Spotify or Pandora

A relative pointed out two music download websites: Spotify and Pandora. I don't know anything about music downloads. But I was hoping to stream hi-rez original artist oldies. I tried one selection on Spotify and it sounded like MP3 quality and didn't seem like original artists were singing.

Please advise. I would love to stream in hi-rez oldies from the 50s and 60s, but don't know if Spotify or Pandora are good sources.


Neither are hi-rez. Spotify is 320K Ogg-Vorbis and Pandora is 192K if you pay for premium, 128K if you don't. I find Spotify just fine for exploring new music but I can tell the difference on well-recorded selections that I am familiar with. I wouldn't decide based on one selection though. Find something that YOU know and is well-recorded and try that.

Tidal supposedly streams in CD-quality but, with the recent controversy after Jay Z bought them out, I'm waiting to see how it all shakes out.

Sound quality on Tidal is much better than Spotify or Pandora. Tidal offers 1411 bps for $20/month and lesser quality for less money. I read they are working with Meridian to offer HiRez later this year...
I second Tidal I had Spotify and was unhappy with the sound quality, Tidal made a night and day difference. Pandora I just use occasionally for background music not serious listening.
Thanks guys. So what's the best way to stream it from WIFI into my system? I have a PC and also my DEQX PreMATE has a DAC function.

JL35 .. what is the significance of 1411 bps?? Does it relate to CD resolution, e.g., 16 bit/44.1 kHZ?
supposedly 1411 is what redbook CD is, contrasted to the 320 and 192 of
Spotify and Pandora. Though I also enjoy both of those, I much prefer Tidal
on main system.
what is the significance of 1411 bps??

CD resolution is:
44,100 samples per second x 16 bits x 2 channels = 1,411,200 or 1411 Kb per second.
Bif- To get "redbook" quality stream from Tidal you need to run Google Chrome on your pc and then from Chrome go to Tidal's site and register/pay. interface, search function and library are not as good as Pandora but the SQ is better.
I think that the web-based player only provides redbook quality data stream when used with Chrome.
There is more to this that just the sound quality. Pandora's real strength is its algorithms for picking tracks for it's stations. That it what is was designed to do and many people feel it is the best out there at that. Spotify can have better sound quality seems to be better if you are mostly looking to play whole albums or one particular artist. No experience with Tidal but my impression is that it was more for albums than mixing a la Pandora, but I could be wrong.
Two questions. Is there a way to download music from streaming service to hard disc? Does Tidal stream its highest SQ just running the Tidal app on IPad?
I had great sound running Tidal through iPod touch. I read that you cannot download from any of the three sites.
Think about it, if you could download the music you'd just sign up for a month once year and binge-download. I-tunes is a download service where you pay for each download, Spotify, Pandora and, Tidal are streaming services where you pay for access to content on a monthly basis. You are basically "renting" and get no equity or ability to keep the content.

I've never used Spotify but I agree that Pandora is much better as a radio-like service to just turn on and listen to. I think the SQ of their pay per month service is quite acceptable and I use it pretty regularly.
Love Pandora's easy and logical interface and "good enough" sound. Spotify? Perhaps the worst interface I've ever encountered. Just my 2Cents worth.
You can create playlists with Spotify that reside on your hard drive...leastways,
you don't have to be logged into the 'net or Spotify to play them. You do have to
log in to Spotify at least 1x/month to keep them "active", otherwise
they expire after 30 days. Used this to provide music during breaks in a training
seminar I coordinated...did not have access to the 'net due to a corporate firewall
but could play my Spotify playlists just the same. Playlists can be full albums if
you want. On the other hand and as you might expect, it does not appear
possible to burn such playlists to a CD.
Interesting, Ghosthouse. So it seems the spotify "playlist" has some kind of DRM that expires in a month, requiring you to maintain your monthly subscription to access them. Seems like a very interesting "hybrid" between the itunes model and the streaming model. Too bad the UI seems to suck! We can only hope that as bandwidth increases over time, it won't make any sense to use lossy compression algorithms to send digital files over the 'net.
Been reading the posts. It seems like Tidal streams material with a SQ closest to redbook CD. Is that the consensus view.
Swampwalker - I'm hoping the folks that run Spotify, being aware of the competition, will up their game as a result. I'd be willing to bet they didn't miss Tidal asking $20/mo vs their $10. The buzz around Hi Rez downloads and Tidal SQ might give them incentive to improve...and as you say, with the cost of tech coming down....

