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Tidal Alternative

xirtam2005

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Currently have a Tidal Hifi Plus streaming service. Locked in discounted price through a Best Buy sale. Since it is relatively inexpensive, will plan to keep due to its convenience for downloading music on phone for car trips and sounds good enough for causal listening while working or having fun.

However, I just don't like the way it sounded on my very revealing critical listening system. It sounds off, and consider Tidal far more listenable and enjoyable when streamed through a Roku Ultra on a still good quality "midfi" Home Theater system (Marantz AV8802A, Parasound Halo A51). I thought something was wrong with my critical system and looked into Tidal.

There I discovered many issues with MQA being lossy and that Tidal is systematically getting rid of its true lossless bit perfect tracks and anh Hifi streaming of MQA tracks is even more lossy than MQA. They are effectively downgrading sound quality by removing the true lossless FLAC whether they know it or not. Tidal still sounds great to me on midfi home theater gear and a midfi car audio (Acura ELS) for non critical listening, but doesn't cut the mustard for true critical listening.

However I really like the concept of streaming and not having to purchase whole albums or individual tracks, as that would get ridiculously expensive, given the variety I like to listen to. Before Tidal I would play the same physical media tracks on a critical listening system because they sounded good but it got repetitive and wasn't actually enjoying the music. I do enjoy the Tidal music on lower tier gear. It sounds somewhat harsh and flat on the critical listening system vs. Redbook and SACDs.

Is there an alternative streaming service available that offers better sound quality than Tidal? Is Qobuz any good? Is it lossless and does it have a good selection? Amazon Music HD claims to be lossless, but I suspect it is lossy.
 

sarumbear

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Is there an alternative streaming service available that offers better sound quality than Tidal? Is Qobuz any good? Is it lossless and does it have a good selection? Amazon Music HD claims to be lossless, but I suspect it is lossy.
The second largest streaming service that offers lossless is Apple Music. They are closely followed in subscriber numbers by Amazon. I do not understand why you assume Amazon HD to be lossy.

You must understand that all tracks are supplied by the labels. If they sent in lossless files, what benefit is there for Amazon to convert them to lossy on their HD system and blatantly lie?
 
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xirtam2005

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The second largest streaming service that offers lossless is Apple Music. They are closely followed in subscriber numbers by Amazon. I do not understand why you assume Amazon HD to be lossy.

You must understand that all tracks are supplied by the labels. If they sent in lossless files, what benefit is there for Amazon to convert them to lossy on their HD system and blatantly lie?

Was not aware of Apple Music. I've never heard Amazon Music HD so wouldn't know. However Tidal Hifi claims to be lossless and MQA high resolution, but saw a post from Golden One "MQA Deep Dive" on March 24, 2021 that has very seriously disturbed me regarding Tidal/MQA, at least for critical listening.
 

Timcognito

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Qobuz is great sounding, 70 million titles and now is $10/mo and $15/mo for a dual account. First month free so try it.
 

sarumbear

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Was not aware of Apple Music. I've never heard Amazon Music HD so wouldn't know. However Tidal Hifi claims to be lossless and MQA high resolution, but saw a post from Golden One "MQA Deep Dive" on March 24, 2021 that has very seriously disturbed me regarding Tidal/MQA, at least for critical listening.
1641144798795.jpeg
ASR posts show a distorted view of the market. Almost all streaming services you see mentioned here have less than 1% share of the market.
 

MRC01

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As a Qobuz subscriber, I'll add that they are the only service that plays lossless HD in a browser - all others stream lossy in the browser and require their apps to play lossless. And Qobuz also has responsive support. My only Qobuz gripe is their classical metadata sucks, but this is true of every streaming service except for Idagio (and maybe Apple Music, if they incorporated Primephonic's metadata when they acquired them).

Idagio also plays lossless in a browser, which is great. But they have only classical music, and they resample HD content to CD quality for streaming. Even if one believes that 44-16 is sufficiently transparent, the process of down-sampling may or may not be. Done properly it should be transparent, but it's not always done properly and I've encountered audible artifacts from flawed down-sampling just often enough not to trust it as a "black box".
 
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xirtam2005

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Thanks. Leaning toward trying Qobuz if its truly the best sounding for critical listening and offers lossless Redbook and higher res options.

May still need to keep Tidal for its flexibility and selection unless there is another mainstream service that has a Roku app that can stream at least CD quality. There is no lossless option for the Amazon Roku App, Tidal does do Hifi but not sure about YouTube music or Spotify.

I'm willing to try Qobuz and keep Tidal or "something else" as a mainstream solution if it is true lossless. That GoldeOne MQA post was extremely disturbing to me.

For the critical listening system will stream laptop to USB to Oppo USB input.
 
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sarumbear

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As a Qobuz subscriber, I'll add that they are the only service that plays lossless HD in a browser - all others stream lossy in the browser and require their apps to play lossless.
Apple Music plays lossless and hi-res in a browser. There had been various tests done by ASR members that confirms this. In fact that seems to be the only option to get hi-res from Apple Music on Windows. You can search the forum.
 

MRC01

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Apple Music plays lossless and hi-res in a browser. ...
When I tested it a few months ago, their browser player did not support ALAC (lossless) on my Linux desktop with Firefox or Chrome. And Apple Support confirmed they did not support this. Perhaps it requires an apple device with their Safari browser?
 

sarumbear

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When I tested it a few months ago, their browser player did not support ALAC (lossless) on my Linux desktop with Firefox or Chrome. And Apple Support confirmed they did not support this. Perhaps it requires an apple device with their Safari browser?
That could be because your setup couldn’t run the web app, which is what the Apple Music web player is. Visit the Apple Music web player using the link here on a Windows browser and sign in with your Apple ID to test.
 

