Tidal vs Apple Music

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Gumby

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Tidal vs Apple Music
« on: 3 Feb 2019, 05:58 pm »
I have a feeling I’m going to get some flac for this statement and question.   

I’ve been comparing Tidal Hi Fi to Apple Music.  It’s a close race so far.  There is a slight difference in sound character, but not in sound quality.   In fact, Apple sounds a little thicker.   I am surprised. 

Songs are played from an iPad connected to a Chord Mojo by USB.  My system is revealing and neutral. 

I am not married to any one music service.  I look forward to testing Quobuz when available in Canada   

Has anyone else noticed this?   You should try it if you haven’t. You’ll be surprised how good Apple Music sounds.  I was expecting Tidal to blow Apple out. 


Stu Pitt

Re: Tidal vs Apple Music
« Reply #1 on: 3 Feb 2019, 06:44 pm »
You’ve done your homework on it. Trust your own ears rather than letting someone else get in your head and telling you anything.

I haven’t done a side by side comparison. I don’t use either one, so I have no horse in this race. Make sure everything’s set up and working properly though. Speaker placement, stuff like that. Things like that will reveal if there’s any difference or not. It’s like an old friend of mine buying “better” interconnects and saying he didn’t hear a difference between the free ones and his $30 cables. Well, yeah... he’s got both speakers right up against the components cabinet like the stereo systems you’d buy in Montgomery Ward’s back in the 80’s. Nothing’s going to make a difference when nothing’s optimized. I’m not saying you’ve got anything going on to that extreme; it’s just an extreme example.

Gumby

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Re: Tidal vs Apple Music
« Reply #2 on: 3 Feb 2019, 07:46 pm »
Thanks STU

I notice the same results through Grado headphones, connected to the Bryston B60, or to the Chord Mojo. 

brucek

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Re: Tidal vs Apple Music
« Reply #3 on: 3 Feb 2019, 08:49 pm »
I’ve been comparing Tidal Hi Fi to Apple Music.  It’s a close race so far.  There is a slight difference in sound character, but not in sound quality.   In fact, Apple sounds a little thicker.   I am surprised. 
........
Has anyone else noticed this?   You should try it if you haven’t. You’ll be surprised how good Apple Music sounds.  I was expecting Tidal to blow Apple out.

Every time I read an article on a comparison of Tidal to Apple with respect to sound quality, Tidal always seems to come out ahead.
________________

"Apple Music vs Tidal: Audio Quality
The locally-saved Apple Music files are 256 kbps in AAC files, the same format and quality as tracks we purchased from iTunes. So unquestionably, Tidal is the winner in this round. The subscriber of Tidal HiFi at $19.99 per month has the access to lossless content which is not compressed and streams at CD quality (16bit, 44.1kHz FLAC files with a bitrate of 1411kbps). The standard $ 9.99 per month offers audio quality in 320kbps AAC audio, also much better than other streaming services.
Verdict: If you have good enough way or professional speakers to listen, Tidal HiFi at $19.99 per month is absolutely recommended and you can pay extra for the better CD-quality sound".
________________

I have no dog in the fight, and have slowly, over the years, switched to iTunes for my music. I use to buy CD's and rip them, but got so enamored with the convenience and massive library of iTunes, that I exclusively get all my music from them now. Perhaps my old ears have caught up to me, but interface convenience, library size, device portability, having my purchased music on file, have become much more important than that last few percent of audiophile quality (that were perhaps in my head anyway). Go figure. My Bryston system can resolve it, but I just don't care.

If the audio quality of Apple vs Tidal is a wash for you, why not stick to iTunes and just purchase for download the songs or albums you enjoy and forget about forking over a monthly stipend for streaming. Seems like a lot of money that will add up over time. With iTunes download, you have your music on file and you can take a break for months on end without any cost and enjoy the music you have.

brucek

geowak

Re: Tidal vs Apple Music
« Reply #4 on: 3 Feb 2019, 08:52 pm »
I can add this. I had not been too impressed when I first used Tidal. I had switched from Spotify and yeah it sounded better but not that much. I also was listening to CD playback and music through a NAS locally. It was not until I started listening to MQA albums (masters) through my Bluesound Node 2 MQA albums. Now that was a big jump. I have not heard Apple Music, but with Tidal adding MQA albums every day I will keep listening to them. Also running Tidal with my Node 2 through a Benchmark DAC sound very good on about 80% of the music I explore. I cannot imagine Apple Music sounding as good as Tidal MQA files when streaming music. Who knows? Maybe others will chime in??

Gumby

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Re: Tidal vs Apple Music
« Reply #5 on: 3 Feb 2019, 10:36 pm »
Thanks BruceK

Regarding buying music from iTunes instead of streaming from Apple Music.....I may end up doing just that.   It does make sense.  I enjoy the experience, convenience, and most of all the quality.   

My quest this past month has been about the decision of choosing One Source.   I llike the idea of owning music, which is why LPs and CDs have been in this decision as well. 

I was expecting CD and LP playback to kill the streaming choice.  But, you’re right, the small sound percentage loss in going with iTunes/Apple Music, is washed away when the benefits of iTunes/Apple Music is added. 

I can honestly say that I struggle to hear a difference between LP, CD, and Streaming.  Maybe if I had a $5000 turntable or CD player, I would feel differently.   But then again, maybe a $5000 Dac or Streamer would squash that statement.   

It’s so true that the way the industry goes on about the superiority of the resolution with Tidal Hi Fi, we are brainwashed to let them make the choice for us.  But no one talks about the differences in the way each online source Masters their catalogues.

The more I do in-home tests and comparisons, the more I see the need for all of us to follow our own guts and ears.  We need the brick and mortar dealers more than ever.  Let’s bring back the Hi-Fi heyday of the 80s, when shops were thriving.  But with well-informed people. 

Reviews are great for information and entertainment, but the wallet or purse should only be opened at our favourite in-person shop. 


Gumby

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Re: Tidal vs Apple Music
« Reply #6 on: 3 Feb 2019, 10:40 pm »
Thanks Geowalk

I’m glad you mentioned Bluesound.  My dealer recommends I give it a listen.  I will bring it home and try it out with both Tidal and Apple , including MQA.