Spotify Premium v Tidal HiFi

Spotify Premium sounds really good on my newly added NDX so I was expecting great things from the trial of Tidal HiFi started on Saturday. Total disappointment - nobody can hear a difference. I definitely have the HiFi subscription which I understand streams FLAC files but in blind listening trials even my 24 year old daughter cannot hear a difference in sound quality. Anyone else share this view? What we all agree on is that the sound is great!

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Not every album on Tidal is lossless - I have a Tidal Hi-Fi account and a few lesser known albums that I’ve listened to don’t stream in flac.

It’s unlikely to be the cause but it’s worth checking the stream info on the NDX for the albums that you’re using to compare to ensure that they are coming through as flac from Tidal.

Perhaps a left field suggestion

But check your TIDAL input in the Naim app is set to HiFi. Settings cog/Inputs/TIDAL


Hello, how do you check the stream info? Spotify is set to 320k and Tidal to HiFi. If I change Tidal input settings whilst playing, is the change instant or is a power off/on required? I hear no difference switching between Normal, Hi and HiFi.

Yep, set to HiFi

In that case I’d suggest you pick your preferred service and enjoy :slight_smile:

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According to the NDX manual:
"During playback, pressing the handset info (i) key (on the Naim remote) will
alternately display data stream info and track elapsed

The i button has no effect on the display

That’s odd, i button just started working during Tidal play, display shows 44.1khz FLAC. The i button has no effect during Spotify play… very strange

This is pretty timely I was tossing up between Tidal premium and HiFi. I’m currently have a free trial with premium which will eventually cost me $17 the HiFi is $34. Maybe might stay with the premium.

Did you compare Spotify Premium to Tidal Premium? If you did, what did your ears say? Spotify is 320Kbit/s and Tidal shows 44.1kHz Flac. Not sure how Kbit and kHz compare but I can hear no difference!

I just found 2 great quotes:
“320kbps lossy compression is almost impossible for most people to distinguish from losslessly compressed (or original) sound data”

“If you take pure st and give it a high bit rate and/or sampling rate, it’s still st in the end”

Enough of the data, I’m just listening and enjoying!

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You shouldn’t need to restart the streamer, but you should clear the play queue and start a new one when switching the Tidal input quality.


I’m with you on this.

I recently mentioned in another thread that I find Spotify Premium, at £9.99 pm, produces a really good sound via my Nova & ProAcs, so much so that I haven’t been tempted to try the free trials offered by Tidal & others. Much of the Spotify output sounds pretty close to any other output to me & I doubt if I could tell the difference a substantial amount of the time.

As I listen a lot to LPs, CD rips & internet radio as well, I don’t really want to spend any more than I already do on streaming services that I probably don’t use for more than a couple of hours a week.

If I were using streaming as my main music source I would certainly try Tidal & other alternatives but would be surprised if there were easily heard differences from Spotify Premium.

I would also mention that I have found Spotify easy to use & 100% reliable in the 18 months I have been using it.


I find Tidal superior to Spotify but it might be expectation bias. I haven’t done any a-b or blind listening tests.

.wav or flac is more detailed and not as harsh sounding as Spotify.

By the way the cd-stream (Tidal) is 1411kb/s while Spotify is 320kb/s in the format Ogg vorbis if I am not mistaken.

We’re quite limited for streaming providers here and I’m on a free trial with Tidal so I haven’t yet listen to any of the others. I have been impressed with the SQ so far.

I don’t think this is what the OP was doing.

He was merely stating what he has found, backed up by younger family members with, presumably, better ears.

I took this to be his opinion & nothing else. He was not stating fact, just giving his observations. Possibly in the expectation that someone would point out a setting he had overlooked & was not getting the best from his Tidal trial.

I find Spotify very acceptable for my purposes & share the OPs opinion of it. I have not heard Tidal & other streaming services on my system & therefore can’t comment on the SQ v Tidal et al.

I took the tone of your message to be rather unnecessarily confrontational & if I have misunderstood your intention then I apologise in advance.

Thanks @jmtennapel

I think it was the right thing to do.

I find very little difference between Spotify and locally played flac. But of course it may be expectations of a 50+ year old. There was a time when we had either cassette or CD, and there was a clear winner - so perhaps now my expectations are lower. Whereas if you were brought up on MP3, you may be more impressed with a flac. Of course our ears starts to fail as we get older, so really whatever suits you, go for it!

I have both:

  • Spotify imo is best for exploring, playlists and artists” radio
  • Tidal imo, i.e. to my ears, has far superior SQ and I use it when I know what I want to listen to