DimitryZ

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Currently have a Tidal Hifi Plus streaming service. Locked in discounted price through a Best Buy sale. Since it is relatively inexpensive, will plan to keep due to its convenience for downloading music on phone for car trips and sounds good enough for causal listening while working or having fun.

However, I just don't like the way it sounded on my very revealing critical listening system. It sounds off, and consider Tidal far more listenable and enjoyable when streamed through a Roku Ultra on a still good quality "midfi" Home Theater system (Marantz AV8802A, Parasound Halo A51). I thought something was wrong with my critical system and looked into Tidal.

There I discovered many issues with MQA being lossy and that Tidal is systematically getting rid of its true lossless bit perfect tracks and anh Hifi streaming of MQA tracks is even more lossy than MQA. They are effectively downgrading sound quality by removing the true lossless FLAC whether they know it or not. Tidal still sounds great to me on midfi home theater gear and a midfi car audio (Acura ELS) for non critical listening, but doesn't cut the mustard for true critical listening.

However I really like the concept of streaming and not having to purchase whole albums or individual tracks, as that would get ridiculously expensive, given the variety I like to listen to. Before Tidal I would play the same physical media tracks on a critical listening system because they sounded good but it got repetitive and wasn't actually enjoying the music. I do enjoy the Tidal music on lower tier gear. It sounds somewhat harsh and flat on the critical listening system vs. Redbook and SACDs.

Is there an alternative streaming service available that offers better sound quality than Tidal? Is Qobuz any good? Is it lossless and does it have a good selection? Amazon Music HD claims to be lossless, but I suspect it is lossy.
I subscribe to most streaming services popular here.

Qobuz is great, with one exception - they don't have a separate genre selection for blues - it's together with folk and country, which is a major bummer for me.

Tidal has a much more granular genre selection.
 
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xirtam2005

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I've been looking into this. Tidal seems to be the least lossy streaming app that can be used on Roku Ultra. Nothing else currently available on Roku comes close. It sounds more than good enough for enjoyable non-critical listening on my higher end of midfi HT system.

On my more revealing lower end of true hifi critical music system, Tidal is not enjoyable, especially very high and very low frequencies. That system is much less forgiving.

So looks like I'll be keeping Tidal for the everyday convenience - all other Roku streaming music services are noticeably lossy and sound terrible on the HT system, except for Tidal.

But I'm looking to get another true lossless music service to try if I can enjoy my critical system again without paying an arm and a leg for content (I'm sure HD Tracks & Jriver all sound great but not interested in the complexity and expense of per track content) - Optical discs sounded amazing on the critical system with Oppo 105 source but the 9 year old disc tray is not functioning properly and will likely die soon.

I think I'll give Qobuz a try. What is the best way to stream from it and pass highest resolution lossless? I have both a Samsung Android phone that can pass USB c to HDMI (the USBC to USBB audio on Samsung sucks but HDMI works) with Qobuz Android app or have a full laptop (HP Envy) that can pass USB 2.0 or higher to USBB DAC input using Qobuz windows app. Oppo 105 works fine except for disc tray, so was planning to use Oppo 105 as DAC either via HDMI input for the Android or USB-B input for computer.
 

sarumbear

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I've been looking into this. Tidal seems to be the least lossy streaming app that can be used on Roku Ultra.
Roku costs equivalent to just a few months of those subscription services. Why limit yourself with the player device?
 
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xirtam2005

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Roku costs equivalent to just a few months of those subscription services. Why limit yourself with the player device?
I'm not at all. I don't plan to use Tidal for critical listening going forward on my critical listening system. I'm planning to try something else, leaning toward Qobuz to try a lossless streaming app better than Tidal either via Android or laptop with wired connections to the DAC (USBC to HDMI for Android or USBA/C to USBB for laptop).

The home theater is a family area where I cannot have a separate phone or laptop with wires running to the Pre/Pro. The simplicity of Tidal hifi built into Roku is sufficient, but also that I don't have to pay extra to download Tidal albums to my Android phone so I can play downloaded Tidal files in car without using high data rates.
 

sarumbear

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I'm not at all. I don't plan to use Tidal for critical listening going forward on my critical listening system. I'm planning to try something else, leaning toward Qobuz to try a lossless streaming app better than Tidal either via Android or laptop with wired connections to the DAC (USBC to HDMI for Android or USBA/C to USBB for laptop).

The home theater is a family area where I cannot have a separate phone or laptop with wires running to the Pre/Pro. The simplicity of Tidal hifi built into Roku is sufficient, but also that I don't have to pay extra to download Tidal albums to my Android phone so I can play downloaded Tidal files in car without using high data rates.
Try an Apple TV and Apple Music.
 

Timcognito

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hey don't have a separate genre selection for blues
Just checked Qobuz on my windows laptop, android tablet, Qobuz native app and BluOs They all HAVE Blues as a genre. Maybe an Apple problem?
 
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xirtam2005

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Just checked Qobuz on my windows laptop, android tablet, Qobuz native app and BluOs They all HAVE Blues as a genre. Maybe an Apple problem?
How do you connect Qobuz to your system(s), for good hi-resolution pass to DAC? Any particular settings or additional software, or just native Qobuz apps?
 

DimitryZ

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Just checked Qobuz on my windows laptop, android tablet, Qobuz native app and BluOs They all HAVE Blues as a genre. Maybe an Apple problem?
Maybe. I run it on an iOS device and can only choose Blues-Folk-Country.

I can try it through Mconnect and DLNA in Oppo UDP-205.
 
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