Going from Spotify Premium to Tidal Hi-Fi?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Phono Groove, May 23, 2017.

  1. Phono Groove

    Phono Groove Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec
    I'm thinking of switching from spotify premium to Tidal HiFi. For those who have done this or that have Tidal, do you think it would be worth it? I find myself buying less cds , I only really buy records or early pressed cds to find the best dynamic range or better mastering. I am loving spotify for the moment for those random songs you just want to put on without buying the album. Does Tidal really offer an improvement in sound?
     
  2. costerdock

    costerdock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Prescott, AZ, USA
    I have Pandora One and Spotify Premium - love them both - but can hardly tell much difference in sound as both sound fantastic. Not sure what improvements you are looking for.
     
    SandAndGlass and nightstand68 like this.
  3. Peter Baird

    Peter Baird Active Member

    Location:
    Connecticut
    I had them both for a short while and compared them.

    1) The volume on Spotify is WAY jacked up compared to Tidal. Does this impact dynamic range in some way or is that only during the mastering process? Spotify seems to have embraced the "loud" side of the loudness wars. ;)
    2) Tidal did have a more natural, musical sound and greater detail but you had to have the right source/song (of course) and pay attention to catch it.
    3) I found Apple Music to be a pretty happy medium between the two, quality wise.
     
  4. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Luckless Pedestrian

    On point #1, there is an advanced setting in the Spotify software (desktop and mobile) where you can tick "Normalization" on or off. Are you sure your dynamic range issues weren't due to it being ticked "On"? They're really only posting what they get from the record companies, no?

    Personally, I love Spotify's selection and software, and its sound is mostly "good enough" for me. Plus, I'm fine with $9.99 per month. If anyone offered lossless at that price point, I might consider a switch.
     
    Brother_Rael likes this.
  5. sfoclt

    sfoclt Active Member

    I switched from Spotify to Tidal (several years ago) and wouldn't go back. Spotify had the better selection but I get 97% of what I want on Tidal and the sound is great. More importantly, I'm committed to roon so Tidal integration makes it a no-brainer. I hear rumors of a Spotify lossless tier which would be interesting.
     
    BayouTiger, dmckean and duggan like this.
  6. Robert C

    Robert C Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    I think Tidal "sounds" better because it operates at a lower playback volume as noted above. If you use Spotify for its discovery algorithm you will miss this big time as Tidal has nothing of the sort. If you just use Spotify to listen to songs you already know, or check out whole albums without actually engaging with its discovery features, then I would say Tidal is a good idea for the CD quality sound. Integrate it with your hifi and you're away.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  7. Peter Baird

    Peter Baird Active Member

    Location:
    Connecticut
    Right, it's pure volume. I don't think it was a matter of normalization being checked, it was that when I compared Tidal and Spotify, Spotify was 30% louder at the same volume on my hifi. Both were run from the same iMac through the same DAC into my integrated amp.
     
    Robert C likes this.
  8. ZenArcher

    ZenArcher Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC
    If the difference were mere volume, that could be solved with the volume control. And normalization would simply adjust volume on the fly to even out track differences. The question is, does Spotify add any additional dynamic range compression? I've seen no evidence of that.
     
    RoyalScam likes this.
  9. Peter Baird

    Peter Baird Active Member

    Location:
    Connecticut
    That's why my initial post on this topic said I wasn't sure if that volume was really resulting in dynamic compression or if it was just "loud". Regardless, once normalized for volume I preferred the Tidal feed, which is not surprising as I have done the online tests and can determine CD quality/higher def file vs. compressed MP3 with at least some degree of accuracy in my system. Is it worth the extra $10 a month? I don't know, it depends on your ears, your system, how much you focus on the music (I have to focus to notice the difference, if it's background music or while I"m cooking, or hanging out reading or while working, is surely doesn't matter).
     
  10. ZenArcher

    ZenArcher Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC
    That's good input - thanks! I've been thinking about going with one service or the other.
     
  11. Peter Baird

    Peter Baird Active Member

    Location:
    Connecticut
    You can always try Tidal for 30 days free or whatever and decide! I also threw Apple Music in the mix of my comparisons when I did all that before settling on one.
     
