Quick Tidal review - not so great

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by lokerola, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. lokerola

    lokerola AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I've been using Spotify for a while and thought I'd give Tidal a try, just to see what the differences were.

    - It was hard to get past their trial paywall to download the app
    - Once I got signed up it took a while to discover that you can't stream to CCA from their desktop app. That was disappointing.
    - I loaded their page via Chrome so I could stream to my CCA. It was ok, but you can't stream Master from here. You have to it connected from the thick client. Frustrating.
    -Hi-fi sounded ok, but nothing better than Spotify Premium
    -The last straw was when I loaded the app on my iPhone. It had a hard time connecting to my CCA and then the app crashed 4 times in a row.
    - I cancelled my Tidal subscription and deleted the app. Happily and easily streaming Spotify again.
    - The one feature Tidal has that Spotify doesn't have is artist and album info. I love reading liner notes, but it's not on Spotify. This seems like something people want - Spotify should enable this.

    So that's the end of my Tidal experience. If I were recommending Spotify or Tidal to a new user, Spotify Premium seems to work much better. YMMV of course (just one guy's POV).
     

     

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  2. J English

    J English Super Member

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    Glad to hear this. I have thought about Tidal occasionally, but I'm quite pleased with Spotify Premium. Most of what new music I want to listen to is there - deep jazz and electronic/EDM - and the sound quality is good (I can't hear above about 12,000hz anyway). And I do like the interface for the most part (very slow loading on my old BlackBerry, but that's my personal Waterloo - I don't expect a snappy load on a 7 year old phone). For $10 a month, it's a really good deal.
     
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  3. lokerola

    lokerola AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    For the price it's hard to beat Spotify. Tidal was 20 a month. I could not justify that price with all the issues I ran into, and the fact that the audio quality wasn't any different (to my old ears anyway).
     
  4. jcg1112

    jcg1112 Active Member

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    I also like Spotify premium. I have no Tidal experience, but may give it a go in the future. It sounds good enough to me and my wife for extended playing and not being underwhelmed. It’s been trouble free so far, I can run it from any of the devices in my sig.
     
  5. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

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    Been a Tidal user since December of 2015. Tidal has two subscriptions Premium $10 per month & Hi-Fi $20 per month.
    Premium is lossy, while Hi-Fi is lossless.

    Spotify Premium is lossy.
     
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  6. zebra03

    zebra03 All Audio - NO BS

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    Nice review , good to hear .
     

     

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  7. jcg1112

    jcg1112 Active Member

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    This is why I’d like to sample a lossless streaming service, but not necessarily hires. I want to step up in the food chain and see if the difference is big enough to warrant the price increase as it relates to my listening habits. Still waiting for Quboz.
     
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  8. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

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    My Tidal subscription is lossy .. only lossless streaming service I tried was Neil Young Achieves web site .. requires a subscription for me to use now so I have not been using it lately. On my rig .. I thought there was a difference on Neil's earlier albums(70's) .. some of the modern ones :dunno: .. very very subtle if any.

    Classical Music, Jazz & Classic Rock (60's & 70's) .. would not mind hearing some of those type albums in lossless streaming. Might try Tidal or Quboz Lossless at some point. No hurry .. I'm quite satisfied with the audio quality (streaming) I'm getting thus far.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
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  9. I use Tidal via ipad and iphone on a regular basis.

    When used with a Bluesound Node 2, it works perfectly.

    When used with a Chromecast Audio, I have frequent issues. I believe it is the ipad and CCA not communicating properly, not the Tidal software.

    It seems to me you have issues with you hardware interfacing witth Tidal. The Tidal software is not the problem, just how you are attempting to use it.

    Chrome is a useful tool but it is limited by its own design.

    It sounds like you are done with Tidal but you might consider starting fresh with a new download of the Tidal and Google software into your iPhone and see if it works better. There are many people who use this combo without issue.
     
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  10. GChief

    GChief Not well known, super member or other silliness Subscriber

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    I had the opposite exprenice and stopped paying for Spotify and paying for Tidal :dunno:
     
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  11. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier Subscriber

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    I had Spotify once on a trial and it sounded so horrible (even at its alleged "premium" sound quality), I rarely could stand to listen to it. (I can't tolerate lossy music--it has too many compression artifacts for me.) Tidal's lossless isn't very good either--there are known problems with some of their lossless files (basically, digital watermarking, which gives the midrange a "warbly" or "underwater" quality). While others are OK. And you never know which until you notice it sounds "off." The streaming to Chromecast Audio is flawless in the app, the only good thing I ever found with Tidal. Their search function is terrible--it finds maybe a third or a half of an artist's or band's albums in a search. By digging for album name or the name of one of the tracks, I'm finally able to find the track.

    Deezer's lossless sounded like lossless music should, on the files I listened to during a one-month trial. Search worked, Chromecast streaming was good. Too bad it's also an underdog like Tidal, plus, Deezer has no Roon integration, which is why many audiophiles overlook it.

