Tidal alternatives
Apr 6, 2021 at 8:53 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 20

MajorTom

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I've been using Tidal for a few years now, no complaints but I've always been curious about the alternatives i.e. Qobuz.

I know Tidal's library isn't quite as expansive as Spotify's for example but how does it compare to other HiFi streaming services i.e. Qobuz/Deezer?
 
Apr 7, 2021 at 6:51 PM Post #2 of 20

gimmeheadroom

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It just depends on your tastes. I have Tidal Hifi and Deezer hifi. Deezer does not have a bitperfect desktop app and they have had a lot of app issues. The reason I have it is to get fills for songs and albums that Tidal is missing. Qobuz is not available here. Until squatify gets their heads out I have no interest in that.
 
Apr 7, 2021 at 7:03 PM Post #3 of 20

perkdet

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If you're already a Prime member, it's hard to beat $12.99/mo for Amazon Music HD. They might still be doing a three-month trial too if you're curious. The desktop app supports up to 24/192 (but most of the library is 16/44). The mobile app isn't terrible. In terms of library, it has everything I've ever looked for (IDM, Low-Fi, Chill-Hop) and certainly has most popular music. Anecdotally, I don't find nearly as many independent/small artists on Amazon in comparison to Spotify or Apple Music. Overall, it just works, and again, the price ain't bad.
 
Apr 7, 2021 at 7:04 PM Post #4 of 20

gimmeheadroom

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but the scamazon desktop app is still not bit perfect, correct?

BTW I'm paying 11,50 euros for Tidal hifi
 
Apr 7, 2021 at 7:28 PM Post #5 of 20

perkdet

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Right, even though it [finally] has Exclusive Mode, the desktop app is not yet bit perfect. An alternative I've considered is what many others have employed: using a Bluesound Node 2i to play the stream bit perfect while controlling it using the Bluesound desktop app. 11,50 EUR for Tidal HiFi is a great price. I think only students, military and first-responders qualify for a price that low in the US. I was checking out Qobuz and they let you pay $150 USD annually ($12.50/mo), and their desktop app supports bit perfect playback. I need to dig a little deeper on their music library though...
 
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Apr 7, 2021 at 7:39 PM Post #6 of 20

MajorTom

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Deezer does not have a bitperfect desktop app
That's unfortunate. Does anyone have experience with Qobuz vs. Tidal? It works out approx. $5 cheaper pcm but I'm not familiar with their library or quality relative to Tidal.

I did try Amazon's offering a few years back but found the library a bit too limited in comparison.
 
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Apr 7, 2021 at 9:43 PM Post #7 of 20

JES

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If you're already a Prime member, it's hard to beat $12.99/mo for Amazon Music HD. They might still be doing a three-month trial too if you're curious. The desktop app supports up to 24/192 (but most of the library is 16/44). The mobile app isn't terrible. In terms of library, it has everything I've ever looked for (IDM, Low-Fi, Chill-Hop) and certainly has most popular music. Anecdotally, I don't find nearly as many independent/small artists on Amazon in comparison to Spotify or Apple Music. Overall, it just works, and again, the price ain't bad.
Two show-stoppers for me with Amazon HD:

1. They limit the download at times and drop you to compressed audio. It's allowable in their terms. In seven days, it happened at least once every day (PC). Paying for lossless or better and having it dropped down? No way.

2. I couldn't make the app on my Galaxy S10 work consistently. Eventually it wouldn't play the track I selected, and sometimes it wouldn't play at all.

To OP, definitely trial it. I chose Qobuz and am very happy. I didn't try Tidal.
 
Apr 7, 2021 at 9:51 PM Post #8 of 20

perkdet

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I chose Qobuz and am very happy.
Qobuz certainly has my interest piqued. A few stale threads cite music discovery as either lacking or totally missing from Qobuz. Is that still the case? I become a bit dependent on "Recommended for You" lists to help me find new music. With regards to the OP, have you ever found the Qobuz library to have any holes for the music you're into?
 
Apr 7, 2021 at 9:57 PM Post #9 of 20

JES

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Qobuz certainly has my interest piqued. A few stale threads cite music discovery as either lacking or totally missing from Qobuz. Is that still the case? I become a bit dependent on "Recommended for You" lists to help me find new music. With regards to the OP, have you ever found the Qobuz library to have any holes for the music you're into?
Music discovery isn't missing, but it's weak. Especially compared to Spotify. I keep my Spotify Duo subscription active because my SO likes Spotify, so I'll go on there occasionally and research. Trial it, and you'll be able to see for yourself.

EDIT: I chose to subscribe to Qobuz primarily for music quality, and in that regard I'm very pleased.
 
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Apr 7, 2021 at 10:28 PM Post #10 of 20

perkdet

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Trial it, and you'll be able to see for yourself.
Yyuuuupppppppp. Trialing now. Strong first impressions for initial test tracks. Likely to be up til the wee hours.
 
