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Tidal vs Spotify

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by krismusic, Sep 5, 2015.
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  1. Strangelove424
    I'm more inclined to believe that compression artifacts would cause fatigue due to added content, rather than any missing content. All the audible frequencies are accounted for during compression, nothing goes missing, and the idea that compression leaves "gaps" is a Pono sales line or a myth, depending on how you view the intentions of the people portraying it that way. However, unwanted things do show up in digital artifacts, and that is usually the tell. There seems to be very little evidence that anything higher than 320kbps can be reliably differentiated, and Spotify vs. Tidal proves that I think. However, it could still be argued (though extremely difficult to prove) that digital artifacts could cause fatigue over long periods. Our brains like mathematically organized relationships in sound and frequency. It's that mathematical order that's responsible for things like musical chords. Artifacting can arguably make our brain's interpretation of the mathematical order in a song more difficult, and perhaps lead to long term fatigue or stress. Proving this would be difficult though, and they'd need to find a reliable way to measure fatigue, while also removing other control variables like frequency response imbalances or low quality source material. I can tell you this: if I play the difference files I made at a reasonable volume, they are very unpleasant to listen to and would probably lead to fatigue if I did that for an extended period (like anything more than 3 minutes). The question is, once that -30db noise get overlayed with the content of an actual music signal, and I can't hear it anymore, does it still fatigue me? This issue gets at the heart of the difference between sensation and perception, or what our brains can sense and what we are conscious they can sense. That is an iceberg.
    ev13wt and neil74 like this.
  2. castleofargh Contributor
    the famous fatigue caused by really quiet sounds. ^_^ an almost homeopathic approach to sound waves.
    ev13wt likes this.
  3. blackrain139
    I've always preferred Spotify's UI and music recommendations but I signed up for Tidal as well primary because of lossless playback.

    If Spotify does offer lossless in future, I would cancel Tidal in a heartbeat.
    trellus and pibroch like this.
  4. King CATalyst
    i actually did an A/B of spotify vs tidal and found that tidal seemed to have more body and somehow more soundstage, so i decided to stick with tidal. Side note though i have found that tidal DOES NOT sound bettter when streamed through jriver and its very glitchy with lots of delay.
    Tim Le likes this.
  5. Tim Le
    I've A/B'd between spotify and tidal, and I also notice the differences you mentioned. The very first thing I noticed for all of my EDM tracks is that the bass reaches deeper (more rumble) and hits harder in Tidal. However, because I've been a user of Spotify for so long and have a bunch of playlists on Spotify, I got suckered and currently have a subscription for both. On one of my days off this week though, I plan to convert all of my Spotify playlists to Tidal playlists. I will say, Spotify seems to have a wider selection of music, but this may change in the future :)
  6. bigshot
    Your descriptions sound like it might be a slight volume level difference between the two.
  7. King CATalyst
    I was previously a napster/rhapsody subscriber for years but decided to either switch to spotify or tidal and although i feel spotify is better in most ways it just simply didnt sound as good as tidal my ears. if spotify would go lossless or maybe just refine their sound quality somehow i would switch back in a heart beat.
  8. krismusic Contributor
    I make you right on that bigshot. I initially thought that there was a worthwhile difference between the two and was very excited. Once I realised that Tidal plays slightly louder than Spotify, even crude volume matching makes them indistinguishable to me.
  9. neil74
    After my post on the last page I did cancel Tidal but a few months on I am thinking of going back. Mainly the sound quality for me on Spotify is just too inconsistent, I do listen to a lot of playlists so with songs from different albums and artists it is really obvious even to my non-expert ears. It is not even old stuff either, compared Coldplay adventure of a lifetime this week and it sounded terrible on spotify vs apple music and even amazon unlimited too. Apple Music though continues to be a glitchy mess on Android, I just canot use it.

    Actually thinking that Tidal premium with it's 320 kbps AACs may be a good compromise as AAC is generally regarded as being better than mp3. Thinking it through. I also really like how Tidal handles the saving of albums, with both spotify and apple music my albums view is pretty useless as each playlist also adds the asscociated album so I end up with lots and lots of albums with just 1 or 2 songs
  10. trellus
    That’s precisely what I do often, spot on that Spotify is so much better at pointing me to new music. I love the Discovery and Daily mixes that it autogenerates.
  11. Niouke
    just so you know Spotify is not mp3, it's Vorbis, which is arguably better. Comparing streaming service's sound quality is a tricky business, besides the loudness issues, they often use different masters...

    I find that the best benchmark for compression are the cymbals, at lower bitrates the artefacts are easily noticeable with a revealing equipment (balanced armatures come to mind), although compression can lead to similar effects.

    I have my doubts on a specific album on spotify, even in premium I'd bet it's only in 160kbps. The album is Paradise & Saints from Thee S.T.P

    neil74 likes this.
  12. neil74
    Yeah, I know that spotify is Vorbis, as I understand it vorbis is maybe slightly better than mp3 but not as good as AAC?
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