NEWS: Spotify HiFi service to deliver CD quality music later in 2021

interbear

Well-known Member
Mmm. Interesting. I say that as an Apple Music family plan subscriber. I‘ve used Apple Music for years, mainly because all of our devices are Apple and my initial move into digital music was via iTunes purchases. So Apple Music made sense to combine my purchases and streaming. However I’ve been seriously considering a switch to Spotify for 2 primary reasons.

1) Spotify Connect is available on multiple devices and seems a better quality method for streaming direct to those devices vs via an iOS device using Airplay, which uses up device battery and seems an unnecessary link in the chain. I need to test that theory.
2) My car has Spotify built in as part of it’s connected service. The sound quality is great, certainly better than streaming Apple Music via Bluetooth from my phone. and I can access all Spotify music on it. But if I had a Spotify premium account I’d be able to sign into it and use my own playlists in the car, which does not support Apple Car Play, a tad annoyingly.

Spotify adding better quality “HiFi” streaming into the mix has added a 3rd reason to consider switching. Will be interesting to see Apple’s response.
 

Goodmane

Active Member
Is this just marketing, and Spotify being forced to defend its territory from high-res newcomers?

Where does this site stand re digital files quality?

I have read a few tests - and participated in one online- and iirc the conclusions were that no participant could tell the difference between mp3 320kbps or better content, and even much lower quality was indistinguishable in many simple sections of music, depending on the track.

Is it just people wanting a good experience, and not wanting to worry about the source material being the problem in an already somewhat complicated chain, so they over-spec it just in case?
 

Hoku

Active Member
As a Tidal subscriber since just after they changed their named from Wimp (so a fair few years past), thoughts were ‘wow, that’s put the cat amongst the pigeons’. But on reflection I’m not so sure.

Tidal’s user interface and suggestions have improved greatly over the years and is much closer to Spotify than it originally was. Spotify still edges it though for genuinely adapting to your tastes rather than saying, “yeah but are you really really sure you don’t wanna listen to some rap or hip-hop?” on your home page even though your musical choices have NEVER included those genres. That’s still a little grating.

Spotify Connect is useful, but Tidal is rolling out Tidal Connect now.

Which brings it down for me to a few key issues:

If it’s taken this long for Spotify to catch up with CD quality, how long will it be (if ever) for them to catch up with hi-res?

And the other biggie is price. This one could potentially hit Amazon Music, which undercuts its competitors for CD quality streaming.

But if it’s around the same price as Tidal and Qobuz, I’m not sure that its sole selling point of its superior user interface will cut it enough to make me move. If it saved a fiver a month, that could be more tempting though.

Finally, actual sound quality. Certain bit rates don’t always seem to equate to equal sound qualities across the streaming services, so the jury’s out on that one until Spotify CD quality arrives. (Many report that Apple Music actually sounds better than Spotify, even though it’s a slightly lower bit rate for example). Much of it for me depends on how smooth the sound is. If it’s a little on the edgy side, it might put me off.

But when it rolls out I might be tempted to take up any special offers just to try it out for a few months side by side with Tidal.
 

MrSmithers

Standard Member
I have read a few tests - and participated in one online- and iirc the conclusions were that no participant could tell the difference between mp3 320kbps or better content, and even much lower quality was indistinguishable in many simple sections of music, depending on the track.
Blind listening tests are not really a fair conclusion. In that you can't listen to 2 samples at the same time and compare directly, like you can with an image for instance. There are many inbuilt bias (like thinking louder is better) that can affect hearing/perception too. Listening on tiny computer speakers would really invalidate any test.

In my own personal experience the difference between a well mastered Hi Res or CD source compared to a 256/320kbps stream over bluetooth is light years... I could never go back to compressed lossy audio.

And there really is absolutely no need to compromise, the only reason for compression was to save on memory size, which isn't needed today... 😎
 

MrSmithers

Standard Member
If it’s taken this long for Spotify to catch up with CD quality, how long will it be (if ever) for them to catch up with hi-res?

And the other biggie is price. This one could potentially hit Amazon Music, which undercuts its competitors for CD quality streaming.
Yeah I agree, this for me shows they're a bit behind, even now. I would either stick with Tidal or Amazon HD (Tidal also offers discrete Atmos music).

Spotify seem to be investing a lot in podcasts which I have zero interest in, whether it be random stoners or fleeing Windsors!

Good sounding music is what people want... 🙂
 

flashf1

Active Member
Only CD quality?! Good to see Spotify fully embracing 1980s technology!
Well why bother going higher than 1411kbps on digital - there's no audible difference to the human ear if you go higher, only snake oil & unproven elitist claims. CD quality is where it's at on digital.
 