  12. I tried Tidal this spring and ended up going back to Spotify Premium. While I did notice that Tidal sounded better in some ways, I really did not care for the interface. I am one of those guys who uses the discover function on Spotify and enjoy the daily mix feature for background music as well. Tidal could not compete with those features and also lacked the ability to control it with my iPad. 3 strikes for me. I'm hoping Spotify does launch a " hi-rez " version before too long.
    Under different circumstances, I think Tidal is a fine product. It just wasn't what I was looking for.
     
  13. sfoclt

    sfoclt Active Member

    Tidal's interface is one reason why roon is worth it.
     
    jmrife and Len-ski like this.
  14. ad180

    ad180 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
  15. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Luckless Pedestrian

    Anyone who had the "Spotify is louder" arguments above... well now it appears to be moot.

    Quote from above article (which was just posted on 5/22/17, so this adjustment just occurred):

     
    Robert C likes this.
  16. I actually got a free trial of Roon to try with Tidal. I did not care for it. I use JRiver and I decided to stick with what I was used to as it was meeting my needs very well.
     
    SandAndGlass and River Rat like this.
  17. Peter Baird

    Peter Baird Active Member

    Location:
    Connecticut
    Yes, that's great, though I'm also glad to read it wasn't my imagination :)
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  18. tronds

    tronds Member

    Location:
    Norway
    Another thing worth noting is that in addition to having lossless music playback, the Hi-Fi tier also offers MQA playback. MQA claims to offer high resolution playback, by hiding information in the least significant bits of a regular 24 bit FLAC file. The Tidal desktop app has a software decoder which allows you to recover this information and reconstruct the full highres file. At this point, there's few MQA-encoded albums available, but I hope the number will grow.
     
  19. River Rat

    River Rat Active Member

    Location:
    Tennessee
    I tried both.

    Loved the sound quality of Tidal HiFi. Didn't like the desktop user interface (except it lets you set it for wasapi/exclusive mode to bypass Windows mixer). Catalog is extensive, but discovery features are poor to non-existent. Also too much focus on hip-hop or whatever the call it these days. For playback, found that using the mobile app with Chromecast to be the best balance of sound quality and convenience/ease of use. But, it won't decode MQA like the desktop app, but that's OK because MQA is snake oil as far as I'm concerned and actually a negative for Tidal in my opinion.

    Spotify has the better interface, about the same depth of catalog, and the discovery features are excellent. The desktop app sound quality is awful. But, I found that using my AVR's Spotify Connect feature with the mobile app gives pretty great sound quality. I compared it to flac CD rips of good sounding recordings and it is very close. For casual listening there's little or no discernable difference. Crappy brickwalled mixes still sound crappy, but what are you gonna do?

    I am keeping Spotify for a while. The novelty of the discovery features, it's greatest strength, is wearing off, though. I mainly use it to check out new releases to see if there's something I want to buy for my library. It has probably saved me more than $10 per month by preventing me from buying stuff that turned out not to be as great as expected.

    The only thing I wish Spotify had (besides a lossless option) is a way to add your daily recommendations by genre and new release playlists to a queue and then shuffle play the whole shebang.
     
    Shoalcove likes this.
  20. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Luckless Pedestrian

    I've got to say, I use Spotify Connect with my Onkyo TX-8160 receiver, and I think it sounds excellent. Levels are all over the place, so no normalization I can detect. But since I only recently got the Onkyo (within the past month), maybe that's due to the change referenced six posts above.
     
  21. Claude Benshaul

    Claude Benshaul Well-Known Member

    Tidal's UI is something to behold: Terrible on a larger PC screen, horrendous on a smartphone and a life threatening hazard to use while driving.

    Apart from that I really like the sound quality and the SONOS integration.
     
    IanL, Mr Olsen and Robert C like this.
  22. Mr Olsen

    Mr Olsen Active Member

    Tidal HiFi sounds really good but Spotify is so much better in use. Now if the two companies did a merger...
     
  23. Jack Flannery

    Jack Flannery Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I use tidal because I use Audirvana on my music server. It sounds fine. Never used Spotify.
     
    art likes this.
  24. Len-ski

    Len-ski Member

    Location:
    Goffstown,NH
    I use tidal with roon. The ability to insert tidal albums with my own in my library is a pretty awesome feature.
     
    IanL and Galley like this.
  25. Stereosound

    Stereosound Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Wish more streaming services offered that kind of ability
     
    Len-ski likes this.

Share This Page