Monday, February 6, 2023

What Is High Fidelity Music Streaming

While There Is No Official Word On The Arrival Of The Next Generation Airpods It Is Said To Be Launched In The Coming Weeks

High Fidelity audio streaming in Plex w/ Tidal integration

Apple this year will launch its third-generation AirPods. Along with the new AirPods, Apple is also reported to launch a HiFi tier to Apple Music, which will offer high-resolution music streaming to better compete with its fiercest competitor – Spotify. The Apple Music Hi-Fi tier will bring CD-quality, lossless audio to the companys music streaming application. While there are no details on the Apple Music Hi-Fi as of now, a recent report said that the new Apple Music HiFi will cost $9.99 in the US, which is same as the companys standard Apple Music subscription. This comes after Swedish streaming giant Spotify announced its premium Hi-Fi tier, allowing music listeners to experience more depth and clarity in songs.

Alongside lossless Hi-Fi audio, the Cupertino-based giant will also bring its new AirPods . Now, the AirPods 3 have been in the news since quite a while. The new AirPods 3 are said to come with a similar design to the AirPods Pro, but will lack premium features like noise-cancelling. The AirPods 3 are said to come with interchangeable tips and a smaller charging case as compared to the AirPods Pro. While there is no official date for the launch yet, the third generation AirPods are said to be launched in the coming weeks.

Take Advantage Of The Free Trial

Tidal might seem expensive, but you can actually get a pretty great deal on it if you’re just signing up now. Tidal is currently running a sensational offer where you can a three-month trial of either its Premium or HiFi plans for just $3. That comes out to $1/month. The deal on the Hi-Fi subscription is obviously the better deal as youre essentially paying $3 for a three-month subscription that would normally cost $60.

Tidal has been running this special offer for many months and it’s not clear when it’s going pull the plug on it. So take advantage of it while you can!

Spotify Hifi Vs Premium

Now we have to ask the question that is likely on everyones minds other than the release date of Spotify HiFi. How will the service be different from Spotify Premium? The answer relates to sound quality. Spotify Premium streams with Ogg Vorbis, which is a high-quality lossy standard for audio. It also offers four sound settings that reflect sound quality. These include Low , Normal , High , and Very High .

Most people are easily able to tell the difference between an uncompressed file and a low-res lossy file. But the same person might have a hard time telling the difference between a 320 kbit/s version and the uncompressed version. The difference relates to file compression or the lack of it.

But even if the high-res lossy comes close to the lossless version, the two are not the same. There should still be audible differences between the two versions. For starters, lossless audio transmits more data per second than high-lossy audio . We expect Spotify to offer additional options for sound quality that would fall within this range.

The large difference in file size translates to better sound quality as well. With lossless audio, you can expect a more spatial quality to the music. That is, it should at least give the impression that sounds are coming from different directions. In addition, it should also give the impression of a live, close-proximity performance.

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How Does Tidal Pay Artists

Tidal claims to champion the artist but its payout is measly compared to Qobuz, another hi-res streaming service. That said, it still pays about double what either Google Play Music or Apple Music pays per stream. The most effective way to directly support artists in the age of digital streaming is to attend their shows and buy their merchandise.

Digital Service Provider

Source: The Trichordist

What Equipment Do You Need To Stream High

TIDAL High Fidelity Music Streaming

Thankfully theres only one component you may need in order to listen to music in high resolution: a DAC . Your computer, tablet, phone, TV, and stereo receiver all have a built-in DAC its the component that converts digital files into sound you can hear, but not all of them support high-resolution audio files.

If you want to make the leap to high-resolution music listening on your phone, computer, or stereo, you may need a new DAC to do it. Im recommending two DACs Ive had good experiences with, or still use today. A lot of newer audio gear comes with support for high-resolution audio out of the box, but be sure to check, if youd like to get the most out of your digital music.

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The Best Music Streaming Services

We all have opinions, right? From political leanings to how we take our coffee, humans arent shy when it comes to forming, keeping, and sharing personal preferences especially when it comes to how we stream content. So, with music being about as universal as bread and wine, theres no shortage of opinions when it comes to how we listen to our favorite tunes in the home, on the go, and through our headphones.

If you ask our music experts, Spotify ranks supreme on our list of music streaming services. Compared with its user-friendly interface, affordable subscription, and wide library of music and podcasts, most of the competition cant match up. However, we have spent a lot of time looking at some of the most popular music streaming services around, and weve made a list of the best ones for you to peruse.

Spotify Hifi: Should You Get The Service

As things stand, there are still some gaps as to what Spotify plans for HiFi. We still dont know the date when Spotify will release the service and which countries will be part of the initial trial. We also dont know if it will support some of the premium features on Spotify, which includes Social Listening or Spotify Pair. In addition, theres a possibility that it could be a free upgrade from Spotify Premium, although it seems unlikely. At the end of the day, all we can do is wait for the release date to find out exactly what Spotify HiFi has to offer.