Apr 7, 2021 at 10:40 PM Post #11 of 20

MajorTom

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My main motivator for looking beyond Tidal is not the library as I find it surprisingly good and had pretty solid artist dicovery etc. but I've found the MQA/Masters stuff very hit and miss... I don't think their client's ver of software MQA decoding plays nicely with my current DAC; I get a bit of distortion/clipping sometimes (1-2 secs per 10 tracks perhaps) that I can reproduce independently via stereo mix (with and without EQ) so I'm fairly sure it isn't my setup. Could be their audio watermark? I'm not well versed in the specifics which is a shame but ultimately I'd rather pay a bit less and roll with 24/96 and give Tidal another look later down the line. I wonder if this issue is unique to me though?
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 2:30 AM Post #12 of 20

gimmeheadroom

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Right, even though it [finally] has Exclusive Mode, the desktop app is not yet bit perfect. An alternative I've considered is what many others have employed: using a Bluesound Node 2i to play the stream bit perfect while controlling it using the Bluesound desktop app. 11,50 EUR for Tidal HiFi is a great price. I think only students, military and first-responders qualify for a price that low in the US. I was checking out Qobuz and they let you pay $150 USD annually ($12.50/mo), and their desktop app supports bit perfect playback. I need to dig a little deeper on their music library though...
Bluesound is a good option if you can use a streamer. I don't use a streamer for my desktop setup but I do have a node 2i in another room. It's frustrating that Deezer hifi MQA does play correctly out of the node 2i but not off the desktop app. The Deezer support guy doesn't seem to understand the people asking for Exclusive Mode on the desktop app.

I didn't understand what you mean that scamazon has Exclusive Mode but is not bit perfect. I thought those two things went together.

That's unfortunate. Does anyone have experience with Qobuz vs. Tidal? It works out approx. $5 cheaper pcm but I'm not familiar with their library or quality relative to Tidal.

I did try Amazon's offering a few years back but found the library a bit too limited in comparison.
The first thing about quality is if the apps are bitperfect on Windows then the quality is going to depend only on the masters. Depending on your tastes, Tidal has very good masters.

There are big Qobuz and Tidal threads here on the forums and many comparisons and comments.

My main motivator for looking beyond Tidal is not the library as I find it surprisingly good and had pretty solid artist dicovery etc. but I've found the MQA/Masters stuff very hit and miss... I don't think their client's ver of software MQA decoding plays nicely with my current DAC; I get a bit of distortion/clipping sometimes (1-2 secs per 10 tracks perhaps) that I can reproduce independently via stereo mix (with and without EQ) so I'm fairly sure it isn't my setup. Could be their audio watermark? I'm not well versed in the specifics which is a shame but ultimately I'd rather pay a bit less and roll with 24/96 and give Tidal another look later down the line. I wonder if this issue is unique to me though?
I don't have this problem and I use Tidal regularly over 4 DACs, three of them are MQA and one is not. With the non-MQA DAC both the software unfold and no unfold both work fine.

Make sure you have volume equalization off. Set the app to exclusive mode and turn off pass through MQA. I can't remember what the other option slider is but there are three.
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 4:01 AM Post #13 of 20

MajorTom

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Bluesound is a good option if you can use a streamer. I don't use a streamer for my desktop setup but I do have a node 2i in another room. It's frustrating that Deezer hifi MQA does play correctly out of the node 2i but not off the desktop app. The Deezer support guy doesn't seem to understand the people asking for Exclusive Mode on the desktop app.

I didn't understand what you mean that scamazon has Exclusive Mode but is not bit perfect. I thought those two things went together.


The first thing about quality is if the apps are bitperfect on Windows then the quality is going to depend only on the masters. Depending on your tastes, Tidal has very good masters.

There are big Qobuz and Tidal threads here on the forums and many comparisons and comments.


I don't have this problem and I use Tidal regularly over 4 DACs, three of them are MQA and one is not. With the non-MQA DAC both the software unfold and no unfold both work fine.

Make sure you have volume equalization off. Set the app to exclusive mode and turn off pass through MQA. I can't remember what the other option slider is but there are three.

For sure, likely an issue with something in my audio chain than a Tidal issue but nevertheless I can reproduce snippets of distortion that would indicate it's not specifically my setup. My curiosity is if it's related to MQA i.e. watermarking or, as I skimmed the MQA thread, mentions that "millions were remastered from 16/44 sources" perhaps that's what's I'm hearing? Best way I can describe it is similar to clipping from an aggressive EQ. I'm familiar with the settings i.e. loudness/exclusive/etc. and have tried with and without it seems tied to the mastering than the player.

I'll give Qobuz a trial side-by-side and see if the 'issues' can be reproduced - could also be recording errors although I wouldn't have expected them to be so common.
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 4:15 AM Post #14 of 20

gimmeheadroom

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It is not related to MQA or I would be hearing it and so would a lot of other people. It may be the specific songs/albums or some bug in mass remastering.
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 4:24 AM Post #15 of 20

MajorTom

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Probably, I've no beef with Tidal but I am interested in figuring out what this effect would be - dithering perhaps? I'll have to poke around the spectrogram later. I'm guessing it's not permitted to post 5 secs snippets but I could list the track names with a time-stamp to see if we are in agreement over what the artefact is and what is the likely origin.
 

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