Spotify Premium vs Tidal ... opinions?

50's,60,s be-bop jazz, movie themes, vocals, old rock (Cream, Doors, King Crimson)...(newer rock AC DC, Led Zeppelin)

amps... Quicksilver 90 Watt Silver monos, Quicksilver LS preamp

speakers... Fritz prototype stand mounts, ScanSpeak 5" Illuminator mid/bass & ScanSpeak 9700 tweeters, Skylan stands... 12x15 room

dac... Musical Fidelity M1 A

Spotify will give you more music selections. Tidal will give you better sound
Spotify premium sounds darn good on my system- Sonus Faber Liutos, MFA Luminescence pre-amp. and MFA mono amplifiers- tube electronics.

Tidal also sounded darn good, but at twice the price it simply is not worth it to me.

Both offer an enormous amount of listening pleasure and great customer service.
Guys - if you had a TV and you could just see three colors, you would sit down and realize something is wrong and work until you can see the other 4 colors. So, if you have a stereo and you cannot discern the difference between a 320 mps signal and a 44.1k signal, you should be looking for the rest of the signal. If you don't understand and really want to, go to a dealer (not Mangolia in Best Buy) and hear a very good system, set up properly. Bring your favorite song in MP3 and in 44.1 and you will have a wonderful education. It is like the touch of a women and watching a DVD. Lets get real.

Choose music, listen, be happy.
Ps - that's too funny...the exact same link I was logging on to post.
At this stage, I'm in the same position w/r to Spotify vs Tidal. I use Spotify's large
library mainly to explore new music. Things I like enough, I buy. I can definitely
hear a difference between the actual CD and the Spotify file. Does that wreck
Spotify listening for me? No. Not at all. Music on the Spot. CAN sound darn

Comments on the link Ps posted are worth reading.

Also worth remembering not all MP3s are the same. Info at this link might be of

[url=]Differences in MP3s[/url]
Hey Ghosthouse:

Yep, "great minds" :)

I did a fair amount of research on streaming music prior to getting involved. Initially it was confusing. I had terrific help from fellow audiogoners who walked me through my beginner's frustration. After decades of sometimes being obsessive about "high fidelity", I find streaming music liberating- it's almost carefree.

I listen to more and different music now than ever. I'm much more interested in the content rather than "how it sounds" as long as it sounds good to me and my golden- eared wife. I still play records from my fairly large collection, but confess that the vinyl ritual is increasingly less and less appealing.

If someone finds Tidal superior to Spotify, and figures it's worth twice the price, it's their dime.
Hey back at you Ps - Comments are certainly not intended to argue about Tidal vs Spotify sonic quality, more to reflect different priorities and considerations that seem relevant when comparing the two.

"I listen to more and different music now....I''m much more interested in the content rather than 'how it sounds' as long as it sounds good to me....". Coming from a time when I thought the Beatles' latest hits on a Japanese transistor radio were fantastic, I very much agree with that.

One feature of Spotify I'm spending more and more time using is the Browse/Discover function. It's introducing me to a LOT of stuff I otherwise never would have heard.

If you are so inclined, please share any new discoveries you make (via Spotify or other) over at "What's in your CDP tonight (the Minority Report)." It's for digitally formatted music whatever the source.

"Choose music, listen, be happy" is a great mantra for this hobby.

I love the Browser/Discover function on Spotify as well. Your comment says it all.

My latest "discovery" is some chamber music composed by Sibelius. I've got all seven symphonies, as well as a number of other of his works on vinyl and CD, by various orchestras and conductors, but no chamber music.
I'll check out "What's in your CDP tonight".... sounds like fun.

To the OP, I hope some of the responses folks have made to your inquiry have helped you.

Good listening to all.
I like listening to streaming music because it is easy and I love the variety. I can change my mind every two minutes and quickly find different music to listen to. Of course, listening to music stored on my hard drive offers the very best quality. However, the flexibility of Tidal is a big plus for me.

