test

So, in case you haven’t heard yet, there’s a new “hifi” streaming service called Tidal.

Don’t waste your time watching the weird press event with Madonna and Daft Punk, congratulating themselves like they’re at the Grammies. Don’t let yourself be mesmerized by the desaturated music video in which Jay Z’s friends all get together to drink champagne and talk about “making a stand.” Don’t worry about the European startup that made the tech, or sweat the pricing. Don’t even hand over your credit card in order to start a free trial.

No, the only thing you need to do is this:

1. Get your favorite pair of headphones or listening rig. (If you’re reading this site, I expect you have something decent.)

2. Go to http://test.tidalhifi.com/ and fire up the blind test.

Okay, optionally…

3. If you didn’t like the tracks they offered, you might also grab a friend. Sign up for two free trials – one with Hifi, one without. Open up different browser windows with the Hifi and non-Hifi accounts. Now, randomizing which is ‘a’ and which is ‘b’ (your friend will have to take notes).

There. You can even stop reading now if you want, because whatever conclusion you reach is the only one that matters.

And actually, if you really do prefer the higher quality in an A/B test and want to spend another ten bucks or ten Euros for it, great!

But if you want to go on…

Your BS meter should be going off just based on the text on the site. For instance, if you do correctly guess which is the more information-dense stream, you get a congratulatory message: “Five in five correct, fantastic! You have an ear for detail and a good audio system, it’s for people like you that we have created the service.” (Warning: you can successfully get 5 out of 5 at random – that’s just repeating a coin flip five times. So you might want to keep going.)

If you get them wrong, they cheekily ask if you’ve connected your equipment properly. More appropriate would be, if you continue to answer these five at a time and begin to near a random result of 50%, a message that concedes “Okay, great – so it turns out listening to stereo tracks with lossy compression produces an imperceptible difference and we should all really just relax!”

Here’s my take: if you’re struggling at all, even if you get the answers correct, you should really ask yourself whether this trouble is worth it. (As noted in comments, the track selection here isn’t really optimal, so you might want to try out #3 in my list above. But I’ve found similar research and tests with other content, too, at least when using 320 kbps AAC.)

Tidal isn’t just charging you more for the higher quality; you’re also consuming more bandwidth while using it. Buffering takes longer, even if you aren’t paying for that.

If Tidal’s claims are to be believed, in fact, you should be swept away by the results – think the Maxell man. (Illustration here. Also, note the copy. Remember, there was a time when we were having this argument about cassette tapes, which I think we can now all agree all sound universally terrible, if… entertainingly terrible. This argument is always framed by whomever is trying to sell a specific product.)

All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.

All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.

Don’t get me wrong: some streaming quality is pretty poor. Bandcamp, for instance, specifically limits the quality of streaming music. That makes sense – you’re trying to give a preview and compel your fans to buy the downloads. And SoundCloud is still poor enough that I’ve noticed lost fidelity in music, though I still rely on my music sounding good enough streaming there that I can earn bookings and so on. But if anything, what my “Hifi” experiments taught me was that 320 kbps AAC was what I should demand, because it sounds close enough to lossless as to make no difference. (For production, greater information density can be important – think time-stretching or processing applications. But those are instances when your machine is “listening” to the track, not your ears.)

I tried this test once, took a lunch break, came back and tried again. Totally different results. Mainly, it taught me that I mostly don't want to listen to this music, and The Killers are a victim of the Loudness Wars.

I tried this test once, took a lunch break, came back and tried again. Totally different results. Mainly, it taught me that I mostly don’t want to listen to this music, and The Killers are a prime example of the Loudness Wars.

I will say, wholeheartedly, even with the silly text:

Thank you, Tidal. A/B, blind tests should be our basic standard for any evaluation of sound, anywhere. (Bonus: my music is there, so I got a really good comparison.)

I would say you deserve some reward for this, except now I’ve read your test results. Basically, you encourage anyone who “passes” to believe that they’re doing something extraordinary. Then, you tell them to share their passing result on social media and that passing means you “deserve” a 14-day free trial. Except that trial is offered to all new signups. So… come on.

Update: you should actually take this test more than once. Tidal don’t rotate the tracks, which would give you a better sampling – we may need to stage some tests of our own. But actually, by not rotating the tracks, I was even more surprised at my results. Even taking breaks between listening, I couldn’t get consistent results, and this is listening through studio-quality DACs and headphones. I… really believe in 320kbps AAC now. Thank you, wonky mathematician people! Well done!

  • my privacy

    In 2000, I worked for a music software company, working on an iTunes-style rip/mix/burn application. We did comparisons of mp3 encoders using studio monitors and headphones. At 128kbps, you could tell differences, at 160kpbs was tough, at 192kbps you were down to a lucky guess and at 256kbps you couldn’t tell a difference if your life depended on it. Given our target audience, we limited our tests to pop music, I’ll give you that.

    15 years of R&D later, I would bet Daft Punk couldn’t even tell 320kbps AAC from master tapes if we played it to them in their own recording studio.

    • matt0815

      I totally agree – when I was a student, we made lots of A/B Tests in the university’s studio. Upwards from 192 kpbs it was a lucky guess.

      Today I made the Tidal test on my Adam A5X with a KRK 10″ Subwoofer hooked up to a RME Fireface. 2 out of 5…

      • preferred user

        Who mixes anthing ouside of gansta rap or dub step with a sub on much less only one sub and all the uneven room nodes that go with that .
        Whats more inprtant are your near fields and or midfields which sound decent as described or phones .

        OTOH phones are better for A/B or ABX testing
        actually sighted A/B testing is usually random at best or biased (ofc not always by intent ) at best and nothing more than that .

    • That’s interesting – and consistent with other similar research.

    • KID

      I had 192kpbs mp3s from the Goldie Lookin Chain album ´Greatest Hits´. I bought the CD and suddenly I recognised that the snare in one track sounded different from the mp3. I don´t want to say that the mp3s sounded bad, but there was a difference.

      • Ffejric

        MP3s are pretty old algorithms. Try AAC 256 and then have some one do an a/b between your compressed rip and the AAC. I would be shocked if you could hear an differences.

        • preferred user

          Generally 256 kbps vbr AAC is a litle more transoparent than 320kbps mp3 even at the higher fixed bit rate .

          • you like 1 turd over another? still both turds.
            go lossless and stop the madness!

      • adrianoconnor

        Could be a poor encoding – not all mp3 encoders were created equal. Lame’s very good now, especially for higher bit rates, but back in the day Fraunhoffer was the gold standard, and even that choked in plenty of cases. I suspect if you took your GLC CD now and ripped and encoded it in, say, iTunes, you’d struggle to tell the difference between the rip and the original.

        • Will

          Very much this ^. We generally talk about encoding as if nothing has changed in 15 years.

      • preferred user

        snare…….thats a good tell BTW (as sublte as a train wreck to a trained listener ) so is sibalance in vocals and high hat cybals and impact bass (like kick drums ) at ~ 100- 500 Hz and a lot of other things ☺

        The flaw in all these audio comparison tests is (known) comparative audio mamory only lasts maybe 2 at best 3 sec on a good day with a trained listener. .

        ofc click bait bloggers either don’t know this or convieniently omit that little *important fact* not to mention any test has to be *precisiojn level matched*on a good playback chain* and the sample source provinence identicle before any codec bit deph or sample rate /format changes are made to either one . even then resuklts can vary all over the board with casual listeners but a trained or othewise astute listener can usually spot the tells .

  • my privacy

    In 2000, I worked for a music software company, working on an iTunes-style rip/mix/burn application. We did comparisons of mp3 encoders using studio monitors and headphones. At 128kbps, you could tell differences, at 160kpbs was tough, at 192kbps you were down to a lucky guess and at 256kbps you couldn’t tell a difference if your life depended on it. Given our target audience, we limited our tests to pop music, I’ll give you that.

    15 years of R&D later, I would bet Daft Punk couldn’t even tell 320kbps AAC from master tapes if we played it to them in their own recording studio.

    • matt0815

      I totally agree – when I was a student, we made lots of A/B Tests in the university’s studio. Upwards from 192 kpbs it was a lucky guess.

      Today I made the Tidal test on my Adam A5X with a KRK 10″ Subwoofer hooked up to a RME Fireface. 2 out of 5…

      • preferred user

        Who mixes anthing ouside of gansta rap or dub step with a sub on much less only one sub and all the uneven room nodes that go with that .
        Whats more inprtant are your near fields and or midfields which sound decent as described or phones .

        OTOH phones are better for A/B or ABX testing
        actually sighted A/B testing is usually random at best or biased (ofc not always by intent ) at best and nothing more than that .

    • That’s interesting – and consistent with other similar research.

    • KID

      I had 192kpbs mp3s from the Goldie Lookin Chain album ´Greatest Hits´. I bought the CD and suddenly I recognised that the snare in one track sounded different from the mp3. I don´t want to say that the mp3s sounded bad, but there was a difference.

      • Ffejric

        MP3s are pretty old algorithms. Try AAC 256 and then have some one do an a/b between your compressed rip and the AAC. I would be shocked if you could hear an differences.

        • preferred user

          Generally 256 kbps vbr AAC is more transparent than 320kbps mp3 even at the higher fixed bit rate given the hobsons choice of lossey music I will take decent AAC over mp3 .

          • you like 1 turd over another? still both turds.
            go lossless and stop the madness!

      • adrianoconnor

        Could be a poor encoding – not all mp3 encoders were created equal. Lame’s very good now, especially for higher bit rates, but back in the day Fraunhoffer was the gold standard, and even that choked in plenty of cases. I suspect if you took your GLC CD now and ripped and encoded it in, say, iTunes, you’d struggle to tell the difference between the rip and the original.

        • Will

          Very much this ^. We generally talk about encoding as if nothing has changed in 15 years.

      • preferred user

        snare…….thats a good tell BTW (as sublte as a train wreck to a trained listener ) so is sibalance in vocals and high hat cybals and impact bass (like kick drums ) at ~ 100- 500 Hz and a lot of other things ☺

        The flaw in all these audio comparison tests is (known) comparative audio mamory only lasts maybe 2 at best 3 sec on a good day with a trained listener. .

        ofc click bait bloggers either don’t know this or convieniently omit that little *important fact* not to mention any test has to be *precisiojn level matched*on a good playback chain* and the sample source provinence identicle before any codec bit deph or sample rate /format changes are made to either one . even then resuklts can vary all over the board with casual listeners but a trained or othewise astute listener can usually spot the tells .

  • my privacy

    In 2000, I worked for a music software company, working on an iTunes-style rip/mix/burn application. We did comparisons of mp3 encoders using studio monitors and headphones. At 128kbps, you could tell differences, at 160kpbs was tough, at 192kbps you were down to a lucky guess and at 256kbps you couldn’t tell a difference if your life depended on it. Given our target audience, we limited our tests to pop music, I’ll give you that.

    15 years of R&D later, I would bet Daft Punk couldn’t even tell 320kbps AAC from master tapes if we played it to them in their own recording studio.

    • matt0815

      I totally agree – when I was a student, we made lots of A/B Tests in the university’s studio. Upwards from 192 kpbs it was a lucky guess.

      Today I made the Tidal test on my Adam A5X with a KRK 10″ Subwoofer hooked up to a RME Fireface. 2 out of 5…

      • preferred user

        Who mixes anthing ouside of gansta rap or dub step with a sub on much less only one sub and all the uneven room nodes that go with that .
        Whats more inprtant are your near fields and or midfields which sound decent as described or phones .

        OTOH phones are better for A/B or ABX testing
        actually sighted A/B testing is usually random at best or biased (ofc not always by intent ) at best and nothing more than that .

    • That’s interesting – and consistent with other similar research.

    • KID

      I had 192kpbs mp3s from the Goldie Lookin Chain album ´Greatest Hits´. I bought the CD and suddenly I recognised that the snare in one track sounded different from the mp3. I don´t want to say that the mp3s sounded bad, but there was a difference.

      • Ffejric

        MP3s are pretty old algorithms. Try AAC 256 and then have some one do an a/b between your compressed rip and the AAC. I would be shocked if you could hear an differences.

        • preferred user

          Generally 256 kbps vbr AAC is more transparent than 320kbps mp3 even at the higher fixed bit rate given the hobsons choice of lossey music I will take decent AAC over mp3 .

          • you like 1 turd over another? still both turds.
            go lossless and stop the madness!

      • adrianoconnor

        Could be a poor encoding – not all mp3 encoders were created equal. Lame’s very good now, especially for higher bit rates, but back in the day Fraunhoffer was the gold standard, and even that choked in plenty of cases. I suspect if you took your GLC CD now and ripped and encoded it in, say, iTunes, you’d struggle to tell the difference between the rip and the original.

        • Will

          Very much this ^. We generally talk about encoding as if nothing has changed in 15 years.

      • preferred user

        snare…….thats a good tell BTW (as sublte as a train wreck to a trained listener ) so is sibalance in vocals and high hat cybals and impact bass (like kick drums ) at ~ 100- 500 Hz and a lot of other things ☺

        The flaw in all these audio comparison tests is (known) comparative audio mamory only lasts maybe 2 at best 3 sec on a good day with a trained listener. .

        ofc click bait bloggers either don’t know this or convieniently omit that little *important fact* not to mention any test has to be *precisiojn level matched*on a good playback chain* and the sample source provinence identicle before any codec bit deph or sample rate /format changes are made to either one . even then resuklts can vary all over the board with casual listeners but a trained or othewise astute listener can usually spot the tells .

  • Kinetic Monkey

    Well put! I’d even argue that even if you can hear the difference in a double-blind hearing the same track twice, if you can’t tell the difference when played only one track you probably shouldn’t be worrying.

    And there will be people who will say “BUT I CAN HEAR AND DO CARE ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE!” and that’s great, but just remember; if you’re one of those people it doesn’t make you a better person or a more perceptive music fan, it probably just means that you didn’t trash your hearing at a load of early noughties metal gigs.

    • To those people, I’d say – take it again. 😉

      So far, out of a friends list of hundreds of people who are producers, I haven’t heard a single person getting consistent 5/5 results with even these tracks.

      • Kinetic Monkey

        I’d even suggest that the Tidal test may be skewed due to track selection, etc, seeing as they’re trying to sell us something. Mind blowing I know, but fairness has never been a strong point of sales techniques.

        • mercury

          If they really wanted to sell us something they would just give everyone 4s and 5s and make it easy – the fact that very few people can tell the difference suggests that the service itself is nonsense!

          • Kinetic Monkey

            They’d be slaughtered if they totally skewed it, but check out their track selection: things with a lot of headroom and defined high frequencies. Hotel California is going to be easier to get “right” (ugh! Even saying that higher fidelity is “right” is a sales pitch!) than sausage-limited EDM or hip-hop where every beat has been through a low pass filter on the MPC.

          • rick gregory

            Of course better fidelity is ‘right’. The entire purpose of audio reproduction is to give the listener as close as we can get to the live experience. There are obvious limits (room is a big one, no one is squeezing a band into an apartment), but surely the goal is to reproduce what you’d hear live.

            Of course, when it’s a heavily produced work with tracks recorded separately and assembled and then post-processed a ton the question of what ‘live’ means is silly. But for much classical and jazz and a lot of more acoustic work, it’s the standard. When I listen to Eva Cassidy live at Blues Alley I’m ideally listening to a recording that captured her performance perfectly and my reproduction perfectly reproduces what’s on the recording. The closer I get to that ideal, the better so, yes, higher fidelity is more ‘right’.

            This all presumes that someone listens with full attention with very good equipment. If music is a more casual pursuit and you have a Jambox or a some system off the shelves at Target then I doubt any subtle differences will matter even if they were noticeable.

