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Music streaming - moving from Spotify to Tidal or Apple

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 AllanMac 25 Jun 2024

Advice please - Currently I've been streaming Spotify through my hifi setup. I've got used to Spotify's iffy quality, but I recently did a direct comparison of a CD recording with a streamed version of the same track, and there is definitely a noticeable difference. 

Given that Spotty's new pricing is now higher than other higher quality platforms, I want to change to a better streaming provider like Tidal or Apple Music, who offer at least CD quality for less money.

My streamer is a Cambridge CXNv2. I know Tidal is compatible with it, but not sure about Apple. I have hundreds of purchased tracks from the old version of iTunes and also several playlists and saved albums that I don't want to lose from Spotify.

Should I stick with Apple and risk streamer incompatibility, or go for Tidal which would involve transferring tracks from two platforms instead of one? How easy would it be to transfer them across? Without committing to the 30 day free trial, how would I know if the tracks I had on Spotify are also on Tidal?

Thanks!

 Tony Buckley 25 Jun 2024
In reply to AllanMac:

I've been on Tidal for a few months and am very happy with it.  First streaming service I've tried, played through a decent hifi, and it's working well for me.  The inclusion of some tracks and albums at 24 bit is good too.

What tracks are you especially keen on?

T.

 NorthernGrit 25 Jun 2024
In reply to AllanMac:

I went to tidal after the whole spotify funding military AI thing. Quality is noticeably better (especially following recent 'upgrades').

Tidal's catalogue is pretty expansive. I'd be surprised if there's much not available that is available on spotify etc.

Recommendation algorithm and user playlists no where near as good as spotify unfortunately which is the main downside.

OP AllanMac 25 Jun 2024
In reply to Tony Buckley:

Thanks Tony. I've taken the plunge and gone for the 30 day trial of Tidal. I've already tried it on my hifi and it sounds great, though haven't tried 24bit yet.

Recently I've been enjoying the collaboration of Suso Saiz /Menhir on their album 'Just Before Silence'. Spanish ambient musician. Very chilled and otherworldly.

Also Ex Easter Island Head's 'Norther', Anything by Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, Jon Hopkins, Lawrence English, TalkTalk/Mark Hollis

Classical: Bach, Arvo Part, John Tavener

Folk: De Dannan, Vasen, Jule Byrne, Jessica Pratt, David Crosby, Joni Mitchell (another good reason to ditch Spotify), Nick Drake

Jazz: Weather Report, Miles Davis

 broken spectre 25 Jun 2024
In reply to AllanMac:

Spotify is planning to launch Spotify hifi (for a few extra quids), I don't know when this will happen though.

 Tony Buckley 25 Jun 2024
In reply to AllanMac:

Some good suggestions that I haven't heard on your favourites there, I shall have to do some listening.  Spanish ambient sounds just the thing for a day like this. 

On the not-really-folk-but-it'll-do-as-a-label side, you might want to explore Thea Gilmore's self-titled latest and her that-relationship-turned-out-disastrously album released as Afterlight.  In the really-surprised-they-had-this camp, Rog Patterson's album Flightless has a good first six tracks.  Talisk remain on the frequent playlist too.

I'm a big fan of Found Songs by Olafur Arnold but am still exploring his other stuff.  Hildur Gudnadottir has some lovely stuff; Vichnaya Pamyat from the Chernobyl soundtrack is just wonderful.

And though I have found some gaps in the Tidal catalogue - I have diverse tastes - and, as has been hinted, their recommendations are more frequently 'wtf?' rather than 'Ah . . .', I've been pleasantly surprised far more often than I've been frustrated.  I'm sure you'll be entertained.  Have fun!

T.

OP AllanMac 25 Jun 2024
In reply to NorthernGrit:

Hi NG, thanks for your reply. I too have been wanting to ditch Spotify ever since the Rogan/Covid debacle, which also means tracks eg by Neil Young and Joni Mitchell are no longer available.

Apparently there are apps available for transferring playlists across platforms - for a charge.

Maybe Spotify's playlist recommendation algorithm is still active after subscription removal?  