I agree with Arh above that Spotify gives you more music selections and that Tidal gives you much better sound quality. Tidal music selections are improving but additional albums need to be added. There is a very slight delay when starting music on Tidal and another slight delay from song to song. This is not a problem for me since the sound quality is very good.

Tidal also offers various play lists you can select or you select your own album. Another advantage with Tidal is that you can select an album and then page down to see additional albums by that artist.

You need to decide if the Tidal $20 per month charge is worth it. I feel the Tidal sound quality is well worth the $20. I suggest you give Tidal a try for one month and then decide.
I was using Spotify premium for a very long time but once I tried Tidal premium I immediately switched to Tidal because the sound quality is so good. For me, the quality difference has resulted in me listening to a lot more music - I look forward to settling into a listening session on my system so much more now - it's addictive.
Doing a free trial right now of tidal. The difference in sound is dramatic between spotify and Tidal. 20 bucks a month is way to high so I will not continue after the trial. Eventually more sights will stream higher bit rate at lower costs and I will be all over it.
I'm a bit surprised at people balking over the $20/month fee for Tidal (roughly $10 extra per month over Spotify, I think). This is a forum where people spend thousands of dollars on cables and all kinds of voodoo tweaks. $10/month is less than the cost of buying one album per month.
Tidal has miraculously great sound quality in lossless mode,
as if all the 16/44 music was in SACD. It's an amazing service
and I sure hope they get enough subscribers to survive. Try
playing some old guilty-pleasure pop music, no matter how old,
and see what I mean. I have an EMM XDS1 and Tidal streaming
rivals the sound of the EMM even in SACD. I'm shocked at how
great it is. Please subscribe. I don't want them to disappear.
I do not know any audiophiles who listen to MP3. If you're listening to MP3s, I think we have found the weak link in your system. I love tidal: CD Quality streaming. This should obsolete most music servers.
I've used Spotify Premium for months. I sometimes stream it to my Creek 5350se and Totem Arros via a Gramofon. I think the Gramofon has a decent/fair DAC. Spotify Premium streams at 320kbps.

I tried Tidal's premium hifi feature today.

I ended up comparing tracks from the two services. Tidal clearly sounds better. CLEARLY.

And this is coming from a guy who thinks a solid gauge lamp cord speaker wire is generally fine.

I'm going to stay with Tidal and now work on getting it to a DAC (somehow) at the Creek.

Digital can sound so good.
Philip O’Hanlon Playlists from On Higher Note are highly recommended.  These outstanding playlists were created by Philip from On High Note and are posted on Tidal via a user created playlist.  You can sample the various songs on this link.  Box of Fun is terrific.

From the above link, there is a button that allows you to listen to the playlist on Tidal.  Once you are on the Tidal screen, you can immediately log into your Tidal account and make the above playlist a favorite so that it is SAVED to your account. This will enable you to find and play the playlist from your Tidal account.  It is not the best solution but it works.

Thanks for posting that link, @hgeifman  

I look forward to hearing some of those playlists.
I stream Spotify via airplay...hardly hear difference between premium and free. Denon AVR, NHT speakers throughout the house.
I don't really care if 1080p is better than a black and white Magnavox if the only thing in 1080p is Dr Phil.  

Considering the music the OP is looking for I wouldn't worry too much about lossless vs 320k.  Most 50s/60s and classic rock will sound just fine at 320k.  Streaming is about convenience anyhow.  While I do find Tidal better sounding that Spotify or AM, their weak catalog is not worth the cost.  I end up using apple music to discover new music and then purchasing a lossless version or cd.  
blownsi, As you noted above, please send your feedback about missing artists and albums (weak catalog) to Tidal Streaming. While there is no guarantee they will include the items you request, it is very important for them to hear their music catalog needs to be updated with additional albums, artists, etc.  Tidal needs to hear from its users what artists and recordings are missing from their catalog. Unfortunately, I know that Tidal needs a legal contract with the artists and/or distributor of these recordings so this process may take some time. There is an artist feedback form on their web site to summit your requests.  I also suggest you listen to the Tidal suppled  playlists to see if you can find any music that you like.   Thanks.
Tidal sound quality is flat out excellent. There is talk of using Mqa to make it even better
I have got Tidal to so so close to playing the same track that i dont bother playing cd's now.

