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June 2017
July 2017

2017-06-25 »

Thought I'd try out streaming music services, so I signed up for a free trial of Spotify and then Tidal. The default tier of Spotify sounds awful, but that's to be expected; if you upgrade to premium, you get "real quality" music, which sounds okay, roughly like the music I already had on my iPhone.

I figured there was basically no chance I'd be able to tell the difference between that and Tidal's "Hi-fi" tier (lossless compression, ~1.4Mbps), given that I don't have particularly high-quality audio equipment (ok, Bose headphones, known more for their noise cancelling than professional-grade audio fidelity).

I was wrong. I can tell the difference. (No, it's not just louder and it doesn't just have more bass.) In fact, it sounds like I remember CDs sounding back in the 1990s. Go figure. I had thought my ears just got worse with age, but no, just this once it wasn't me, it was whole world that degraded.

Sigh.

[There's this kinda weird "scratchiness" in compressed music in the mid ranges, eg. vocals, that kinda crept up on me over the years. Listening to uncompressed music for the first time in forever was a real "wait a minute..." feeling.]

I'm almost 100% sure I'm not an audiophile, so all in all, I'm pretty confused by this.

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