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Let’s Take The Tidal Sound Test


This is the reason why Jay Z can keep his overpriced Tidal system for himself. These past days, we have heard a lot of talk about the higher sound quality offered by the new system. When most of the music on Spotify streams at 320 KBPS, Tidal is supposed to stream music at CD-quality sound, which is 1,411 KBPS, and the highest-quality sound human ears can actually discern. But are these $19.99 a month really worth it?

There is a very simple test you can do on Tidal, it allows you to play five songs (you don’t pick the songs, and I got the Killers, James Blake, Daft Punk, the Eagles and the Dixie Chicks) using two sound sources A and B. You can switch back and forth between A and B during the short music sample, then determine which of the two is the high fidelity sound source. I was using my Macbook connected to a Logitech speaker system. I paid around $40 for them and they sound okay for me, but I did very badly at the test, I guessed 2 out of 5 correctly!! Not bad? Are they kidding? Note that they will never discourage you to try Tidal.

So may be my sound system sucks, may be I am getting old and I have partial hear loss — years and years of going to loud concerts probably didn’t help — may be I was never very good at this to start with, but honestly I could not tell any difference between A and B for any of the songs, and I picked A or B almost randomly each time.

So should I get better speakers? And in this case would I be able to score better with these new ones? I am not sure, I am satisfied with what I hear when I listen to music. According to the comments I read, the only persons who can score 5/5 on this test are either obsessed techies with a very sophisticated sound system, or sound engineers, musicians with a super trained ear,.. or both of course. I will never be able to tell the difference like most of the people.

As someone wrote in a comment section: ‘A music lover listens to music with his sound system. An audiophile listens to his sound system with music’… well said, and I supposed I am a music lover and I will stay this way.

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