Discovering so much more music, i could never catchup buying cd's.

I can't imagine MQA sounding better than what it is now on highest streaming rate, guessing it may turn out sounding more like hi-rez which though good and better in some respects may end up sounding as if saccharine was added.
I never thought I'd be willing to pay $20 for a streaming service. Now, I never have a listening session that doesn't include at least one track from Tidal. It's great.
Sorry in advance for my elementary question;

To what device do you stream to to get the best sound quality? 

Also, I have a Macbook and an Apple TV.  I want to replace the Apple TV with something better. 

Thanks in advance,

Bob - Streaming from computer to a DAC external to the computer will give you better sound quality than trying to use the computer's DAC and running from the headphone jack into your 2 channel system.  The quality of that outboard DAC will definitely influence final sound quality.  You can spend thousands on an external DAC...but there are some very good options for under $1000.  Many newer integrated amps and even CDPs are being offered that have high quality internal DACs, so that's another wrinkle to consider.

Personally, I listen to on-line music...e.g., Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, YouTube via a MacBook Air that's connected by a Pangea USB cable to a Musical Fidelity V-Link 192 USB/SPDIF converter and from that to a Schiit Gungnir DAC via Stereovox digital coax cable.  I connect the Gungnir DAC using Morrow Audio interconnects (MA-3?  MA-4? don't remember) to my pre-amp or to an integrated amp.  

More and more DACs can accommodate a USB input directly.  If such is the case, a USB/SPDIF converter might not be essential or provide any benefit depending on how the DAC is designed.  Hope this helps.  
You really want to keep away from USB.  Pono is great but it is not a streaming service.  It is a digital walkman.  You need to store music on it, it cant stream - but its sound is SOTA.  I love mine.  
hmmmm... so ghosthouse is happy with USB and cerrot says to keep away from it. 

This hi fi business is confusing.  I realize it's almost entirely subjective so here's the question;

If I'm happy with the sound from my transport to dac would I be happy with usb to dac or should I be looking at another alternative?

Thanks in advance,

Before just settle on USB to dac (note, many dacs DO NOT have USB so you need to add yet another device in the line, and more cables.. more expense for a poorer interface-an interface effected by every single function your PC will perform, and USB was created for peripherials, not music...and sound cards were specifically designed for music, not attaching a printer), just try a spdif solution.  I love how everyone just goes to USB and swears its the best, never trying spdif, which is so much better, I chuckle.  
TIDAL sounded quite a bit better via coax from my Squeezebox Touch into my DAC than it did via USB from my Macbook Air to the same DAC.

The Touch isn't made any more, but for a replacement I would look at an Auralic Aries or Aries Mini.  
Bob - 
The question I was addressing was, " what device do you stream to get the best sound quality?"  My short answer could have been, "a DAC".  My reply had nothing to do with the best connector for signal transfer.  

Regardless of the potentially irrelevant, non-music purposes that USB cables have served, it is worth noting how many audio devices are now equipped with USB ports.  The article on USB/SPDIF converters at the link here is also worth reading:   
As noted in the article and in my earlier response, these converters are not always essential with more recent implementations of USB mediated digital input.  Where a bus-powered converter is used, the issue of power related noise is easily addressed by using a two headed USB cable with separate leg for a non-computer power source.

I was certainly not attempting to argue USB was the best method for signal transfer, though it does seem to work just fine for me.  I only provided details of how I do it because, like you, I use a MAC product for streaming. If you are able to implement Cerrot's approach and enjoy a superior listening experience, wonderful.  I am curious how easy it would be to upgrade the  sound card on a Mac...might be a more attractive option on a Windows-based machine.  

