When it comes to HD audio streaming, there has been one king of the hill recently. Tidal has held a monopoly on high definition music streaming with its collection of Atmos tracks and live concerts. The service promotes the idea of giving artists more control over their music. But there is a familiar face in town now.
Amazon is making quite the name for itself. Seeing what’s in the market and charging in with something better than everyone else has become part of the company’s DNA. Now the company has its sights on High Fidelity music services.
So what is high definition? Let’s break it down by numbers: Apple Music and Spotify for example, run at a bit rate of 256kbps and 320kbps respectively. Now Apple has a slightly different audio codec that matches its competitors. These numbers represent what we hear on our headphones headphones, cars, etc. For listeners looking for a premium sounding product, Tidal has lead the way with bitrates of up to 1,411kbps. This is up to 4 times the average bitrate of the competitors. What these numbers translate to is more information coming through your speakers or earphones, delivering a much better audio experience.
Amazon HD will offer bitrates of 850kbps and if you opt into the top tier service the company is claiming 3,711kbps with a select amount of music that can support it. It’s interesting to note that if you want to experience Atmos sound from Amazon HD, you’ll have to listen to it through Amazon’s own Echo Studio 3D wireless smart speaker.
As far as pricing goes, Amazon wins when it comes to HD audio streaming. A single user subscription for Amazon HD is $13/month while an equivalent Tidal subscription is $20/month. What do you get for $7/month with Tidal? You get streamed live performances, music videos, and exclusive releases. Tidal is also much more versatile when it comes to streaming devices, available on Alexa, Google Assistant, Echo, Sonos, and Google Nest Smart Speakers.
To me, the battle comes down to authenticity vs. convenience and price. Amazon makes it easy to add HD audio streaming to your existing ecosystem of Amazon goodies. If you’re a Prime member, you’ll get a break in the price and if you use an Amazon Echo you’ll be able to enjoy the massive library of high quality audio. Tidal will cost you more per month and doesn’t offer quite the bitrate as the Ultra HD from Amazon, but it is so authentic. Tidal pays the highest royalties to their artists and has an Atmos library that’s amazing to hear in the right environment. Live concert streaming, access to premiers of music videos, and the social aspects with the artists make Tidal the ‘audiophile’s’ streaming choice, in my opinion. Feel free to have a look at the article we published about Tidal a short time ago.