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Topic: Tidal: Yes or no? (Read 1746 times) previous topic - next topic

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  • jalexm
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Tidal: Yes or no?
Hello.
I don't want to start a discussion about whether or not I can hear the difference between lossless and lossy streaming. Also I'm not worried about bandwidth and amount of data. This has been discussed before. What I really need to know is:

1) How can I be sure that Tidal is relly streaming lossless audio? I can right now do an MP3>WAV>FLAC conversion and that will not be lossless. Is there any test that can be done?

2) What about the audible watermark on the songs? What it is? Is this real? I have read some things about it but I have not come to any conclusions. If it's true, Tidal is a fraud, as that would not be lossless streaming identical to CD.

I'd like to hear from you before subscribe to the service. I don't want to pay for something that's cheating me.
Thank you all.

  • saratoga
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #1
1) How can I be sure that Tidal is relly streaming lossless audio?

You can't. 

2) What about the audible watermark on the songs? What it is? Is this real?

Some companies put watermarks on streamed music so that they can track if people are ripping streams.

I'd like to hear from you before subscribe to the service. I don't want to pay for something that's cheating me.

Rip your own CDs then. 

  • Heliologue
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #2
We can be reasonably sure you cannot hear the difference between lossless and lossy for all intents and purposes, so whether Tidal is actually streaming lossless audio is irrelevant.

  • bennetng
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #3
I don't want to start a discussion about whether or not I can hear the difference between lossless and lossy streaming. Also I'm not worried about bandwidth and amount of data.

So it means what you care about is not audibility, but authenticity.

1) How can I be sure that Tidal is relly streaming lossless audio? I can right now do an MP3>WAV>FLAC conversion and that will not be lossless. Is there any test that can be done?

2) What about the audible watermark on the songs? What it is? Is this real? I have read some things about it but I have not come to any conclusions. If it's true, Tidal is a fraud, as that would not be lossless streaming identical to CD.

You can listen to some watermark examples here:
https://www.mattmontag.com/music/universals-audible-watermark

You need to have the CD and perform a null test against the Tidal tracks.
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,105377.0.html

You can practice null testing technique by encoding your CDs to various lossy formats and null test them, so you have some idea what they sound like in a null test.

However, please note than if two files don't null, it doesn't mean one of them must be lossy or watermarked, it just mean they are different, for example, mastered differently.

If you found something abnormal after performing a null test, feel free to share your result, like this one:
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,111198.0.html

  • jalexm
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #4
So it means what you care about is not audibility, but authenticity.
Thank you for your answer. It was very enlightening.

Null test is very interesting, but I think I'm not able to do it.
And Matt in his blog says everything we need about the problem.

In fact, I could not hear the difference between the original and watermarked audio samples but this is probably due to my ears/equipment. Matt also shows the sample with differences he got technically. That's enough.

Watermarks in lossless audio streaming are the most stupid thing I've ever seen. UMG and other companies should remember that they are hurting people who are paying for such music as if they were lossless. This is dishonest.

Do these guys understand that those people could be downloading torrents, using P2P, file-sharing services and many other ways to get music illegally? But they have decided to pay and are being blatantly cheated.

As for Tidal and other similar services, they should respect their customers and remove those songs from their catalogs or at least warn their customers that these songs are not lossless.

I started this post asking "Tidal: Yes or no?"
The answer is NOOOOO!!!!!
  • Last Edit: 07 November, 2017, 09:32:41 PM by jalexm

  • bennetng
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #5
It also shows how funny those "industry experts" claim you can hear the benefits of hi-rez and deblurring by showing waveforms zoomed into sub-millisecond and spectrograms at 50kHz, without telling you they add watermark at 2-5kHz.

  • jalexm
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #6
It also shows how funny those "industry experts" claim you can hear the benefits of hi-rez and deblurring by showing waveforms zoomed into sub-millisecond and spectrograms at 50kHz, without telling you they add watermark at 2-5kHz.
I'm thinking of doing something crazy: subscribing to the service (Tidal or similar), recording some streamings (there are lots of software to do that) and using some software like auCDetect to check if it's similar to a CD.
Before many claim that's illegal, I think that's illegal to sell lossless music that's not lossless and also I think I have the right to know what I'm paying for.
What do you think about it?

  • bennetng
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #7
I am not familiar with legal stuff but I can talk about the technical side.

[1] Windows' default record/playback chain is not supposed to be bit-perfect.
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,104051.0.html

This issue can be solved by using bit-perfect record/playback methods like WASAPI exclusive or ASIO. But it seems that those streaming services don't support such playback methods. I have a video showing some waveform differences caused by this issue in a null test:
https://youtu.be/v26f0gfNzXI

However, such differences are predictable and reproducible, and can be easily differentiated from watermarks.

