The quality of the music content being played has come to play a very important, if not decisive, role for music streaming services. The fact is that the competition in this music market has become extremely aggravated, so streaming services are fighting fiercely for subscribers, offering them more and more effective options. One of these options is the sound quality, which for many music lovers plays a decisive role.
What is lossless music that many music streaming services offer their users today?
Basically, it is the sound quality that exists on a CD that plays WAV files. Today, streaming services are trying to go the opposite way, going back to basics instead of reducing data consumption.
But a small digression into technology. Digital audio is a more efficient way of storing this information, but instead of doing it with physical grooves that wear out over time, are prone to dust, and have technical and physical limitations, the CD does it with digital data in a process called fetching. .
While recording music, the microphone sends electrical signals to an analog-to-digital converter (ADC), which measures the electrical waveform to create a digital representation of that change. Thus, this signal is affected by two characteristics: sampling rate and bit depth. Sample rate is the number of measurements of that signal per second, and bit depth is the number of bits of information in each sample. Then you create CD sound, for example with standard 44.1 kHz at 16 bits.
There are three generally accepted bit depth values: 8, 16, or 24. This number determines the possible distance between the loudest sounds and the noise level.
On the CD, the theoretical signal-to-noise ratio is 96 decibels. With some advanced techniques, it reaches 120 decibels. The fact is that in order for you to hear the background noise of CD audio, you will have to turn on the music with the volume of the chainsaw in your ear. Nevertheless, it can be concluded that the quality that exists on a CD is sufficient for any person, given the audible frequency range.
As for the Swedish music streaming service Spotify, it starts with files from 24kbps to 320kbps. The difference in these compressions is how much of the original audio will be lost. MP3 clips, at some possible levels, information that a person is unlikely to hear in order to reduce the file size.
The quality of audio content from the Swedish streaming service generally leaves much to be desired, because at the moment it has practically no data plan that can provide users with lossless music.
Frankly speaking, in order to feel and understand the difference between the quality of CD playback and Spotify, you need high-quality playback equipment, which, of course, is very expensive.
If we are talking about listening to a song on the speaker of a regular smartphone, then in this case there is nothing to worry about at all, since in this case the human ear is unlikely to be able to feel a significant difference in sound quality.