Can you tell the difference between Tidal vs GPM/AM/Spotify?

MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
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This is Tidal in HiFi mode and GPM and AM at their highest settings and Spotify Premium. I think GPM and Spotify Premium are 320kbps MP3, AM is 256kbps AAC.

About to test it out on my little audio setup here. Anybody have the ears that can tell the difference between lossless Tidal vs some high kbps encoded lossless files?
 

fuzzybabybunny

Moderator<br>Digital & Video Cameras
Moderator
Jan 2, 2006
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I haven't tried the difference between Spotify Premium, but based on my testing:

Westone W60 + DragonFly Red DAC
Tidal HiFi / Master vs Tidal High Setting: can definitely tell a difference
Tidal HiFi / Master vs MP3 128 and 160: can tell the difference 100% of the time
Tidal HiFi / Master vs MP3 320: can tell the difference maybe 50% of the time. Considering it's 50/50, it's a coin toss and honesty I'd be happy with both.
 

rstrohkirch

Platinum Member
May 31, 2005
2,423
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Assuming the service you're getting the song from in 320 MP3 form has a well encoded version of that file...then no, most people can't tell. Most people fail a/b/x tests with a correctly encoded 320 MP3 vs an uncompressed original file. Though, I question the quantity of quality MP3 files you would get from any of the services. So if you can afford the higher tier I would definitely suggest it.
 
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gorcorps

aka Brandon
Jul 18, 2004
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Probably not, but I'd have to listen to them to tell. Back in the day when I used Foobar2000, I used their double blind test feature to see at what point I start to fairly consistently be able to pick out a compressed mp3 vs. a FLAC file. Turns out I couldn't hear any difference until I went below 192vbr in LAME (I think that's -V2 if they still use that same convention). Once I got below that I could tell mostly by the cymbals that it wasn't sounding right. I still ended up encoding at -V0 just to be sure, but if I was that desperate for space I could have bumped it down to -V2 without noticing.
 

gorcorps

aka Brandon
Jul 18, 2004
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As a side note, I used google play music for a couple years before getting sick of their changes to the UI that removed features I used. The last straw was taking away the ability to sort new releases by genre... I don't give a shit if kanye has a new album, show me new releases from the genre I want.

Anyway, I switched to Amazon music but honestly I think their service sounds worse... sometimes I wonder if they transcoded files in some cases. I might have to jump to spotify after this and see if they sound better.
 

lxskllr

No Lifer
Nov 30, 2004
57,390
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I use my own music on an sdcard. Mostly q8 vorbis. Sounds great, and I only had to buy the songs once.
 

Malogeek

Golden Member
Mar 5, 2017
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yaktribe.org
Anyway, I switched to Amazon music but honestly I think their service sounds worse... sometimes I wonder if they transcoded files in some cases. I might have to jump to spotify after this and see if they sound better
Note that Spotify has a transcoding option turned on by default to normalise audio levels. Turn that shit off. Otherwise I'm quite happy with their premium audio quality.
 

Captante

Lifer
Oct 20, 2003
30,256
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As a side note, I used google play music for a couple years before getting sick of their changes to the UI that removed features I used. The last straw was taking away the ability to sort new releases by genre... I don't give a shit if kanye has a new album, show me new releases from the genre I want.


How was it when they took away the entire service bot-boy?