            I guess I’m a little bemused and perhaps slightly alarmed that people feel the need to point at CD quality music as if it was some exotic high end pursuit, too. If you can stream CD quality losslessly why NOT do it? Maybe you hear the difference, maybe you don’t but aside from data cap issues on your broadband plan, why not forgo all the fuss about whether you should use AAC, MP3 etc and whether you should do it at 192, 256 or 320k? Stream lossless, be done with all that, enjoy the music.

        • If they tried to skew it, though, they failed. 🙂

          The marketing is clever: “hey, you got this wrong, check your cables, or take a break and relax, you poor soul. / Hey, you got this right. You’re brilliant. Treat yourself to giving us more money.”

          But the results tell a different story.

  • Kinetic Monkey

    Well put! I’d even argue that even if you can hear the difference in a double-blind hearing the same track twice, if you can’t tell the difference when played only one track you probably shouldn’t be worrying.

    And there will be people who will say “BUT I CAN HEAR AND DO CARE ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE!” and that’s great, but just remember; if you’re one of those people it doesn’t make you a better person or a more perceptive music fan, it probably just means that you didn’t trash your hearing at a load of early noughties metal gigs.

    • To those people, I’d say – take it again. 😉

      So far, out of a friends list of hundreds of people who are producers, I haven’t heard a single person getting consistent 5/5 results with even these tracks.

      • Kinetic Monkey

        I’d even suggest that the Tidal test may be skewed due to track selection, etc, seeing as they’re trying to sell us something. Mind blowing I know, but fairness has never been a strong point of sales techniques.

        • mercury

          If they really wanted to sell us something they would just give everyone 4s and 5s and make it easy – the fact that very few people can tell the difference suggests that the service itself is nonsense!

          • Kinetic Monkey

            They’d be slaughtered if they totally skewed it, but check out their track selection: things with a lot of headroom and defined high frequencies. Hotel California is going to be easier to get “right” (ugh! Even saying that higher fidelity is “right” is a sales pitch!) than sausage-limited EDM or hip-hop where every beat has been through a low pass filter on the MPC.

          • rick gregory

            Of course better fidelity is ‘right’. The entire purpose of audio reproduction is to give the listener as close as we can get to the live experience. There are obvious limits (room is a big one, no one is squeezing a band into an apartment), but surely the goal is to reproduce what you’d hear live.

            Of course, when it’s a heavily produced work with tracks recorded separately and assembled and then post-processed a ton the question of what ‘live’ means is silly. But for much classical and jazz and a lot of more acoustic work, it’s the standard. When I listen to Eva Cassidy live at Blues Alley I’m ideally listening to a recording that captured her performance perfectly and my reproduction perfectly reproduces what’s on the recording. The closer I get to that ideal, the better so, yes, higher fidelity is more ‘right’.

            This all presumes that someone listens with full attention with very good equipment. If music is a more casual pursuit and you have a Jambox or a some system off the shelves at Target then I doubt any subtle differences will matter even if they were noticeable.

            I guess I’m a little bemused and perhaps slightly alarmed that people feel the need to point at CD quality music as if it was some exotic high end pursuit, too. If you can stream CD quality losslessly why NOT do it? Maybe you hear the difference, maybe you don’t but aside from data cap issues on your broadband plan, why not forgo all the fuss about whether you should use AAC, MP3 etc and whether you should do it at 192, 256 or 320k? Stream lossless, be done with all that, enjoy the music.

        • If they tried to skew it, though, they failed. 🙂

          The marketing is clever: “hey, you got this wrong, check your cables, or take a break and relax, you poor soul. / Hey, you got this right. You’re brilliant. Treat yourself to giving us more money.”

          But the results tell a different story.

  • Well put! I’d even argue that even if you can hear the difference in a double-blind hearing the same track twice, if you can’t tell the difference when played only one track you probably shouldn’t be worrying.

    And there will be people who will say “BUT I CAN HEAR AND DO CARE ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE!” and that’s great, but just remember; if you’re one of those people it doesn’t make you a better person or a more perceptive music fan, it probably just means that you didn’t trash your hearing at a load of early noughties metal gigs.

    • To those people, I’d say – take it again. 😉

      So far, out of a friends list of hundreds of people who are producers, I haven’t heard a single person getting consistent 5/5 results with even these tracks.

      • I’d even suggest that the Tidal test may be skewed due to track selection, etc, seeing as they’re trying to sell us something. Mind blowing I know, but fairness has never been a strong point of sales techniques.

        • mercury

          If they really wanted to sell us something they would just give everyone 4s and 5s and make it easy – the fact that very few people can tell the difference suggests that the service itself is nonsense!

          • They’d be slaughtered if they totally skewed it, but check out their track selection: things with a lot of headroom and defined high frequencies. Hotel California is going to be easier to get “right” (ugh! Even saying that higher fidelity is “right” is a sales pitch!) than sausage-limited EDM or hip-hop where every beat has been through a low pass filter on the MPC.

          • rick gregory

            Of course better fidelity is ‘right’. The entire purpose of audio reproduction is to give the listener as close as we can get to the live experience. There are obvious limits (room is a big one, no one is squeezing a band into an apartment), but surely the goal is to reproduce what you’d hear live.

            Of course, when it’s a heavily produced work with tracks recorded separately and assembled and then post-processed a ton the question of what ‘live’ means is silly. But for much classical and jazz and a lot of more acoustic work, it’s the standard. When I listen to Eva Cassidy live at Blues Alley I’m ideally listening to a recording that captured her performance perfectly and my reproduction perfectly reproduces what’s on the recording. The closer I get to that ideal, the better so, yes, higher fidelity is more ‘right’.

            This all presumes that someone listens with full attention with very good equipment. If music is a more casual pursuit and you have a Jambox or a some system off the shelves at Target then I doubt any subtle differences will matter even if they were noticeable.

            I guess I’m a little bemused and perhaps slightly alarmed that people feel the need to point at CD quality music as if it was some exotic high end pursuit, too. If you can stream CD quality losslessly why NOT do it? Maybe you hear the difference, maybe you don’t but aside from data cap issues on your broadband plan, why not forgo all the fuss about whether you should use AAC, MP3 etc and whether you should do it at 192, 256 or 320k? Stream lossless, be done with all that, enjoy the music.

        • If they tried to skew it, though, they failed. 🙂

          The marketing is clever: “hey, you got this wrong, check your cables, or take a break and relax, you poor soul. / Hey, you got this right. You’re brilliant. Treat yourself to giving us more money.”

          But the results tell a different story.

  • warp_core_engineer

    I don’t think we really can thank Tidal for A/B test. For this to be a real test, I believe, we should have questions where the two files identical and you have the extra option of “same file” to calibrate what people can actually hear.

    • Yeah, absolutely. Though this test is already *fairly* compelling…

  • warp_core_engineer

    I don’t think we really can thank Tidal for the A/B test. For this to be a real test, I believe, we should have questions where the two files identical and you have the extra option of “same file” to calibrate what people can actually hear.

    • Yeah, absolutely. Though this test is already *fairly* compelling…

  • warp_core_engineer

    I don’t think we really can thank Tidal for the A/B test. For this to be a real test, I believe, we should have questions where the two files identical and you have the extra option of “same file” to calibrate what people can actually hear.

    • Yeah, absolutely. Though this test is already *fairly* compelling…

  • andruss

    i have apollo audio interface and
    sennheiser hd600 headphones and it was 50/50 guess almost. i could’ve
    sweared that i heard the difference sometimes though and i was so
    certain every time that i heard the difference in james blake and daft
    punk (and i answered them correctly several times in a row) until i had a
    total 100% opposite result. then i just closed the window…

    there is technically a huge difference. just listen to the “compression ghost” of 320kbps sinewave chords in example 5:
    http://theghostinthemp3.com/theghostinthemp3.html

    chris
    montgomery of xiph.org wrote that
    there were times in mp3 conversion when he could hear the difference in
    different encoders (i guess it was before LAME or something?). but what
    has really been the advance in compression? does the year 2015 320kbps mp3
    sound different from the one encoded 10-15 years ago (obviously if the encoder is somehow “up to date”)?

    • Two points:

      1. There’s a big difference between 320kbps MP3 and 320kbps AAC, so you can’t refer to those interchangeably.

      2. I think the “compression ghost” evidence is misleading. The only thing that matters here is what you experienced with your test. You don’t ever *listen* to the compression ghost – that’s sort of the whole point of this data compression technique.

      And, heck yes, you could identify different MP3 encoders by hearing … they worked *really* poorly. AAC today is another matter. It works really well, as everyone is finding out as they take Tidal’s test. Tidal has unintentionally made an advertisement for 320kpbs AAC and for *not* paying extra for their HD service, all presumably under the impression we wouldn’t know any better.

      • andruss

        thanks for the clarification! didn’t realize there was a big difference between AAC and MP3.

        about the second point tho, i didnt try to make the point that the represented “ghost” is audible… or more the lacking of it, should’ve clarified. i realize that saying “this is what you’re missing” is very very misleading. i kinda understand the concept of how compression takes advantage of our hearing’s disadvantage (frequency and temporal masking etc). but i never realized that it can be represented in such an obviously audible manner.

        but i guess this sort of unintentionally works for the pseudo audiophile camp. and i can’t say that i didn’t want to hear the difference! hehe.. so your point about what you hear being important – still the truth.

      • guyz x guyz

        Seriously.
        A few years back I redeemed a free song from iTunes and took a listen. I think it was some jazz piece – completely blew me away.

        I could not believe what I was hearing, thinking to myself, “This thing was 6mb… what in the world?”

        Turns out it was a 256kbs AAC file. I really could not believe it. I still have everything as 44.1k AIFF files, because I am a paranoid masochist, but it really was truly unnerving the amount of detail and lack of artifacts I heard compared to an MP3 decode/encode.

        • Sigivald

          Note also that modern MP3 encoders are about as good, though a trifle larger in their output.

          The thing is not “AAC is way better at clean output than MP3”, so much as “AAC can do equally clean output a little smaller and without the same patent issues”.

          (Too many of us confuse “MP3” the format with “the horrible output of a circa 2001 encoder at 128k”…)

  • andruss

    i have apollo audio interface and
    sennheiser hd600 headphones and it was 50/50 guess almost. i could’ve
    sweared that i heard the difference sometimes though and i was so
    certain every time that i heard the difference in james blake and daft
    punk (and i answered them correctly several times in a row) until i had a
    total 100% opposite result. then i just closed the window…

    there is technically a huge difference. just listen to the “compression ghost” of 320kbps sinewave chords in example 5:
    http://theghostinthemp3.com/theghostinthemp3.html

    chris
    montgomery of xiph.org wrote that
    there were times in mp3 conversion when he could identify different mp3 encoders by hearing (i guess it was before LAME or something?). but what
    has really been the advance in compression? does the year 2015 320kbps mp3
    sound different from the one encoded 10-15 years ago (obviously if the encoder is somehow “up to date”)?

    • Two points:

      1. There’s a big difference between 320kbps MP3 and 320kbps AAC, so you can’t refer to those interchangeably.

      2. I think the “compression ghost” evidence is misleading. The only thing that matters here is what you experienced with your test. You don’t ever *listen* to the compression ghost – that’s sort of the whole point of this data compression technique.

      And, heck yes, you could identify different MP3 encoders by hearing … they worked *really* poorly. AAC today is another matter. It works really well, as everyone is finding out as they take Tidal’s test. Tidal has unintentionally made an advertisement for 320kpbs AAC and for *not* paying extra for their HD service, all presumably under the impression we wouldn’t know any better.

      • andruss

        thanks for the clarification! didn’t realize there was a big difference between AAC and MP3.

        about the second point tho, i didnt try to make the point that the represented “ghost” is audible… or more the lacking of it, should’ve clarified. i realize that saying “this is what you’re missing” is very very misleading. i kinda understand the concept of how compression takes advantage of our hearing’s disadvantage (frequency and temporal masking etc). but i never realized that it can be represented in such an obviously audible manner.

        but i guess this sort of unintentionally works for the pseudo audiophile camp. and i can’t say that i didn’t want to hear the difference! hehe.. so your point about what you hear being important – still the truth.

      • guyz x guyz

        Seriously.
        A few years back I redeemed a free song from iTunes and took a listen. I think it was some jazz piece – completely blew me away.

        I could not believe what I was hearing, thinking to myself, “This thing was 6mb… what in the world?”

        Turns out it was a 256kbs AAC file. I really could not believe it. I still have everything as 44.1k AIFF files, because I am a paranoid masochist, but it really was truly unnerving the amount of detail and lack of artifacts I heard compared to an MP3 decode/encode.

        • Sigivald

          Note also that modern MP3 encoders are about as good, though a trifle larger in their output.

          The thing is not “AAC is way better at clean output than MP3”, so much as “AAC can do equally clean output a little smaller and without the same patent issues”.

          (Too many of us confuse “MP3” the format with “the horrible output of a circa 2001 encoder at 128k”…)

  • andruss

    i have apollo audio interface and
    sennheiser hd600 headphones and it was 50/50 guess almost. i could’ve
    sweared that i heard the difference sometimes though and i was so
    certain every time that i heard the difference in james blake and daft
    punk (and i answered them correctly several times in a row) until i had a
    total 100% opposite result. then i just closed the window…

    there is technically a huge difference. just listen to the “compression ghost” of 320kbps sinewave chords in example 5:
    http://theghostinthemp3.com/theghostinthemp3.html

    chris
    montgomery of xiph.org wrote that
    there were times in mp3 conversion when he could identify different mp3 encoders by hearing (i guess it was before LAME or something?). but what
    has really been the advance in compression? does the year 2015 320kbps mp3
    sound different from the one encoded 10-15 years ago (obviously if the encoder is somehow “up to date”)?

    • Two points:

      1. There’s a big difference between 320kbps MP3 and 320kbps AAC, so you can’t refer to those interchangeably.

      2. I think the “compression ghost” evidence is misleading. The only thing that matters here is what you experienced with your test. You don’t ever *listen* to the compression ghost – that’s sort of the whole point of this data compression technique.

      And, heck yes, you could identify different MP3 encoders by hearing … they worked *really* poorly. AAC today is another matter. It works really well, as everyone is finding out as they take Tidal’s test. Tidal has unintentionally made an advertisement for 320kpbs AAC and for *not* paying extra for their HD service, all presumably under the impression we wouldn’t know any better.

      • andruss

        thanks for the clarification! didn’t realize there was a big difference between AAC and MP3.

        about the second point tho, i didnt try to make the point that the represented “ghost” is audible… or more the lacking of it, should’ve clarified. i realize that saying “this is what you’re missing” is very very misleading. i kinda understand the concept of how compression takes advantage of our hearing’s disadvantage (frequency and temporal masking etc). but i never realized that it can be represented in such an obviously audible manner.

        but i guess this sort of unintentionally works for the pseudo audiophile camp. and i can’t say that i didn’t want to hear the difference! hehe.. so your point about what you hear being important – still the truth.

      • guyz x guyz

        Seriously.
        A few years back I redeemed a free song from iTunes and took a listen. I think it was some jazz piece – completely blew me away.

        I could not believe what I was hearing, thinking to myself, “This thing was 6mb… what in the world?”

        Turns out it was a 256kbs AAC file. I really could not believe it. I still have everything as 44.1k AIFF files, because I am a paranoid masochist, but it really was truly unnerving the amount of detail and lack of artifacts I heard compared to an MP3 decode/encode.

        • Sigivald

          Note also that modern MP3 encoders are about as good, though a trifle larger in their output.

          The thing is not “AAC is way better at clean output than MP3”, so much as “AAC can do equally clean output a little smaller and without the same patent issues”.

          (Too many of us confuse “MP3” the format with “the horrible output of a circa 2001 encoder at 128k”…)

  • Peter

    I refuse to take the test because they omitted my go to reference track THE MEATMEN’s WAR OF THE SUPERBIKES https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rj4bbAMzFJ4

    • DoctorFedora

      What’s incredible is that I kept trying to write THE MEATMEN’S WAR OF THE SUPERBIKES in not all-caps, and every time, I came to on the floor only to discover that the text was now all caps, and that my computer had been flung across the room

      • Peter

        just be careful because any MEATMEN related damages arent covered by applecare.

