• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Testing of Streaming Services (Tidal, Apple, Amazon)

Dennis_FL

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
352
Likes
226
I am trying out the various streaming services and would like to narrow it down to one or two. I currently have Tidal HiFi - primarily for Roon integration and I also have Amazon Music as the family uses it.

Prcing for the Hi Res is about equal. Amazon and Apple are about $15/mo. for the family plan and Tidal is also $15 for HiFi if you get the annual deal at Best Buy ($30 otherwise)

Yesterday I signed up for Apple. Turns out you get 6 months free if you have air buds (which I do).

Apple is the reason for this post. I must be doing something wrong, because compared to the other services, Apple is really bad. I spent a good deal of time trying to find albums and get my preferences. When I signed up, I got a request to pick my favorite genres (click once to like, twice to love, long hold to delete). Then you can add favorite artist. None of their suggestions were good and when I went to add your own, it crashed.

I can't get back to that. And by home page in Apple music is filled with suggestions a teenager might like.

iTunes also decided to "organize" my ripped CDs and put fragments of albums here and there instead of one folder.

Doesn't seem reversible.

ARGHHHH
 

Tom C

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2019
Messages
1,013
Likes
874
Location
USA
I am trying out the various streaming services and would like to narrow it down to one or two. I currently have Tidal HiFi - primarily for Roon integration and I also have Amazon Music as the family uses it.

Prcing for the Hi Res is about equal. Amazon and Apple are about $15/mo. for the family plan and Tidal is also $15 for HiFi if you get the annual deal at Best Buy ($30 otherwise)

Yesterday I signed up for Apple. Turns out you get 6 months free if you have air buds (which I do).

Apple is the reason for this post. I must be doing something wrong, because compared to the other services, Apple is really bad. I spent a good deal of time trying to find albums and get my preferences. When I signed up, I got a request to pick my favorite genres (click once to like, twice to love, long hold to delete). Then you can add favorite artist. None of their suggestions were good and when I went to add your own, it crashed.

I can't get back to that. And by home page in Apple music is filled with suggestions a teenager might like.

iTunes also decided to "organize" my ripped CDs and put fragments of albums here and there instead of one folder.

Doesn't seem reversible.

ARGHHHH
At least the trial was free…and it sounds like it really was a trial.
 

AdamG247

Strive to be Understood, rather than heard!
Moderator
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
2,774
Likes
6,971
Hi Dennis,

Did all this comparisons with 5 different Sources (Spotify, Tidal, Amazon, Qobuz and Apple). With the exception of Spotify they all offer Cd quality and/or above. Deciding on one or two of the remaining four, came down to what user interface gave me the best recommendations and ease of use. If your spending more time searching instead of listening you can eliminate that service. In short order the best services for you should become evident. I made it more difficult than it needed to be. System interface ultimately was what was most important.

Good luck in your personal journey and search. Enjoy the ride.
 
OP
Dennis_FL

Dennis_FL

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
352
Likes
226
Hi Dennis,

Did all this comparisons with 5 different Sources (Spotify, Tidal, Amazon, Qobuz and Apple). With the exception of Spotify they all offer Cd quality and/or above. Deciding on one or two of the remaining four, came down to what user interface gave me the best recommendations and ease of use. If your spending more time searching instead of listening you can eliminate that service. In short order the best services for you should become evident. I made it more difficult than it needed to be. System interface ultimately was what was most important.

Good luck in your personal journey and search. Enjoy the ride.
Yeah. User Interface. Apple is really confusing. That is hard to believe for me. And the classical music searching is laughable although they are in the process of fixing that.

Another problem with Apple is the help files seem to be 90% on earlier versions of iTunes which don't apply.
 

acbarn

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
1,878
Likes
4,591
Location
California
I am trying out the various streaming services and would like to narrow it down to one or two. I currently have Tidal HiFi - primarily for Roon integration and I also have Amazon Music as the family uses it.

Prcing for the Hi Res is about equal. Amazon and Apple are about $15/mo. for the family plan and Tidal is also $15 for HiFi if you get the annual deal at Best Buy ($30 otherwise)

Yesterday I signed up for Apple. Turns out you get 6 months free if you have air buds (which I do).

Apple is the reason for this post. I must be doing something wrong, because compared to the other services, Apple is really bad. I spent a good deal of time trying to find albums and get my preferences. When I signed up, I got a request to pick my favorite genres (click once to like, twice to love, long hold to delete). Then you can add favorite artist. None of their suggestions were good and when I went to add your own, it crashed.

I can't get back to that. And by home page in Apple music is filled with suggestions a teenager might like.

iTunes also decided to "organize" my ripped CDs and put fragments of albums here and there instead of one folder.

