Music App: Quality vs Quantity

Audio MusicAdvice Reviews

ipodfamilySince the day when music listeners began taking their music with them in the most portable way possible, quality of music listening has decreased. It has become the need for quantity of songs at the sacrifice of quality of the audio. We had the walkman with the cassette tapes, portable CD players and finally the MP3 player.

Difference In Quality

MP3 or any lossy format have to be the worst audio quality out of them as it is a lossy format that degrades the intended experience from the studio. Today, rather than downloading music, popular as a lossy format, people tend to stream music via apps through subscription or a free service. Today, portable music listeners are getting top-notch quality compared to the past when portable digital music first arrived, but is still not the best as they are considered “lossy” audio and are not the best and intended quality from the studio.

The experience isn’t the same when you want to kick-back and enjoy it on your hard-earned expensive headphones (not Beats Audio that is another story) or speakers. In today’s day and age, listening to music like how it was intended from the studio should be possible and the norm given the technology in our hands. Here’s a quick detail breakdown of music apps users can find:

Spotify

dc-spotifySpotify music streaming service is ever popular with the masses. It offers FREE music streaming but with ads or a premium service with no ads. Spotify offers “high quality” audio, but it is a lossy format, like that of an MP3. Except they use the lossy format called OGG. But that is besides the point. Their streaming service is high quality enough that its pass-able, as people can listen to any song they like from the latest hits. However, you will not want to use this as a way to, lets say, entertain guests at your house party through an expensive hi-fi stereo system you bought. Sound coming out from the speaker like there is a filter over it is the best way we can describe this experience. Once you experience some of your favourite hits in it’s lossless format, you will come to enjoy it and believe is the right way to experience music. Remember, it’s an experience and may take a few songs and comparisons between formats before you’ll notice the difference.

Tidaldc-tidal

A music streaming service that offers users 2 choices for subscription, Standard or Tidal Hi-FI (lossless audio). The standard subscription offers you something similar to what you get from an MP3 audio or from Spotify streaming as it is a lossy audio. The more expensive subscription offers you the intended sound quality from the studio. However, bandwidth and internet connectivity do come into play for Hi-Fi subscription and justifying a pricier approach compared to a lossy stream is an issue. There is potential if there is a cheaper option for it. Most users will justify that you will either a) won’t notice the difference in quality & b) the loss of certain frequency from original source to the lossy audio like mp3 or other formats that we are accustomed to today, does not matter.

Let me tell you that IT DOES MATTER. Play or stream a song using lossy audio on bigger and higher end speakers, in Tidal’s case, the cheaper subscription, and you will notice the distortion and sound as if there is a filter over the audio. In some cases, musical dynamics are no longer apparent. Stream through Tidal’s lossless option or a song which you purchased as a lossless format, and you will notice the difference in quality. Yes, Tidal does offer you the choice to purchase songs in either MP3 or FLAC (lossless format).

So the key here is to stay with the original intended experience of a lossless audio format. Lossy audio can be great if its for your earbuds and portability, but if you truly want to experience the perfect audio listening experience, buy/download, stream your music in lossless audio for true quality and originally intended experience. The lossless format has also allow studios to push out “studio” masters which you can buy online and it offers an experience that not even a CD master can offer. However this version may require a very “suped up” audio setup for you to truly hear the difference. But that’s besides the point, in today’s age, quality of audio and quantity of songs is possible and should be the definitive way to experience your music. Let us know what your experience with lossless audio was like if any, and let us know.

Online locations to purchase your songs in lossless format:

Ponomusic.com (More about PonoMusic here)
Tidal.com
hdtracks.com
OR just rip it in WAV or FLAC format off your CD you purchased!

Andrew is a co-founder of DeviceCritique. As a tech savvy individual, he aims to explains tech in a simple manner while also providing support for those who need help with their devices or computers.