Are you looking for the very best sound quality? In this article we tell you which music service you should be at.
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Music service with best sound quality
Where do you stream your music? That choice depends not only on the offer and the price, but also the sound quality. The different music services do not all sound the same.
Music is converted into data that you stream via your internet connection. In order not to unnecessarily increase the burden on the data connection, compression takes place. This ensures that less data is needed per second of music.
The bit rate indicates how much information is processed per second. If music with a bit rate of 96 kbit/s is streamed, 96 kbit of data is sent per second. The lower the bitrate, the less information is generated and the lower the quality of the music.
With the various streaming services, you can usually choose how high you set the bitrate. Take Spotify for example. You can listen with 24 kbit/s on low sound quality. Music can be listened to, but it clearly doesn’t sound good. With normal sound quality, you listen at 96 kbit/s. With high 160 kbit/s and very high 320 kbit/s.
If you listen on Spotify at 320 kbit/s, it demands more from your data bundle, but there is hardly any audible compression.
A new trend in the streaming world is lossless audio. This means that there is no compression at all and therefore no information is lost when streaming. That is taxing for your data bundle, but then you listen to music in the very best quality.
The question is whether you need lossless audio. You also need the right equipment for it. If you mainly listen to your music via AirPods, Sonos speakers or the boxes of your computer, then lossless actually makes no sense. You do not hear the difference and you often have to pay more for a subscription that supports this feature.
There are also different types of lossless audio. For example, Apple makes a distinction between Lossless and High Resolution Lossless. The difference is that the range of tones is greater. This is indicated by the number of hertz.
The best sound quality: the numbers
If you are looking for the music service with the best sound quality, there are more and more options with lossless audio. We list the services with their sound quality for you.
If you want the best audio quality for the lowest price, you have to be with Apple since June 2021. The company offers lossless audio in the standard Apple Music subscription. This is special, because the competition often hides the higher sound quality behind a more expensive subscription.
- Apple Lossless: 16 bit/44.1 kHz to 24 bit/48 kHz.
- Apple High Resolution Lossless: 24 bit/192 kHz.
- Standard music quality at Apple Music has a maximum bit rate of 256 kbit/s.
- Apple Music costs 9.99 euros per month.
At the time of writing, Spotify has only announced lossless audio, but hasn’t rolled out yet. This special Spotify HiFi subscription will be available in select regions later this year for an undisclosed price.
- Premium subscription with Spotify has a maximum bitrate of 320 kbit/s for 9.99 euros per month
Music service Tidal offers a remarkably expensive lossless subscription, but also has the best quality under the term Tidal Master (which is simply part of the Tidal HiFi subscription).
- Tidal HiFi has a quality of 16 bit/44.1 kHz
- Tidal Master goes up to 24 bit/253 kHz.
- A Tidal HiFi subscription costs 19.99 euros per month.
- A normal Tidal subscription costs 9.99 euros per month with a maximum quality of 320 kbit/s.
Deezer also offers a lossless audio subscription for an increased price.
- Deezer Hifi goes up to 16 bit/44.1 kHz (for 14.99 euros per month).
- The normal Deezer Premium subscription goes up to a maximum of 320 kbit/s (for 9.99 euros per month).
Amazon recently removed the additional cost for lossless audio, so you no longer have to pay to listen to music in the best quality. Unfortunately, Amazon Music is not yet officially available in the Netherlands.
- Amazon Music HD goes up to 16 bit/44.1 kHz.
- Some of the music is also available in Ultra HD, which goes up to 24 bit/192 kHz.
Conclusion music service with best sound quality
More and more music services offer lossless audio as an option. The quality of lossless audio is largely the same for the different services, only in the really high segment there is a difference. Technically, Tidal offers the best sound quality in the Netherlands, but you pay for that. Apple offers the best value for money in the Netherlands.
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