OP AllanMac 25 Jun 2024
In reply to broken spectre:

> Spotify is planning to launch Spotify hifi (for a few extra quids), I don't know when this will happen though.

Yes they have been saying that for some time now. If they do charge more for it, a Spotify sub will cost quite a lot more than the other high quality platforms. 

OP AllanMac 25 Jun 2024
In reply to Tony Buckley:

I'll look forward to dipping into those suggestions. Thanks!

 SuperstarDJ 25 Jun 2024
In reply to AllanMac:

>>Also Ex Easter Island Head's 'Norther',

This is a fine record.  I will have to have a listen to your other choices.  

Stunning live performers too.

 Toccata 25 Jun 2024
In reply to AllanMac:

Spent considerable time streaming Tidal vs Apple to a Lyngdorf/B&W combo. Apple via Airplay and Tidal directly. Airplay is limited to just above CD quality whereas Tidal can pass hundreds of times more detail. Worth reading around but there's quite a bit of skepticism as to whether the human ear can actually differentiate between these levels of information. One commentary suggested people often differentiate between HiRes and CD because the original track has been remastered to make it HiRes: it's not the quality they are hearing but the remastering.

I thought I had a preference for Tidal but I like to test any 'expert' opinion. The experiment was single observer, blinded to source. I spent 3 hours listening to Tidal vs Apple in the first 3 minutes of 3 pieces of music (Paul Paray's St Saens Symphony 3, Ib; SRV Tin Pan Alley; Takacs Quartet Beethoven Quartet no 15, III). I didn't spot significant differences. In a randomly determined order the children played a minute of each piece from each source (sequentially) and I noted a) What I thought the source was and b) What I preferred. Each 6 x 1 minute set was repeated 3 times. Not really enough data for stats.

Results: I tended to prefer the first playing of each version. Otherwise, preferences and predictions followed no pattern.

Conclusions: My ear or set up did not differentiate between sources.

Clinical relevance: Apply music family plan is less than half the price of Tidal's therefore there's more beer money at the end of the month.

OP AllanMac 25 Jun 2024
In reply to Toccata:

When I compared CD to Spotify the differences between them were obvious to me. The differences between CD and Tidal were only slightly noticeable, but I did change the source myself and was not blindfolded - so not a fair comparator.

Also, as you point out, there's the first-playing honeymoon period I'm experiencing with Tidal, having only just downloaded and listened to it. So possibly some positive bias there. 

I sometimes wonder about audiophiles and equipment reviewers, who swear they can tell the minute musical differences (for example) between different interconnects, speaker wires, bi-wiring etc. My ears simply aren't up to it, so my ceiling of discernment in audio quality stops decisively at CD/Tidal with the middling-to-good equipment I've already got. No point therefore, for me at least, to go any further down the second mortgage audiophile rabbit hole.

 Toccata 26 Jun 2024
In reply to AllanMac:

Yes, Spotify is dreadful quality.

There's a lot of nonsense talked about HiFi equipment. Here's a nice article on why spending a fortune on speaker cables probably isn't worth it.

https://www.soundguys.com/cable-myths-reviving-the-coathanger-test-23553/

 kevin stephens 26 Jun 2024
In reply to AllanMac: i use Qobuz , many find it to be superior sound quality and interface than Tidal. Worth going for the free trial to compare with Tidal and see which you prefer. I have a second hand Linn streamer and all of my CDs are now in the loft

OP AllanMac 26 Jun 2024
In reply to kevin stephens:

Yes I'm finding the Tidal interface to be a bit clunky and unintuitive. Happy with the sound quality though. Good idea to trial Qobuz as well. Thanks for the recommendation.

Do you use a nas drive by any chance? Just wondering if it is worth getting one to rip my CDs onto it and to download the streamed tracks I really like.

 kevin stephens 26 Jun 2024
In reply to AllanMac:

No I don’t have an NAS, I don’t see the point as I can access all my favourite music just as easily via Qobuz. You can add favourites or playlists to Qobuz

 kevin stephens 04 Jul 2024
In reply to AllanMac:

How did you get on with comparison of Qobuz and Tidal? 


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