wipe the completion from the market or at least force them to lower prices)

In addition the Spotify interface blows Tidal out of the water.

Bill
 

Castade

Member
May 18, 2021
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I have been using Tidal since 2017 and it has improved tremendously. To really enjoy Master quality, you really need the hardware for it. You won't get that quality using Bluetooth headphones connected to a smartphone. I have the FIIO M11pro with the IE800 S. Listening to Master quality is on a level of its own. CD quality can't touch it but again, the hardware must handle it to truly appreciate the quality Tidal has to offer.
 

Mike123

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2020
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but using a good pair of headphones reveal a lot of information. It’s said you have to have a system that costs at least 10x that to hear the same detail, I would said probably 30x that.
I have Sony WH1000(2) and I can just about hear the difference. I know someone who’s got a 100k+ system and they can barely hear the difference.
I’m for competition, and look forward to Spotify CD quality - said to be coming soon
 

Mike123

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2020
5
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520
I'm gobsmacked people are complaining at £20 a month for unlimited lossless streaming and download. I'm pushing 50 now and remember paying 11.99 for one CD whilst at university in the early 90s. I would have killed for this then, and utterly love it now.
This + my own rips + Roon is pretty much perfect to feed my Sonos / Uniti Nova / chrome sticks.
I used to pay £21 as a student for albums and £16 for a single in CD on import. But this was a long time ago and there’s absolutely no point in comparing a world when the internet wasn’t even mainstream to the world of today.
Being satisfied because something was expensive decades ago isn’t really a comparison by any means.
Compare apples to apples.
 

DBB

Well-known member
Jul 30, 2020
7
4
525
MQA is snake oil, cf.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRjsu9-Vznc
the What HiFi hacks haven't spotted that of course, because they haven't a clue what they are talking about.
Just to clarify, I'm not an MQA apologist. I'd rather Tidal didn't use MQA for its hi-res files. Although they sound great to my ears, they do sound a little bit more compressed, less open and airy than their equivalent files on Amazon and, in particular, Qobuz.

However the claims in this video have been debunked by MQA. Whether you believe MQA's claims in their response is another matter.

Personally I don't really see the need for MQA, when standard hi-res FLAC exists. Most people who subscribe to a hi-res streaming service will have broadband which supports a decent enough download speed, I'm sure.

For all of Qobuz's and Amazon's strengths, their weaknesses are just too much for me. Their weaknesses are where Tidal really excels for me:
Qobuz weaknesses - too many gaps in the library, no recommendation engine; Tidal excels at both.
Amazon weaknesses - Horrible, buggy app and a pretty rubbish recommendation engine; the Tidal app is great and Tidal is getting a lot better with its recommendations.
 
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djh1697

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2008
126
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Tidal integrates very well with Roon, as does Qobuz, the later given me a sound that I think is closer to vinyl than NQA or other Tidal streams.
 

pingdk

Member
Dec 16, 2021
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Audiophile or Audio-Fooled? How Good Are Your Ears?
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgEjI5PZa78
- I wrote Rick Beato: With all respect Rick: - if you can not hear that mp3 and Spotify SUCKS - you need a better stereo set up.§;-)

- As a D.J. I noticed way back that mp3 was much less engaging with fewer people on the dance floor so I stuck with CD´s.
CD´s has much better sound quality than mp3´s.

TIDAL HiRes Master quality is a big step up in quality and QOBUS even markedly better:
- better treble, more space, air, details and tighter bass and more power and 3-D defined instruments I can almost walk around on good recordings.
TIDAL sounds a bit too warm and woolly ....
- Apple Music HiRes sucks too with a clinical flat and unmusical sound.

Qobus often even manages to make 16 bit 44,1 kHz sound better than many Tidal master tracks - more clearly defined instruments - better treble and 3-D defined instruments.
These accumulated experiences and tests are done on a $12.000 stereo set up with DAC: Audio Alchemy DDP 1 and PS 5 Power Supply ( $3000) , HEGEL H90 integrated amp, Speakers: Triton Two+: https://www.goldenear.com/images/brochures/GET_T2+_T3+_Literature.pdf
 

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