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Tidal vs Spotify

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by krismusic, Sep 5, 2015.
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  1. castleofargh Contributor
    @musical-shadow, I used body replacement technique on your post, so that it's in the proper topic.
    you find a clear audible difference from that test, now the logic following is to try and find the reason. is it because they used 2 different masters? because of the formats? because of the 2 apps themselves or some setting in them? etc. depending on the actual cause the conclusions might not be the same.
  2. musical-kage
    Thanks for that and I'm sorry I posted in the wrong place.

    Yeah makes you wonder. The difference isn't night and day but it is there.
    No EQ on either, sound normalisation off on both.
    It could very easily be I'm hearing OGG differences.

    I may try A-Bing the 320kbps of both the AAC and OGG of Spotify/Tidal,

    Or maybe I should rip my CD FLAC version into AAC 320 and compare it to Tidals... Then compare both FLACs

    Maybe Tidal is adding something extra into the mix that shouldn't be there?
  3. Mark R-S

    FLAC is lossless, so it would me interesting to compare a CD rip with a Tidal stream, as they should be the same, as long as the sources were the same.
  4. musical-kage
    That will be my next test.
    I know this track very well, so if I spot a difference between the CD rip FLAC and the FLAC from Tidal, it either means Tidal is doing some EQing so it isn't flat or... well I don't know.

    I'll perform it tonight and see if I spot any differences.

    As far as I know, they only released it in the Absentia album.

    After that, I'll do a 320kbps ogg vs their AAC
  5. ExtremeGamerBR

    Pick any FLAC file that you have and convert it to OGG 320 or even 256kbps. It should be really hard to know which is FLAC which is OGG.
    If you compare both and don't hear a difference, maybe something is wrong with your comparision between Tidal vs Spotify.
    If you still be able to hear a difference, that would be very interesting.
  6. musical-kage
    I'll do that too :)

    That is why I'm doing the test with a CD FLAC rip and Tidal too because who knows if Tidal is EQing bass up/mid bass


    Well the good news is, I can't tell the difference between the CD ripped FLAC and Tidal's FLAC, so it isn't adding any EQ

    Now to rip a OGG 320kbps of the CD FLAC and see if I can still tell. Report back in a bit.

    Okay, so my tests have proven to be as far as I can tell useless. I don't think I can tell the 320kbps OGG from the original CD FLAC.
    So my recording of Spotifys stream may have been flawed in some way?

    I'll re-record tomorrow. Turns out I had normalisation of all tracks switched on I thought I had off.
    That might have been the difference I was hearing.
    In other words, turn it off.

    Though I volume matched so the issue is deeper when you normalise if so affecting various parts.

    I'll report back later.


    Yep, the issue was the normalisation. I cannot tell the difference now.
    At times I "feel" like I can, but apart from of course Tidal streaming at a higher volume (which I volume matched), I cannot tell a difference anymore from the 320kbps OGG on Spotify and the FLAC stream from Tidal.

    I pretty much fail the ABX so, yeah, can pretty much rule this one out.

    I can safely cancel my Tidal Lossless and go back to Spotify before I am charged :)

    No idea what sort of differences I'd be listening out for even if I did get lets say the HD 800 headphones with a good DAC. Even then, I probably wouldn't now.

    At least throughout the tests, I've been honest
    canali, PATB, twinpot and 1 other person like this.
  7. daphen
    On one of my favourite albums, "Pretty. Odd" by Panic! at the Disco, they have two different masters on Tidal and Spotify and the difference is huge. Tidal has the same version as my FLAC and I can't tell the difference. Spotify however, have some low quality version, which lead me to believe the difference in quality between Tidal and Spotify was enormous.
    Now that I'm A/B-testing "The Beatles(remastered)" I can't tell the difference.
    I wonder if Tidal has the better master in more cases or if there's equally many cases where it's the other way around and I just happened to be unlucky to find that there were different masters on one of my favourites.
    If you want to see the difference yourself, try the track "Nine in the afternoon", it's like two different tracks all together.
    Ugh, I've been loyal to Spotify for so long and the UI for Tidal is just so terrible, I wouldn't want to switch.
    Edit: @MacedonianHero have you done the same test as above? Can you tell the difference on every track?
    Since you said earlier in the thread that Tidal was your absolute choice for your Stax I mean.
    I'm testing with my K3003 at work at the moment and just seeing if I can hear a difference, not doing any real testing.
  8. musical-kage
    I'll A/B that track tonight if my Tidal subscription is still valid


