Spotify Is Preparing to Launch a Hi-Fi Music Tier

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Megalith, Mar 2, 2017.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    There is probably some level of commotion at Tidal right now, as relatively unknown music streaming service Spotify is poised to roll out CD-quality streaming. As you could assume, subscribers will have to pay more for the privilege, although nobody seems to know exactly how much the new tier will cost yet. Currently, Spotify’s highest-quality files are only 320kbps.

    Spotify is preparing to launch a lossless audio version of its streaming service, according to multiple sources. The offering, which is currently called Spotify Hi-Fi, will offer lossless CD-quality audio to users—similar to what Tidal offers in its Hi-Fi service. [The company’s] move to lossless audio quality isn’t totally unexpected. With Apple choosing the Lightning connector over the headphone jack and Android manufacturers switching to USB-C at a rapid pace, there are now millions of smartphone owners who can experience lossless audio wherever they are.
     
  2. jfreund

    jfreund Gawd

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    What does a Lightning or USB C port have to do with lossless audio?
     
  3. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    Spotify has absolutely horrible sound quality. All bass frequencies are missing and the top end is not much better (through the web player).
     
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  4. Viper87227

    Viper87227 [H]ard as it Gets

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    Yes, this. Say what you will about Tidal, but their lossless audio was on point. Sound quality was amazing. I canceled before their master audio stuff, but I'm sure on the right equipment, that also sounds great. I want to see Google bring on lossless, as they are my streaming service of choice. Nobody else lets you integrate your owned music like Google does.
     
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  5. Weenis

    Weenis I said WEENIS, not...

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    Use the desktop/mobile apps?
     
  6. DeChache

    DeChache The ONE - Your Ignorance Annoys Me

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    Quality is determined by the headphones as its a pure digital. No crappy DACs to go analog on the phones
     
  7. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    No I tried the web player as a backup but was absolutely horrified by the quality.
     
  8. -Strelok-

    -Strelok- [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Good, the audiophiles with perfect hearing can go ahead and pay extra while the rest of us aren't stuck with extra costs :)
     
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  9. RanceJustice

    RanceJustice [H]ardness Supreme

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    One should not have to spend more money to gain access to high quality streams, especially if a user is already subscribed! Its one thing to keep free/ad-supported use to relatively lower quality and lossy streams, but even going back to the early days of Shoutcast, though lossless wasn't available streaming in most cases, subscriptions to most services granted commercial free streams and full access to all quality levels, allowing users to decide for their bandwidth situation what they could use. Especially with the major advances in bandwidth, codecs, tech and service today, I don't expect a regression...but then again, I've been disappointed in a ton of recent sites/apps having greedier/less user friendly business plans and pricing than those years ago.

    Spotify Premium subscribers are already paying $10/month and are promised "high quality audio" - (it even says "Listen in High Definition" as a tagline on the Premium page), which apparently tops out at 320kbps in what I assume are either MP3 or AAC codecs? Asking $5 to $10 more for lossless is insane, especially when there are formats like FLAC that can be used royalty/license free and today's hardware, even on mobile, is powerful enough to handle decoding it with ease even from highest compression status. Personally it seems the kind of thing that should be included in the existing subscription but if they needed to charge extra, I'd think a very small surcharge is warranted - $1-3 at most, given that $5-10 is what a Spotify subscriber pays for ALL the benefits of Premium as it stands including avoiding ads and stepping up from lower quality lossy to higher quality lossy streams.

    Good on them for adding lossless support (which I hope is FLAC), but the additional costs seem way out of line with the service.
     
  10. GotNoRice

    GotNoRice [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Eh, I guess it makes sense for those who use streaming as their only form of music listening.

    For me, I use streaming for the same things that I used to use FM radio for - exposing myself to new music. Quality doesn't need to be perfect for that, just good enough - just like FM radio is/was.

    Then when I find music that I like, I can "obtain" the album in FLAC on my own.
     
  11. DeChache

    DeChache The ONE - Your Ignorance Annoys Me

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    Can't forget that bandwidth isn't free.
     
  12. N4CR

    N4CR 2[H]4U

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    Ok, you got me you shitheads.
    I'm not paying for 128-192k crap. But I will pay for this.

    And my hearing is unfortunately no longer perfect after years of being good with it I slipped up a few times. But I can still hear the washy shit sound of over-compressed hi hats and cymbals on most streams. That alone drives me nuts.
     
  13. RanceJustice

    RanceJustice [H]ardness Supreme

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    This is true, but Premium subscribers are already paying for bandwidth among other things. I think they could easily eat the cost and roll it into Premium to gain other subscribers; after all, they are one of the larger streaming music services around so it isn't like bandwidth is a big issue for them. Most of their costs likely come from licensing the music in the first place and Premium subscribers (and ads for free users) are already covering that, whjich doesnt change regardless of the quality level. However, even if they did insist on charging to cover it, I can see that an additional $1-3 would be far more accurate in terms of cost, compared to basically paying the whole Premium fee (or close to it) again!
     
  14. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    Or more likely I tried it with an audio system that was capable of producing a full 16hz to 20 000 hz range unattenuated. The sub remained silent through all the songs I played through spotify. A regular hifi speaker can't even produce the frequencies where the sub starts.
     
  15. daglesj

    daglesj [H]ardness Supreme

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    You need some better gear then. Listening to some nice strong bass here.
     
  16. bigstusexy

    bigstusexy 2[H]4U

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    Spotify is relatively unknown?

    I don't know about their quality, I used the Zune forever since they weren't here in the states back then. Xbox music/Groove (was still Zune actually) on Android was HORRIFIC on mobile. I gave them feedback about it, how it sounded like mono and very low bitrate and they played it off and told me it had to be my provider. I could tether a device to my phone and it would sound better.

    I'm fine with what Google provides but I do have the setting to always use high quality set. Beyond that I'm not in that category of people.
     
  17. delita

    delita [H]ard|Gawd

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    It's funny because I started the thread on this on the Spotify forums about 5 years ago and there have been THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF POSTS of people saying "im leaving for tidal, fuck this, blah blah" -- finally years later Spotify finally decided to listen.

    I've been using a plugin called Fidelify for years but this is great news. It really does make a difference on a high end audio system or for those of us with audiophile grade equipment. On an iPhone with apple earbuds though? Prepare for ultimate letdown. I switched to Tidal for a while, used Hi-Fi on my desktop but when I was at the gym or in my car it wasn't worth the cell data to use FLAC.
     
  18. MaddBomber83

    MaddBomber83 [H]Lite

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    Spotify’s highest-quality files are only 320kbps...

    I missed something, 320k is bad?
     
  19. Master_shake_

    Master_shake_ [H]ardForum Junkie

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    how are they going to get that "warm" record sound over the internet?

    fake news!