  • Peter

    I refuse to take the test because they omitted my go to reference track THE MEATMEN’s WAR OF THE SUPERBIKES https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rj4bbAMzFJ4

  • Peter

    I refuse to take the test because they omitted my go to reference track THE MEATMEN’s WAR OF THE SUPERBIKES https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rj4bbAMzFJ4

  • cooptrol

    I think the problem of data loss in audio is not wether you can tell the difference, it’s the post-processing. If you do A/B comparisons untouched maybe you can’t tell the diference at 192 or higher, but almost all phones and mp3 players have EQ and all sorts of signal processing, and that’s where the problem starts. On another subject… how long/easy will it be for digital distributors to include this new service in their dealers list?

    • Kinetic Monkey

      And, how long/easy will it be for iTunes and Spotify to roll this out? The big labels obviously already have put in the footwork in supplying these files to Tidal.

  • cooptrol

    I think the problem of data loss in audio is not wether you can tell the difference, it’s the post-processing. If you do A/B comparisons untouched maybe you can’t tell the diference at 192 or higher, but almost all phones and mp3 players have EQ and all sorts of signal processing, and that’s where the problem starts. On another subject… how long/easy will it be for digital distributors to include this new service in their dealers list?

    • Kinetic Monkey

      And, how long/easy will it be for iTunes and Spotify to roll this out? The big labels obviously already have put in the footwork in supplying these files to Tidal.

  • cooptrol

    I think the problem of data loss in audio is not wether you can tell the difference, it’s the post-processing. If you do A/B comparisons untouched maybe you can’t tell the diference at 192 or higher, but almost all phones and mp3 players have EQ and all sorts of signal processing, and that’s where the problem starts. On another subject… how long/easy will it be for digital distributors to include this new service in their dealers list?

    • And, how long/easy will it be for iTunes and Spotify to roll this out? The big labels obviously already have put in the footwork in supplying these files to Tidal.

  • robcee

    You’re not going to notice a difference listening to the same pop song mastered for iTunes (or in many cases CD) played back at 320kbps vs. lossless. They’re normalized and compressed to deliver the maximum detail available for those formats.

    I defy anyone to guess if the tune by The Killers is lossless or compressed, it has so much production muddling it to begin with.

    If their A/B test is only getting 50/50 results, I think their source material is pretty suspect. Or maybe AAC320 is really just that good. Either way, it’s a funny way to sell their service since the consensus here seems to be that these sound effectively equal and the listeners here are going to be pretty discerning, I think.

    I got 3/5 but honestly, I had to struggle on my Adam monitors through an RME Fireface. Listening to audio from HDTracks I can notice a much bigger difference on some recordings. (Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot at 96KHz is mind-blowing, for example)

    Thanks for this article.

    • Sigivald

      “Or maybe AAC320 is really just that good”

      It is.

      So’s v0 MP3, or 320k MP3 made in the past decade or so.

      (Or even lower rates, honestly.)

  • robcee

    You’re not going to notice a difference listening to the same pop song mastered for iTunes (or in many cases CD) played back at 320kbps vs. lossless. They’re normalized and compressed to deliver the maximum detail available for those formats.

    I defy anyone to guess if the tune by The Killers is lossless or compressed, it has so much production muddling it to begin with.

    If their A/B test is only getting 50/50 results, I think their source material is pretty suspect. Or maybe AAC320 is really just that good. Either way, it’s a funny way to sell their service since the consensus here seems to be that these sound effectively equal and the listeners here are going to be pretty discerning, I think.

    I got 3/5 but honestly, I had to struggle on my Adam monitors through an RME Fireface. Listening to audio from HDTracks I can notice a much bigger difference on some recordings. (Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot at 96KHz is mind-blowing, for example)

    Thanks for this article.

    • Sigivald

      “Or maybe AAC320 is really just that good”

      It is.

      So’s v0 MP3, or 320k MP3 made in the past decade or so.

      (Or even lower rates, honestly.)

  • robcee

    You’re not going to notice a difference listening to the same pop song mastered for iTunes (or in many cases CD) played back at 320kbps vs. lossless. They’re normalized and compressed to deliver the maximum detail available for those formats.

    I defy anyone to guess if the tune by The Killers is lossless or compressed, it has so much production muddling it to begin with.

    If their A/B test is only getting 50/50 results, I think their source material is pretty suspect. Or maybe AAC320 is really just that good. Either way, it’s a funny way to sell their service since the consensus here seems to be that these sound effectively equal and the listeners here are going to be pretty discerning, I think.

    I got 3/5 but honestly, I had to struggle on my Adam monitors through an RME Fireface. Listening to audio from HDTracks I can notice a much bigger difference on some recordings. (Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot at 96KHz is mind-blowing, for example)

    Thanks for this article.

    • Sigivald

      “Or maybe AAC320 is really just that good”

      It is.

      So’s v0 MP3, or 320k MP3 made in the past decade or so.

      (Or even lower rates, honestly.)

  • Calvin

    I got 4 of 5 correct, the only song incorrect was Daft Punk. That was impossible to tell – I’m not sure what that says about that music. ALAC, AAC, and iTunes Match is plenty good enough for me, thanks.

    For folks who aren’t sure whether 320 kbps AAC is enough, go play around with AURoundTripAAC.component, and really listen with the proper tools. Put an analyzer up after it too.

  • Calvin

    I got 4 of 5 correct, the only song incorrect was Daft Punk. That was impossible to tell – I’m not sure what that says about that music. ALAC, AAC, and iTunes Match is plenty good enough for me, thanks.

    For folks who aren’t sure whether 320 kbps AAC is enough, go play around with AURoundTripAAC.component, and really listen with the proper tools. Put an analyzer up after it too.

  • Calvin

    I got 4 of 5 correct, the only song incorrect was Daft Punk. That was impossible to tell – I’m not sure what that says about that music. ALAC, AAC, and iTunes Match is plenty good enough for me, thanks.

    For folks who aren’t sure whether 320 kbps AAC is enough, go play around with AURoundTripAAC.component, and really listen with the proper tools. Put an analyzer up after it too.

  • this wasn’t smart of Tidal. the music they’ve choosen is processed music and mostly unnatural sounding. and compressed. I think that for 99,99 of the users won’t hear any difference. and won’t bother. I don’t bother as well. bandwidth on smartphones is still a thing to consider.

  • this wasn’t smart of Tidal. the music they’ve choosen is processed music and mostly unnatural sounding. and compressed. I think that for 99,99 of the users won’t hear any difference. and won’t bother. I don’t bother as well. bandwidth on smartphones is still a thing to consider.

  • this wasn’t smart of Tidal. the music they’ve choosen is processed music and mostly unnatural sounding. and compressed. I think that for 99,99 of the users won’t hear any difference. and won’t bother. I don’t bother as well. bandwidth on smartphones is still a thing to consider.

  • Just hd-25 with a macbook pro here, but I’m convinced. No more mp3..but AAC 🙂
    After an initial 4 of 5 that pumped up my ego I got contrasting results. I will try the test later drunk, that might help!
    Also I think we can all agree that the killers track has been mixed and mastered to be listened on smartphone speakers….

  • Just hd-25 with a macbook pro here, but I’m convinced. No more mp3..but AAC 🙂
    After an initial 4 of 5 that pumped up my ego I got contrasting results. I will try the test later drunk, that might help!
    Also I think we can all agree that the killers track has been mixed and mastered to be listened on smartphone speakers….

  • Yanakyl

    Just hd-25 with a macbook pro here, but I’m convinced. No more mp3..but AAC 🙂
    After an initial 4 of 5 that pumped up my ego I got contrasting results. I will try the test later drunk, that might help!
    Also I think we can all agree that the killers track has been mixed and mastered to be listened on smartphone speakers….

  • wilhelmreuch

    Listening tests are very difficult to do right and it is easy to be fooled by flaws in even very good playback equipment – a more inaccurate rendering may sound better because it is less demanding and so on. With good equipment anyone hears the difference between 320kbps compressed and 44/16. MP3/AAC was optimized only for typical pop music (or schlagers in the case of MP3) – any kind of complex music will not work at all.

    • Sigivald

      With good equipment anyone hears the difference between 320kbps compressed and 44/16.

      Really? Anyone?

      Because I’ve seen a number of audiophiles who claim to have “good” equipment that also claimed they couldn’t.

      Which is consistent with the very theory of audio compression and human hearing, let alone the tricky psychoacoustic stuff, and your claim contradicts all the claims of extensive AB tests above.

      What equipment counts as “good”, for these purposes?

      (“Complex” music being … what?)

  • wilhelmreuch

    Listening tests are very difficult to do right and it is easy to be fooled by flaws in even very good playback equipment – a more inaccurate rendering may sound better because it is less demanding and so on. With good equipment anyone hears the difference between 320kbps compressed and 44/16. MP3/AAC was optimized only for typical pop music (or schlagers in the case of MP3) – any kind of complex music will not work at all.

    • Sigivald

      With good equipment anyone hears the difference between 320kbps compressed and 44/16.

      Really? Anyone?

      Because I’ve seen a number of audiophiles who claim to have “good” equipment that also claimed they couldn’t.

      Which is consistent with the very theory of audio compression and human hearing, let alone the tricky psychoacoustic stuff, and your claim contradicts all the claims of extensive AB tests above.

      What equipment counts as “good”, for these purposes?

      (“Complex” music being … what?)

  • wilhelmreuch

    Listening tests are very difficult to do right and it is easy to be fooled by flaws in even very good playback equipment – a more inaccurate rendering may sound better because it is less demanding and so on. With good equipment anyone hears the difference between 320kbps compressed and 44/16. MP3/AAC was optimized only for typical pop music (or schlagers in the case of MP3) – any kind of complex music will not work at all.

    • Sigivald

      With good equipment anyone hears the difference between 320kbps compressed and 44/16.

      Really? Anyone?

      Because I’ve seen a number of audiophiles who claim to have “good” equipment that also claimed they couldn’t.

      Which is consistent with the very theory of audio compression and human hearing, let alone the tricky psychoacoustic stuff, and your claim contradicts all the claims of extensive AB tests above.

      What equipment counts as “good”, for these purposes?

      (“Complex” music being … what?)

  • Tom

    I once was part of a discussion where Andre Heller talked with technicians about the sound system in the then being built “Wintergarten” in Berlin. After one of the techies had been going on for ten minutes about how this and that needed to be compensated and delayed and whatnot to get the perfect quality everywhere, Andre Heller interrupted and said something like: “When I was a kid, I listened to the radio. It was Mono. It was magic.”
    😉

  • Tom

    I once was part of a discussion where Andre Heller talked with technicians about the sound system in the then being built “Wintergarten” in Berlin. After one of the techies had been going on for ten minutes about how this and that needed to be compensated and delayed and whatnot to get the perfect quality everywhere, Andre Heller interrupted and said something like: “When I was a kid, I listened to the radio. It was Mono. It was magic.”
    😉

  • Tom

    I once was part of a discussion where Andre Heller talked with technicians about the sound system in the then being built “Wintergarten” in Berlin. After one of the techies had been going on for ten minutes about how this and that needed to be compensated and delayed and whatnot to get the perfect quality everywhere, Andre Heller interrupted and said something like: “When I was a kid, I listened to the radio. It was Mono. It was magic.”
    😉

  • Thomas Piper

    Most People can’t tell. I think also most people don’t care, 192 is good for most people, digital is about convenience.

  • Thomas Piper

    Most People can’t tell. I think also most people don’t care, 192 is good for most people, digital is about convenience.

  • Thomas Piper

    Most People can’t tell. I think also most people don’t care, 192 is good for most people, digital is about convenience.

  • Trefalg

    Any word on how well they compensate artists, or is it the same story? I would sign up for a new streaming service in heartbeat that distributed royalties more equitably.

    • None. They promise they’ll do… better.

      The issue is really overall revenue, however – the service has to be a success before any percentage is meaningful anyway.

  • Trefalg

    Any word on how well they compensate artists, or is it the same story? I would sign up for a new streaming service in heartbeat that distributed royalties more equitably.

    • None. They promise they’ll do… better.

      The issue is really overall revenue, however – the service has to be a success before any percentage is meaningful anyway.

  • Trefalg

    Any word on how well they compensate artists, or is it the same story? I would sign up for a new streaming service in heartbeat that distributed royalties more equitably.

    • None. They promise they’ll do… better.

      The issue is really overall revenue, however – the service has to be a success before any percentage is meaningful anyway.

  • Sigivald

    Kudos on them for not rigging the test, at least, which is what I was afraid of.

  • Sigivald

    Kudos on them for not rigging the test, at least, which is what I was afraid of.

  • Sigivald

    Kudos on them for not rigging the test, at least, which is what I was afraid of.

  • Charles

    On my Naim Unitiqute I certainly hear the difference between 16/44,1 and 24/196 audio.
    But the difference is nihil on my computer.

  • Charles

    On my Naim Unitiqute I certainly hear the difference between 16/44,1 and 24/196 audio.
    But the difference is nihil on my computer.

  • Charles

    On my Naim Unitiqute I certainly hear the difference between 16/44,1 and 24/196 audio.
    But the difference is nihil on my computer.

  • A lot of these tracks, the problem is the source themselves. I’m a post production audio engineer by day job – I’d like to think I notice when my clients use MP3s pretty quickly…usually low quality mp3s though. I’m going to do this test again at the studio in the morning, but this time I did it at home. The killers was the best example! The cymbals and high end had this phasey washy sound that I have historically associated with bad mp3 compression or bad over compression of the medium itself. I listened to A, heard it right away…switched to B, it was all still there.

    When the source is just eh sound quality wise, or mastered specifically for these lower quality formats, you’re never going to hear the difference. I want to hear a test with an orchestra, or a really hi fidelity recorded blue grass band, etc….then maybe the differences will shine. Most of the music they played wasn’t even recorded well enough for the small differences to show through. My 2 cents…

    • preferred user

      I have many examples of better than CD some are good classical CD music , mp3 ,AAC replaced with 24/41 studio master hdd replications (* same release ) of impecible provenence.

      On a case by case I’ve replaced many of my CD rips and needle drops origionaly taped by the labels with 24/41 that bypassed the uniform loudness or any CD /mp** mix altogether and the difference is about as obvious as a train wreck on a good recording .

      OTOH nothing can fix a bad recording/mix and those are best left as they are IMO ☻

      TBH I think we have all tried at one time or another to fix a bad CD in our studios hoping for VST emulator plug in and or upsamling miracles that never hapened or no ?

      FWIW I’m more of an objectionist than a (that’s sudenly remarkable ephiphany ) audiophool and I belive *decent 16/44* is fine outside of a good recording *only availiable in hires .

    • preferred user

      Exactly it all starts with a good recording /mix without that it’s just *not that good * no matter what you do especially by the time it hits 16 bits or even worse mp3 .

  • A lot of these tracks, the problem is the source themselves. I’m a post production audio engineer by day job – I’d like to think I notice when my clients use MP3s pretty quickly…usually low quality mp3s though. I’m going to do this test again at the studio in the morning, but this time I did it at home. The killers was the best example! The cymbals and high end had this phasey washy sound that I have historically associated with bad mp3 compression or bad over compression of the medium itself. I listened to A, heard it right away…switched to B, it was all still there.

