You wouldn’t put cheap gas in your high-performance sports car because it will impact the quality of your driving experience. Playing compressed audio on your hi-fi system is similar. No matter how good your speakers are, they cannot reproduce the details lost in compressed audio files.
And at the same time, you can’t beat the convenience of streaming audio applications. Having access to nearly any song at the touch of a button is difficult to pass up, if only it weren't for the compression. Luckily, there are a few options that provide streaming music without compressing all the great details. Here are some services that provide the best of both worlds.
You’ve likely heard of Tidal, even if only because one of the principal owners is Jay-Z. Tidal launched in 2014 but saw a very public re-launch in 2015 after Jay-Z became involved. In addition to providing lossless audio, the service has exclusive contracts with various artists and labels, meaning certain music is only available here. Tidal has exclusive deals because it pays higher royalties to artists than most other services. Alternatively, Tidal does have a higher price tag than your average service.
There’s a pretty good chance you’ve never heard of Qobuz. The reason is likely because it’s not available everywhere. The service isn’t currently streaming in the U.S., but this could change. If you’re reading this outside the U.S., check to see if it’s available in your neck of the woods.
Put a pin in this one. Spotify has been testing cd-quality lossless audio format, but there's no official word on its release date. Spotify offers three tiers of streaming quality, and is currently testing its fourth tier, Spotify Hi-Fi. Without a doubt, this service will be a major player when it hits the market.
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