TIDAL Multiple Versions

Apologies if this subject has been raised before on the old forum. I was also in two minds as to whether it should be in the Music Room or Streaming category so admin feel free to move if necessary.

I’ve noticed that there are often two versions of many albums on TIDAL. I don’t know whether these are just different issues/re-issues or whether it’s the MQA versions being displayed but simply showing as the same FLAC 16/44 resolution via the phone apps (Tidal or Naim).

However, what is very apparent is that there is nearly always one version which, to me, sounds better than the other. The differences that I have noticed the most in the better version are:

  • a higher volume level
  • more and better defined bass
  • clearer or smoother vocals
  • more rhythmic drive, possibly simply being a product of one or more of the above.

There seems to be no way to know which version will sound better without listening to them as they look identical in details.

Has any one else noticed this and knows the reason why?

Tidal do a poor job of maintaining their catalogue in my opinion, and duplicates are common, often with no explanation. Some, but not all duplicates are MQA versions, and these are only identified as such on platforms that support MQA. This includes the Tidal desktop app, so if you save the MQA version as a ‘favourite’ you will be able to find them by opening the same list in the Naim app.

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It’s certainly frustrating through the Naim app - bringing through some more info about the albums would be a great enhancement!

Can’t say it’s something I’ve ever noticed using their own app, so maybe a Niam thing while looking at tidal servers, maybe the Naim app can actually see all variants? but then you have the re-releases and remasters and they’re not all made equal but those are clearly marked remastered somewhere.

What I do see are multiples when there is an explicit version available ie albums made “family friendly” and they’re not clearly marked at all with a little (E) denoting the differences.

But yes in general if I have saved an MQA version of the file to my fav’s/playlist that version “normally” sounds better.

Thanks for the replies. It´s not a big issue; luckily I only have mild OCD!

For me, the Tidal iOS app seems to give the same results as the Naim iOS app.

I just signed on to the PC desktop version and to confuse things even further, there are fewer duplicates shown on the desktop version vs. either the Tidal or Naim apps on iOS.
An example is Hejira by Joni Mitchell. I can only see the ´Masters´version on the Desktop version, but I have two versions on both phone apps.

Having a look at which versions of LPs I chose, simply by listening, there doesn´t appear to be much of a pattern based on whether it is the ´Masters´ version or not, so I´m guessing my decisions are more based on versions with different mastering.

Anyhow, think I probably need to move on! :smile:

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