TIDAL vs Amazon Music HD Sound Quality
The launch of Amazon Music HD provided further confirmation that consumers do care about their music sound quality. If they didn’t, a company of Amazon’s remarkable size and extraordinary customer insight wouldn’t even bother to get involved. The following article compares the audio quality offerings from TIDAL and the e-commerce giant: TIDAL vs Amazon Music HD Sound Quality.
What is Amazon Music HD?
So, what does Amazon Music HD deliver? And how does it compare to TIDAL, the multi-award winning music streaming service? Here we aim to battle out the ultimate TIDAL vs Amazon Music HD Sound Quality debate. Let’s start by looking beyond the prices - discounts and trial offers come and go, and let’s not champion a race to the bottom. Amazon Music HD’s maximum available quality is 192 kHz. This goes up against TIDAL HiFi Plus’s max of 384 kHz. It offers two standards: High Definition (HD) and Ultra HD. Amazon’s HD songs stream in ‘up to 850 kbps’ and its Ultra HD songs in ‘up to 3730 kbps’. Explore What Hi-Fi?'s TIDAL Masters tracks to give you a taste of MQA to hear the difference for yourself.
Read the fine print
Beware, though, when streaming Amazon Music HD tracks, if network conditions drop off then so can track quality. One minute you could be listening in Amazon Ultra HD quality, the next you may be shunted down to HD or Amazon Standard Definition (SD) meaning compressed audio with a max of 320 kbps. To check, you can tap the SD/HD/Ultra HD badge on the Now Playing screen and view the ‘currently playing at’ tab.
One of the takeaways here is, and not for the first or last time, always read the smallprint. Another is to consider how TIDAL HiFi Plus overcomes network challenges. Using MQA’s ‘music origami’ streaming technology to deliver its TIDAL Masters recordings. This is the level that Amazon Ultra HD is shooting for. TIDAL places less demand on your network. MQA audio ingeniously folds, streams and then unfolds the music file. Consequently, when streaming the highest available quality, TIDAL averages just 1.3 Mbps up against Amazon’s 3.7 Mbps. A data saving of over 60%. TIDAL’s efficiency is even more critical when listening on-the-go. Users are exposed to sudden and significant variations in network quality, as well as capped mobile data plans. Ultimately, TIDAL HiFi Plus users get better quality music more of the time.
TIDAL vs Amazon Music HD sound quality comparison
How, though, do the two services compare when it comes to ultimate sound quality? Well, this is an unfair fight, one that Amazon is fighting with one arm tied behind its back. TIDAL HiFi Plus uses MQA, and MQA technology doesn’t just efficiently stream larger file sizes, it is also an ‘end-to-end’ recording solution. MQA’s patented system takes into account every step in the chain. From the microphone and recording medium in the studio right up to the output of the DAC in the user’s device.
So, this is not just about how a music service streams, it’s also about what it streams. Unless your provider streams MQA, you can’t guarantee that you get the very best sound quality. MQA goes beyond losslessness. It is revolutionary in setting as its goal the much more challenging vision of perceptual losslessness. Whereby the analogue output signal is, to the human ear, indistinguishable from the original analogue input signal. This is something which the conventional notion of losslessness never guarantees.
Listen to TIDAL HiFi Plus [up against Amazon Music HD or any other streaming service] and you soon appreciate that TIDAL Masters recordings sound more natural, more dynamic, more human. And, thanks to MQA’s streaming-friendly technology, TIDAL HiFi Plus delivers a super-reliable music stream in the most efficient way. One which powerfully grips on to its studio quality even when the listener is on the go. The result is, quite aptly, a listening experience that you won’t want to let go of.