Doesn't seem reversible.

ARGHHHH
Apple Music on iOS is pretty great. Apple Music on MacOS is only OK. Apple Music everywhere else is pretty bad. That’s from a UI/UX standpoint.

As for sound, lossless and higher quality will sound identical from one service to another assuming the same masters and identical signal paths. If you’re using iTunes on Windows (it sounds like you are), you may be listening to 256 kbps AAC files that were downloaded at some point in the past.

For better or worse, Apple Music is really a service optimized for the iPhone and iPad.
 

NiagaraPete

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 23, 2021
Messages
1,422
Likes
1,073
Location
Canada
Itunes is not Apple Music. Apple Music won't sort your rips.

How are you accessing Apple Music? Web app? iPhone/iPad Windows?
 
OP
Dennis_FL

Dennis_FL

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
352
Likes
226
Itunes is not Apple Music. Apple Music won't sort your rips.

How are you accessing Apple Music? Web app? iPhone/iPad Windows?
I said iTunes and meant Apple Music.

I'm using it with my iMac Apple Music app, and similar apps in my iPhone and iPads

I believe I am too familiar with Amazon Music and Tidal/Roon formats and just am not used to the Apple way. I knew the reason they bought a classical music streamer was their own library and searching methods were lacking and I can confirm it is pretty bad right now.

I am going to switch from classical to pop, jazz, and vocalists and give it a second look
 
Last edited:

NiagaraPete

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 23, 2021
Messages
1,422
Likes
1,073
Location
Canada
I said iTunes and meant Apple Music.

I'm using it with my iMac Apple Music app, and similar apps in my iPhone and iPads

I believe I am too familiar with Amazon Music and Tidal/Roon formats and just am not used to the Apple way. I knew the reason they bought a classical music streamer was their own library and searching methods were lacking and I can confirm it is pretty bad right now.

I am going to switch from classical to pop, jazz, and vocalists and give it a second look
Ahh. You can access Apple Music via itunes but it's a dogs breakfast. I've only briefly looked at the web app. I use iPhone and iPad (iPad is best). I've generally found that Tidal music referrals to be best but Apple is a close second. Amazon I've not spent enough time with but it doesn't seem to have the depth of either Apple or Tidal.
 
OP
Dennis_FL

Dennis_FL

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
352
Likes
226
I'm still fiddling with Apple Music and I think I have the hang of it. It's OK.

I also have active Tidal + Roon and Amazon Music subscriptions and Apple is missing a lot of classical music the other two have. And I miss the short artist write-ups in Roon. The location of the search box wasn't intuitive and I had to keep an eye on whether I was in my own library or Apples. Tidal and Roon merge them.

Assuming Apple upgrades classical next year, I'll probably dump Amazon.
 

JanesJr1

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 9, 2021
Messages
376
Likes
298
Location
MA
I am trying out the various streaming services and would like to narrow it down to one or two. I currently have Tidal HiFi - primarily for Roon integration and I also have Amazon Music as the family uses it.

Prcing for the Hi Res is about equal. Amazon and Apple are about $15/mo. for the family plan and Tidal is also $15 for HiFi if you get the annual deal at Best Buy ($30 otherwise)

Yesterday I signed up for Apple. Turns out you get 6 months free if you have air buds (which I do).

Apple is the reason for this post. I must be doing something wrong, because compared to the other services, Apple is really bad. I spent a good deal of time trying to find albums and get my preferences. When I signed up, I got a request to pick my favorite genres (click once to like, twice to love, long hold to delete). Then you can add favorite artist. None of their suggestions were good and when I went to add your own, it crashed.

I can't get back to that. And by home page in Apple music is filled with suggestions a teenager might like.

iTunes also decided to "organize" my ripped CDs and put fragments of albums here and there instead of one folder.

Doesn't seem reversible.

ARGHHHH
I gather you are not including Idagio in your search. If you are listen to a lot of classical, you may want to take a look at it as an additional source. I tried it because of reviews that praised its search capabilities, along with a large catalog of lossless recordings. I can confirm that, though I am not familiar with the same capabilities on Qobuz and Tidal. I have Amazon for general-interest and pay another $10 a month just for the excellent and detailed catalog at Idagio, along with great search, new-recording reviews, live performances, and playlists.

They are also one of a very few services that pay performers based on length of play instead of by the selection. (Since classical tends to include longer performances, this offsets the payment bias in favor of non-classical genres by the typical royalty formulas.) So when I can, I use Idagio first for classical playback, ahead of Amazon. I don't know how the average classical musician can make ends meet, based on how things are now vs. how they were back in the heyday of LP's and CD's.
 
