I’ve never liked the quality of music coming from the family Spotify account. I’m not talking about the selection of tracks or the app experience (the former being good, the latter being less good), but I’ve always thought the sound quality of the music sounds way too compressed. Songs I remember having outstanding nuance in the mix (when listening on vinyl and my really good Bose headphones) sound muddy to me on Spotify. The same tracks on Apple Music sound good, sometimes remarkably so, but there’s still a warmth found on vinyl that is lacking on their digital counterparts.
I stumbled across the Tidal Music service a month or so ago. We have a Plex server that stores all of our music and videos for consumption on our various devices and an introduction to Tidal Music came along with my Plex account. I was intrigued by the service, as it advertises “Master Quality” tracks, as well as using FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) as the default file format, instead of MP3s or Apple’s AAC.
The distance is quite noticeable and enjoyable.
I use music by The Carpenters to make the comparison, usually “Superstar”, “Only Yesterday”, and “All You Get From Love Is A Love Song”. First of all, Karen Carpenter may be one of the greatest female pop vocalists of all times. Secondly, Richard Carpenter’s arrangements are very thorough and nuanced. I feel much closer to their music when listening to the Master and “HiFi” (FLAC) offerings from Tidal.
My only pause with Tidal is that it’s quite pricey. As a Plex user, Tidal is $18.99 a month, almost double what an individual user subscription costs on Spotify or Apple Music.
Earl and I talked about it and because I listen to so much music when I’m working, we were able to justify or rationalize the expense.
I’m building a nice selection of Master clock tracks in “My Collection” on Tidal and thoroughly enjoying the experience. My ears are quite pleased.