I have been testing Tidal for the past month to see how it stacks up against Spotify. I have used Spotify premium for more years than I can remember, at 9.99 a month it offered options found nowhere else at the time. I could pick songs directly, make actual playlists and download music for on the go with out using data. It was musical bliss. In the early days the music quality was good for streaming, not great, but on par with the tech available in terms of streaming. Tidal is newer to the game when compared with Pandora or Spotify, released in 2014. Tidal has made a point that it is a service for audiophiles. They boast MQA as the best offering in the game.
The main draw to Tidal is the Masters Quality Authentication. This means the play back you hear is at least from the source the same quality as originally recorded on the Master. Your mileage may vary though. It is only as good as the system you play it though right? In my experience so far is doen’t matter to much, I am able to hear a difference between a MQA track on Tidal and the same track on Spottily set to 320Kbps on my Audio-Technica ATH-M40x’s at work. I will say there was more notable quality differences on my home stereo. MQA is good then, like really good. It sounds excellent. To me it is the best sounding stream source I personally have heard.
Is Tidal worth the money?
This is hard to say. For $9.99 you get a premium account that is basically spotify. it plays at the same quality level and offers most of the same music options. If you want the MQA you have to bump up to the Hifi account running you $19.99 a month. I personally don’t know that I will keep it. Generally the times I am streaming, I am not doing so over my hifi set up. Also not every artist or song is available in MQA. If you listen to a lot of obscure music you likely wont find it in the MQA selections. If you like more mainstream options it may be worth it to have a large selection of high quality music at your finger tips.
One of the search features in Spotify I love is it gives you some suggestions before even searching to pick from.
Over all I like Tidal, the MQA is awesome. There is a decent selection for Masters quality. I do not care for the app itself though. The navigation seems clunky, the search is not that great and the premade playlists seem lacking. I am sure all of these things will get better the longer Tidal is around, but today as it sits, I don’t care for it. I am sure another contributing factor is that I am years into being familiar with Spotify and love the user interface. I think in terms of that, it is like android and apple, if you like one, you probably don’t care for the other. I have no qualms about the service offered however, I think they just need to work on how it is delivered to give an easier to use experience.
Let me know what you think about it in the comments.
to download Tidal head over to:
to download Spotify head over to