Comparing Streaming, between Tidal & Apple Music

QuadraphonicQuad

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PurpleMoustache

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C'mon, C'mon. I need more arguments like these. I have many subscriptions already, but not beeing an "Apple man", I still resist to enter the Apple game :sneaky:
Maybe the fact that Tidal isn’t really lossless anymore might push you over:



Too long didn’t read or watch summary: Tidal’s switchover to the proprietary MQA format is problematic as MQA is lossy, and also has issues with ultrasonic frequencies dropping into audible range. To make matters worse, even if you’re listening to “Hifi” level audio, not the MQA “Master” level, there is a chance that it’s the MQA file limited to 16 bit. When these series of exposes came out there was a MASS exodus from the service.
 

albertop

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Maybe the fact that Tidal isn’t really lossless anymore might push you over:



Too long didn’t read or watch summary: Tidal’s switchover to the proprietary MQA format is problematic as MQA is lossy, and also has issues with ultrasonic frequencies dropping into audible range. To make matters worse, even if you’re listening to “Hifi” level audio, not the MQA “Master” level, there is a chance that it’s the MQA file limited to 16 bit. When these series of exposes came out there was a MASS exodus from the service.

Not all albums are MQA encoded. Also, Apple doesn't allow you to use Wasapi in Exclusive mode to send the audio stream to your dac/avr/device. Therefore, it is not bit-perfect. In my case, I have a lot of music in ALAC that I've ripped from my collection. Having an Apple Music subscription would mess up my library, my tags, my album artwork etc. Neither Tidal nor Apple are perfect, but in my view, Tidal is far superior for many reasons, including that I don't need an Apple TV to play files in Atmos.
 

Cheezmo

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Not all albums are MQA encoded. Also, Apple doesn't allow you to use Wasapi in Exclusive mode to send the audio stream to your dac/avr/device. Therefore, it is not bit-perfect. In my case, I have a lot of music in ALAC that I've ripped from my collection. Having an Apple Music subscription would mess up my library, my tags, my album artwork etc. Neither Tidal nor Apple are perfect, but in my view, Tidal is far superior for many reasons, including that I don't need an Apple TV to play files in Atmos.

They have come a long way in not messing up tags or artwork. You may want to try it out on a copy of your library and see how it goes. My 90K+ track library has been successfully assimilated with no loss of custom tagging or artwork. (But I"m not going to say it was "easy"). The biggest annoyance now is tracks that were "matched" and then later replaced with Atmos versions, but I have a method to make sure any tracks I want to preserve the original CD rips are uploaded instead of matched that is proving effective.
 

albertop

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They have come a long way in not messing up tags or artwork. You may want to try it out on a copy of your library and see how it goes. My 90K+ track library has been successfully assimilated with no loss of custom tagging or artwork. (But I"m not going to say it was "easy"). The biggest annoyance now is tracks that were "matched" and then later replaced with Atmos versions, but I have a method to make sure any tracks I want to preserve the original CD rips are uploaded instead of matched that is proving effective.
I am perfectly happy with Tidal, I am on a Family Hi-Fi plan and we are all happy with this platform. I do not wish to swap to Apple Music, even if we all use iPhones and ALAC files for offline listening.
 

dabl

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Hi @GOS . Answering to this I see you have gone to the Apple (Atmos) path..... No Elton John in Atmos yet on TIDAL :(

I'm a Tidal HI-FI subscriber for Atmos since the beginning. I already had the Fire TV 4K, which is by far the cheapest device.
...
I'm not an "Apple user", and I do not consider yet to subscribe to Apple Music and buy the more expensive Apple TV 4K.

One thing I'd point out here is that for software or subscription content driven platforms, on the consumer end the initial device cost is quickly exceed by the ongoing software or content subscription expense.

IE forget about the device, it's the software or content where you'll be spending most of your money.

Tidal is currently double the cost of Apple Music per month for the same service so the device costs will be fairly quickly recouped and over time there will be significant savings going with Apple.

I can't believe Tidal still charges what they do and figured they'd react quickly to match Apple's pricing but not so far.

But it seems in this thread that there are more Atmos appearing in Apple than in Tidal, or at least, there are more Apple members here.

Sadly there is no question that Apple has more Atmos content and combined with the real total cost compared to Tidal it's a no brainer for most people.
 

dabl

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[/QUOTE]
So, in your opinion, the Apple tv doesn't have the same issues of volumn fluctuations between Atmos and stereo?
No it don't, at least not at a heart attack, speaker blowing up volume. 😁

So speaking of this there is a subset of the general problem of overall volume differences between stereo and Atmos content on either/both platforms and that is massive volume differences between tracks on the same album for some albums.

A recent example is Avril Lavigne 'Love Sux' (and there are many others), at least on Tidal, and I'd be very interested to know if the below observations are duplicated on Apple Music for this record.

Tracks 1,3,5,6,10 and 12 are loud and tracks 2,4,7,9,11 are quiet.

On Tidal these aren't subtle volume differences, they are gross/jarring. So just playing back the first track into the second says it all.

Mediainfo reports Dialog Normalization (dialnorm) values of -31 dB for the loud tracks and -18 dB for the quiet ones on Tidal.

-31 dB means no level adjustment is being done so that explains why they play at full volume.

Having half the tracks on an album set to play at half the volume simply cannot be what a human engineer would do.

Because of this, the album (on Tidal) is unplayable/unlistenable in it's entirety and any mastering engineer responsible for such an end product under normal circumstances would quickly be out of a job.

I suspect however there is in fact no mastering engineer involved and that the root problem is in blindly using the Dolby Media Encoder* in a batch encode process, perhaps combined with material that is already heavily compressed that may be problematic for the encoder. That's just a wild assed guess on my part though.

*See 'Loudness - Supports automatic loudness measurement or correction with the Intelligent Loudness metadata generation'

Apple uses Dolby MAT which allows them to circumvent or at least mitigate the root problem.

For Tidal (or Dolby for that matter), there is clearly nobody doing any sort of quality control or even just basic listening to the final lossy files comprising an album encoded for streaming. This (used to be) like level 101 stuff in any studio or mastering environment. IE an assistant engineer or even lower level person would be assigned the job to listen to any final product going out in it's entirety to catch just these kinds of problems. And they happened ALL the time. But of course, Dolby and/or Tidal are just cranking shit out, it's not like anybody cares or anything :)

It seems that the majority of the encodes don't have this problem but the list of albums that do (at least on Tidal) keeps getting longer.
 
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