    When the source is just eh sound quality wise, or mastered specifically for these lower quality formats, you’re never going to hear the difference. I want to hear a test with an orchestra, or a really hi fidelity recorded blue grass band, etc….then maybe the differences will shine. Most of the music they played wasn’t even recorded well enough for the small differences to show through. My 2 cents…

    • preferred user

      I have many examples of better than CD some are good classical CD music , mp3 ,AAC replaced with 24/41 studio master hdd replications (* same release ) of impecible provenence.

      ofc as you know it all starts with a good recording U can’t get blood out of a turnip ☻

      On a case by case I’ve replaced many of my CD rips and needle drops origionaly taped by the labels with 24/41 that bypassed the uniform loudness or any CD /mp** mix altogether and the difference is about as obvious as a train wreck on a good recording .

      OTOH at and above 16/44 I belive ^^^ that has more to do with the recording/mix quality and lack of uniform loudness CD/mp** mix provenence . Your thoughts ?

      OTOH nothing can fix a bad recording/mix and those are best left as they are IMO ☻

      TBH I think we have all tried at one time or another to fix a bad CD in our studios hoping for VST emulator plug in and or upsamling miracles that never hapened or no ?

      FWIW I’m more of an objectionist than a (that’s sudenly remarkable ephiphany ) audiophool and I belive *decent 16/44* is fine outside of a good recording *only availiable in hires .

    • preferred user

      Exactly it all starts with a good recording /mix without that it’s just *not that good * no matter what you do especially by the time it hits 16 bits or even worse mp3 .

  • A lot of these tracks, the problem is the source themselves. I’m a post production audio engineer by day job – I’d like to think I notice when my clients use MP3s pretty quickly…usually low quality mp3s though. I’m going to do this test again at the studio in the morning, but this time I did it at home. The killers was the best example! The cymbals and high end had this phasey washy sound that I have historically associated with bad mp3 compression or bad over compression of the medium itself. I listened to A, heard it right away…switched to B, it was all still there.

    When the source is just eh sound quality wise, or mastered specifically for these lower quality formats, you’re never going to hear the difference. I want to hear a test with an orchestra, or a really hi fidelity recorded blue grass band, etc….then maybe the differences will shine. Most of the music they played wasn’t even recorded well enough for the small differences to show through. My 2 cents…

    • preferred user

      I have many examples of better than CD some are good classical CD music , mp3 ,AAC replaced with 24/41 studio master hdd replications (* same release ) of impecible provenence.

      ofc as you know it all starts with a good recording U can’t get blood out of a turnip ☻

      On a case by case I’ve replaced many of my CD rips and needle drops origionaly taped by the labels with 24/41 that bypassed the uniform loudness or any CD /mp** mix altogether and the difference is about as obvious as a train wreck on a good recording .

      OTOH at and above 16/44 I belive ^^^ that has more to do with the recording/mix quality and lack of uniform loudness CD/mp** mix provenence . Your thoughts ?

      OTOH nothing can fix a bad recording/mix and those are best left as they are IMO ☻

      TBH I think we have all tried at one time or another to fix a bad CD in our studios hoping for VST emulator plug in and or upsamling miracles that never hapened or no ?

      FWIW I’m more of an objectionist than a (that’s sudenly remarkable ephiphany ) audiophool and I belive *decent 16/44* is fine outside of a good recording *only availiable in hires .

    • preferred user

      Exactly it all starts with a good recording /mix without that it’s just *not that good * no matter what you do especially by the time it hits 16 bits or even worse mp3 .

  • HowmaNoid

    The Maxell Man was Pete Murphy, yeah THAT Pete Murphy.

    • Daniel McKittrick Ramirez

      Dang. I was hoping you said Alex Murphy.

      • Dead or alive you’re coming with me

      • Mickey Thompson

        Your move, creep.

  • HowmaNoid

    The Maxell Man was Pete Murphy, yeah THAT Pete Murphy.

    • Daniel McKittrick Ramirez

      Dang. I was hoping you said Alex Murphy.

      • Dead or alive you’re coming with me

      • John Q. Commenter

        Your move, creep.

  • HowmaNoid

    The Maxell Man was Pete Murphy, yeah THAT Pete Murphy.

    • Daniel McKittrick Ramirez

      Dang. I was hoping you said Alex Murphy.

      • Dead or alive you’re coming with me

      • John Q. Commenter

        Your move, creep.

  • mmv

    I did a lot of a/b tests back when I first night a nice HiFi setup. Using apple lossless vs 320kb mp3. Most of the time there was no difference but there definitely was a difference in really high frequencies or the ‘ space’ in tracks. If you spend enough on a good system it pays to put the best into it!

  • mmv

    I did a lot of a/b tests back when I first night a nice HiFi setup. Using apple lossless vs 320kb mp3. Most of the time there was no difference but there definitely was a difference in really high frequencies or the ‘ space’ in tracks. If you spend enough on a good system it pays to put the best into it!

  • mmv

    I did a lot of a/b tests back when I first night a nice HiFi setup. Using apple lossless vs 320kb mp3. Most of the time there was no difference but there definitely was a difference in really high frequencies or the ‘ space’ in tracks. If you spend enough on a good system it pays to put the best into it!

  • Fred Carbone

    I got 5/5 listening on the iPad speaker while sitting on the can (I’m not kidding). Its a pretty obvious difference, actually.

    • Steinbach Rackkoffer

      we got jay-z posting :>

      • Fred Carbone

        Thanks for the snarky comment – thanks for keeping a positive vibe here. I wish I was jay-z; it would be nice to have his money. Although I’d dump Beyoncé- too high maintenance.

        Meanwhile, I still found it pretty easy to hear the difference.

        .

        • Nomph

          That’s obviously because you’re the most handsome and intelligent person in the universe.

          • Fred Carbone

            Grow up, Nomph.

          • Nomph

            Ok ‘Guest’. I mean Fred Carbone. I mean ‘Guest’.

            Whats your gear sluts account name again?

    • lala

      thats because u use shitty speakers 😉
      use something decent and u will not notice a difference

      • Fred Carbone

        So you thesis is the audible artifacts in compression codecs will be more apparent on low quality listening devices than it would on high fidelity systems? That’s your perspective on the thing?

        It’s nonsense, of course, although its worth point out that if it *were* true, it would make Tidal even more relevant, since most people listen to music on low fidelity systems (ear buds, laptop speakers, iPad speakers, etc).

        .

        • Fred Carbone

          Just ran it again, this time in the studio – UAD Apollo DUO into Bryston 3b into KRK 703’s. Got 5/5 again – it’s a pretty obvious difference. Just listen to the transits, and the air in the mix, plus cymbal crashes, etc.

          Whether the consumer cares about the difference is another thing entirely.

          Me, I’m a fan if it pays artists actual money for streams. We’ll see.

          • lala

            it was the same tracks you listened to, right?
            thats not a test then anymore
            you already decided that you hear something …
            the brain is easy to trick with this

          • lala

            so u go around and listen for that something and try to find it again
            if you can tell it apart with any material congratulations, or bad luck for you

        • Actually, it’s possible…. there’s a lot more here to test. 🙂

  • Fred Carbone

    I got 5/5 listening on the iPad speaker while sitting on the can (I’m not kidding). Its a pretty obvious difference, actually.

    • Steinbach Rackkoffer

      we got jay-z posting :>

      • Fred Carbone

        Thanks for the snarky comment – thanks for keeping a positive vibe here. I wish I was jay-z; it would be nice to have his money. Although I’d dump Beyoncé- too high maintenance.

        Meanwhile, I still found it pretty easy to hear the difference.

        .

        • Nomph

          That’s obviously because you’re the most handsome and intelligent person in the universe.

          • Guest

            Grow up, Nomph.

          • Nomph

            Ok ‘Guest’. I mean Fred Carbone. I mean ‘Guest’.

            Whats your gear sluts account name again?

    • lala

      thats because u use shitty speakers 😉
      use something decent and u will not notice a difference

      • Guest

        So you thesis is the audible artifacts in compression codecs will be more apparent on low quality listening devices than it would on high fidelity systems? That’s your perspective on the thing?

        It’s nonsense, of course, although its worth point out that if it *were* true, it would make Tidal even more relevant, since most people listen to music on low fidelity systems (ear buds, laptop speakers, iPad speakers, etc).

        .

        • Guest

          Just ran it again, this time in the studio – UAD Apollo DUO into Bryston 3b into KRK 703’s. Got 5/5 again – it’s a pretty obvious difference. Just listen to the transits, and the air in the mix, plus cymbal crashes, etc.

          Whether the consumer cares about the difference is another thing entirely.

          Me, I’m a fan if it pays artists actual money for streams. We’ll see.

          • lala

            it was the same tracks you listened to, right?
            thats not a test then anymore
            you already decided that you hear something …
            the brain is easy to trick with this

          • lala

            so u go around and listen for that something and try to find it again
            if you can tell it apart with any material congratulations, or bad luck for you

        • Actually, it’s possible…. there’s a lot more here to test. 🙂

  • Fred Carbone

    I got 5/5 listening on the iPad speaker while sitting on the can (I’m not kidding). Its a pretty obvious difference, actually.

    • Steinbach Rackkoffer

      we got jay-z posting :>

      • Fred Carbone

        Thanks for the snarky comment – thanks for keeping a positive vibe here. I wish I was jay-z; it would be nice to have his money. Although I’d dump Beyoncé- too high maintenance.

        Meanwhile, I still found it pretty easy to hear the difference.

        .

        • Nomph

          That’s obviously because you’re the most handsome and intelligent person in the universe.

          • Guest

            Grow up, Nomph.

          • Nomph

            Ok ‘Guest’. I mean Fred Carbone. I mean ‘Guest’.

            Whats your gear sluts account name again?

    • lala

      thats because u use shitty speakers 😉
      use something decent and u will not notice a difference

      • Guest

        So you thesis is the audible artifacts in compression codecs will be more apparent on low quality listening devices than it would on high fidelity systems? That’s your perspective on the thing?

        It’s nonsense, of course, although its worth point out that if it *were* true, it would make Tidal even more relevant, since most people listen to music on low fidelity systems (ear buds, laptop speakers, iPad speakers, etc).

        .

        • Guest

          Just ran it again, this time in the studio – UAD Apollo DUO into Bryston 3b into KRK 703’s. Got 5/5 again – it’s a pretty obvious difference. Just listen to the transits, and the air in the mix, plus cymbal crashes, etc.

          Whether the consumer cares about the difference is another thing entirely.

          Me, I’m a fan if it pays artists actual money for streams. We’ll see.

          • lala

            it was the same tracks you listened to, right?
            thats not a test then anymore
            you already decided that you hear something …
            the brain is easy to trick with this

          • lala

            so u go around and listen for that something and try to find it again
            if you can tell it apart with any material congratulations, or bad luck for you

        • Actually, it’s possible…. there’s a lot more here to test. 🙂

  • cv

    So how did you get your music on that anyways
    what’s the steps needed ……

  • cv

    So how did you get your music on that anyways
    what’s the steps needed ……

  • cv

    So how did you get your music on that anyways
    what’s the steps needed ……

  • 0/5 using an RME Fireface 400 + Focal CMS 65 – I guess I like lower bitrate..

    • Wilson

      Try it again when you’re feeling fresh, I have a pair of top end custom in ear monitors and I did the test from my phone when I was tired and picked 0/5, i did it again just now and easily distinguished 4/5, the second track kind of threw me off as i wasn’t sure the sound he was going for. Im a focal fan as well, I’m in the process of blowing all my money on a Focal utopia car speaker system.

  • 0/5 using an RME Fireface 400 + Focal CMS 65 – I guess I like lower bitrate..

    • Wilson

      Try it again when you’re feeling fresh, I have a pair of top end custom in ear monitors and I did the test from my phone when I was tired and picked 0/5, i did it again just now and easily distinguished 4/5, the second track kind of threw me off as i wasn’t sure the sound he was going for. Im a focal fan as well, I’m in the process of blowing all my money on a Focal utopia car speaker system.

  • El Jefe

    0/5 using an RME Fireface 400 + Focal CMS 65 – I guess I like lower bitrate..

    • Wilson

      Try it again when you’re feeling fresh, I have a pair of top end custom in ear monitors and I did the test from my phone when I was tired and picked 0/5, i did it again just now and easily distinguished 4/5, the second track kind of threw me off as i wasn’t sure the sound he was going for. Im a focal fan as well, I’m in the process of blowing all my money on a Focal utopia car speaker system.

  • lala

    the difference between 320kbps aac/mp3 and 16 or 24 bit wav are so marginal, I don’t care anymore, it just doesn’t matter anymore. Remember how bad vinyl and tape was? And it got worse each time you played it, lol

    • preferred user

      Right 320kbps aac/mp3 both can sound bad on a good recording and worse on a bad recording !

      Imprtantly what these folks here are forgetting is mp3 are sourced from the same crappy uniform loudness compressd CD 16/44 CD mix as the CD ☻☻

      OTOH 16 or 24 bit lossless that *bypasses * uniform loudness compressed CD mixing is as good as it gets .

      • Henri de Saussure

        Well…You must’ve misunderstood something. 16/44 lossless IS the CD quality. What the mastering engineer gives as audio data for CD replication is the same 16/44 that will be used to create the FLAC file. There is no “bypassing” any “uniform loudness compressed CD”, this sentence doesn’t really make sense from an audio engineering point of view. Loudness optimization (ie: dynamic range reduction) is an aspect that happens at the mixing and mastering stage. The mastering engineer will create a WAV master in 16/44 and 24/44 and/or 24/96 (for HD tracks for example). The 16/44 CD version is exactly the SAME as the 16/44 FLAC which will be used on Tidal or sent to HQ audio online retailers. He won’t use different dynamic compression/eq settings for each of ’em, he won’t make 2 mastering sessions for the CD and for the FLAC – they are identical.

        The only case where the same music gets two mastering rounds is when you want to put it out music on CD + vinyl. LP records have physical limitations and aspects which need careful attention, and the mastering will also depend on how much music will be pressed on one side

        • preferred user

          You wrote :

          “There is no “bypassing” any “uniform loudness compressed CD”,

          re:

          That’s *exactly what Tidal Hifi does* for 16/44 lossless FLAC

          Most of their stuff is sourced from 24/41 or hires digital WAV files from studio archives on hdd’s or files from the labels (like legitimate Hires ) and simply truncated to 16/44 for 16/44 FLAC digital streaming at Tidal Hi Fi .

          Yes 16/44 is RBCD bit depth and sample rate FWIW we work with all this stuff we are discussing here .

          FLAC ( Free Lossless Audio compression Codec) can support 16 or 24 bit lossless audio playback like uncompressed WAV .

          What you may not understand is the studio project is usually recorded in a 24 bit flat mix a > copy of *that mix* is often compressed and noise shaped /dithered for *uniform loudness* thus reducing dynamic range among other things (more than a simple conversion would ) for a 16 /44 CD mix .

          We call them suicidal CD mixes they are done that way at the request of the decision makers or the producers or labels and it is NOT the same mix as the 24 bit flat master with a few exceptions being the *occasional good CD mix .

          Mp3 mixes are usually sourced from CD mixes .

          FWIW at the bigger labels and artists in addition to the CD release mix there are often 16/44 bit club specific CD mixes and broadcast specific mixes and and or 16 or 24 bit video mixes originating from the same flat master.

          We make all those sourced from the 24 bit flat master here and they are *different * mixes and each one costs $$ .

          OTOH a small local artist or label may only have one CD mix and one mp3 mix and something for iTunes on the market at any given time sourced from the 24 bit flat master or in the worst case scenario some kind of 16 or 24 bit home brew mix outside of a real studio those are often hard to do a lot with .

          In the real world anything outside of the flat master like CD and mp3 mixes (or the others ) are done in post (post production)*after the flat master*

          FWIW Legitimate hires outside of a remaster or upsampled 16 bit RCBD is simply sourced from the 24 bit flat master be it digital or tape or digitized tape .(usually digitized tape for the old analog mixes these days ) .

          Your blanket statement that there is only one 16 bit mix is patently false in a lot of cases as are most of your other statements .