Nonetheless, that shouldnt stop anyone from deciding as early as now if they want to get an upgrade or not. There are few questions that you need to answer before you decide to commit. For example, are you willing to pay a higher price for lossless audio over lossy audio? If so, what is the maximum price youd pay per month? Do you have the proper headphones and adequate internet connection to run the service? Do you already have access to lossless audio through other subscriptions? Think about these things beforehand.

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What Are Some Hi

There are several high-resolution audio file formats available with incredible sampling rates and bit-depths. Two of the most popular types are FLAC and ALAC , both of which are compressed but claim to hold onto and recover every single bit of data from a file.

Other file formats you may have seen that are considered hi-res include WAC, AIFF and DSD.

Tidal offers something called “high-fidelity sound”, which it described as “music files that have not been compressed down”. That’s not entirely true. Tidal streams FLAC audio files. They’re compressed, as we mentioned earlier, and designed for efficient packing of audio data so that no information is lost.

FLAC files on average have a sampling rate of 44.1 KHz, a bit depth of 16-bit, and a bitrate of 1411Kbps. CDs also have a bitrate of 1411kbps, while “lesser-quality” MP3s have a bitrate of 320kbps.

Why Is Music Compressed

HiFi Music Streaming Not Worth The Cost | CNBC

Before we get into high-resolution audio, let’s start by discussing compression.

It’s no secret that the music industry went from physical formats to digital formats , but most people don’t realise sound quality was impacted during that transition due to a demand to make music files smaller. Simply put: they’re easier to distribute to consumers who download or stream.

In order to make a music file smaller, it must go through either lossless or lossy compression. With lossless compression, all original data from the music file can be restored after it is uncompressed, whereas lossy compression permanently reduces the music file by cutting out some data during the encoding process.

Whenever any data is lost or removed from a music file during compression, the resolution is negatively impacted. If you want to hear the difference between lossless and lossy, check out Tidal’s excellent demonstration here.

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Best Music Streamers : Upgrade To A Wireless System


Echo Input

Welcome to What Hi-Fi?’s round-up of the best music streamers for every budget. If you’re looking to add wireless music to your hi-fi, then you’ve come to the right place.

There’s no question that streaming is now a big part of our listening habits, even if your disposition is more inclined towards physical formats. To sure that your music sounds the best it can, a dedicated streamer is a must-have for your digital hi-fi needs. Whether you’re looking to play locally stored lossless files or access CD-quality tracks from top-tier music subscription services, choosing one of the best music streamers is the best way to do them justice.

Whether you get your tunes from Spotify or Tidal, or have them stored on a hard drive, we’ve found the best music streamers to take the hassle out of the hunt.

Most of the selection below support the vast majority of hi-res music formats. Some also boast AirPlay, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, UPnP compatibility and USB connections. This being the 21st century, internet radio comes as standard as do smartphone and/or tablet control apps. All the music streamers on this list are five-star products and many are What Hi-Fi? Award-winners, some with more than one to their names.

Even the cheapest budget models now boast excellent performance, so the question is: can you really afford not to add streaming to your system?

Reasons to avoid

Read the full review Bluesound Node

Reasons to avoid

Read the full review: Arcam ST60

What Is Spotify Hifi

Spotify HiFi is upcoming music streaming tier from Spotify. Its bound to be the fourth subscription tier to be offered by Spotify. It will follow Spotify Free, Spotify Basic, and Spotify Premium.

For years, listeners have hounded the company with requests for high-quality music streaming. Spotify has also had to deal with its competitors such as Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Tidal, embracing the trend ahead of itself. Now, the time has come for Spotify to take center stage and dive into the world of lossless audio.

The Spotify HiFi release date is still yet to be announced. The company has been tight-lipped about a lot of details, but they did reveal one thing. At least, we know that the service will be available across multiple devices, including the Spotify Connect smart speakers. This tells us that you probably wont need expensive headphones to stream Spotify Hi-Fi. But of course, its still an advantage to have equipment such as surround-sound headphones specially built for the purpose.

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Five Things To Know About Spotify Hifi

Artists and fans have told us that sound quality is important to them. We agree, and thats why today at Stream On we announced Spotify HiFi.

Beginning later this year, Premium subscribers in select markets will be able to upgrade their sound quality to Spotify HiFi and listen to their favorite songs the way artists intended.

Read on for five things you need to know about our new high-quality music experience:

  • High-quality music streaming is consistently one of the most requested new features by our users.
  • Spotify HiFi will deliver music in CD-quality, lossless audio format to your device and Spotify Connect-enabled speakers, which means fans will be able to experience more depth and clarity while enjoying their favorite tracks.
  • Ubiquity is at the core of everything we do at Spotify, and were working with some of the worlds biggest speaker manufacturers to make Spotify HiFi accessible to as many fans as possible through Spotify Connect.
  • HiFi will be coupled with Spotifys seamless user experience, building on our commitment to make sure users can listen to the music they love in the way they want to enjoy it.
  • Spotify HiFi will begin rolling out in select markets later this year, and we will have more details to share soon.
  • Want to learn more? Listen as American singer-songwriter Billie Eilish and record producer FINNEAS speak about the importance of high-quality audio options for creators and fans.