    Don't even need to A-B

    Nine in the afternoon (Radio edit) is totally different. Tidal's vocal sounding more upfront.

    This is less a problem to do with the quality, and more to do with the master it seems.

    Only test I have come across that is indeed different, so thanks for that!

    Spotify's version sounds more like the loudness wars has took over, as I can hear some distortion in the drums, whereas on the Tidal version I cannot.

    I repeat though. This has nothing to do with the quality of streaming.

    Weird how they've opted for different masters.
    ExtremeGamerBR likes this.
  9. daphen
    Yeah, well, Tidal's version is the one I have on CD. Spotify seem to have put all the instruments in a blender..
  10. WhiteKnite
    I have been subscribed to Tidal since launch.  Just grabbed the 3 months for $9.99 deal on Spotify last night.  Really missed their suggested tracks and artist/track radio algorithms.  So much better than Tidal... At first I was shocked at the poor quality, but then I remembered I had to set it to "Extreme" mode which helped.  And then I had to turn off the volume matching.  But it still sounded worse to me so I cancelled.  Mostly the soundstage seemed flat and instruments didn't have the crispness and texture.  Power of the placebo effect maybe, I'm not going to argue that I could tell a good 320kbps MP3 from Flac in a blind A/B, but I think there may be something to this idea that Spotify is using poorer quality masters.  
  11. daphen
    Yeah, it doesn't sound very scientific, haha.
    Would you mind posting the songs in which you hear a difference?
    I A/B-tested the entire "The Beatles(remastered)" yesterday and my conclusion is that I can't tell the difference if the masters are the same.
    Edit: The UI in Spotify is not wonderful. But at least it's a million times better than Tidal's. I'm not sure if I've missed something but I can't even see my own playlists in the sidebar in Tidal. Ridiculous.
  12. Thenazgul
    I have my doubts that all music-content on Spotify is 320kb/s btw. Some might be 240kb/s or even lower. 
    If you do a simple search on Google regarding this matter, you find some interesting evidence. 
  13. daphen
    Sure, but isn't that the case with all these services? I mean, it's pretty hard to find perfect quality for every album.
    I would be interested to hear how Google Play's quality is compared to Tidal.
    Like I said, I can't personally hear a difference between the same masters on Spotify and Tidal when Tidal has FLAC and Spotify is at 320kbps.
    And that's with neither my AKG K3003 or my HD800S.
    Edit: If you could find a song that is very low quality on Spotify and sound different just because of the quality on Tidal, I'd be interested to hear it.
  14. Thenazgul
    Well not really. It shouldn't be hard. They have direct access to the artists themselves. Spotify promises 320kbps and delivers less. It intrigues me that no-one filled a claim yet.
    I earlier mentioned in this topic that I could hear the difference between Spotify and Tidal loud and clear (I have both, I know, money must roll). 
    Tidal is superior. Larger library as well (more artists). Although their phone-app is not that good as Spotify. Both desktop gui's I do not like. Both companies are trying to push music of artists while it is not even related to the same type of music you mostly listen. Tidal is better on this front since it is support by Roon (Spotify doesn't ). Roon's library meta-data system is absolutely amazing. 
  15. daphen
    "I can hear the difference loud and clear". Elaborate please. Are you saying that you hear the difference if you volume match and listen to songs with the same master? That you hear a difference between every song?
    I also have both. I'd love to switch to Tidal as my main service but I can't handle the GUI..
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