          I don’t think you know what modern post production workflow is ,or RIAA for vinyl is .

          You seem to think vinyl mixing requires something out of the ordinary *from any good mix* before the RIAA EQ .

          I don’t know what kind of audiophool cool aid you been reading or hearing . .

          FLAC can either be sourced from the CD mix or a downsampled or simply truncated 24 > 16 bit flat mix depending on the 24 flat master bit sample rate or a 24 bit hires mix that would determine downsample or simply truncation or (digital bit word length reduction only . )

          Wav is usually used in recordings ,the studio projects and DAWS and FLAC is aftermarket open source media .

          Premium hires downloads from labels can either be the 24 bit flat mixes in hires or just upsampled CD mixes or in &*some cases* 16 bit conversions of the 24 bit flat mix usually for small premium labels or 24 bit digitized tape for the stuff recorded on contact media ( tape)

          HDtracks is not the best place to buy hires half the time you are getting upsampled 16/44 and their cust service folks don’t often know what is what .

          HDtracks is just a reseller *not a label* they re sell what the labels sell to them even if it has a HDtracks label on the product or a selection of tracks for them .

          OTOH mastered for iTunes is a 24 bit project sent to them and remastered from the 24 bit mix by an Apple engineer using proprietary Apple processes and software and rendered and optimized *specifically for and into 256k AAC Apple Mastered iTunes product rather than an mp3 mix which is just sourced from a suicide 16/44 CD mix as a rule .

          Any flat mix or almost any mix can be sent to a vinyl for RIAA EQ process (to allow for groove spacing ) once the sub sonics are filtered out as they would be in a 16/44 CD mix (or almost any good mix ) anyway and that was sometimes automated starting in the mid 60’s with analog computers at RCA now it can be done in software .

          No magic is needed for a vinyl mix beyond (a good mix ) and standard RIAA EQ.

          They had club and broadcast specific mixes for Vinyl also and squashed vinyl re mixes for album compilations like a greatest hits with a lot of songs on them as opposed to an original release that may have less songs per side .

          A lot of vinyl today is digitally sourced or sourced from digitized tape masters the resurgence of vinyl for the illiterati has no technical merits these days .

          IOW for the most part you *totally don’t know what you are talking about or anything about recording/ production ,mixing and post production workflow* ☻

          • Henri de Saussure

            wow..

            -We are not talking about post, we’re talking about music mixing-> mastering -> distributing

            -I know what an RIAA curve is. While on the subject of vinyl, we could also talk about digital delay lines, stereo bass, high frequency loss at the inner grooves but let’s not get off-topic !

            -I just produced and released an album so I know that studios work on projects on 24bit, thank you 😉

            -Let’s cut to the chase.. What you were implying was that a 16/44 CD would have a different loudness profile (what you refer to as “uniform loudness compressed”, i’d refer to as lower crest factor) than the same album in a FLAC 16/44 format available online. I don’t know how or where you work, but that’s certainly not the case for my album and it’s certainly not the case for the mastering engineers I happen to work with. And they produce perfectly listenable, not loudness-oriented masters.

            -Which means that in one mastering session, a 24bit project will be mastered and then exported at 24bit (going to iTunes or FLAC) and then dither-exported at 16bit for CD and 16/44 FLAC

            -Mastered for iTunes is not a separate mastering session from an Apple engineer, it is a series of guidelines which the mastering engineer should follow in order to maximize compatibility and avoid clipping in AAC (this is not coming from me, but form an engineer at Masterdisk New York, sorry)

            After all, i can’t help but feel that you are a bit of a troll ; you are talking most of the time about “CD mixes”, “MP3 mixes”, “broadcast mixes”, when all of these have nothing to do with the mixing stage and everything to do with the mastering stage.

          • Henri de Saussure

            Oh, and by just scrolling through your other comments on the platform, I saw your comment about putting refugees in concentration camps. Have you considered therapy ?

          • Henri de Saussure

            And 24/41 doesn’t exist, the sample rate can be 44.1 but not 41khz. Frankxbe, tubetwister…you seem to be a compulsive troll who works very hard to give the impression he know’s what he’s talking about, and that’s psychotic. get off the computer screen.

    • your ears and senses are dead. i suggest a vacation and a reboot. the second you hear lossless hi-res on a real player you’ll wake up and smell the coffee.
      mp3 was a nice hack 30 years ago when it was necessary due to dial up modems and floppy disks. it’s stupid and masochistic to listen to music so restricted in bandwidth these days.

  • lala

    the difference between 320kbps aac/mp3 and 16 or 24 bit wav are so marginal, I don’t care anymore, it just doesn’t matter anymore. Remember how bad vinyl and tape was? And it got worse each time you played it, lol

    • preferred user

      Right 320kbps aac/mp3 both can sound bad on a good recording and worse on a bad recording !

      Imprtantly what these folks here are forgetting is mp3 are sourced from the same crappy uniform loudness compressd CD 16/44 CD mix as the CD ☻☻

      OTOH 16 or 24 bit lossless that *bypasses * uniform loudness compressed CD mixing is as good as it gets .

      • Henri de Saussure

        Well…You must’ve misunderstood something. 16/44 lossless IS the CD quality. What the mastering engineer gives as audio data for CD replication is the same 16/44 that will be used to create the FLAC file. There is no “bypassing” any “uniform loudness compressed CD”, this sentence doesn’t really make sense from an audio engineering point of view. Loudness optimization (ie: dynamic range reduction) is an aspect that happens at the mixing and mastering stage. The mastering engineer will create a WAV master in 16/44 and 24/44 and/or 24/96 (for HD tracks for example). The 16/44 CD version is exactly the SAME as the 16/44 FLAC which will be used on Tidal or sent to HQ audio online retailers. He won’t use different dynamic compression/eq settings for each of ’em, he won’t make 2 mastering sessions for the CD and for the FLAC – they are identical.

        The only case where the same music gets two mastering rounds is when you want to put it out music on CD + vinyl. LP records have physical limitations and aspects which need careful attention, and the mastering will also depend on how much music will be pressed on one side

        • preferred user

          You wrote :

          “There is no “bypassing” any “uniform loudness compressed CD”,

          re:

          That’s *exactly what Tidal Hifi does* for 16/44 lossless FLAC

          Most of their stuff is sourced from 24/41 or hires digital WAV files from studio archives on hdd’s or files from the labels (like legitimate Hires ) and simply truncated to 16/44 for 16/44 FLAC digital streaming at Tidal Hi Fi .

          Yes 16/44 is RBCD bit depth and sample rate FWIW we work with all this stuff we are discussing here .

          FLAC ( Free Lossless Audio compression Codec) can support 16 or 24 bit lossless audio playback like uncompressed WAV .

          What you may not understand is the studio project is usually recorded in a 24 bit flat mix a > copy of that recording becomes a 24 bit flat mix project (or master and safety master ) when it is re done and compiled by the mixing and or recording engineer (s) *

          *A copy of that mix is often compressed and noise shaped /dithered for *uniform loudness* thus reducing dynamic range among other things including adding effects or quantizing or auto tuning (more than a simple conversion would ) in a project for a 16 /44 CD mix .

          We call them suicidal CD mixes they are done that way at the request of the decision makers or the producers or labels and it is NOT the same mix as the 24 bit flat master with a few exceptions being the *occasional good CD mix .

          Mp3 mixes are usually sourced from CD mixes .

          FWIW at the bigger labels and artists in addition to the CD release mix there are often 16/44 bit club specific CD mixes and broadcast specific mixes and and or 16 or 24 bit video mixes originating from the same flat master.

          We make all those sourced from the 24 bit flat master here and they are *different * mixes and each one costs $$ .

          OTOH a small local artist or label may only have one CD mix and one mp3 mix (outside of the production mix and safety master unless they squash *that * for a CD mix) and something for iTunes on the market at any given time sourced from the 24 bit flat master or in the worst case scenario some kind of 16 or 24 bit home brew mix outside of a real studio those are often hard to do a lot with .

          In the real world anything outside of the flat master like CD and mp3 mixes (or the others ) are done in post (post production)*after the flat master*

          FWIW Legitimate hires outside of a remaster or upsampled 16 bit RCBD is simply sourced from the 24 bit flat master be it digital or tape or digitized tape .(usually digitized tape for the old analog mixes these days ) .

          Your blanket statement that there is only one 16 bit mix is patently false in a lot of cases as are most of your other statements .

          I don’t think you know what modern post production workflow is ,or RIAA for vinyl is .

          You seem to think vinyl mixing requires something out of the ordinary *from any good mix* before the RIAA EQ .

          I don’t know what kind of audiophool cool aid you been reading or hearing . .

          FLAC can either be sourced from the CD mix or a downsampled or simply truncated 24 > 16 bit flat mix depending on the 24 flat master bit sample rate or a 24 bit hires mix that would determine downsample or simply truncation or (digital bit word length reduction only . )

          Wav is usually used in recordings ,the studio projects and DAWS and FLAC is aftermarket open source media .

          Premium hires downloads from labels can either be the 24 bit flat mixes in hires or just upsampled CD mixes or in &*some cases* 16 bit conversions of the 24 bit flat mix usually for small premium labels or 24 bit digitized tape for the stuff recorded on contact media ( tape)

          HDtracks is not the best place to buy hires half the time you are getting upsampled 16/44 and their cust service folks don’t often know what is what .

          HDtracks is just a reseller *not a label* they re sell what the labels sell to them even if it has a HDtracks label on the product or a selection of tracks for them .

          OTOH mastered for iTunes is a 24 bit project sent to them and remastered from the 24 bit mix by an Apple engineer using proprietary Apple processes and software and rendered and optimized *specifically for and into 256k AAC Apple Mastered iTunes product rather than an mp3 mix which is just sourced from a suicide 16/44 CD mix as a rule .

          Any flat mix or almost any mix can be sent to vinyl for RIAA EQ process (to allow for groove spacing ) once the sub sonics are filtered out as they would be in a 16/44 CD mix anyway (or almost any good mix ) anyway and that was sometimes automated starting in the mid 60’s with analog computers at RCA now it can be done in software .

          No magic is needed for a vinyl mix beyond (a good mix ) and standard RIAA EQ.

          They had club and broadcast specific mixes for Vinyl also and squashed vinyl re mixes for album compilations like a greatest hits with a lot of songs on them as opposed to an original release that may have less songs per side .

          A lot of vinyl today is digitally sourced or sourced from digitized tape masters the resurgence of vinyl for the illiterati has no technical merits these days only legitimate or misguided preferences .

          A digital recording can have as many channels as you can produce in a DAW or production suite or mike before it becomes a mix .
          usually 2 ch stereo or multichannel .

          Today’s Movie theater digital and film packages are usually 24 or more audio channels that are completely remixed in post into 5.1 or 7.1 etc for DVD and Blu ray or broadcast and streaming thats one reason DVD and blu ray takes so much time to make after the movie outside of marketing considerations they have to mix down the video about X 10 also .
          Analog studio master tapes were often compiled from 24 or 16 track tapes back in the day .

          IOW for the most part you don’t know what you are talking about ☻

          • Henri de Saussure

            wow..

            -We are not talking about post, we’re talking about music mixing-> mastering -> distributing

            -I know what an RIAA curve is. While on the subject of vinyl, we could also talk about digital delay lines, stereo bass, high frequency loss at the inner grooves but let’s not get off-topic !

            -I just produced and released an album so I know that studios work on projects on 24bit, thank you 😉

            -Let’s cut to the chase.. What you were implying was that a 16/44 CD would have a different loudness profile (what you refer to as “uniform loudness compressed”, i’d refer to as lower crest factor) than the same album in a FLAC 16/44 format available online. I don’t know how or where you work, but that’s certainly not the case for my album and it’s certainly not the case for the mastering engineers I happen to work with. And they produce perfectly listenable, not loudness-oriented masters.

            -Which means that in one mastering session, a 24bit project will be mastered and then exported at 24bit (going to iTunes or FLAC) and then dither-exported at 16bit for CD and 16/44 FLAC

            -Mastered for iTunes is not a separate mastering session from an Apple engineer, it is a series of guidelines which the mastering engineer should follow in order to maximize compatibility and avoid clipping in AAC (this is not coming from me, but form an engineer at Masterdisk New York, sorry)

            After all, i can’t help but feel that you are a bit of a troll ; you are talking most of the time about “CD mixes”, “MP3 mixes”, “broadcast mixes”, when all of these have nothing to do with the mixing stage and everything to do with the mastering stage.

          • Henri de Saussure

            Oh, and by just scrolling through your other comments on the platform, I saw your comment about putting refugees in concentration camps. Have you considered therapy ?

          • Henri de Saussure

            And 24/41 doesn’t exist, the sample rate can be 44.1 but not 41khz. Frankxbe, tubetwister…you seem to be a compulsive troll who works very hard to give the impression he know’s what he’s talking about, and that’s psychotic. get off the computer screen.

    • your ears and senses are dead. i suggest a vacation and a reboot. the second you hear lossless hi-res on a real player you’ll wake up and smell the coffee.
      mp3 was a nice hack 30 years ago when it was necessary due to dial up modems and floppy disks. it’s stupid and masochistic to listen to music so restricted in bandwidth these days.

  • lala

    the difference between 320kbps aac/mp3 and 16 or 24 bit wav are so marginal, I don’t care anymore, it just doesn’t matter anymore. Remember how bad vinyl and tape was? And it got worse each time you played it, lol

    • preferred user

      Right 320kbps aac/mp3 both can sound bad on a good recording and worse on a bad recording !

      Imprtantly what these folks here are forgetting is mp3 are sourced from the same crappy uniform loudness compressd CD 16/44 CD mix as the CD ☻☻

      OTOH 16 or 24 bit lossless that *bypasses * uniform loudness compressed CD mixing is as good as it gets .

      • Henri de Saussure

        Well…You must’ve misunderstood something. 16/44 lossless IS the CD quality. What the mastering engineer gives as audio data for CD replication is the same 16/44 that will be used to create the FLAC file. There is no “bypassing” any “uniform loudness compressed CD”, this sentence doesn’t really make sense from an audio engineering point of view. Loudness optimization (ie: dynamic range reduction) is an aspect that happens at the mixing and mastering stage. The mastering engineer will create a WAV master in 16/44 and 24/44 and/or 24/96 (for HD tracks for example). The 16/44 CD version is exactly the SAME as the 16/44 FLAC which will be used on Tidal or sent to HQ audio online retailers. He won’t use different dynamic compression/eq settings for each of ’em, he won’t make 2 mastering sessions for the CD and for the FLAC – they are identical.

        The only case where the same music gets two mastering rounds is when you want to put it out music on CD + vinyl. LP records have physical limitations and aspects which need careful attention, and the mastering will also depend on how much music will be pressed on one side

        • preferred user

          You wrote :

          “There is no “bypassing” any “uniform loudness compressed CD”,

          re:

          That’s *exactly what Tidal Hifi does* for 16/44 lossless FLAC

          Most of their stuff is sourced from 24/41 or hires digital WAV files from studio archives on hdd’s or files from the labels (like legitimate Hires ) and simply truncated to 16/44 for 16/44 FLAC digital streaming at Tidal Hi Fi .

          Yes 16/44 is RBCD bit depth and sample rate FWIW we work with all this stuff we are discussing here .

          FLAC ( Free Lossless Audio compression Codec) can support 16 or 24 bit lossless audio playback like uncompressed WAV .

          What you may not understand is the studio project is usually recorded in a 24 bit flat mix a > copy of that recording becomes a 24 bit flat mix project (or master and safety master ) when it is re done and compiled by the mixing and or recording engineer (s) *

          *A copy of that mix is often compressed and noise shaped /dithered for *uniform loudness* thus reducing dynamic range among other things including adding effects or quantizing or auto tuning (more than a simple conversion would ) in a project for a 16 /44 CD mix .

