Spotify and my systems...yuck!

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I'm all in on Tidal. I've been using it for years, and am very happy with it. But my wife uses Spotify, and a another friend of mine recently wanted to get into a playlist trading arrangement, and they use Spotify so I decided to add yet another monthly payment to my slew of them (my wife spends more than half her time in another state, so we don't share accounts).

On headphones on my computer or ipad? It's fine. Not great but it works out. In my car over BlueTooth? Yep, fine though not as good as Tidal.

On my main and bedroom system running through BlueSound? Wow, it is MUCH worse than I imagined it would be. Maybe I have it on the lowest streaming or something? I know its not full res but this sounds like early 2000s mp3s ripped off of Napster.

There is no way in 2018 that streaming should be this low res. And don't get me started on how little they pay friends of mine who are in bands with albums on it....

Screw them.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I found how to bump up the quality and...it's still terrible. Maybe it's how BlueSound handles it? It works wonderfully with Tidal.

How does anybody listen to this crap on a decent system? I really hope Tidal doesn't go out of business like has been rumored for ages. It's about 50% of my listening. There's ...Deezer? This is a no-go for home listening.

This is everything bad anybody has ever said about digital.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
For anybody playing along at home...if you connect Spotify to Bluesound make sure that in your settings you turn off the "with subwoofer" for "attached speakers". For whatever reason it treats Spotify playback as through an attached speaker (it seems to me, at least).
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I've run Spotify from my wife's account on my ipad just plugged into my vintage system out of the headphone jack in our Chicago apartment and it was decent, certainly listenable. Here, every nastiness is revealed. A transformer volume control, really neutral solid state, and Harbeths do not hide anything.

I knew it would be a downgrade but I was hoping it would be better than this. Oh well. I'll listen to my friend's playlists in my car and on headphones.

To be clear, anybody wary of streaming...Tidal is GREAT. It sounds as good as your DAC is.
 

MikeO

Active Member
Same for me. Have Tidal and use it for nearly all of my listening and it sounds great. Really wanted to like spotify as it has a remote for IOS and Android and is 10 bucks cheaper per month but just found something off with the sound on my system. It doesn't even seem to be just a resolution issue but there seems to be something weird about the music playback. I try it and after a few minutes I lose all interest in listening to the music. Never have this experience with Tidal.
 

HepcatWilly

Junior Member
No, it's not you. Listening to Spotify after coming home from doing an SACD shootout is what prompted my months-long dissatisfaction with my system. Trying Tidal increased the quality considerably, but the sand was still trapped in the oyster...
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
No, it's not you. Listening to Spotify after coming home from doing an SACD shootout is what prompted my months-long dissatisfaction with my system. Trying Tidal increased the quality considerably, but the sand was still trapped in the oyster...
I've had great luck with Tidal, but my DAC really handles redbook well. It's just funny how perfectly fine Spotify is when listening to my iphone headphones, which aren't bad, or in my car, with a stereo that's actually pretty nice. My stereo wasn't made for these times! Even though it's mostly modern gear.
 

HepcatWilly

Junior Member
Yes, I thought Spotify sounded great when I was working in a crowded office wearing headphones. I didn't really notice when playing through my Elacs on my home office desktop. But after a visit with my friend, well, I really heard the difference. Really, Tidal improved the setup quite a lot without any other changes.
 

HepcatWilly

Junior Member
I also think we're actually in a great time for audiophiles. I believe there's a lot of money on the table for very high-end audio streaming services. Yes, the masses will have good enough audio, but technology and bandwidth is cheap enough for several new plays beyond Tidal.

Look at how shaving went highbrow. Menswear. That wasn't even a word a few years ago, now it's a hashtag. Why not stratospheric steaming?
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I also think we're actually in a great time for audiophiles. I believe there's a lot of money on the table for very high-end audio streaming services. Yes, the masses will have good enough audio, but technology and bandwidth is cheap enough for several new plays beyond Tidal.

Look at how shaving went highbrow. Menswear. That wasn't even a word a few years ago, now it's a hashtag. Why not stratospheric steaming?
I could see it happening but the entire high end community needs to drastically change. They're not, what is the word, aspirational? Reading an audio magazine is like watching paint dry for most people, they're dull as soggy spaghetti to the number of people needed to change things. Prime Minister Erik and I went to an audio store here a while back and it was like a funeral for fun, so dull and sad we couldn't wait to get out there. It's sad because there is truly excellent gear now, and I think a lot of people would really enjoy it if they had a chance to hear it in a comfortable, welcoming way. I hope it happens... headphones are really popular, nice ones where you can hear the differences. Companies like Schiit are doing well, that are basically turning their backs on the way the high end currently is. I don't have a problem with the gear. The prices, yeah, I have an issue but mostly its the air of no fun around it all. Specs obsession, online arguments about every little nuance, tribes around different formats or companies...

wait, what? Sorry, I fell into a rant!
 

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
Tidal and Deezer (both hi rez) are my main streaming preferences.

Spotify, Napster, Prime Music, Google Play Music are OK when traveling, but not on the big rig.

Still have to evaluate the hi rez music selections available on YouTube Music.

Just my opinion. :)
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Is youtube's hi rez hi rez compared to what they usually have or actual hi rez? I confess to listening to music on youtube all the time when its just me in my office, nowhere near a stereo.
 

airdronian

Junior Member
I have used both Spotify and Tidal on and off for a while. I guess my position is.... can't wait for Qobuz to start in Canada.

Much prefer Spotify as an interface, and Tidal can't touch the functionality of Spotify Connect. I had started and cancelled Tidal because I found it annoying. Spotify Premium was "good enough". Then the Harbeths arrived, and back to Tidal it was, couldn't bear to under serve them. Spotify's lack of fidelity was ever more apparent....
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I'm finding that Tidal has more of the music I want, which is interesting as it used to be the reverse of that when I'd be using my wife's spotify account. Spotify's selection seems either purposefully streamlined now, or a bunch of stuff was removed because they don't pay artists much of anything.
 

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
Is youtube's hi rez hi rez compared to what they usually have or actual hi rez? I confess to listening to music on youtube all the time when its just me in my office, nowhere near a stereo.
Not sure - have not had an opportunity to check it out.

@David uses it regularly. You have to search YouTube Music specifically for the hi rez audio selections.

Tidal and Deezer give me a ton of choices and sound wonderful on the main system.
 

airdronian

Junior Member
I'm finding that Tidal has more of the music I want, which is interesting as it used to be the reverse of that when I'd be using my wife's spotify account. Spotify's selection seems either purposefully streamlined now, or a bunch of stuff was removed because they don't pay artists much of anything.
The catalog on both services changes over time. In fact, not all of Tidal's offerings are redbook quality. Some are lossy AAC files at just 8 bit. I can see this thru my playback software, and you can hear it too.

Before I tried any of these services, I'd heard the "they have millions of titles" line only to find that more often than not they didn't have what I'd searched for. Guess I'm queuing up for Qobuz to see if that is an improvement.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Tidal has a lot more options than they used to. It's not my only source of music, I also have my own server with all my ripped CDs, and all of my albums. So its nice to have. Spotify is fine for the car, its more reliable on my phone than Tidal is. Tidal is always locking up when I'm going over a cell network.
 

HepcatWilly

Junior Member
I think the head-fi community is young and vibrant and may push the quality of music streaming up. Companies like Massdrop are helping popularize great sounding equipment that is stylish. Uber-high-end audio will likely always maintain the gravitas of those selling to the elite.
 
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