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How to stream high quality audio on Spotify, Tidal and more

Illustration for the article entitled How to get the best possible sound quality from your streaming services

Picture: Spotify

If you are seriously passionate about the sound fidelity of music, so maybe streaming services are not your go-to. But you can actually get quite loud from some of the services on the market –There is quite a lot of variation to consider based on the platform you are using and whether you pay or not.

While we are not going to delve too deeply into the technicalities of audio formats here, you will come across three main levels of audio quality across the various streaming services: first, lost, compressed formats such as AAC and MP3 are encoded with bit rates up to 320 kbps (yes higher the better).

When you upgrade to better audio and lossless formats, the measurements vary: there is CD-quality audio encoded with a depth of 16-bit up to a sampling frequency of 44.1 kHz (equivalent to 1411 kbps), and audio-encoded studio quality. at 24-bit up to 192 kHz (equivalent to 9,216 kbps).

Going up through these sound levels is the same as upgrading to a better camera to improve photo quality and take higherresolution images – there is much more detail and information stored as the quality of the tracks increases.


Qobuz is proud of the quality of the music it streams. The plans go all the way up to studio quality – it’s FLAC format encoded with 24-bit and up to 192 kHz – and the plan gives you $ 15 a month (less if you pay for one year at a time). There are desktop and mobile apps available, as well as a web player.

The recently announced partnership between Qobuz and Sonos gives audio files another option to choose from. Qobuz is the first service to offer a 24-bit lossless format over Sonos systems, so if these are the speakers you have set up at home (or that you plan to buy), Qobuz is a suitable speaker.audio resolution partner.


Sound quality has been a selling point Tide right from the start and if you pay for the premium $ 20 /month plan you get 16-bit and 44.1 kHz quality music. A selection of albums is also available in main quality – that is, 24-bit and up to 192 kHz – but you get it included as part of the Tidal HiFi plan. Default $ 10 /this month’s premium package gives you music up to 320 kbps in quality.

Tidal has also partnered with a number of speaker manufacturers to ensure high quality playback away from your apps and mobile devices: Bluesound, Denon, Naim, Cambridge Audio, and Astell & Kern are some of the many companies that have registered. However, streaming to speakers (including Sonos) streams at 16-bit instead of 24-bit.

Enjoy 24-bit audio with Echo Studio and Amazon Music HD.

Enjoy 24-bit audio with Echo Studio and Amazon Music HD.
Photo: Amazon

Amazon Music

Amazon offers a slightly confusing selection of music streaming packages, from free to pile-with-Prime to high fidelity – and the latest is Amazon Music HD. It compares to Tidal by offering the entire catalog at 16-bit / 44.1 kHz and a smaller subset of music at 24-bit / 192 kHz, and it costs you $ 13 per month if you already subscribe to Prime and $ 15 per month if you are not.

In addition to playing this 24-bit music on mobile and desktop devices, it is also supported by a limited number of speakers and associated equipmentspecifically, Echo Studio, Echo Link and Echo Amp. As long as you are willing to go all-in on the Amazon ecosystem, you can get high-resolution music streaming anywhere in the home.


Among the many reasons to sign up Deezer is the Deezer HiFi plan, which serves your music in 16-bit, 44.1 kHz FLAC quality for $ 15 a month. Stick to $ 10 in the monthly plan, and you get up to 320 kbps in terms of streaming quality, and if you are a non-paying user on the Deezer platform, you are limited to 128 kbps.

If you choose the highest HiFi plan, you can enjoy the sound fidelity across all platforms and devices where Deezer is supported (and the list is long, extends from consoles to the web player). Currently, there is no 24-bit plan available, but 16-bit works just about everywhere.


If you are pays $ 10 a month and spends dedicated Spotify desktop or mobile apps instead of the web player, you can get up to 320 kbps. Hgo into the settings of the app on your platform selection and look for the sound quality section to ensure you always get the best possible quality. If you leave these settings as Automatic, Adjust the Spotify bit rate to match your internet connection. For free users, this speed tops 160 kbps.

Better sound fidelity is coming, although. Later this year, Spotify will launch Spotify HiFi at an unspecified surcharge, and it will guarantee you “CD quality, lossless sound” whether you are listening on a device or through a Spotify Connect speaker setup. As soon as it starts properly, we will take you all the details.

Apps like Spotify let you set streaming quality manually.

Apps like Spotify let you set streaming quality manually.
Screenshot: Spotify

Apple Music

Apple does not reveal the bit rate that the songs overflow Apple Music platform, although the general consensus is that its AAC 256 kbps based on clues such as the files you can buy from iTunes. Currently there is one size fits into all options; there is no free level.

Apple has always made a lot of noise about being interested in audio fidelity, ever since they started offering digital downloads at the turn of the millennium, and it makes us believe that something similar to Spotify HiFi will not be too far away. It has been offering lossless downloads for purchase for many years now, but is not currently streaming.

YouTube Music

YouTube Music matches Apple Music in its choice of 256 kbps AAC streaming quality – unless you are not currently subscribing to the premium service. In that case, you will be turned down to 128 kbps AAC.

There are no desktop apps with YouTube Music, but you can set a streaming quality in the mobile and web apps – the options are similar to those you get with Spotify. Open the settings screen of your device, and under the playback and sound quality menus you can set the quality for streaming over wifi, streaming over mobile networks and for tracks downloaded to your device.

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