          We call them suicidal CD mixes they are done that way at the request of the decision makers or the producers or labels and it is NOT the same mix as the 24 bit flat master with a few exceptions being the *occasional good CD mix .

          Mp3 mixes are usually sourced from CD mixes .

          FWIW at the bigger labels and artists in addition to the CD release mix there are often 16/44 bit club specific CD mixes and broadcast specific mixes and and or 16 or 24 bit video mixes originating from the same flat master.

          We make all those sourced from the 24 bit flat master here and they are *different * mixes and each one costs $$ .

          OTOH a small local artist or label may only have one CD mix and one mp3 mix (outside of the production mix and safety master unless they squash *that * for a CD mix) and something for iTunes on the market at any given time sourced from the 24 bit flat master or in the worst case scenario some kind of 16 or 24 bit home brew mix outside of a real studio those are often hard to do a lot with .

          In the real world anything outside of the flat master like CD and mp3 mixes (or the others ) are done in post (post production)*after the flat master*

          FWIW Legitimate hires outside of a remaster or upsampled 16 bit RCBD is simply sourced from the 24 bit flat master be it digital or tape or digitized tape .(usually digitized tape for the old analog mixes these days ) .

          Your blanket statement that there is only one 16 bit mix is patently false in a lot of cases as are most of your other statements .

          I don’t think you know what modern post production workflow is ,or RIAA for vinyl is .

          You seem to think vinyl mixing requires something out of the ordinary *from any good mix* before the RIAA EQ .

          I don’t know what kind of audiophool cool aid you been reading or hearing . .

          FLAC can either be sourced from the CD mix or a downsampled or simply truncated 24 > 16 bit flat mix depending on the 24 flat master bit sample rate or a 24 bit hires mix that would determine downsample or simply truncation or (digital bit word length reduction only . )

          Wav is usually used in recordings ,the studio projects and DAWS and FLAC is aftermarket open source media .

          Premium hires downloads from labels can either be the 24 bit flat mixes in hires or just upsampled CD mixes or in &*some cases* 16 bit conversions of the 24 bit flat mix usually for small premium labels or 24 bit digitized tape for the stuff recorded on contact media ( tape)

          HDtracks is not the best place to buy hires half the time you are getting upsampled 16/44 and their cust service folks don’t often know what is what .

          HDtracks is just a reseller *not a label* they re sell what the labels sell to them even if it has a HDtracks label on the product or a selection of tracks for them .

          OTOH mastered for iTunes is a 24 bit project sent to them and remastered from the 24 bit mix by an Apple engineer using proprietary Apple processes and software and rendered and optimized *specifically for and into 256k AAC Apple Mastered iTunes product rather than an mp3 mix which is just sourced from a suicide 16/44 CD mix as a rule .

          Any flat mix or almost any mix can be sent to vinyl for RIAA EQ process (to allow for groove spacing ) once the sub sonics are filtered out as they would be in a 16/44 CD mix anyway (or almost any good mix ) anyway and that was sometimes automated starting in the mid 60’s with analog computers at RCA now it can be done in software .

          No magic is needed for a vinyl mix beyond (a good mix ) and standard RIAA EQ.

          They had club and broadcast specific mixes for Vinyl also and squashed vinyl re mixes for album compilations like a greatest hits with a lot of songs on them as opposed to an original release that may have less songs per side .

          A lot of vinyl today is digitally sourced or sourced from digitized tape masters the resurgence of vinyl for the illiterati has no technical merits these days only legitimate or misguided preferences .

          A digital recording can have as many channels as you can produce in a DAW or production suite or mike before it becomes a mix .
          usually 2 ch stereo or multichannel .

          Today’s Movie theater digital and film packages are usually 24 or more audio channels that are completely remixed in post into 5.1 or 7.1 etc for DVD and Blu ray or broadcast and streaming thats one reason DVD and blu ray takes so much time to make after the movie outside of marketing considerations they have to mix down the video about X 10 also .
          Analog studio master tapes were often compiled from 24 or 16 track tapes back in the day .

          IOW for the most part you don’t know what you are talking about ☻

          • Henri de Saussure

            wow..

            -We are not talking about post, we’re talking about music mixing-> mastering -> distributing

            -I know what an RIAA curve is. While on the subject of vinyl, we could also talk about digital delay lines, stereo bass, high frequency loss at the inner grooves but let’s not get off-topic !

            -I just produced and released an album so I know that studios work on projects on 24bit, thank you 😉

            -Let’s cut to the chase.. What you were implying was that a 16/44 CD would have a different loudness profile (what you refer to as “uniform loudness compressed”, i’d refer to as lower crest factor) than the same album in a FLAC 16/44 format available online. I don’t know how or where you work, but that’s certainly not the case for my album and it’s certainly not the case for the mastering engineers I happen to work with. And they produce perfectly listenable, not loudness-oriented masters.

            -Which means that in one mastering session, a 24bit project will be mastered and then exported at 24bit (going to iTunes or FLAC) and then dither-exported at 16bit for CD and 16/44 FLAC

            -Mastered for iTunes is not a separate mastering session from an Apple engineer, it is a series of guidelines which the mastering engineer should follow in order to maximize compatibility and avoid clipping in AAC (this is not coming from me, but form an engineer at Masterdisk New York, sorry)

            After all, i can’t help but feel that you are a bit of a troll ; you are talking most of the time about “CD mixes”, “MP3 mixes”, “broadcast mixes”, when all of these have nothing to do with the mixing stage and everything to do with the mastering stage.

          • Henri de Saussure

            Oh, and by just scrolling through your other comments on the platform, I saw your comment about putting refugees in concentration camps. Have you considered therapy ?

          • Henri de Saussure

            And 24/41 doesn’t exist, the sample rate can be 44.1 but not 41khz. Frankxbe, tubetwister…you seem to be a compulsive troll who works very hard to give the impression he know’s what he’s talking about, and that’s psychotic. get off the computer screen.

    • your ears and senses are dead. i suggest a vacation and a reboot. the second you hear lossless hi-res on a real player you’ll wake up and smell the coffee.
      mp3 was a nice hack 30 years ago when it was necessary due to dial up modems and floppy disks. it’s stupid and masochistic to listen to music so restricted in bandwidth these days.

  • DPrty

    Hey Man.. Cassette Tapes sound Rad, I don’t know what your talking about.

  • DPrty

    Hey Man.. Cassette Tapes sound Rad, I don’t know what your talking about.

  • DPrty

    Hey Man.. Cassette Tapes sound Rad, I don’t know what your talking about.

  • toma

    apogee duet with grado sr80 headphones. got a 4/5 with my kids yelling in the background. but i don’t understand who they are pitching their service to. you probably need a $4000 system or equivalent strapped to your head to benefit from the diff from 320 audio. but maybe thats who its for? the vast majority of people don’t have a system that can hear the difference. and i believe that list gets even shorter considering you can get a device with a pretty decent DAC now a days that won’t cost a lot of money. There are tons of headphone amp/DACs under $200 good enough to make 320 sound really good. Good enough to blur the lines between 320 and what they are calling “High Fidelity”. I am all for the fact that its “Artist Owned” though i must say.

  • toma

    apogee duet with grado sr80 headphones. got a 4/5 with my kids yelling in the background. but i don’t understand who they are pitching their service to. you probably need a $4000 system or equivalent strapped to your head to benefit from the diff from 320 audio. but maybe thats who its for? the vast majority of people don’t have a system that can hear the difference. and i believe that list gets even shorter considering you can get a device with a pretty decent DAC now a days that won’t cost a lot of money. There are tons of headphone amp/DACs under $200 good enough to make 320 sound really good. Good enough to blur the lines between 320 and what they are calling “High Fidelity”. I am all for the fact that its “Artist Owned” though i must say.

  • toma

    apogee duet with grado sr80 headphones. got a 4/5 with my kids yelling in the background. but i don’t understand who they are pitching their service to. you probably need a $4000 system or equivalent strapped to your head to benefit from the diff from 320 audio. but maybe thats who its for? the vast majority of people don’t have a system that can hear the difference. and i believe that list gets even shorter considering you can get a device with a pretty decent DAC now a days that won’t cost a lot of money. There are tons of headphone amp/DACs under $200 good enough to make 320 sound really good. Good enough to blur the lines between 320 and what they are calling “High Fidelity”. I am all for the fact that its “Artist Owned” though i must say.

  • Holiday

    My take on the Tidal test: 1) You do need good quality (even better with a flat frequency response) headphones/earbuds/stereo speakers to pick up the differences between 320K MP3 compressed music and Lossless uncompressed music. If you listen to music through the earbuds that came with your iPhone you are immediately missing out on a lot of audio information. 2) There is also less likely a chance one can tell the difference between 320K MP3 and Lossless music if all one listens to is music that has been mastered with little to no dynamic range a.k.a “The Loudness Wars.” I’ll add to that if one has been conditioned to hear music in a way that’s highly compressed and “loud.” Which many have been for the last 20 or so years. 3) Why not Ogg Vorbis? 4) I’m all for Lossless music delivery but streaming music at this level of audio fidelity will mean 10x the bandwidth usage over the internet. Which in countries like Canada can get very expensive.

    On a final note, I do like that at least we are seeing some awareness, as of recent years, of music audio quality and a desire for better quality music reproduction and delivery.

    • Randen Montalvo

      I think one of the amazing things is off lining music with Tidal. So with my 128BG phone, i can offline and online my music at FLAC quality which was far more appealing then off lining 256kbs on Apple music or 320kbs on Spotify, although Tidals 9.99 is 320kbps AAC aswell.

  • Holiday

    My take on the Tidal test: 1) You do need good quality (even better with a flat frequency response) headphones/earbuds/stereo speakers to pick up the differences between 320K MP3 compressed music and Lossless uncompressed music. If you listen to music through the earbuds that came with your iPhone you are immediately missing out on a lot of audio information. 2) There is also less likely a chance one can tell the difference between 320K MP3 and Lossless music if all one listens to is music that has been mastered with little to no dynamic range a.k.a “The Loudness Wars.” I’ll add to that if one has been conditioned to hear music in a way that’s highly compressed and “loud.” Which many have been for the last 20 or so years. 3) Why not Ogg Vorbis? 4) I’m all for Lossless music delivery but streaming music at this level of audio fidelity will mean 10x the bandwidth usage over the internet. Which in countries like Canada can get very expensive.

    On a final note, I do like that at least we are seeing some awareness, as of recent years, of music audio quality and a desire for better quality music reproduction and delivery.

    • Randen Montalvo

      I think one of the amazing things is off lining music with Tidal. So with my 128BG phone, i can offline and online my music at FLAC quality which was far more appealing then off lining 256kbs on Apple music or 320kbs on Spotify, although Tidals 9.99 is 320kbps AAC aswell.

  • Holiday

    My take on the Tidal test: 1) You do need good quality (even better with a flat frequency response) headphones/earbuds/stereo speakers to pick up the differences between 320K MP3 compressed music and Lossless uncompressed music. If you listen to music through the earbuds that came with your iPhone you are immediately missing out on a lot of audio information. 2) There is also less likely a chance one can tell the difference between 320K MP3 and Lossless music if all one listens to is music that has been mastered with little to no dynamic range a.k.a “The Loudness Wars.” I’ll add to that if one has been conditioned to hear music in a way that’s highly compressed and “loud.” Which many have been for the last 20 or so years. 3) Why not Ogg Vorbis? 4) I’m all for Lossless music delivery but streaming music at this level of audio fidelity will mean 10x the bandwidth usage over the internet. Which in countries like Canada can get very expensive.

    On a final note, I do like that at least we are seeing some awareness, as of recent years, of music audio quality and a desire for better quality music reproduction and delivery.

    • Randen Montalvo

      I think one of the amazing things is off lining music with Tidal. So with my 128BG phone, i can offline and online my music at FLAC quality which was far more appealing then off lining 256kbs on Apple music or 320kbs on Spotify, although Tidals 9.99 is 320kbps AAC aswell.

  • Matt Fellers

    If people are interested in this sort of thing, they should check out

    http://www.hydrogenaud.io/

    They’ve been doing web-based codec comparisons for years. Good way to vet one encoder against another encoder (for instance).

  • Matt Fellers

    If people are interested in this sort of thing, they should check out

    http://www.hydrogenaud.io/

    They’ve been doing web-based codec comparisons for years. Good way to vet one encoder against another encoder (for instance).

  • Matt Fellers

    If people are interested in this sort of thing, they should check out

    http://www.hydrogenaud.io/

    They’ve been doing web-based codec comparisons for years. Good way to vet one encoder against another encoder (for instance).

  • marcel

    I have Tidal in combination with a Logitech Squeezebox digitally connected to my amplifier. Just did a test with a CD I own.

    CD player digitally connect to amp an CD converted to flac played from Squeezebox is no audible difference.

    SAME CD played via Tidal/squeezebox sounds different. Level is clearly lower as well.

    So either Ickstream (plugin provider) does something wrong or Tidal is cheating.

    • preferred user

      Maybe the sqeeze box is not supported in 16/44 at Tidal or at least if it has blue tooth *that feature* woulden’t support any losslesss 16/44 . .

      OTOH I’ve briefly sampled some Tidal Hi FI tracks and only looked at the file bit *rate* that can vary from ~ 750 kbps up to 1441 kbps depending on the loundness amplitude and complexity of any given avarage time duration file bit rate sample
      as one would expect with FLAC lossless audio compression .

      I’ve also mesured the digital streaming time duration bandwidth satisactorily in Tidals favor .

      Keep in mind Chrome is the only PC browser that supports Tidal 16/44 Hi FI and also local blue tooth streaming media players or amplified devices i.e. blue tooth itself does not support lossless 16/44 OTOH Wi FI does .

      The long and short of it is with an avarage bit rate of 1441 kbps I see on good recordings ……No Tidal is not cheating and any bit rate variation down from 1441kbps is normal and inaudiable using FLAC .

  • marcel

    I have Tidal in combination with a Logitech Squeezebox digitally connected to my amplifier. Just did a test with a CD I own.

    CD player digitally connect to amp an CD converted to flac played from Squeezebox is no audible difference.

    SAME CD played via Tidal/squeezebox sounds different. Level is clearly lower as well.

    So either Ickstream (plugin provider) does something wrong or Tidal is cheating.

    • preferred user

      Maybe the sqeeze box is not supported in 16/44 at Tidal or at least if it has blue tooth *that feature* woulden’t support any losslesss 16/44 . .

      OTOH I’ve briefly sampled some Tidal Hi FI tracks and only looked at the file bit *rate* that can vary from ~ 750 kbps up to 1441 kbps depending on the loundness amplitude and complexity of any given avarage time duration file bit rate sample
      as one would expect with FLAC lossless audio compression .

      I’ve also mesured the digital streaming time duration bandwidth satisfactorily in Tidals favor .

      Keep in mind Chrome is the only PC browser that supports Tidal 16/44 Hi FI and also local blue tooth streaming media players or amplified devices i.e. blue tooth itself does not support lossless 16/44 OTOH Wi FI does .

      Lastly the line level output from a CD player and a Squeeze box can be considerably different and more significantly Tidals 24/41 > 16/44 sourcing
      by passes loudness uniform compressd i.e louder CD mix provenence altogether.with the exception of the very odd CD mix at Tidal which is uncommon
      unless it’s a small local artist .

      Tidal gets truckloads of 24/41 hdd’s from the labels that never saw a CD mix .

      IOW it’s not a good assumption that what you hear from Tidal was ever a CD mix at all despite the album cover beacause that’s not usually the case .

      With the exception of an odd CD mix I would expect any given uniform loudnes CD/mp** playback would be louder on any level matched amplified devices on either side of the DAC than Tidal anyway . ☻☻

      The long and short of it is with an avarage bit rate of 1441 kbps I see on good recordings ……No Tidal is not cheating and any bit rate variation down from 1441kbps is normal and inaudiable using FLAC and the loudness variation has already been accounted for above .

