Differences in YouTube, Spotify, etc.

What music streaming service do most members use, and why?


Tidal primarily, but also internet radio. never YouTube for music, Spotify is ok but lossless. 

Thanks. I have Tidal. Do you see a big difference in audio quality between Tidal and YouTube or Spotify? Or in usability?

. I’ve tried Spotify,Tidal, Amazon HD Music,and Qobuz. Qobuz sounds best to me. Spotify has a great library,and has the best interface in my opinion. The sound quality of Spotify is lacking.  Tidal has a decent library,but in side by side comparisons,Qobuz won. I tried Amazon for about a month,but I couldn’t understand their interface. That was a big turn off. 

@rickguild If you are looking to get into high end digital audio, you should subscribe to a streaming service that delivers audio in a lossless format. The two most common are Tidal and Qobuz. While I was subscribed to both, I have since slimmed my access to using only Qobuz as it sounds better to me.

YouTube and Spotify are lossy audio streaming services. 

Amazon HD and Apple Music are nice, but not all streamers integrate well with them. 

Qobuz and Amazon here Spotify sounds pretty bad to me I don't stream Youtube or watch music videos very often.

Tidal and Qobuz...agree Spotify is poor audio quality, but great for exploring new music...

Qobuz, because it sounds best.

My ranking of streaming service sound quality 

(as of November 2020)

1. Qobuz

2. Primephonic - now acquired by Apple

3. Spotify Premium (320 kbps Ogg Vorbis which is not lossless) - sounds surprisingly decent to me. It's shortcomings are error of omission rather than error of commission


5. Amazon HD

6 Tidal

i use Qobuz and Tidal equally, usually one sounds better than the other and sometimes one will have the music I’m looking for while the other does not. Tidal’s MQA titles can be hit or miss but sometimes it’s just fantastic!

Also use Spotify Premium which tends to have everything I’m looking to play and has great playlists for background music, especially jazz. The sound quality is generally more than adequate and hi-rez is (supposedly) in its future.

Qobuz is a reliable #1.

There is something to be said about youtube music, especially if one has a premium account. Not sure if it is bring served lossless at times, but, some albums sound quite good. It also tends to have rare stuff that can’t be found on qobuz, Tidal, anything else.

I like Deezer, but wouldn't mind a trial run of Qobuz as it seems all the cool kids use it.

1.5 years ago I tried all the streaming services. Qobuz sounds best on my system. But I use Pandora on my computer while I work to get song suggestions that I add to Qobuz. I’m less than thrilled with Qobuz suggestions. 

YouTube and Spotify are not for Hi Res streaming.

I use both Qobuz and Tidal. If the same album appears in both Qobuz and Tidal, I use Qobuz.


I occasionally use YouTube (not music/subscription version) to find/try new music via desktop USB DAC and headphones. That’s the limit of music streaming for me. All streaming companies really should provide production details of the given tracks/albums they make available. Unknown-which-master’s-provided isn’t a thing I’ll ever pay for.

Started out with Spotify... Lower res was OK in car or on a Bluetooth speaker, but the low music quality grated on my ears when listening on my stereo.

Tidal was OK, in spite of lossy MQA garbage. For me, Tidal connect was erratic and forced me to delete and reload the app frequently.

Amazon was OK... Somewhat klugey UI, missing many of my favorites. A number of my favorite albums that they did have, produced only static on my streamer.

Qobuz... Ahhh a breath of fresh air. High quality music, large library of high res albums, solid app. The best for me.

Qobuz, for sound quality. The interface is good and improving, the content likewise, and the recommendations are OK.

Dislike Tidal, both the SQ and MQA and the interface and recommendations.

I liked Deezer but Qobuz trumps it on sound quality (Deezer is 'only' CD quality), but the recommendations were the best.

Definitely give QB a try. 

I'm using Amazon because wifey buys so much crap- sounds good to me but its app (especially for IOS) is maddening.  


Have tried Qobuz and Tidal but keep coming back to Spotify. SQ difference is almost undetectable to me and the interface, diversity of playlists is far superior. 

Amazon HD and Idagio.  Amazon HD because it’s lossless,  has a huge library,  much of it in Ultra HD,  and unlike some others that have posted I think the interface is logical and intuitive.  Idagio because it has the best library of classical music.  However,  your choices may well be limited by which services the OS of your streamer supports. 

I use Spotify Premium for quite a bit of my streaming. Even though it’s lossy and here are the reasons why. Ease of use, I can have my entire family on 1 account with different profiles so everyone can listen to what they want for $16/month across the multiple devices used from my phone, to the kids’ ipads, to my desktop, driving in the car and multi-room streaming at home over ethernet.

Because I have premium all of my wi-fi streaming is at 320Kbps. Lossy for sure but for casual listening at home and in the car or travelling, I’m not stressing over lossless. The vast catalog of music from obscure stuff to local bands and everything in between that Qboz and Tidal don’t carry or won’t carry.

I use Spotify to find new music and then I buy that artist on either vinyl, CD or FLAC files for the home library. I also stream the several channels Radio Paradise has, which are lossless and use that as a new music source.

I’ve tried Amazon HD but I don’t care for the interface. Again...Spotify works with my audio ecosystem and casual listening needs. For purposeful and dedicated listening sessions it’s vinyl, CDs, or FLAC, and/or RP and Spotify.

Qobuz.  Tidal doesn't interest me, and I want nothing to do with Apple.  In the car I listen to the free AccuRadio app.

First choice for me is Qobuz.  Having said that I might revisit Tidal which has ditched MQA and gone to FLAC for their hi rez stuff.  Tidal has a "Connect" feature that Qobuz does not and this may be important to some people.  Good luck and cheers.  