OP
Dennis_FL

Dennis_FL

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
352
Likes
226
I gather you are not including Idagio in your search. If you are listen to a lot of classical, you may want to take a look at it as an additional source. I tried it because of reviews that praised its search capabilities, along with a large catalog of lossless recordings. I can confirm that, though I am not familiar with the same capabilities on Qobuz and Tidal. I have Amazon for general-interest and pay another $10 a month just for the excellent and detailed catalog at Idagio, along with great search, new-recording reviews, live performances, and playlists.

They are also one of a very few services that pay performers based on length of play instead of by the selection. (Since classical tends to include longer performances, this offsets the payment bias in favor of non-classical genres by the typical royalty formulas.) So when I can, I use Idagio first for classical playback, ahead of Amazon. I don't know how the average classical musician can make ends meet, based on how things are now vs. how they were back in the heyday of LP's and CD's.
I peeked at Indigo but it isn't merged with Roon as Tidal and Qobuz are. I'll probably stay with Tidal and my 6 month free Apple subscription for now.
 

Head_Unit

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 27, 2018
Messages
925
Likes
446
Apple Music is really a service optimized for the iPhone and iPad.
You'd think, and that's what I thought, I blamed all kinds of problems on my phone. Updating to a 2020 iPhone SE when they came out did nothing to fix the same problems I've had for YEARS:
- Type in a search, hit go, nothing comes up at all (1-2 times a week)
- Pick an album, nothing loads, or maybe album art, then nothing (2-3 times a week)
- Fake mini spectrum analyzer shows music is playing, but actually NADA, nyet, nein, zero. On the phone, on iPad, and most especially via CarPlay (on 5 vehicles to date). (3-5 times a week)
- Press PLAY, icon goes to pause, no playback, play icon reappears. (maybe 1 time per week)
- Signal strength or wifi network don't matter.
I thought it was just me, then my buddy who has worked at Apple Store since the beginning said (I am rephrasing) "oh yeah their app is sh!t I guess" :facepalm:
[vomit emoji]
BUT you can upload your own files, and it would work on CarPlay before there was any Spotify, and my brother and wife and mom and kid are all on it.
Sometimes I lie awake nights wondering if Spotify is better.
OK, no I actually do not. Maybe I should?!? o_O
P.S. Yes I've reinstalled and updated, the phone has space, same [email protected] even if Music is the ONLY app open.
 

GREG K

New Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2022
Messages
4
Likes
0
Location
Ohio
My experience with Amazon,, Apple and Tidal is that the UI is really difficult to understand, navigate and full of bugs. I do like that Amazon goes out to my music files on my PC and they show up on the UI. Hit or miss however.
 

NiagaraPete

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 23, 2021
Messages
1,422
Likes
1,073
Location
Canada
I would disagree. I think Tidal, Apple Music (iPhone,iPad) are very easy and intuitive. Plus I've not encountered a bug with Apple Music.
 

GREG K

New Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2022
Messages
4
Likes
0
Location
Ohio
Newbie here, wondering about the streaming services claim of "70+ million songs" in their library in different quality formats. Do they
Buy from the record label directly or buy from a "wholesaler"
Store every version in their private server or cloud (Azure, AWS...)
 

Timcognito

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
1,035
Likes
4,546
Location
NorCal
Every stream on Qobuz is CD quality or Hi Res. No MP3. No MQA. $10/mo, 1st month free. 70 million titles. Lots of classical, jazz and world music
 

NiagaraPete

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 23, 2021
Messages
1,422
Likes
1,073
Location
Canada
Newbie here, wondering about the streaming services claim of "70+ million songs" in their library in different quality formats. Do they
Buy from the record label directly or buy from a "wholesaler"
Store every version in their private server or cloud (Azure, AWS...)
Apple Music has 90 million. Not sure if all are CD or higher though.
 

Head_Unit

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 27, 2018
Messages
925
Likes
446
Against my earlier negative rant re Apple Music, I will say it is quite cool how I can upload stuff and stream it. Some rare CD or different mastering, rip it to my library, syncs and uploads. Very nice! Especially since I have much more listening time in the car than time by myself at home.
 

Head_Unit

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 27, 2018
Messages
925
Likes
446
Newbie here, wondering about the streaming services claim of "70+ million songs" in their library in different quality formats. Do they
Buy from the record label directly or buy from a "wholesaler"
Store every version in their private server or cloud (Azure, AWS...)
I'm pretty sure they don't buy them at all, they are provided from the label. Then per stream or whatever, Apple etc pay the music label for their use.
 
Top Bottom