Hillskill

Moderator/Games Reviewer
At this point you'd have to start considering Spotify have youtube and netflix in their sights. Tidal and Quboz are scrapping for a niche audiophile market. In an age of 5G CD quality just seems like a basic and easy upsell for Spotify.
 

bernado

Well-known Member
After having just finished a promotional 3 month Tidal subscription as an existing Spotify subscriber, I've convinced myself of the benefits of high-res audio.
The problem I've found is Tidal's recommendations aren't a patch on Spotify's in discovering new music that fits in with my tastes, even after three months plugging away.
Even though I'm on old git I find Tidal's suggestions pretty dull and mainstream, I enjoy finding new stuff to listen to and got to see a lot of new emerging artists live as a result of suggestions served up by Spotify.

At one time I was considering keeping on Spotify for music discovery and playlists then exporting those into Tidal, which is how I finished up using the service before my cheapola Tidal subscription ended.
In the end it was just a hassle (even with cross-platform syncing) and I can't justify the expense of keeping on both services so I'm well up for Spotify's take on this so we'll see.
 

Goodmane

Active Member
Blind listening tests are not really a fair conclusion. In that you can't listen to 2 samples at the same time and compare directly, like you can with an image for instance. There are many inbuilt bias (like thinking louder is better) that can affect hearing/perception too. Listening on tiny computer speakers would really invalidate any test.

In my own personal experience the difference between a well mastered Hi Res or CD source compared to a 256/320kbps stream over bluetooth is light years... I could never go back to compressed lossy audio.

And there really is absolutely no need to compromise, the only reason for compression was to save on memory size, which isn't needed today... 😎
I get what you're saying, but bluetooth is a lot,lot worse than high res mp3 in my experience. I think if we can't tell the difference in a blind test then what is the point? After all you can't eat two things at the same time either, yet I bet you could tell the fifference between my cooking and Gordon Ramsay's. ;)
 

BMox81

Distinguished Member
I wonder how long it will be before Apple decide to add a hi-res option?

I've currently got a couple of HD/Hi-Fi trials running with Amazon and Tidal respectively and have been impressed. So it's no surprise that Spotify want in on the action.

I love the premise of Spotify - music and podcasts all in one app. The playlists are definitely better than AM. The fact that like Netflix, it's on every device going makes it a much easier cross platform option for most. It even has a Kids music app which is great.

But what always keeps me with Apple Music is that I have all my own music stored in my iCloud storage, which is then linked to my Music app and it's all there on all my devices. Everyone else just seems to struggle with this apart from Apple for some reason.

And what keeps me with the default Apple Podcasts app is that it allows custom RSS/Patreon feeds with no issue.

If Spotify allowed the ability to upload your own content into the cloud as opposed to it being from a local drive and also allowed the custom podcast feeds then I'd probably drop AM, but I know they won't unfortunately.

I'll definitely give Spotify's HiFi option a go however if they offer a free trial.
 
Been waiting for this. I currently have spotify and qobuz. 95% of my listening on qobuz is cd quality and I can definitely tell the difference between that and spotify. However the user interface on qobuz is awful especially the search function so I'll be dropping that as soon as this launches
 

RichardG

Active Member
Spotify still edges it though for genuinely adapting to your tastes rather than saying, “yeah but are you really really sure you don’t wanna listen to some rap or hip-hop?” on your home page even though your musical choices have NEVER included those genres. That’s still a little grating.
That's EXACTLY the reason I didn't continue with Tidal after a 3 month trial. Even after all that time it still thought my favourite act was Drake, even though I'd never played a single track of his.

I could definitely hear the difference between Tidal and Spotify, but the interface and algorithms were too off putting so I went back to Spotify.

After having just finished a promotional 3 month Tidal subscription as an existing Spotify subscriber, I've convinced myself of the benefits of high-res audio.
The problem I've found is Tidal's recommendations aren't a patch on Spotify's in discovering new music that fits in with my tastes, even after three months plugging away.
Even though I'm on old git I find Tidal's suggestions pretty dull and mainstream, I enjoy finding new stuff to listen to and got to see a lot of new emerging artists live as a result of suggestions served up by Spotify.

I had the same experience - Tidal sounds better than Spotify Premium but the user experience with Spotify is way better.
 

Garjen

Active Member
After accidentally discovering how poor Spotify is compared to another service. I set out testing streaming services and wrote some articles for my blog. Its shocking just how poor Spotify soundquality is and that people either put up with it, or (like me) just don't realise better services are available. Pocking up CD quality sound now seems like the horse has bolted. Tidal mqa , Qoubuz, Deezer offer better than cd quality sound already. So unless Spotify offer MQA I'm not moving
 

interbear

Well-known Member
I wonder how long it will be before Apple decide to add a hi-res option?

