Tidal Hi Definition Audio Streaming Quick Review
Thanks to Tidal for the trial.
Brief: Streaming music, in lossless.
Price: 20 currency units for lossless, 10 currency units for 320kbit. Apparently US$, Euro’s and £’s all have the same value to Tidal.
Specifications: Tidal offers you up to 3 different streaming options. “Normal” gives you a 96kbit AAC+ audio stream, “High” is a 320kbit AAC stream and if you have the premium subscription you can also have the top, 16bit / 44KHz 1411kbit FLAC stream.
Platforms: At present you can use Tidal on a computer through a browser. If you want Lossless though you must use Chrome as Tidal has been “optimised” for Chrome. For mobile use there are both Android and iOS apps. They are both quite nice apps but it saddens me that Tidal killed off the Windows desktop application they had. Additionally there are many Streamers that support Tidal, from Sonos and Bluesound to the likes of Linn and Meridian. Check their site for the full list, note that it slants toward, the expensive end of the market.
Variety: Tidal claims to have 25 million tracks which is a lot by anyone’s measure. It’s a little behind Spotify and their claim of 30 million. You can browse what they have at http://listen.tidalhifi.com/ but you can’t listen to anything without subscribing. However if you need Taylor Swift, it’s available on Tidal.
Sound Quality: Well, right now Tidal is the only lossless streaming music service. So if you want lossless it’s your go to. Personally I find that it’s double the price of its own 320kbit service to be a bit of a slap to the face. Yes I grant if you have a Linn Hi-Fi 20 currency units a month is nothing but to me it feels a bit price gouging. Yes, it sounds great on lossless but unless you have the best of setups you won’t notice that the 320kbit option lacks anything and let’s face it, if your listening to Taylor Swift and the mastering quality of most pop music its irrelevant anyway. The 320k stream is in my opinion not only good enough, it’s enough to be not the limiting factor is your listening experience. Listening to the Krall woman’s Wallflower album on Tidal and Google music, out of my Nexus 5, I couldn’t tell the difference, the weak link wasn’t Tidal. If I owned an ultra-premium Hi-Fi however and I wanted to stream I don’t think I’d be happy with Spotify and its “good enough” 320kbit offering.
Value: Double the price to get lossless, that irks me. What irks me more is that Tidal seem to think that £1 is the same as US$1. It is not, £1 today is actually US$1.54. So Tidal want to change UK consumers 54% more than US ones. In fact Tidal seem to thin its acceptable to price gouge everyone who isn’t in the US. This makes me want to say very rude things to Tidal.
Pro’s: If you want lossless it’s the only game in town. Has Taylor Swift.
Con’s: Price. Price gouging. Has Taylor Swift.