Issues Streaming Atmos on Tidal

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omega4

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I am not sure this quite the right place for this post but as it is the EJ Atmos tracks that set me going along this road it seems as good as anywhere. So, based on the Atmos blu-rays I have which play very well in 5.1 (I have no Atmos set up and unlikely to for some time) I thought, great I will subscribe to Tidal and at least fold down the Atmos mixes to 5.1. I have, however, now reached the point of believing that "Tidal" is streaming parlance for "nightmare"!!

I started on this dead-end road with the deluded thought that I could use my Roku Express to stream the much admired EJ Diamonds tracks. I should say that I have this Roku device so that I can stream Disney+ with 5.1 sound (5.1 is not possible via my laptop for some reason) and it is fine for that. The Tidal account via Roku gives two options at £9.95 pm or £19.95 pm for the hi-res access. I opted for the hi-res/Master account and started looking for the Atmos albums without finding them at all. I did manage to find an Atmos sampler but it played only in stereo. Further research done revealed that Tidal only streams up to CD quality on the Roku - so why offer and take a subscription for hi-res that it cannot deliver??!!

So, a day later (and a suitable cooling off period) I logged into Tidal eventually after being blocked on several occasions as there is "a robot on my IP address" via my laptop connected via HDMI to my Cambridge CXU. The laptop recognised the capability up to 7.1 in DTS, DD and DD Plus so all good there. But whatever I tried the best I could get was stereo, admittedly it did include the hi-res Master audio file of some albums. Definitely no 5.1 though.

The ability to search for Dolby Atmos albums or tracks on Tidal is stupifyingly difficult. I know I have seen the new Abba album available in Atmos but blowed if I can find it again. Also, Fleetwood Mac Rumours is in Atmos and at Master audio quality but switch to EJ Diamonds and it drops to Hi_Fi (presumably CD 16/44). In any event always stereo only. The menus and search facility is about the worst I have encountered on any website. How on earth will Atmos become a well used system if it cannot be found easily by someone, like me, who knows what they are looking for? Why no dedicated Atmos button? The search does not bring up very much at all despite the albums being present.

And if Tidal have somehow set up their system only to work with a limited pieces of specified Atmos approved equipment but not 5.1 systems, how crazy is that? I am, after only four days, on the point of cancelling a £20 pm subscription as it is way too hard to use. I should be very grateful to anyone who may have some suggestions about how I might access the Atmos music on Tidal, otherwise.........

Bring back physical product to save the sanity of audio world users! I hope that EJ brick is coming! Maybe it will be on the merch stand at Watford football club when he plays there on 4 July! Well I can hope (especially at Aus $300!) ;)
 

perzon57

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I am not sure this quite the right place for this post but as it is the EJ Atmos tracks that set me going along this road it seems as good as anywhere. So, based on the Atmos blu-rays I have which play very well in 5.1 (I have no Atmos set up and unlikely to for some time) I thought, great I will subscribe to Tidal and at least fold down the Atmos mixes to 5.1. I have, however, now reached the point of believing that "Tidal" is streaming parlance for "nightmare"!!

I started on this dead-end road with the deluded thought that I could use my Roku Express to stream the much admired EJ Diamonds tracks. I should say that I have this Roku device so that I can stream Disney+ with 5.1 sound (5.1 is not possible via my laptop for some reason) and it is fine for that. The Tidal account via Roku gives two options at £9.95 pm or £19.95 pm for the hi-res access. I opted for the hi-res/Master account and started looking for the Atmos albums without finding them at all. I did manage to find an Atmos sampler but it played only in stereo. Further research done revealed that Tidal only streams up to CD quality on the Roku - so why offer and take a subscription for hi-res that it cannot deliver??!!

So, a day later (and a suitable cooling off period) I logged into Tidal eventually after being blocked on several occasions as there is "a robot on my IP address" via my laptop connected via HDMI to my Cambridge CXU. The laptop recognised the capability up to 7.1 in DTS, DD and DD Plus so all good there. But whatever I tried the best I could get was stereo, admittedly it did include the hi-res Master audio file of some albums. Definitely no 5.1 though.

The ability to search for Dolby Atmos albums or tracks on Tidal is stupifyingly difficult. I know I have seen the new Abba album available in Atmos but blowed if I can find it again. Also, Fleetwood Mac Rumours is in Atmos and at Master audio quality but switch to EJ Diamonds and it drops to Hi_Fi (presumably CD 16/44). In any event always stereo only. The menus and search facility is about the worst I have encountered on any website. How on earth will Atmos become a well used system if it cannot be found easily by someone, like me, who knows what they are looking for? Why no dedicated Atmos button? The search does not bring up very much at all despite the albums being present.

And if Tidal have somehow set up their system only to work with a limited pieces of specified Atmos approved equipment but not 5.1 systems, how crazy is that? I am, after only four days, on the point of cancelling a £20 pm subscription as it is way too hard to use. I should be very grateful to anyone who may have some suggestions about how I might access the Atmos music on Tidal, otherwise.........

Bring back physical product to save the sanity of audio world users! I hope that EJ brick is coming! Maybe it will be on the merch stand at Watford football club when he plays there on 4 July! Well I can hope (especially at Aus $300!) ;)
I don,t think Tidal allows downmixing Atmos to 5.1, only stereo. You will have to get a ATV4K for that.
 

albertop

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I have been using Tidal for a number of years, since 2017. At the time, it was the only streaming service in my country to offer lossless or even hi-res audio. Tidal was also the only PC app to offer Wasapi with an exclusive mode interface. Over the years, many things have changed, from the introduction of Atmos titles to the diffused use of MQA, also for 16/44.1 titles. I like Tidal, its interface, and the overall user experience.