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    Apple Is Set To Launch Its Own Hifi Tier Offering Cd

    TIDAL · High Fidelity Music Streaming on Behance

    Apple has dropped a teaser for an announcement that could hint at a Hi-Fi tier of Apple Music. Being that this is a teaser, any details are non-existent. But its worth noting that Apple is promising Get ready music is about to change forever. Which hopefully is a strong indication that the rumoured Apple Music Hi-Fi service is around the corner.

    The teaser video can be found on the main Browse tab in the Music application. Interestingly, the teaser comes at a time when reports suggest Apple will announce a new Apple Music+ subscription tier and the third-generation AirPods on May 18 via a press release on its website.

    The tech giant has been rumoured to offer a new Hi-Fi or high-fidelity Apple Music tier for a while now. Its being said that a Hi-Fi music tier of Apple Music will cost the same $9.99 as the current individual Apple Music plan. Apples new tier offering for its music streaming service will bring CD-quality sound in a lossless compression standard.

    MacRumors recently reported that it found code in the iOS 14.6 beta that confirms the Hi-Fi music tier is a real deal.9toMac too found references of lossless audio in the latest Android beta app, hinting at a CD-quality music tier of Apple Music in the works. It is said that Apple Music will offer two choices for lossless playback: 24-bit/48kHz and 24-bit/192kHz.

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    Cambridge Audio Edge Nq

    A truly fantastic streaming preamp.

    Reasons to avoid

    The Edge NQ performs as well as hi-fi separates, costing the same amount, which is high praise indeed. It handles any digital content up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD256 via its USB Audio Class 2.0 input or up to 24-bit/192kHz via S/PDIF. And there’s Chromecast compatibility for streaming services such as Tidal, Deezer and Qobuz, adding to the already included Spotify Connect, AirPlay and internet radio.

    Sonically, it sounds insightful and impressively clean. You can run your finger over textures, and instruments are well organised with plenty of space between them to let them breathe and express themselves.

    So what about the downsides? Just about the only niggle we have is that the volume dial could be a little tauter. But that’s about it.

    If you want a serious one-box system replacement, look no further.

    Read the full review: Cambridge Audio Edge NQ

    Reasons to avoid

    While streamers often offer a few inputs to serve physical formats, theres little you can’t plug into the Evo 150. Like the entry-level Evo 75, it packs line-level RCA, USB, coaxial, optical and HDMI ARC connections, but also expands on that with phono , asynchronous USB and balanced XLR inputs, a second optical input, plus two sets of speaker terminals for running two pairs simultaneously.

    Read the full review Cambridge Audio Evo 150

    So What Is The Best Audio Format

    The audio community has gone back and forth for decades about what the best audio format is. It’s one of these never-ending discussions based somewhere between placebo, perception, and science.

    Portable Hi-Res audio products have definitely come a long way in the past few years, and since the inception of the iPod, we have seen numerous audio formats come to market. Yet, only a select few of them have been adopted on a mass scale.

    Funnily enough, for a long time, audio formats such as FLAC, etc., were the preserve of nerds and hobbyists. With storage on mobile devices and DAPs having been at a premium for so long, very few users were willing to take up precious space on their mobile devices with large audio files. Back then, it cost a lot to find a solution to storing hi-res audio files, especially if you had a large and varied music library.

    However, nowadays, with some mobile phones and portable audio devices being expandable upwards of 500GB, it seems there is plenty of free space to go around. So there should be no reason not to seek out the highest quality music format and get the most out of your listening experience.

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    Spotify Hifi Streaming Quality

    So just how good will Spotify HiFi sound? It will supposedly sound, at the very least, as good as a CD does and maybe a bit better.

    According to Spotify, Spotify HiFi will stream in CD-quality lossless audio to your devices. Ideally, those devices will be connected to a network and capable of using Spotify Connect, otherwise youll have to pipe it over Bluetooth which will likely diminish the quality.

    Thats a heck of a lot better than Spotify’s current offering of 320kbps, and will likely bring the service’s potential audio quality up to par with Tidal, Deezer and maybe even Apples Digital Masters.

    Speaking of Apple Digital Masters, theres always a chance that Spotify might also go above and beyond hi-fi with 96kHz / 24-bit audio, but were not holding our breath.

    So what does that all mean? In a very practical sense, lossless audio formats have more details and data than their lossy counterparts. That means hearing new details in songs youve never heard before that otherwise mightve been cut out when the data was compressed. It should also sound a bit wider and more immersive, though, a lot of it will depend on which headphones or speakers you use, too.

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