Your comment (and other's) about the interface surprised me. I'm not the most tech savvy person but found Spotify pretty easy to navigate. The Browse/Discover option has introduced me to a ton of new musicians and music...much of it stuff that is way off the beaten commercial track. I have over 400 "saved" albums and most of these are not duplicated in my CD/vinyl collection (yet). But - to each his own.
Pamdora does not allow you to pick a song and listen to it. You pick a song, it will create a playlist based on the dna of your choice and then maybe if you are lucky within the first 10 songs it decides to play, you might hear the actual song you chose.

Spotify premium allows you to choose and listen to any music you want any time. There is an enormous base of community built playlists to listen to. The downfall is that it pales in comparison to pandora in the context of being able to automatically set up playlists based on a single recommendation.

They are both very different services. I think both sound good, spotify 320kbps is damn close to tidal lossless in my opinion.
Search option. There is no such option in Pandora Radio app, which means that you can’t find a particular song of a particular artist. In Spotify, you can find an artist and listen to his album. In a free version you can listen only shuffle play, yet in premium this option is available.Replay a song. And again, in Pandora, you have to rely on the system because you simply can’t replay and listen again your favorite song. Spotify offers the feature in premium account.Number of songs. The Spotify has more than 16 millions songs, while Pandora the app only one million. The numbers are growing, yet the the difference is obvious.Offline mode. Only Spotify can boast with this feature, not Pandora.
(from Spotify vs Pandora
Music could be one of the most beautiful things of the whole humanity. So, people are looking for various ways of how to make the process of the search of their favorite compositions much more easier and comfortable.That is why we have such a thing as Pandora. However, lots of developers are thinking about the creation of something similar. So, in that article you may see an instruction on the creation of a similar application.
( Article: Making an App Like Pandora)
The difference between full redbook CD streams and spotify is not as big as calimed here. The redbook CD stream is in principle 1411 kbs. However, if it is compressed with FLAC (as is done by these streaming services) the necessary bitrate is only about half, or even less. The BBC recently did some experimental cd red book streaming of live classical concerts, and the bitrates they needed were even less than half. They also did some serious research on the audibility of lower bitrates, and their conclusion was that 320 kbs was indistinguishable from full redbook cd quality. There are a few websites with blind samples where you can test your own ability to distinguish different sample rates in a statistically convincing way, and few people if any can indeed distuinguish 320 kbs from the real deal. For internet radio stations this is also an important issue because higher bitrates demand far more bandwith, and better than perfect would be a waste of resources. But it is admittedly a borderline case.
I am curently using Spotify as that is what the children wanted. However, for classical music I find the interface not very convenient, and the plan is to switch to Qobuz once my son moves out. More generally, I think these streaming sevices are absolutely wonderful. It is the difference between having your own private library of books and a large university library with just about everything ever written.
As for the gear side of things, I think adding a Chromecast Audio, Apple Airport Express or Sonos Connect is the easiest way to add this facility. The inbuilt DACs are excellent, but if you feel the urge to spend more, they all have digital outputs for an external DAC. Personally, I am perfectly happy with the analogue output of a Chromecast Audio into my Quad amplifiers and Quad 2805 electrostats. However, when I replace my old Quad 33 pre amplifier I will get one with digital inputs like the Pioneer U-05 (I no longer use any analogue sources).
@willemj  I disagree with what you've posted entirely I can clearly hear the difference between 320kbps and higher bitrates. And when I stream my app, Aries Lightning DS, shows the bitrate for most flac its anyway from 700kbps to 1100 kbps so much higher than 320.
The extent to which Flac can compress does depend a lot on the type of music and the recording. The BBC broadcast was classical music (the Proms) with a great dynamic range. That allows far more compression than pop music mastered loudly.
Are you sure you can still distinguish if you do the comparison double blind? Try one of those websites with streams at different bitrates that you cannot know when you listen. The statistics show that people score not or hardly better than random when trying to identify 320 kbs from full redbook CD. You may have better hearing than that, but to be sure the test has to be double blind.
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Just went on Tidal web site.  OK, ... so walk me through how I get the Tidal music into my linestage.  I do not have a DAC, other than what is in my PC.  So the music signal from the PC to the linestage has to be in analogue format.

