Why do CDs sound better than MP3s? Why are vinyl records still a thing? 4 Reasons Why Vinyl Is Better Than Digital 4 Reasons Why Vinyl Is Better Than Digital Greetings Peasants! What, are you still listening to MP3s? Look, as someone who knows more about music than you, I think it's my duty to tell you that there is a better way. It's called vinyl. Read more ? The answer to these two questions is the quality of the audio. Although we stream most of our music now, we instinctively know that it doesn't sound as good as we heard it on our old CDs. Fortunately, there are ways to make your music app of choice sound better.
From Apple Music to Tidal, all the major music streaming services are capable of playing better quality audio. The secret is hidden in the settings, with most applications set to “BASIC” Quality by default to ensure smooth streaming.
When any app streams music, it is usually encoded as an MP3. How does audio compression work, and can you really tell the difference? How does audio compression work, and can it really tell the difference? In this article, we'll take a look at how music compression works and if it has any real effect on how music actually sounds. Read more . MP3 being a compressed digital audio format. The compression process means that you lose some audio quality. To preserve quality, you must use a lossless digital audio format, such as FLAC or Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC).
For a rough estimate, an MP3 file typically transmits 128-192 Kbps. On the other hand, a FLAC file typically transmits 1411 kilobits of data per second. The difference is massive, and therefore a FLAC file is much larger than an MP3 file. Here you can compare different audio formats. 10 Common Audio Formats Compared:Which One Should You Use? 10 Common Audio Formats Compared:Which One Should You Use? We may all be familiar with MP3, what about AAC, FLAC, OGG or WMA? Why are there so many standards? Which ones should you be interested in and which ones can you ignore? Read more.
The success of each streaming service lies in how quickly and easily you can play the song you want to hear. Streaming apps therefore prefer compressed audio formats like MP3. If you change the format to a lossless format, your audio quality will improve. The good news is that all of these streaming music apps give you the option to change the quality.
If you don't change the audio quality, you'll be missing a trick to get the most out of Spotify. The process is different on the desktop app, the iOS app, and the Android app. Either way you will need a Spotify Premium account for this.
In the iOS and Android app, you can also choose the quality of music downloaded from Spotify. It's labeled "Sync Quality," which again has Normal, High, or Extreme quality options.
Spotify classifies normal quality as 96 Kbps, high quality as 160 Kbps, and extreme as 320 Kbps. It's not lossless audio, but even with compression, 320 Kbps is excellent.
Although Apple has a lossless codec (ALAC), it does not use it for Apple Music. All Apple Music Songs Use AAC 10 Essential Apple Music Tips You Really Need To Know 10 Essential Apple Music Tips You Really Need To Know Since its release in 2015, Apple Music has come a long way, baby. Unfortunately, it's still not the easiest or most intuitive service to deal with. Which is where we come in... Read More
By default, Apple Music uses its high-quality AAC files, which play at 256 Kbps. When you're using cellular data, it switches to the lower-quality files. You can also choose to listen to high-quality audio while on cellular data.
Apple Music does not allow users to change the quality of downloaded music. By default, it downloads music files in high quality.
You can't change the quality settings when listening to Apple Music through iTunes on Windows or Mac. You're stuck on high quality, as Apple assumes you're using Wi-Fi or some kind of broadband connectivity. In your face, 4G hotspot users!
Google has three quality settings:low, normal, and high. But he refuses to divulge what this means in bitrate. Educated guess through different forums means it's low at 128Kbps, normal at 192Kbps, and high at 320kbps. Also, you can configure it differently for cellular data and Wi-Fi.
Google Play Music Chrome Desktop App Top 7 Google Play Music Features Top 7 Google Play Music Features Is Google Play Music Worth Trying? Here are seven of the most compelling features you'll find within Google's streaming music service. Read More We're assuming it's set to "Always High" since that's the default Wi-Fi setting in the mobile app.
Tidal stood out as a music streaming app that finally offers true lossless audio. It's the only app to stream FLAC files at 1411 Kbps. If you're an audiophile with the best headphones on your ears, this is the streaming service you need.
HiFi/Master is FLAC, while Normal and High are compressed music files. You cannot adjust the quality of files downloaded from the desktop app.
Deezer is the music streaming app that is often overlooked, but it has so many possibilities. Everything You Need To Know About Deezer Music Everything You Need To Know About Deezer Music Deezer has finally launched in the US, and unlike other music streaming services with potential, Deezer is good enough to compete with the large. Here's everything you need to know... Read More Like the big shots, it also offers granular control over audio quality. And you can stream lossless FLAC if you have a Sonos.
You can adjust the music quality for cellular streaming, Wi-Fi streaming, cellular downloading, and Wi-Fi downloading.
Deezer also offers a standard “Deezer Elite”, which uses lossless FLAC files. However, this is only available to owners of Sonos wireless systems.
Yes, high-quality audio is great, but cellular data technology hasn't caught up to it yet. If you are sitting in a place with excellent 4G network connectivity, you can stream a FLAC file from Tidal without a problem. But if you're on the move, be prepared for a stuttering stream and wait for the audio files to be stored. It's not just FLAC, even the high quality settings on Apple Music and Google Play Music struggle with this.
So for all services we recommend:
Tidal and Deezer offer music quality that Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play Music don't. But does it really matter? Care about the option to listen to FLAC lossless audio when you choose a music streaming app? Or are Spotify and Apple Music just good enough for you?
In addition to all of the above, there is one more thing you can try to improve the audio quality – start using an equalizer app that boosts the sound. Top 4 Android Equalizer Apps to Boost Audio. When listening to songs or podcasts on your Android device, you need one of these awesome equalizer apps. Read more.