  • marcel

    I have Tidal in combination with a Logitech Squeezebox digitally connected to my amplifier. Just did a test with a CD I own.

    CD player digitally connect to amp an CD converted to flac played from Squeezebox is no audible difference.

    SAME CD played via Tidal/squeezebox sounds different. Level is clearly lower as well.

    So either Ickstream (plugin provider) does something wrong or Tidal is cheating.

    • preferred user

      Maybe the sqeeze box is not supported in 16/44 at Tidal or at least if it has blue tooth *that feature* woulden’t support any losslesss 16/44 . .

      OTOH I’ve briefly sampled some Tidal Hi FI tracks and only looked at the file bit *rate* that can vary from ~ 750 kbps up to 1441 kbps depending on the loundness amplitude and complexity of any given avarage time duration file bit rate sample
      as one would expect with FLAC lossless audio compression .

      I’ve also mesured the digital streaming time duration bandwidth satisfactorily in Tidals favor .

      Keep in mind Chrome is the only PC browser that supports Tidal 16/44 Hi FI and also local blue tooth streaming media players or amplified devices i.e. blue tooth itself does not support lossless 16/44 OTOH Wi FI does .

      Lastly the line level output from a CD player and a Squeeze box can be considerably different and more significantly Tidals 24/41 > 16/44 sourcing
      by passes loudness uniform compressd i.e louder CD mix provenence altogether.with the exception of the very odd CD mix at Tidal which is uncommon
      unless it’s a small local artist .

      Tidal gets truckloads of 24/41 hdd’s from the labels that never saw a CD mix .

      IOW it’s not a good assumption that what you hear from Tidal was ever a CD mix at all despite the album cover beacause that’s not usually the case .

      With the exception of an odd CD mix I would expect any given uniform loudnes CD/mp** playback would be louder on any level matched amplified devices on either side of the DAC than Tidal anyway . ☻☻

      The long and short of it is with an avarage bit rate of 1441 kbps I see on good recordings ……No Tidal is not cheating and any bit rate variation down from 1441kbps is normal and inaudiable using FLAC and the loudness variation has already been accounted for above .

  • Octacrack

    Listening on Martin Logan Motion 40’s with a Marantz pre and a Peachtree 220 in a (somewhat) sound treated room. Don’t notice a difference, at all. It all sounded pretty bad to me. Terrible reference tracks.

  • Octacrack

    Listening on Martin Logan Motion 40’s with a Marantz pre and a Peachtree 220 in a (somewhat) sound treated room. Don’t notice a difference, at all. It all sounded pretty bad to me. Terrible reference tracks.

  • Octacrack

    Listening on Martin Logan Motion 40’s with a Marantz pre and a Peachtree 220 in a (somewhat) sound treated room. Don’t notice a difference, at all. It all sounded pretty bad to me. Terrible reference tracks.

  • shoshido

    The best way to compare is with the exact same track. I did this with iTunes, Spotify Premium, and Tidal HiFi, going back and forth several times. The first two sounded pretty much the same; the Tidal HiFi sounded significantly better, especially when listening to cymbals and some other percussion. Don’t take it from me, try it yourself. There is a qualitative difference in whatever they’re doing at Tidal.

    • preferred user

      absolutly all good points

    • really need a better rig than a computer or mobile device to do quality testing. computers are meant to play mp3 and every other general sound made, they care less about accurate rendering of music.

  • shoshido

    The best way to compare is with the exact same track. I did this with iTunes, Spotify Premium, and Tidal HiFi, going back and forth several times. The first two sounded pretty much the same; the Tidal HiFi sounded significantly better, especially when listening to cymbals and some other percussion. Don’t take it from me, try it yourself. There is a qualitative difference in whatever they’re doing at Tidal.

    • preferred user

      absolutly all good points cymbols and impact bass /mid ~ 100 – 500 hz and sibalence are great tells .

      Ofc the samples and everything else other than codec/format have to be *the same and equal* for any valid comparison .

    • really need a better rig than a computer or mobile device to do quality testing. computers are meant to play mp3 and every other general sound made, they care less about accurate rendering of music.

  • shoshido

    The best way to compare is with the exact same track. I did this with iTunes, Spotify Premium, and Tidal HiFi, going back and forth several times. The first two sounded pretty much the same; the Tidal HiFi sounded significantly better, especially when listening to cymbals and some other percussion. Don’t take it from me, try it yourself. There is a qualitative difference in whatever they’re doing at Tidal.

    • preferred user

      absolutly all good points cymbols and impact bass /mid ~ 100 – 500 hz and sibalence are great tells .

      Ofc the samples and everything else other than codec/format have to be *the same and equal* for any valid comparison .

    • really need a better rig than a computer or mobile device to do quality testing. computers are meant to play mp3 and every other general sound made, they care less about accurate rendering of music.

  • preferred user

    FWIW $19.99 mo. U.S. Tidal Hifi 24/41 > 16/44 lossless truncated studio master hdd replications sourced from the lables by passes uniform loudess squashed CD mixing provenence altogether and thier lossless 1441kbps FLAC digital streams will make you throw rocks at CD and vinyl and ofc mp3 on any given *good* recording if you have a decent playback chain .

  • preferred user

    I have to take exeption with this article :

    FWIW $19.99 mo. U.S. Tidal Hifi 24/41 > 16/44 lossless truncated studio master hdd replications sourced from the lables by passes uniform loudess squashed CD mixing provenence altogether and thier lossless 1441kbps FLAC digital streams can make you throw rocks at uniform loudness CD and RIAA vinyl and ofc mp3/AAC on any given *good* recording if you have a *decent playback chain* and know how to listen at all .☻

    OTOH on a phone or PDP or anything outside of a quiet room or in a car mp3 /AAC is fine .

    Ofc if U never heard anything better than uniform loundess CD /mp3 mixes on a lousy or mid fi playback chain you probably wouldent know the difference anyway without some training and even then maybe not …..you may be baised to *compressed* uniform loudness and not even know it ☻☻☻

    The other fact omitted from the article is most of these tests are statistically and othewise flawed for any number of reasons one being valid audio comptative memory is fleeting down to a few seconds at best with a trained listener and the samples have to share the same source provenence before any alterations are made and lastly the samples have to be precision level matched and the listeners trained before any sembelance of statistical validation can ever hope to happen .

    FWIW I got this straight from the inventors of ABX teasting (in the 1970’s ) and mp3 (in the late 1960’s at Bell labs ) in more recent discussions and testing participation at a well known credible science forum I did not make this up .

    Ofc a decent (good enough) digital playback chain doesent have to be audiophool extravagantly priced at all either ……..

    ofc couse an understanding of digital discrete time signal sampling and signal reconstruction within a limited bandwidth along with file fornats ,nyquist rates and encodes and practical experince with dithering bit depth reduction and noise shaping doesent hurt either . ☻

    OTOH the professonal studio playback chain here in the studio and the PC > head phone playbeck chain here I’m listening to now @ 24/41 digital outside of CD mix provenance are both very accurate and can cull out the wheat from the chaff without much difficulty . ☻

  • preferred user

    I have to take exeption with this article :

    FWIW $19.99 mo. U.S. Tidal Hifi 24/41 > 16/44 lossless truncated studio master hdd replications sourced from the lables by passes uniform loudess squashed CD mixing provenence altogether and thier lossless 1441kbps FLAC digital streams can make you throw rocks at uniform loudness CD and RIAA vinyl and ofc mp3/AAC on any given *good* recording if you have a *decent playback chain* and know how to listen at all .☻

    OTOH on a phone or PDP or anything outside of a quiet room or in a car mp3 /AAC is fine .

    Ofc if U never heard anything better than uniform loundess CD /mp3 mixes on a lousy or mid fi playback chain you probably wouldent know the difference anyway without some training and even then maybe not …..you may be baised to *compressed* uniform loudness and not even know it ☻☻☻

    The other fact omitted from the article is most of these tests are statistically and othewise flawed for any number of reasons one being valid audio comptative memory is fleeting down to a few seconds at best with a trained listener and the samples have to share the same source provenence before any alterations are made and lastly the samples have to be precision level matched and the listeners trained before any sembelance of statistical validation can ever hope to happen .

    FWIW I got this straight from the inventors of ABX teasting (in the 1970’s ) and mp3 (in the late 1960’s at Bell labs ) in more recent discussions and testing participation at a well known credible science forum I did not make this up .

    Ofc a decent (good enough) digital playback chain doesent have to be audiophool extravagantly priced at all either ……..

    ofc couse an understanding of digital discrete time signal sampling and signal reconstruction within a limited bandwidth along with file fornats ,nyquist rates and encodes and practical experince with dithering bit depth reduction and noise shaping doesent hurt either . ☻

    OTOH the professonal studio playback chain here in the studio and the PC > head phone playbeck chain here I’m listening to now @ 24/41 digital outside of CD mix provenance are both very accurate and can cull out the wheat from the chaff without much difficulty . ☻

  • Randen Montalvo

    I got the exact opposite results, on my oppo HA-2 and audeze cans 320kbs literally is missing entire chords and doesn’t even sound in the same spectrum as Tidals lossless. We did tests here and i literally believe you have to be tone def to not hear the difference. Tidal at the 9.99 rate is 320kbps AAC, which playing the same song with the 2 was a stark difference. I will say Apple Music was by far the lowest sounding that i have tried, i believe they are actually lower then 320kbps AAC which is probably why it sounded the worst on my setup.

  • Randen Montalvo

    I got the exact opposite results, on my oppo HA-2 and audeze cans 320kbs literally is missing entire chords and doesn’t even sound in the same spectrum as Tidals lossless. We did tests here and i literally believe you have to be tone def to not hear the difference. Tidal at the 9.99 rate is 320kbps AAC, which playing the same song with the 2 was a stark difference. I will say Apple Music was by far the lowest sounding that i have tried, i believe they are actually lower then 320kbps AAC which is probably why it sounded the worst on my setup.

  • Randen Montalvo

    I got the exact opposite results, on my oppo HA-2 and audeze cans 320kbs literally is missing entire chords and doesn’t even sound in the same spectrum as Tidals lossless. We did tests here and i literally believe you have to be tone def to not hear the difference. Tidal at the 9.99 rate is 320kbps AAC, which playing the same song with the 2 was a stark difference. I will say Apple Music was by far the lowest sounding that i have tried, i believe they are actually lower then 320kbps AAC which is probably why it sounded the worst on my setup.

  • colin espiner

    If you honestly can’t tell the difference between an MP3 and lossless audio codecs such as FLAC – even at 320Kpbs – then you are either deaf or you have a crap stereo. Either way, you’re not qualified to be writing an article on a music streaming service. Tidal streams FLAC, which any audiophile will tell you is night and day from an MP3. It’s like black and white and colour. That simple.

  • colin espiner

    If you honestly can’t tell the difference between an MP3 and lossless audio codecs such as FLAC – even at 320Kpbs – then you are either deaf or you have a crap stereo. Either way, you’re not qualified to be writing an article on a music streaming service. Tidal streams FLAC, which any audiophile will tell you is night and day from an MP3. It’s like black and white and colour. That simple.

  • colin espiner

    If you honestly can’t tell the difference between an MP3 and lossless audio codecs such as FLAC – even at 320Kpbs – then you are either deaf or you have a crap stereo. Either way, you’re not qualified to be writing an article on a music streaming service. Tidal streams FLAC, which any audiophile will tell you is night and day from an MP3. It’s like black and white and colour. That simple.

  • Zomin8tor

    Tidal is truly high def music, too bad that Jay Z and the other gangsters are turning into a total rap music service. Which begs the question, why would you need high def streaming for RAP?? Rap is Crap. Horrible, low fidelity, no melody, zero talent loser music.

  • Zomin8tor

    Tidal is truly high def music, too bad that Jay Z and the other gangsters are turning into a total rap music service. Which begs the question, why would you need high def streaming for RAP?? Rap is Crap. Horrible, low fidelity, no melody, zero talent loser music.

  • Zomin8tor

    Tidal is truly high def music, too bad that Jay Z and the other gangsters are turning into a total rap music service. Which begs the question, why would you need high def streaming for RAP?? Rap is Crap. Horrible, low fidelity, no melody, zero talent loser music.

  • Rudy™

    I almost signed up for a Tidal trial, but…the test is flawed, severely. You can’t get good results when the test is being fed shyte. The music was so terribly engineered that I couldn’t even complete the test. Where is some well-recorded acoustic music, or anything that sounds natural, which makes lossy files stick out like a sore thumb? Not all of us are into this type of music, or bad sound by way of poor engineering. And if that’s all they offer, then I probably would not even bother with a Tidal free trial. Nowhere on their site do I see any way to search for artists or albums to see if their depth of catalog is any good. Spotify is terrible enough–only about a 40-50% hit rate for me, with severe gaps in their catalog. With Tidal being smaller, prospects are not good they’ll have anything I’ll listen to.

    What’s really an irony is that Oppo just added Tidal streaming to their players. I don’t even know if Tidal will last much longer, with all the competition out there. A great opportunity, wasted.

  • Rudy™

    I almost signed up for a Tidal trial, but…the test is flawed, severely. You can’t get good results when the test is being fed shyte. The music was so terribly engineered that I couldn’t even complete the test. Where is some well-recorded acoustic music, or anything that sounds natural, which makes lossy files stick out like a sore thumb? Not all of us are into this type of music, or bad sound by way of poor engineering. And if that’s all they offer, then I probably would not even bother with a Tidal free trial. Nowhere on their site do I see any way to search for artists or albums to see if their depth of catalog is any good. Spotify is terrible enough–only about a 40-50% hit rate for me, with severe gaps in their catalog. With Tidal being smaller, prospects are not good they’ll have anything I’ll listen to.

    What’s really an irony is that Oppo just added Tidal streaming to their players. I don’t even know if Tidal will last much longer, with all the competition out there. A great opportunity, wasted.

  • Rudy™

    I almost signed up for a Tidal trial, but…the test is flawed, severely. You can’t get good results when the test is being fed shyte. The music was so terribly engineered that I couldn’t even complete the test. Where is some well-recorded acoustic music, or anything that sounds natural, which makes lossy files stick out like a sore thumb? Not all of us are into this type of music, or bad sound by way of poor engineering. And if that’s all they offer, then I probably would not even bother with a Tidal free trial. Nowhere on their site do I see any way to search for artists or albums to see if their depth of catalog is any good. Spotify is terrible enough–only about a 40-50% hit rate for me, with severe gaps in their catalog. With Tidal being smaller, prospects are not good they’ll have anything I’ll listen to.

    What’s really an irony is that Oppo just added Tidal streaming to their players. I don’t even know if Tidal will last much longer, with all the competition out there. A great opportunity, wasted.

  • Dean Singh

    On my audio gear listening to the type of music I love the difference is at times subtle, but there, and other times significant. I have a feeling if you listen mostly to pop/rock/hip-hop/ and that kind of stuff on cheap gear who cares about the kbps, that music is recorded to be loud not dynamic …..

  • Dean Singh

    On my audio gear listening to the type of music I love the difference is at times subtle, but there, and other times significant. I have a feeling if you listen mostly to pop/rock/hip-hop/ and that kind of stuff on cheap gear who cares about the kbps, that music is recorded to be loud not dynamic …..

  • Dean Singh

    On my audio gear listening to the type of music I love the difference is at times subtle, but there, and other times significant. I have a feeling if you listen mostly to pop/rock/hip-hop/ and that kind of stuff on cheap gear who cares about the kbps, that music is recorded to be loud not dynamic …..

  • Eva

    I tried Tidal and ended up paying those 20 pounds. And I have to say that the app is rubbish, promotion is laughable and some essential songs are missing. But the sound quality is significantly better. It really is. On my Parrot Ziks I can instantly recognise if I’m listening to mp3 or Tidal.

