How to Stream High-Quality Audio on Spotify, Tidal, and More


Illustration for the article titled How to get the best possible audio quality from your streaming services

Image: Spotify

If you are passionate about the audio fidelity of your music, then maybe streaming services are not your thing. But you can actually get very high quality sound with some of the services on the market:there are many variations to consider depending on the platform you use and if you pay or not.

While we’re not going to get too deep into the technicalities of audio formats here, you’ll find three main levels of audio quality across different streaming services: first, lossy compressed formats like AAC and MP3 encoded at bit rates. up to 320 kbps (the higher the better).

As you upgrade to better sound and lossless formats, the measurements differ: there is CD-quality audio encoded at a 16-bit bit depth up to a 44.1 kHz sample rate (the equivalent of 1411 kbps). and studio-quality encoded audio. at 24 bits up to 192 kHz (the equivalent of 9,216 kbps).

Advancing through those audio levels is the same as upgrading to a better camera to improve photo quality and take more.-Resolution images: much more details and information are stored as the quality of the tracks increases.

Qobuz

Qobuz prides itself on the quality of the music it transmits. Their plans go up to studio quality, that is, FLAC format encoded at 24 bits and up to 192 kHz, and the plan will cost you $ 15 a month (less if you pay for a year at a time). There are desktop and mobile applications available, as well as a web player.

The recently announced partnership between Qobuz and Sonos gives audiophiles another option to choose from. Qobuz is the first service to offer a 24-bit lossless format on Sonos systems, so if those are the speakers you’ve set up at home (or are thinking of buying), Qobuz is a suitable high-end.resolution audio partner.

Tidal

Audio quality has been a selling point for Tidal from the beginning, and if you pay the premium $ 20 /monthly plan you will get quality 16-bit 44.1 kHz music. A selection of master-quality albums, that is, 24-bit and up to 192 kHz, is also available, but includes them as part of the Tidal HiFi plan. The standard $ 10 /The one-month premium package brings you music with quality up to 320 kbps.

Tidal has also partnered with a variety of speaker manufacturers to ensure high-quality reproduction away from their apps and mobile devices: Bluesound, Denon, Naim, Cambridge Audio, and Astell & Kern are some of the many companies that have signed up. However, the transmission to the speakers (including Sonos) maxes out at 16-bit instead of 24-bit.

Enjoy 24-bit audio with Echo Studio and Amazon Music HD.

Enjoy 24-bit audio with Echo Studio and Amazon Music HD.
Photo: Amazon

Amazon Music

Amazon offers a somewhat bewildering variety of music streaming packages, from free ones to those bundled with Prime to hi-fi, and the latest is Amazon Music HD. It matches Tidal in offering their full 16-bit / 44.1 kHz catalog and a smaller subsection of 24-bit / 192 kHz music, and it’ll cost you $ 13 per month if you’re already a Prime subscriber and $ 15 per month if it is not.

In addition to playing this 24-bit music on your mobile and desktop devices, it is also compatible with a limited number of speakers and associated equipment: sspecifically, the Echo Studio, the Echo Link, and the Echo Amp. As long as you’re willing to do your best for the Amazon ecosystem, you can get high-resolution music streaming throughout your home.

Deezer

Among the many reasons to enroll in Deezer It’s the Deezer HiFi plan, offering your music in 16-bit, 44.1 kHz FLAC quality for $ 15 a month. Go with the $ 10 a month plan and you will get up to 320 kbps in terms of streaming quality, and if you are a non-paying user on the Deezer platform then you are limited to 128 kbps.

If you opt for the top-tier HiFi plan, you can enjoy that sound fidelity on all platforms and devices that Deezer is supported on (and the list It is long, which extends from the consoles to the web player). There is no 24-bit plan available at the moment, but the 16-bit plan works almost everywhere.

Spotify

If you are paying $ 10 a month and using the dedicated Spotify desktop or mobile applications instead of the web player, you can get up to 320 kbps. HRead the application settings on your platform and look for the audio quality section to make sure you always get the best possible quality. IIf you leave these settings at Automatic, Spotify adjusts the bit rate to match your internet connection. For free users, that rate tops out at 160 kbps.

Better audio fidelity is coming, Nevertheless. Later this year, Spotify will launch Spotify HiFi for an additional undisclosed fee, and that will guarantee you “CD-quality lossless audio” whether you’re listening on a device or through a Spotify Connect speaker setup. As soon as it launches successfully, we will bring you All the details.

Apps like Spotify allow you to set the streaming quality manually.

Apps like Spotify allow you to set the streaming quality manually.
Screenshot: Spotify

Apple Music

Apple does not publicly disclose the bitrate at which its songs are streamed across the world. Apple Music platform, although the general consensus is that ‘s AAC 256 kbps based on tracks such as the files you can buy from iTunes. For now, it is one Size fits Every options; there is no free tier.

Apple has always made a lot of noise about its interest in audio fidelity, since it began offering digital downloads at the beginning of the millennium, and that makes us think that something equivalent to Spotify HiFi will not be far away. It has offered lossless downloads for purchase for years, but has not yet streamed.

Youtube Music

Youtube Music matches Apple Music in your choice of 256 kbps AAC streaming quality, unless you are not currently subscribed to the premium service, in which case it will be downgraded to 128 kbps AAC.

There are no desktop apps with YouTube Music, but you can specify a streaming quality within the mobile and web apps; the options are similar to what you get with Spotify. Open the settings screen on your deviceAnd, in the audio quality and playback menus, you can set the quality for streaming over Wi-Fi, streaming over mobile networks, and tracks downloaded to your device.

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