Hope whatever you do enhances your music listening.   

Thank you for your reply.  I've been ripping my cds for the past month to an external hard drive attached to my Macbook air using dbpoweramp.

I have a Peachtree Grand Integrated that has onboard DACS and they go out to my beloved Quad 2805s.  It's a very simple system.  I also have a modest Cambridge transport that I use to play cds.

I've streamed a bit wirelessly using the MacBook and an Apple Airplay.  The quality was marginal at best. 

After reading your post I went to Staples and picked up a USB cable.  Even using that cheap ole' cable, the sound was much better.  Better enough that I gave Spotify a go.  Sounds okay.  Not great but okay.  And that's with their premium subscription.

I have a USB input on my amplifier, do you think an audiophile grade USB cable like your Pangea would get me closer to what I hear using cds and my transport? 

Thank you again,


I tried Tidal for the first time yesterday. The sound quality is very close to CDs that I've ripped via dBpoweramp. I compared several songs and every time the ripped CD sounded better. That being said, I'm going to keep Tidal.
Bob - we're quickly reaching the limit of what I know...a couple of suggestions before spending any more on a USB cable. 
1) try TIDAL.  See if that gets you closer to the CD quality sound you are looking for vs Spotify.  They offer a free (30...maybe even 60 day) trial so worth trying that.  I'm very happy with Spotify and do note that not all their content has the same sound quality.  

2) I don't know how good the DACs are in your Peachtree.  They might not benefit BUT see if you can negotiate trialing a USB/SPDIF converter.  In my experience that made a big difference in SQ vs straight USB input to a DAC.  Empirical Audio (Steve Nugent) offers a pretty high quality converter as well as in-home trial.  Worth looking into.  Return it if no benefit.  This also assumes you have a coax input to your Peachtree;'s DACs. 

3) For some lower cost converter options, see info here.
I used a V-Link with the original V-DAC and that made a big improvement in SQ.  The V-Link died and I replaced it with a V-Link 192 that I use with my Gungnir.  Would try Steve's Offramp converter if I were willing to pay that kind of scratch.  Might try a Gustard U-12 from China (see Ebay).

4)  I'd experiment with source and converter and then see what a new USB cable gets you.  Audio Advisor carries them.  I can tell you for sure the Pangea I bought was absolutely NOT top of their line.  You can pay stupid money for so-called "Audiophile USB" cables.  Wireworld Starlight series gets good reviews...series 7 Platinum is, I think, top of that line.  

Have fun.  Hope you get the sound you are looking for.
I’m hardcore into vinyl but became curious about streaming. So I bought the Auralic Aries Mini bundled with a year of Tidal to use in a second system. After listening for the past week, all I can say is wow! It really sounds good!

I have a Marantz SA-11S2 in this system as well. In an A/B comparison to Coltrane’s Blue Train on Redbook CD, I liked the Tidal/Mini better.

I won’t be giving up my turntables any time soon but I’m frankly amazed at what Tidal delivers, even through a five-inch square of plastic like the Mini. Remarkable.


I am glad you are having good results with streaming Tidal.

The Marantz SA-11S2 (which I have) can be significantly improved by replacing the main power fuse.

It takes a small, slow blow, 2.5 amp fuse. Fuse is inside the unit. You take the cover off to get to the fuse.

David Pritchard


David, thanks for the tip. What brand of fuse do you like in there (if I may momentarily divert the thread)?

I do like the Synergistic Research Black fuse the best - highest price. Their original Synergistic Research Sr-20 also does improve the sound. The Black comes with a 30 day trial (not sure if you can trial the SR-20).

High End Electronics , Apple Valley Calif., and The Cable Company, New Hope , Pen. are both on line sellers. Give either a call.


David Pritchard
Is it just me, or are the newer releases on Tidal way superior sounding to the older titles (say 80's music).