    Once audiophiles leave Tidal for Qobuz, some of us are hoping that drives another nail in mqa's coffin. :)
     
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  12. lokerola

    lokerola AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I've heard good things about Quboz. I might give it a try in 19.

    It's crazy how streaming will work great on one platform for one person, but someone else will find it doesn't work on their platform. There are just so many variables in technology these days (versions of router firmware, CCA code, app versions, on and on,) that one person's happy place with a streaming app can be the next person's nightmare.

    Roon is another app I need to look into at some point.

    Yep, could be a CCA integration issue. At this point I'm happy enough with Spotify/CCA that I'll probably let sleeping dogs lie, so to speak. Good feedback though, thanks.

    I have thought about getting a dedicated streamer (i.e a Cambridge Audio 851n or something like that,) and running a CAT 6 cable directly from my router to the streamer. My guess is that eliminating the wifi path and technology would make Tidal/Spotify/Quboz/Deezer/Whatever, sound pretty darn good.

    Yea, the source audio that the streaming service gives you probably makes a difference as well. Most Spotify Premium tracks sound very good, but every now and then you get a real stinker. LOL!
     
  13. GChief

    GChief Not well known, super member or other silliness Subscriber

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    Isn’t this how it has always been? I have had good and crappy LP’s and CD’s of the same music. I don’t have a problem finding the best version in the streaming services, it’s pretty easy. Actually less effort than finding the best physical copy, I can do it drinking a beer on the couch.
     
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  14. lokerola

    lokerola AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Yes it is. Yea for beer drinking on the couch and skipping crappy media! :)
     
  15. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

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    One of the differences could be source .. but you also have ones equipment configuration & listening environment (acoustics). If I radically changed both those over a period of time .. my opinion could easily change on what I'm hearing & experiencing as well. I've been down that road before numerous times.
     
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  16. lattiboy

    lattiboy AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'm on a 3 month trial with Tidal HiFi for $1 a month. I have been using Spotify for ages, but I just got the Elac Debut F6s and they shine a very bright light on any quality issues in the media. For real, you hear every goddamn thing that goes into an audio file with them. To a fault perhaps.

    So far, I actually prefer Tidal. I think the design is better and the playlists feel more "human" and less "a computer scraped your listening history and here's a bunch of stuff". I've for sure had some issues streaming to my Chromecast, but I've also had issues with Spotify, so who knows.

    Sound quality wise, I think Tidal has an edge, but it really comes down to specific albums and the volume I'm listening to it at. I also have a NAS with about 150 FLAC albums on it that I stream through Plex. I've done A/B listening to the same album on Tidal, Spotify, and Plex. I have noticed a decent difference when doing the A/B/C listening, but I don't think I would really notice in most normal listening.
     
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  17. sunvalleylaw

    sunvalleylaw AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I am trying the free trial for use mostly at work during the day. I like streaming good instrumental jazz. I am using the Hi-fi/masters version via the app, and streaming directly from my MacMini via cable, I think I hear a difference as compared to my Spotify Premium. I also agree with @lattiboy as far as design, playlists, and the info they provide. I have Chromecast here too, but the cable works great, sounds good, and so no real reason to use the Chromecast here.
     
  18. david1111

    david1111 Nemo saltat sobrius Subscriber

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    I've tried Tidal on the 3 month trial, and even tho the files are 24/192, they just sound flat. I've got a decent mid-fi vintage system with an excellent MF Dac, and it makes redbook CDs sound great. A full, detailed, and vivid soundstage.
    I also have an MF V-Link 192 for the asyncronous connection from my computer to my Dac. But the streamed music files sound very poor.
    Maybe it's because I'm using VLC Media Player to organize and play the files. Any flac files that I've downloaded sound the same as the streamed files.
    From what I've read, there's a lot of people that get great hi-fi sound from streaming, but some others don't.

    Dave
     
  19. olson_jr

    olson_jr Dave? Dave's not here man. Subscriber

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    That is a surprise to me, I have never seen a 24/192 file on Tidal and I have been using it since its inception.

    Oh, and using it quite happily sound wise, but their search could be better.
     
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  20. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

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    When I started w/ Tidal (Dec 2015) .. I began streaming on my 2.1 channel stereo (living room rig). My original configuration.
    Entry level HP Laptop >AQ Forest usb > Schiit Auido M2U >AQ Evergreen RCA > Integrated Amp.

    Sounded Analytical & Sterile or "matter of fact" to me. This was solved on my system by the use of AQ Jitterbug. Big improvement, jumped to CD quality sounding to me (I stream lossy 90's & up Pop Rock mostly) .. YMMV.

    I've read that some people (myself included) have had good results w/ Jitterbug on their systems while others have not. Maybe system dependent .. YMMV.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
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