So, how do I connect my PC to my linestage in analogue mode.  Is there a UBC jack to SE or XLR/BAL type connector cord to make the connection?  Is the UBC jack a digital output? If so, would I have to use the headphone output jack of my PC??  But how do I connect that to the input jacks of my linestage (SE or XLR/BAL)??

Also, is the DAC in my PC inferior to a separate stand-alone DAC unit? If so, how much SQ  would I lose by not having a dedicated DAC?

I am a older member of the baby boomer generation.  So this is all new to me.

Yes, you should get a separate DAC. 
If you want something inexpensive, get a Bluesound Node. It has great connectivity with other apps and you can buy a better DAC, should you want to.
I use the Bluesound with an Ayre Codex, and I think it a very good path to streaming music.
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Glad I found this thread today. I was a Pandora early adopter, and been on their first level upgrade ($3.99/mo for ad free) for awhile. Because of radio style restrictions (even more since they introduced premium) I was looking at possible upgrade.

So, long story not as long, set-up trial accounts with Tidal and Spotify today. I've been listening  at work using very basic Sony headphones. IMHO Tidal clearly superior SQ compared to either Spotify or Pandora. Actually I can't tell much difference between those two.

Looking forward to running Tidal into DAC at home and listening through much higher quality cans. Just my 2 cents.

Happy Listening! 
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Perhaps it's been mentioned that Spotify and Tidal offer one month free trials. 
I finally made the leap to Tidal after researching that it's the only true PCM, and now my Verizon plan with unlimited data is cheaper than my previous plan with xxgb cap (YES you must look into it...they're not exactly going to tell you the plans changed!)

Maybe because I'm in Chicagoland with insane data coming off cell towers but I'm driving around with Tidal app on iPhone into USB on rear of my car's Pioneer head unit and I cannot tell the difference. The SQ truly is the best I've heard and I've tried them all. 1 drink at a bar seems to cost 10 bucks, so that's nothing considering you have anything at your fingertips. 

The companies making head units, however, are WAY behind the curve and no firmware upgrade will add Tidal to the stereo's in-dash abilities, but luckily the Pioneer picks up the signal as Pandora and will still play. But you need to use phone Tidal app to change anything so...hands free? LOL better keep eyes on the road!

The Mac Tidal app also offers outstanding SQ on my system so the home-based thing is great too
there's no question that under optimal listening conditions, through good equipment, tidal sounds  better than spotify. however, in the less than optimal conditions i do the majority of my listening (gym/car/noisy office), the difference isn't as significant, and for me the superior library and interface (+lower cost) of spotify is the deciding factor. pandora is the most user-friendly but has a far too skinny library and sounds bad to me.
all the streaming services apply digital filters which mess up the sound of the song compared to playback on jriver with lossless filesif youre not using spotify or tidal for the convenience factor you should drop your subscription and just play your files locally
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"Is there a way to download music from streaming service to hard disc? "
Yes there is a way to record what you are streaming and it consists of you downloading Sound Tap. It's a simple program that lets you record in real time what you are streaming . It will also record anything up to 24 / 192.Cheers Jim.
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In fact, I think Spotify is a better choice. In addition, you can search Google for a number of related download methods to get rid of its format restrictions. You only need to select any one of them, then you can easily convert Spotify to MP3 songs.

I also prefer spotify along with Sound Tap  to record songs.

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My option is Spotify. I'm used to play Spotify music offline without premium on any music player with Spotify to MP3 Converter. You can use it to download and convert Spotify to MP3, AAC, WAV, FLAC, M4A, etc at faster speed with lossless quality. 
I have used MusConv tool to transfer all my Spotify playlists to Apple Music without any hassle. It has free and paid versions so you may try it.