  • Eva

    I tried Tidal and ended up paying those 20 pounds. And I have to say that the app is rubbish, promotion is laughable and some essential songs are missing. But the sound quality is significantly better. It really is. On my Parrot Ziks I can instantly recognise if I’m listening to mp3 or Tidal.

  • Eva

    I tried Tidal and ended up paying those 20 pounds. And I have to say that the app is rubbish, promotion is laughable and some essential songs are missing. But the sound quality is significantly better. It really is. On my Parrot Ziks I can instantly recognise if I’m listening to mp3 or Tidal.

  • your ears are sad if you think “lossy” is close enough. you have already lost so much.
    there’s no need and point to degrade the music. most good stuff is recorded at 24/88 or higher and has been since the 90’s. if you call yourself a producer work on your ears more than your tech knowledge. mp3 was a necessary step back -25 years ago!- now it’s stupid and hurts people more than it helps them.

  • your ears are sad if you think “lossy” is close enough. you have already lost so much.
    there’s no need and point to degrade the music. most good stuff is recorded at 24/88 or higher and has been since the 90’s. if you call yourself a producer work on your ears more than your tech knowledge. mp3 was a necessary step back -25 years ago!- now it’s stupid and hurts people more than it helps them.

  • your ears are sad if you think “lossy” is close enough. you have already lost so much.
    there’s no need and point to degrade the music. most good stuff is recorded at 24/88 or higher and has been since the 90’s. if you call yourself a producer work on your ears more than your tech knowledge. mp3 was a necessary step back -25 years ago!- now it’s stupid and hurts people more than it helps them.

  • Ursula

    I’m a software engineer and I’ve worked on sound compression algorithms, both lossy and lossless.

    MY ears can hear the difference between 320 mp3 and flac without any doubt or hesitation – they’re trained. I can hear the difference between 320 mp3 and 250 aac.

    For me there’s no choice, I strongly prefer the flac. Actually I can’t stand mp3 at anything less than 320, and 320 is just barely acceptable.

    If anyone was streaming q10 vorbis, that would be fine, but actually for some music flac takes LESS bandwidth than q10 vorbis (piano music for instance).

  • Ursula

    I’m a software engineer and I’ve worked on sound compression algorithms, both lossy and lossless.

    MY ears can hear the difference between 320 mp3 and flac without any doubt or hesitation – they’re trained. I can hear the difference between 320 mp3 and 250 aac.

    For me there’s no choice, I strongly prefer the flac. Actually I can’t stand mp3 at anything less than 320, and 320 is just barely acceptable.

    If anyone was streaming q10 vorbis, that would be fine, but actually for some music flac takes LESS bandwidth than q10 vorbis (piano music for instance).

  • Chance Cox (PalsyWriter)

    Except most streaming services, especially those with a “higher quality” option, use AAC, which perform significantly better on the whole than an mp3 of equal, or even in some cases greater bit rate. Yeah, you can tell the difference between lossless and lossy audio codecs, but only if you have a sound system/headphones that are of exceptionally high quality, and usually cost a small fortune as a direct result.

    • Bernard

      THIS! if one streams through a normal laptop or iDevices, one wouldn’t hear a lot of difference, even with the best headphone or IEM. the very best IEMs and headphones scale up pretty well with high end audiophile equipments (DAPs and DACs). for instance, you wouldn’t hook up your JH Audio Layla with latest iPod Touch, just like you wouldn’t tank up your ferrari with normal gasoline. learned from experience

    • JackMarse

      Actually, AAC was shown to sound better at lower rates, <=128 Kbps, but as rates increased MP3 sounds better and clearly FLAC from a CD has the most music information. However, with bad sound engineering in studio it doesn't matter since it will sound like crap no matter format.

  • Mortenke

    Really interesting test! Ran it through Google Chrome, a NAD DAC and my good gear. Had 3 wrong! When I compare Tidal hi-fi (trial subscr.) through this gear to iPhone 6s (w. Tidal hi-fi), The difference is much bigger (in favor of NAD DAC etc). When I compare Tidal hi-fi to my CD player (20 yr old but very good Proceed), The difference is also much bigger (in favor of CD via Proceed). Only thing better than CD via proceed is Vinyl on a good turntable. If this test is to be believed a good DAC is much more important than going from 320 aac to lossless. Really interesting – esp. considering it’s Tidals test. All the best + thumbs up for Tidal to shed some light and to start focus on getting quality back in music listening!

  • Darren X2

    You appear to have completely missed the entire point of this conversation. Well done.

    • no, the writer missed the point of it all, really. why be “lossy” in the first place? what else in your life are you “lossy” with, when the option to be “lossless” exists?

      the marketing that got people to believe digital is somehow better than analog is truly to blame. once that was accepted, anything, even “lossy” is possible. the dread of good enough has taken over the modern music fan. their parents and grandparents had better stereos than they do, listened to better mixed music, on better media, with more artwork and swag. and guess what- the artists were better too, big surprise. that’s messed up, it makes me kind of ashamed of the kids these days.

      is it chicken or egg? does music suck because the format sucks

      or
      does the format suck and no one cares enough to tell because music sucks? please advise.

      • Peter van Brucken

        Totally agree with you ezraz. We’ve been told that 256 or 320kbps is high quality and most people have accepted that as the truth. Lossless technology has been around for a while to deliver much better results. It’s easy to listen to “real” high quality from 1411 – 9216kbps. MP3’s should be banished as soon as possible!!

        • bruzote

          You can’t get rid of compression. Try putting unlimited signals through a real-word transmission mechanism. Try sending continuous signals with good fidelity to a satellite customer base that demands hundreds of sports listening channels plus the music channels. Now, for Sirius XM, I totally think their compression yields bad results. Period. You want to turn up the music sometimes to hear what is missing, but it just ends up sounding like a faded cassette tape at high volume. However, given that technology has its limits, you MUST make a trade-off with bandwidth and music fidelity. If you think the consumers are making bad choices and the providers are likewise, you need to show it.

          • Peter van Brucken

            Hi Bruzote, yep, you are totally right in that compression is necessary to do any streaming across internet/satellites or any public network. Tidal is still the best of the streaming services, but even then, there should be some reference to the fact it IS compressed and is not as good as it gets. If the MP3 fraternity should be made aware they are listening to very low to low quality reproductions of music, like health warnings on cigarette packets. High Quality MP3 is a contradiction in itself! If people are happy with it, that’s fine, but calling it high quality is simply lying! But they’re not going to know any different until more people start demanding better quality. At home, they cold be listening to FLAC or WAV and re-evaluate their streamed media. In reality, I know the ones who are passionate about their sound quality will seek better file types, and the ones who don’t care will still listen to crap. I would just like them to know its crap! 🙂

          • bruzote

            Gotcha.

            FYI – I’m reviewing my internet comments in general. I remember I was in a rotten mood the time I wrote most of these. It was like I suddenly went whiny whether or not that totally came out. I’m literally in a personal process of self-review where now I go back every two weeks or so and see how often I wrote like troll. Fortunately, it’s not as bad as I thought but more it’s more often than it should be (which is never).

        • Sweet Dee

          With today’s bandwidth I really hope flax doesn’t die. Tidal hifi makes listening to hifi music so incredibly much easier I hope they don’t go broke because the public don’t give a shot and couldn’t hear a difference anyway on their pink skullcandy headphones

      • Tony

        This is about the only statement on here that makes sense. For anyone that thinks Theta no difference between lossless and 320mp3 or AAC is just dead wrong. I can even here the massive difference between these with my tinnitus and even with testing with questionable Headphone. There’s is a huge difference

        • bruzote

          When you test with “questionable” headphones, are they the typical headphones people can afford (and can afford to lose if they are stolen, not just afford to buy once every five years)? Are you listening in a moving vehicle or work environment or gym? I doubt it. Are you listening when the TV is on in an adjacent room or your spouse is near by on the the phone. In other words, are you listening comparisons relevant to anybody who has close-to-normal music listening habits?

      • Sweet Dee

        Yup. Most music equipment these days look cool and are practical. 20 year old speakers sound a lot better than most kids have ever heard in their life.
        And the mastering of today’s music is a joke.

  • Christopher Brandao

    It also matters which artist you listen too. Some artist use samples and shit thats from mp3 sources pop, rock’ or hip hop music dont use instruments that are worth a damn in mp3 or lossless nothing high fidelity about those production. Listen to some classical shit or some shit from a composer that actually uses a dynamic frequency range of instruments. I listen to lossless shit on some Adam Audio Tensor Beta speakers and i can tell the difference instantly. Especially in the playing of the instruments. You can tell the difference between a guitar with a pick or finger tips. Little nuances that get lost in mp3 or AAC

  • my name

    With decent headphones I can tell the difference between a CD and Spotify/Google Play Music. I may not be able to tell you which is one is which but can tell that their different.

  • dnc

    Lossless file format is not important if You don’t have best soundcard with S/N value over 110dB. Few delicate and innocent sounds will be lost. I had soundcard with Realtek chip M/B (S/N 105dB). I changed it to AIM SC808 (S/N 124dB) with OPAMP MUSE and I hit the ground. Even mp3 with 320kbps sounds better. Flacs are more juicy and I can hear more sounds (especially with low values).

  • Peter van Brucken

    You tell ’em ezraz!!

  • Tony

    Thank you Colin. Some of these above statements are shocking

  • mp3 was written in 1994. lame was 1995 i think. apple started aac around 2000. what is newer in streaming than apple’s 256k aac or lame-encoded 320k mp3?

  • bruzote

    Jumping in late, but better than never.

    There are NO lossless recording mechanisms – none. Given that, you would be a fool to worry about nearly atomic-level effects in quality when the recording you’re trying to hear is itself imperfect in so many different ways! Starting from there, there is really no need to go further into the differences between 320 AAC and “lossless”.

    Further, even “lossless” listening IS lossy! The question is – at what level of fidelity is your loss **insignificant**? Every time you hand someone cash, you lose atoms from the currency. Does that mean paying in cash is a “turd” way of doing things because it is lossy? No! The loss doesn’t matter. Even a dime that’s thirty years old has enough “dime” in it to perfectly function for it’s purpose. When I put a “lossy” dime into my bank account or a new one, the results are indistinguishable.

    As for music, the analogy is not perfect so I’ll be more explicit. Your environment is going to affect your listening so much more than the 320 AAC “losses” that you would be an idiot to worry about your coding losses. There, now I’ve made two points that should end the conversation.

    Even the noise from your own pulse in your head and your breathing causes more “loss” than any encoding issues with 320 AAC! Bam! Another point where there is no goal to compete but only to know the truth. Even if you have a perfect environment, your own body ruins it. So, unless you decide to stop your own heartbeat, don’t bother trying to convince people an imperfect recording that you call “lossless” is better than a 320 AAC.

    The day you are willing to stop your breathing and heartbeat in order to hear your “better” imperfect recording in “lossless” format, let me know. Until then, I’ll know you’re not serious about discussing the significance of differences in music playback quality.

    • sorry but no. you know alot but you are jumping to several incorrect conclusions in my opinion.

      too many words needed to justify needless loss using perceptual coding. it attacks the very mix and timbre and blending of the instruments, that’s why it is ultimately bad for music.

      it’s relying on confusion of sound and description of sound to mask up to 95% data reduction.

      95% is never “atomic” like you say, it’s most of it. it’s destroys the art of mixed music.

      if the music is tracked at 24bit, if it is mixed at 24bit, if it is mastered at 24bit, it should be released and heard at 24bit. that’s pushing a data rate of over 3000k/sec for stereo PCM audio, no amount of perceptual coding can take 3000 down to 300 without major loss.

      this loss is useless in an age of plentiful bandwidth and storage. in 1999 getting it down to <300k was mission critical. now it's useless to defend when you can hear the real thing.

      if you can't tell the difference between properly rendered hi-res and an mp3 you either listen to really overly compressed and digitized music, or you have a $10 stereo system, or you have major ADHD and can't focus on anything for more than a millisecond.

      • bruzote

        Or I don’t live in a perfect sound space with perfect hearing. Why can’t you acknowledge that condition exists for nearly every moment that someone listens to a song? Or are all the experiences in the whole world discounted if they are not like your special moments of dedicated listening in a quiet space with superb equipment? How many commuters listen to music every day and for how long compared to audio obsessives hiding in a nearly sound-proof environment?

        • the quality of playback comes before the interference from outside sources. the quality of the playback can be compromised but not nearly as much as you think.

          are you telling me you wouldn’t be able to taste the difference between an expensive steak and a grey mcdonalds steak if you were standing at a bus stop?

  • bruzote

    Rap culture is into excess, flagrantly trying to prove being nouveau riche while not even understanding the connotations.

  • bruzote

    The commenters here are often extremely ridiculous and vain. Where do 99.5% of people listen to music (never mind their lack of quality gear)? People nearly universally listen to music in their imperfect homes
    (refrigerators running, TV on upstairs in a bedroom, neighbor down the
    street mowing a lawn, air coming out of the central heating/cooling
    unit, the dishwasher running, the cutting board making noise while chopping vegetables), apartments and condos (huffing and puffing on a creaky bed with their lovers, occasional first responders going by with sirens on, plenty of traffic outside, aircraft overhead,
    refrigerators only twenty feet away with the compressor running, window air
    conditioners simply blasting noise into the air), outdoors while walking or
    exercising (birds prattling on, people making noise, traffic nearby, loud breathing noises as you push to your destination), or
    while commuting (tire noise, engine noise, train track noise, wind noise, other cars,
    other bus passengers, objects rattling in the car). Further, nearly universally, people are focused on other activities while listening. Even if they are enjoying home theater, they are watching the film and most of the brain is dedicated to optical processing, not audio. If my *life* depended on it, I bet in any randomly-chosen twenty four hours and random community, I could not find ONE person – NOT ONE! – who listened to music in a properly isolated setting with good enough gear to hear any detectable difference in the kind of reproductions this discussion is referring to. THINK ABOUT THAT, PEOPLE! That is how irrelevant your high-end commentary is. Since such people are really that rare, the discussion should not be about that kind of listening. It should be about quality that people can detect in the real world. Thank you. You can go back to prattling on (bragging really, nothing more) or provide helpful information that people can use for decisions about what to listen to. Based on what I’ve heard here and how over-the-top so many people are, I’m thinking it’s nearly all snake oil and even 8kbps is sufficient. I still remember hearing “Like a Hurricane” on a crappy AM radio and it was good. The listening quality “differences” that bother some people here are not real, they are just attitude problems looking for an excuse to manifest themselves.

  • bruzote

    Please don’t discuss evidence. Self-confirming anecdotes are by far more important. This topic might as well be about religion for most people!

  • Sweet Dee

    I can’t tell the difference from a short listen like in tests like these. But over longer periods of time the difference is very clear. I can’t tell any obvious direct differences as I said but if I accidentally set it to normal quality without noticing after a few days I will lose interest in my songs because they sound kinda boring in some way. Switch back to hifi and BAM I’m amazed by how good music can sound. I’ve subconsciously noticed that Imy not listening to hifi several times without actually knowing. And i can’t tell the difference at all while doing tests. Could be because I do them on the computer

  • Michael

    I’ve used Tidal for over a year, unfortunately it frequently drops out during music. None of the other streaminig services, i.e. like Pandora do this on my system. I even hard wired the connection to my receiver and it still skips…

  • #Venexit #Calexit

    I compared Tidal HIFI vs CD-Ripped files with my audiophile system, in a blind-test with some mates.
    Cd-Ripped files always sounded better. Tidal quality is not bad but it’ not what I would call hi-fi.

  • Jerod Dunn

    You should try listening on something bigger than headphones.

  • Paul

    Depends on what you listen on. With my good hifi system and expensive speakers I can hear far more detail and also there’s better dynamics. For anything else like blue tooth speakers or the car I can’t tell a difference.