I understand your frustration, but I think it is just a matter of getting used to the way Tidal wants you to use the service. If you own a recent TV (for example, I have an LG), it is straightforward to get Atmos, which will be sent to your AVR as a DD+ stream (e-ac3 codec). Depending on your configuration, you'll hear it back in Atmos, 7.1, 5.1, quad or whatever. Very easy. The same principle applies to stereo. If you have a media centre, such as an Intel Nuc with Windows, or a laptop connected to your AVR via HDMI, simply use the Tidal app and Wasapi exclusive mode. You will get a lossless stereo signal, no flaws.

The search function for Atmos and 360 titles will only work well on devices that are Atmos or 360 capable. I can search for Atmos titles via my TV, even if they are not tagged as atmos mixes, for example. However, I cannot do that via my computer, because the Atmos logo does not show up. The same applies to 360 titles. I can easily search for them via my iPhone, because I see the 360 logo. I can't search for them via my pc.

If one accepts the facts above as part of the experience, it will be a pleasant experience. However, if these conditions are not acceptable, it is probably better to switch to Apple Music or Qobuz, keeping in mind those services also have their advantages and disadvantages. It all comes down to personal preference, but there is a bit of a learning curve, and once the way to get what you what is known, Tidal can give a lot of satisfaction.
 

omega4

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I have been using Tidal for a number of years, since 2017. At the time, it was the only streaming service in my country to offer lossless or even hi-res audio. Tidal was also the only PC app to offer Wasapi with an exclusive mode interface. Over the years, many things have changed, from the introduction of Atmos titles to the diffused use of MQA, also for 16/44.1 titles. I like Tidal, its interface, and the overall user experience.

I understand your frustration, but I think it is just a matter of getting used to the way Tidal wants you to use the service. If you own a recent TV (for example, I have an LG), it is straightforward to get Atmos, which will be sent to your AVR as a DD+ stream (e-ac3 codec). Depending on your configuration, you'll hear it back in Atmos, 7.1, 5.1, quad or whatever. Very easy. The same principle applies to stereo. If you have a media centre, such as an Intel Nuc with Windows, or a laptop connected to your AVR via HDMI, simply use the Tidal app and Wasapi exclusive mode. You will get a lossless stereo signal, no flaws.

The search function for Atmos and 360 titles will only work well on devices that are Atmos or 360 capable. I can search for Atmos titles via my TV, even if they are not tagged as atmos mixes, for example. However, I cannot do that via my computer, because the Atmos logo does not show up. The same applies to 360 titles. I can easily search for them via my iPhone, because I see the 360 logo. I can't search for them via my pc.

If one accepts the facts above as part of the experience, it will be a pleasant experience. However, if these conditions are not acceptable, it is probably better to switch to Apple Music or Qobuz, keeping in mind those services also have their advantages and disadvantages. It all comes down to personal preference, but there is a bit of a learning curve, and once the way to get what you what is known, Tidal can give a lot of satisfaction.

Hello Albertop,

Firstly, sorry not to reply sooner and thank you for your comprehensive suggestions. I do not have a recent TV - 2014 Panasonic plasma which has received no updates of any kind for years but, thankfully, still provides a superb picture quality (inc 3D) and I will only replace it when I absolutely have to! As a result, I have tried several different ways but cannot access any album beyond stereo. I cannot bring myself to pay £20/month for such a user non-friendly service and one which without Atmos access I will probably not use anyway. All seems revenue limiting for Tidal (not suggesting that my subscription will make or break Tidal!). Oh well, I shall have a (withering) look at Qobuz and see. Other than that I shall be happy to live with only (!!) 5.1 from discs.

Thanks again for your kind assistance.
 

Bill Sherbon

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Hi omega4,

Tidal only lists the following TV compatible devices: AppleTV 4k, Fire TV, and Nvidia Shield. They also have links to what else is supported:

My tv supports "ARC" but not "eARC". I wasn't sure if that made a difference so I plugged my Firestick into one of my Denon X4700H's HDMI inputs rather than a TV HDMI input. With this I am able to get ATMOS in Tidal, sounds great.

I too think the Tidal interface is somewhat maddening (many versions of the same album listed without a description of the specific release/version or differences, no dedicated ATMOS search, in Firestick so far I can't find a way to get lyrics, etc...). It especially gets confusing because there are interface/content differences based on whether I'm using Tidal on the Firestick, Tidal on my android phone, etc.... To find ATMOS content (when using the Firestick), I go to an artist and then scroll through their albums. The ones with ATMOS have that symbol. (I also read the various threads here where people post about the latest releases).

If you look into Qobuz I would be interested in your impressions. I haven't tried it yet myself, but I like how they allow subscribers to purchase content at discounted price (in my head I'm still struggling with 'owning content' vs 'renting/streaming', lol), but surround is very important to me too. Good luck!
 

albertop

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With the latest update of the Tidal mobile app, I am now able to do a dedicated atmos and 360 search. It’s not ideal but a decent workaround. They have also added the Atmos tag. I couldn’t see it on my mobile until the most recent update

Regarding the many versions of the same album listed without description, it is a common issue of many streaming services, and even platforms like HDtracks, on which it is challenging to identify the release you are after. With Tidal, checking the credits and the release date can sometimes help.
 
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