I've currently got a couple of HD/Hi-Fi trials running with Amazon and Tidal respectively and have been impressed. So it's no surprise that Spotify want in on the action.

I love the premise of Spotify - music and podcasts all in one app. The playlists are definitely better than AM. The fact that like Netflix, it's on every device going makes it a much easier cross platform option for most. It even has a Kids music app which is great.

But what always keeps me with Apple Music is that I have all my own music stored in my iCloud storage, which is then linked to my Music app and it's all there on all my devices. Everyone else just seems to struggle with this apart from Apple for some reason.

And what keeps me with the default Apple Podcasts app is that it allows custom RSS/Patreon feeds with no issue.

If Spotify allowed the ability to upload your own content into the cloud as opposed to it being from a local drive and also allowed the custom podcast feeds then I'd probably drop AM, but I know they won't unfortunately.

I'll definitely give Spotify's HiFi option a go however if they offer a free trial.

Despite me pondering a Spotify switch for reasons mentioned in my earlier post (now even more tempting should this HiFi service become available in the UK) I'm with you on a couple points that have kept me tied into Apple Music thus far ie. my own library of music purchased via iTunes before streaming became a thing, and the easy use of Patreon podcasts on the Apple Podcast app. I'm surprised Spotify hasn't managed to find a way to address both of these.
 

xafier

Active Member
Been waiting for this. I currently have spotify and qobuz. 95% of my listening on qobuz is cd quality and I can definitely tell the difference between that and spotify. However the user interface on qobuz is awful especially the search function so I'll be dropping that as soon as this launches
Interestingly I cancelled my Qobuz subscription as I found myself using Spotify more often and I have a family subscription shared with other family members.

Spotify just works, Qobuz UI is terrible and I find it hard getting good mixes etc.

I mostly used Qobuz for living room listening of specific albums which is only a small fraction of my music listening, most of the time spent listening in garage, doing exercise, cooking in kitchen, whilst working... All scenarios where Spotify just works nicely.

Interested to see how they price this as my partner has zero interest in higher res.
 

Toon Army

Well-known Member
About time and I will upgrade my existing Spotify account. Tried Tidal and encountered the same frustrations mentioned above. Also tried Amazon HD and the UI integration with my Bluesound Node2i was so bad, I cancelled the free 3 month trial after a month. As for the audio benefits, higher res files come more into their own when you use higher end equipment.
 

steveb99

Novice Member
Spotify are very late to the party with this one. After using Tidal for most of last year because of offers, I then swapped to Deezer for a three month trial. I am now very happy with Deezer. It does lack Ultra HD/Hi Res, but it's CD quality or £14.99 a month. It has really advanced with playlists and recommendations since I last used it three years ago or so, To me now it's very close to Spotify for that, with the Deezer Discover Weekly list being the only weaker spot. I think it's the best all rounder at the moment if you are not hung up on Hi Res.
 

SunnyIntervals

Well-known Member
Spotify should really just be adding this in as part of the existing service. If it's an extra fee, then it's a no from me. If there's an album I really love, I'll pick it up on CD or Vinyl.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Cd quality should be a worthwhile improvement. County me in. I believe anything above that is similar to thinking you need a 50mp camera to show a good photo on your smartphone
 
This article clearly states "lossless" coming later in the year, this is odd because the majority of the tracks downloaded to computers using the Spotify application already downloads FLAC files.

What is even more confusing is the branding of "Spotify HiFi" which implies higher res files than present and which most people in the comments appear to be referring to, whilst nothing in the article to suggest that's what's coming.

A whole lotta vagueness here....
 
After accidentally discovering how poor Spotify is compared to another service. I set out testing streaming services and wrote some articles for my blog. Its shocking just how poor Spotify soundquality is and that people either put up with it, or (like me) just don't realise better services are available. Pocking up CD quality sound now seems like the horse has bolted. Tidal mqa , Qoubuz, Deezer offer better than cd quality sound already. So unless Spotify offer MQA I'm not moving
Spotify has been using lossless FLAC files for months, not sure how accurate/relevent your blog post is.
 

sibeer

Well-known Member
Have tried Tidal for better sound quality and Apple Music for improved integration with CarPlay and Apple Watch. They are just not as good at suggesting and curating music to my tastes. Hopefully Spotify will do as a free upgrade for Family packages so I can justify upgrading to that at the same time.
 

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