Tidal Lossless Streaming...Now

Two new releases I've been very curious about are Ruins from Grouper and Venice (10th Anniversary Edition) from Fennesz and I just listened to both of them in CD-quality on Tidal. Ruins is also available on NPR's Fist Listen for free but that's in lossy quality and does not hold a candle to the lossless version. Yes there's a clear and distinct difference in the sound of these two streams, one sounding muffled and imprecise while the other sounds more like what it is, mainly voice and piano. While I'm still a fan of NPR's First Listen, I'm a bigger fan of better quality and Tidal delivers.

I also searched the Tidal catalog for a few artists just for fun including Einstürzende Neubauten, Nocturnal Emissions, Don Cherry, Lowell Davidson Trio, Bill Dixon, Albert Ayler, Caribou, Josephine Foster, Sharon Van Etten, Lightnin' Hopkins, Archie Shepp and more and was delighted to see that there are albums from each available. Of course this kind of cherry picking is not the same as diggin through a music library led by the music so it remains to be seen just how deep and relevant Tidal's 25 million tracks are for my tastes.

I say so far, so great.

Boy Howdy's picture

I'm listening to Qubuz and like its quality but not so crazy about its current holdings… Any ECM content on Tidal?
Boy Howdy

Michael Lavorgna's picture
I did a quick search.
Boy Howdy's picture

Appreciate it.

Alex K's picture

Subscribed to check Tidal, but..
1) No Retina support on Mac for Tidal application.
2) No year title for albums, no sorting.. How to see latest albums from Madonna?
3) No ASIO drivers support under Windows. Under Mac is ok, but sound is not bit perfect anyway under both OS's. I compared sound from Tidal web/application with Audirvana, the second is clear better.
4) Tracks catalog is really extensive, including mixed albums, that's good.
5) No hi-res music, is it possible in 2014 year for new music listening brand?

Too weak service to be good for audiophile.

Boy Howdy's picture

On Qobuz, I can get ECM recordings to show up but when you try to play them, no go… So Tidal may be the same - list them but can't play them. Of course, you can buy them.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...that appears to be the case on Tidal as well. One compilation, the one I checked!, is available but I looked at some other releases and while they show up you cannot play them.
Boy Howdy's picture

Thanks again. I'm guessing that there is some issue with ECM since neither Qobuz nor Tidal lets a customer access their holding…

oldominion's picture

does that mean that the releases from Cherry, EN, SVN, Shepp, et al may also be unplayable? Man that would be a drag. I was literally going to Tidal to sign up after I read that list of artists, only to learn a few seconds later that the ECM titles are listed but unplayable...I'm in if yes, out if no!

Michael Lavorgna's picture
So far the ECM titles are the only ones I've encountered that are unavailable (listening to Don Cherry right now).
BradleyP's picture

ECM material does not show up in Spotify, either. I'm sure that's a conscious decision. Perhaps the artists have more pull there than at other labels.

tnelson's picture

To those who discovered ECM albums are absent or unplayable on Tidal and other services, note that ECM announced last year they were withdrawing from all streaming services (see their website), largely because streaming was not sustainable for artists and small labels not part of the media conglomerates. Some services who previously streamed ECM still display their album metadata, but content is no longer there. If the payment stream ever becomes sustainable for content-creators (i.e., musicians), perhaps when there are more subscribers, we may see labels like ECM opting back in. Listeners want content as cheap as possible, of course, and some feel entitled to free music, but the licensing and royalty system needs readjustment to enable artists to survive in the age of streaming. There is plenty of discussion out there to read about the ridiculously small cut that artists get from streaming licenses. We have a listening bonanza now, but it's not sustainable. Note that ECM is not the only gap in content, if you are interested in jazz, classical and avant garde music. Many smaller but significant labels are not part of streaming libraries at present.

TPiddy's picture

Downloaded last night and had fun with it. Did an A/B today vs. Audirvana and yes I too noticed that Tidal does not sound quite as good. That being said, I am sitting in front of the hifi, catching up on email and enjoying the Heartless Bastards. I suppose I will default to a CD rip, or HI Rez (when available) for serious critical listening, but I am digging this and expect it to get better. I did not A/B against Spotify, but I think we all know Tidal would sound better (I love Spotify and will continue to subscribe for on-the-go listening).

I have done pretty much zero setup besides making sure Tidal defaults to HIFI and there may be some tweaking we all discover to close the gap. But yeah - this is freaking sweet.

Michael - a note of thanks for your efforts to enhance our collective experience. I am guessing there will be a comprehensive review :)

Supperconductor's picture

The price is too high for me. I've been spending my music dollars on hi-res PCM & DSD downloads. I predict Tidal will not succeed at the current price, but then again I'm often wrong about such things.

Martin Osborne's picture

Hi Michael

What are your thoughts on 'Venice' 10th Anniversary Edition vs the original edition?

Michael Lavorgna's picture
Unfortunately I do not have the original to compare against. I'll see if Tidal has it ;-)
Martin Osborne's picture

It's a personal favourite of mine. I hope you enjoy it irregardless of edition :)

Reed's picture

I have been doing some critical listening, comparing playback to AIFF lossless files in my iTunes library. On my Mac Mini, I find I prefer the same AIFF music played via JRiver 19 & 20, by a good margin. Music though the Tidal player sounds more like it sounds when using straight iTunes into my DAC. Good detail, but flatter. Less air around instruments with less depth in soundstage. 5 years ago, I would have been elated.

Do we know if Apple's core audio is used for playback.

Reed's picture

I wonder if it is a custom audio engine underneath the covers? If so, there may be a lot of room for improvement in sound quality. It is already good.

culp's picture

Any ideas when and if this will be available for Canadians?

PeterInVan's picture

TIDAL Desktop with Apple TV Remote

I am enjoying the new Tidal desktop app (beta). http://tidal.com/us/download

iMac 27 > Bootcamp > Win7 > Meridian Explorer DAC.

The user interface is the same as in Chrome. Gapless is great.

Best of all, I can use my AppleTV Remote to control the Tidal app as well as my volume.