Tidal flac quality v flac file quality

Here’s one that been baffling me a little.

A quick test with 2 songs:
The Naked and Famous - A Stillness - Ripped from CD to 44.1 16bit FLAC
The Naked and Famous - A Stillness - Streaming from Tidal at 44.1 16bit FLAC

Blondee - I Love You (Original) - Purchased from Beatport at 44.1 16bit AIFF
Blondee - I Love You (Original) - Streaming from Tidal at 44.1 16bit FLAC

These 2 files should in theory be almost identical to their streaming counterparts. But they are absolutely not.

  1. The Tidal streams are much quieter.
  2. After adjusting volume to match and switching back and forth between the same parts of each song. There is no comparison, the Tidal stream sounds flat and boring, it has none of the depth of the file playback.

The difference from Spotify to Tidal on most songs is very noticeable so they are definitely doing something, but I don’t understand why the Tidal streams sound so poor compared to files when they should be the same?

All tests were done through Audirvana with a high speed wired connection for Tidal.

Very interesting, wonder if this is a common experience. I was just about to start a Tidal tryout period but this sounds disappointing. Tidal is to expensive if it’s not giving results as good as a normal cd. In a year you can by a lot of CD’s for the same amount of money.
/ Dynamitharry

I’ve been a member of both Spotify & Tidal. Tidal is definitely worth the
extra money. I am an audiophile who cares about the sound and the lossless sound is far superior!

I think audio enjoyment is subjective and there is no superior way to enjoy music, nor does classifying oneself as an ‘audiophile’ give more authority.

For me:
Spotify at HQ is warmer, like a cozy blanket, its not clear sounding, but its nice to listen too on earphones.
Tidal at HiFi is clearer but colder, you will hear more, but chances are you wont notice on a noisy train with earphones.

With Audirvana, Spotify is not an option so that’s out of the way. But I’m wondering if Tidal audio is actually being processed in the same way as files are, because that would explain why it does not sound as good.

I agree, my quote was based on audiophile equipment listening. All my Audirvana files are flac files not mp3’s which is not to say
that spotify replays are unlistenable I just prefer to listen to lossless. I may be outdated but when I tried Spotify the hifi quality or there top audio files were 320K. My quote was for members to see the value in Tidal. I am a retired person that has no connection to either Tidal or Audirvana.

I agree that Tidal is the best choice out there.
MQA files are hirez so that is no doubt .I have tried and still listen to 24/96 or24/192 DSD as well.
Do not forget that these files require very high-end equipment to notice the difference.

I listen music with Denon AVC A1 AV receiver and audiophile loudsepakers.
I use the DAC inside the Denon that is the best sounding DAC I have tried.

I have handreds of tracks on the computer in FLAC or ALAC at 44,1 khz 16 bit that I can compare with the Tidal Hi-Fi counterpart.

After months of listening I can say that there is no difference in sound quality. If I should find a difference is in favour of Tidal, cause in same case they have maybe a remastered version than the one I have.

I can say that some friend of mine say that Tidal sounds always better because they don’t have the error that can happen in ripping.

so in order to make these comparisons really valid we need to compare the exact same master (ie: release) as a local cd/file vs Tidal stream. If you open the actual Tidal desktop app and navigate to a track, then click and drill into Info (I), you can sometimes determine the release. For example, if you pick an old album from the 70s or 80s or 90s but it has a recent release date ie:2005 with a remastering engineer listed in the credits, it means you need to find the actual CD of the album released in 2005 by that remastering engineer. Then rip this CD and do your listening evaluation so it’s an apples to apples comparison so to speak. make sense?

FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec . It can compress an original source file by up to 60 percent without losing a single bit of data. And it is an open-source and royalty-free audio file format, so it doesn’t impose any intellectual property constraints. However, all music from Tidal FLAC are protected by Digital Rights Management. Even though FLAC is supported by most major programs and devices, those tracks from Tidal in the format of FLAC is only supported by Tidal. To crack this limitation, you could use TunesKit Audio Capture to convert Tidal to DRM-free FLAC.

That is ILLEGAL …

You are totally right about it, @Andre_Green can you please not talk about this kind of software on this forum ?