In the battle of high-resolution music streaming, two giants are vying for the top spot – Apple Music and Tidal. While both offer exceptional audio quality, there has been a longstanding debate over which one offers superior sound. In this article, we delve into the differences between the two and explore why Tidal has the upper hand.
Let’s start with the basics. Both Apple Music and Tidal offer lossless audio, which means that the audio files are compressed in a way that preserves all the original data. This results in a higher quality of sound that’s closer to the original studio recording. However, there’s a key difference in the type of lossless audio each service offers.
Tidal offers two tiers of lossless audio – HiFi and Master Quality Authenticated (MQA). HiFi streams at 16-bit/44.1kHz, which is equivalent to CD quality. MQA, on the other hand, offers even higher resolution audio that’s up to 24-bit/192kHz. This means that you’ll get studio-quality sound that’s exactly how the artist intended it to be heard.
Apple Music, on the other hand, recently announced that it’s bringing lossless audio to its platform. However, the highest quality it offers is 24-bit/48kHz, which falls short of Tidal’s MQA. While this is still a significant improvement over Apple Music’s previous audio quality, it’s not quite on par with Tidal.
So why does Tidal have the upper hand? For one, Tidal’s MQA audio is simply unmatched in terms of sound quality. It’s the closest you’ll get to the original studio recording without actually being in the studio. Additionally, Tidal offers a wider range of high-resolution audio content, with over 170,000 MQA tracks compared to Apple Music’s 100 million lossless tracks.
But it’s not just about the audio quality itself – it’s also about the equipment you use to listen to it. Tidal has partnered with several high-end audio manufacturers, including MQA and Meridian Audio, to ensure that its audio is optimized for the best listening experience. This means that if you have a high-end audio system, you’ll notice a significant difference in sound quality when streaming Tidal’s MQA tracks.
Of course, Apple Music is not sitting idly by. In addition to lossless audio, it’s also bringing spatial audio with Dolby Atmos to its platform. This is a new audio format that adds an immersive, 3D-like soundstage to music. While it’s not quite the same as high-resolution audio, it’s a unique feature that sets Apple Music apart.
In sum, while Apple Music is making strides to catch up to Tidal’s high-resolution audio, it’s clear that Tidal still has the upper hand. Its MQA audio is simply unmatched in terms of sound quality, and its partnerships with high-end audio manufacturers ensure that the audio is optimized for the best listening experience. That being said, both services offer exceptional audio quality that’s worth checking out if you’re a music lover. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your personal preferences and the type of audio equipment you have.