[2] Watermarks are invisible to software like AuCDtect, Spek and so on. Automated waveform and spectral analysis are unreliable.
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,114749.msg947133.html#msg947133

In Matt's blog, some classical music can make watermarks audible by many listeners, but it is impossible to visually identify watermarks in waveforms or spectrograms without doing a null test to isolate the watermark itself.

So it means casual users cannot use casual methods to identify watermarks.

  • Coreda
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #8
I'd like to hear from you before subscribe to the service. I don't want to pay for something that's cheating me.

Rip your own CDs then.

Thing about Tidal is they have some exclusives not available losslessly anywhere else. There was even a video game soundtrack that was a lossless exclusive to Tidal for a while before fans complained enough that it became available separately.

I wish digital distribution wasn't so tightly bound to publisher rights in various countries. One day a track can be bought in a certain country and the next it can be pulled entirely due to rights. There's no such issue with the CD market. I encountered this last year with an artist on Sony, the publisher pulled it first from certain countries then globally. Literally available now nowhere online, not even illicitly. So much for the all-digital future. Same thing happened again earlier this year but thankfully there was a CD version this time which I could grab from eBay.
  • Last Edit: 09 November, 2017, 03:31:15 AM by Coreda

Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #9
I wish digital distribution wasn't so tightly bound to publisher rights in various countries. One day a track can be bought in a certain country and the next it can be pulled entirely due to rights.
That's exactly the same idiotic, lawyer-pleasing reason why I pulled the plug on my Netflix subscription:

Being able to buy a blu-ray disc wherever in the world it pleases me - though usually still region-bound (ugh!)  - I, being the old flick buff I am, felt like I was being unfairly treated, whenever I had to juggle several free/paid VPN services in order to watch this or that specific title - sometimes only once in my lifetime, had a film proved itself to be a disappointment.

Enough is just enough!
  • Last Edit: 09 November, 2017, 04:18:37 AM by includemeout
Listen to the music, not the media.

  • evgenetic
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #10
1) How can I be sure that Tidal is relly streaming lossless audio?

You can't. 

recording the stream and looking at the spectral should give some idea, shouldn't it? or is this only relatively reliable if the source is mp3?
  • Last Edit: 09 November, 2017, 05:08:56 AM by evgenetic

  • bennetng
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #11
I forgot to mention loudness normalization in streaming services.
http://productionadvice.co.uk/online-loudness/

  • jalexm
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #12
I forgot to mention loudness normalization in streaming services.
http://productionadvice.co.uk/online-loudness/
Is this another artifact introduced by pseudo-lossless streaming services in order to destroy original audio?

  • bennetng
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #13
Is this another artifact introduced by pseudo-lossless streaming services in order to destroy original audio?
No. It is a method to discourage the "loudness war".
https://youtu.be/3Gmex_4hreQ

Another suggested article explains why streaming services are doing this:
http://productionadvice.co.uk/youtube-loudness/

  • ajinfla
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #14
Loudspeaker manufacturer

  • isaccasi
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #15
Deffinantly YES I am not an Audio nerd but I love the sound of TIDAL and I use on all my devices ;)

  • greynol
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #16
Deffinantly YES I am not an Audio nerd but I love the sound of TIDAL and I use on all my devices ;)
Do you love the sound of SPOTIFY or any streaming done with more sensible bandwidth?
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #17
I like the sound of Spotify better.  The sound of I don't have to pay anything to stream music from your service.   I don't like the sound of commercials but at least it's free.

  • polemon
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #18
Isn't this the company offering MQA streaming? The one company offering MQA streaming is also called "TIDAL", iirc, not sure if it's this one.

The entire MQA thing reminds me a bit of the Pono Player. It is a bit like selling snake oil to a faithful but gullible user base.

  • shadowking
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Re: Tidal: Yes or no?
Reply #19
This is all bordering FUD. I can see a limited market for these services:

Lossless by itself cannot be faulted as it doesn't add anything to the source . Whether the stream source is 'compromised' remains to be proven. Its certainly possible but I would think a lossless provider has quality and QA in mind .  Can't trust them? Well then you can't trust anything but buying a CD. Why don't you email and ask them ???

No one can simply decide for everyone that 'they can't hear a difference' That is false. Its certainly is possible as we are talking loss compression . With lossless you get total guarantee the source isn't further degraded.

As I mentioned in the paradise radio thread , non-mobile  internet plans are often unmetered and of no concern when it comes to bandwidth. Most YT vids will likely exceed the bandwidth of a lossless 44.1khz track.  The target of these niche services would not be Spotify crowd .
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