The Tides (ahem) have turned on music streaming

Taking the plunge with Tidal
An Introduction.
With the undeniable success of Spotify – the online streaming service featuring millions of tracks – has really changed the way a lot of people listen to music. As well as it’s ease of use and very broad selection of musical content, it’s a hard platform to fault.
Unfortunately for the discerning listener, however, there is one limitation to this music service’s repertoire. Quality.
Spotify’s compromise is that all of it’s content is quite heavily compressed. Understandably when streaming over a cellular connection, and to keep costs low for them. A lot of what they stream is limited to as low as 96kbps streams, and as high as 320kbps for their ‘high quality’ offering.
Considering CD quality in an uncompressed format is 1411.2kbps, Spotify is limited. When you’ve invested thousands into your stereo, it makes sense to want the best possible result, no matter what the source may be.
Turning the Tide
This is where Tidal comes in. Tidal offers a huge selection of music, in a much higher quality format.
The tangible benefit is much better sound-staging, imaging, detail and a much less compressed sound of course.
Tidal uses the best possible quality rip of what they have available. This is in the FLAC format, generally a lossless but compressed file format of CD’s 1411Kbps bitrate, achieving close to half that (around 750Kbps average).
In Practise
Recently both Simaudio’s Moon, McIntoshand Oppo have announced support for Tidal streaming in their networked devices, so we jumped at the chance and updated our Moon 180 MiND.
After a quick firmware update we choose Tidal as our source, searched for a slightly obscure artist and voila!
A full suite of albums.
I line up an album into the queue and hit play.
Buddy Rich’s shuffles and grooves never sounded so good!
Aside from the decent quality and convenience of having such a large collection on tap, we find you listen to a much wider variety of music as it’s so easily accessible. You can also create playlists and import playlists from Spotify and iTunes.
A very worthwhile service indeed! As it grows in it’s user base, I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t a huge increase in HiFi brands adopting the service.
You can currently see a list of all the brands on Tidal’s site.

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