Tidal here. Tried Qobuz but heard no difference. Tidal connect is a must (no third party work around to get it setup an running). I plugged my streamer in to my Ethernet  cable and BAM, tidal connect recognized it on my computer and my phone. So easy. My Tidal playlists are now to big (and loved) to abandon (they cant be moved between platforms). The daily recommendations are incredible.

Mostly Qobuz, occasionally Tidal, which has more classic rock albums than TIdal.

Qobuz generally has better sound quality than Tidal, distinguishable even on my Bluesound Node.  Qobuz also has more info/reviews on albums than Tidal does.  I have used Pandora and Spotify (the awful, free version); they have their virtues, but high-end sound quality isn't one of them.

I use Amazon Music Unlimited. Large selection of HD and Ultra HD music library and it sounds great all the time. Just wish it had the interface of Spotify. 

Don't listen closely to streamed music so YouTube Music is fine for me.

I haven't compared with others, but when I'm at other peoples houses and am given the music selection reins, their "Up Next" algorithm rarely fails to provide hours of what i consider great music selections. 

Tidal and Amazon HD for me (for now). I find Amazon has a larger selection and Im used to its format.  But tidal sounds better. I have the tidal app on my tv which i just started playing with. Has alot of videos that sound good and are commercial free unlike youtube. 

Tidal does however piss me off because the app on my phone likes to start itself. I can force it stopped and 10 min later its on in the background.  If i get in my wifes car it automatically ques up whatever i was playing last.  I contacted support and they couldnt help.  WTF?? So that being said, a Qobuz trial is in my future. If i like it tidal is gone

I just now received this from Tidal,,,

"Starting April 10, 2024, you will now get access to our music library in full lossless, HiRes FLAC, and Dolby Atmos sound for the same price you pay today.

This is because we’re making it easier for everyone to enjoy best-in-class sound quality by combining our HiFi and HiFi Plus tiers into a single subscription tier called TIDAL."

So now I will have access to hi-res files for the same price I was paying for the lower tier. Excellent.

The files streaming services send out are acquired from record companies or other copyright holders. The hi res services all send the file unaltered. Can someone explain why they think the same file sounds better on one service than another? Once you receive the file, what happens depends on your system. 

Exact same reason @bipod72 for choosing Spotify over others. Have heard Tidal and Qobuz before and they sounded mush better on my system. But they did not have the world music I needed nor some obscure music that I listen to.

I recently searched Deezer and found that it does have a lot of world music that I need, has hifi and it's connect works the same way as Spotify connect to control the desktop app. I will try Deezer after the Spotify Stream On event after checking if Spotify is going to introduce HiFi soon. I have a feeling that Spotify HiFi could be the reason that Tidal dropped their HiFi prices.

Amazon HD. I access via HEOS and stream to a wired Marantz network audio player when I want to listen on my main audio system.  Decent-rez service with a good selection at a low price because we are already Amazon Prime subscribers.

I use mostly to check out music I’ve heard/read about.  If I really like something and want to support the artist I buy a high-rez download for my digital library.

I tried them all, and Qobuz is by far the best in my experience. Spotify I use for casual streaming and is great for music discovery.

Tidal is a cut above Spotify on sound quality, Amazon HD was the most disappointing of them all and canceled shortly after.

I didn’t tally all the responses, but my impression is that when the choice was between Tidal and Qobuz, Qobuz was by far the preferred choice.  I wonder why that is???  
Too bad for me, because I prefer Qobuz too.  I have a family option on Tidal while I would  have to pay the full price for Qobuz.  I had my own subscription to Qobuz for about two years and loved it.  I’m into classical music and I think Qobuz has a better selection.  I use Roon to stream my own ripped music.  Roon offers a choice of Qobuz or Tidal which is not a problem for me because  I won’t listen to any service if it’s not at least CD quality.

I have more than enough material in my collection that I don’t need to stream. But I do subscribe to a YouTube channel for a group called "Voices of Music." They’re an "early music" collaborative, mostly San Francisco area professionals. They do concert sets, record all of them, and present them on YouTube.  Though the sound quality isn't even Redbook, it is worthwhile listening to.  The subscription is free and I recommend that you check it out.  They do have CD recordings for sale, but you won't find them on Tidal or such.

My wife was a professional violinist who played both "modern" and baroque violin. She mostly did "modern" playing because it paid a whole lot more than the baroque stuff. The "Voices of Music" players are mostly people she worked with in the past, so whenever I fire up one of their recordings, she has to go over and see *WHO* itas that we’re listening to.

BTW, her "modern" instrument was built by George Chanot in France, in the year 1848. Now that she’s retired, we sold her baroque instrument, which, also French, was made by Jacques Chapuy, in 1774.

For those of you not familiar with "early music", violins evolved over time and really hit their final design in the mid 19th century. The idea was to make them louder and to project more. The style of playing also changed. The bows evolved as well, all with the intent to play louder and project better.

Most of those zillion dollar 18th century Italian violins have been "modernized" and significantly altered from their original builds. They originally had a straighter neck and gut strings. The "modern" instruments had the necks pulled back and use steel wound strings. The bows are heavier too, as you might expect with the intent to make a bigger sound.

The trade-off is that while you can play louder and project more in a bigger concert hall, you lose speed and articulation. The baroque style of playing also doesn’t have as much vibrato. When listening to the smaller baroque ensembles, you’ll find that the players often have a greater degree of personal interpretation and expression. Modern orchestras are the instrument of the conductor, whereas most baroque groups have no conductor.

Have tried and subscribed to Tidal, Amazon HD, Spotify and for a bit Idagio. 

Have narrowed down to Qobuz for detailed listening sessions at home, and Spotify until recently for car, Bluetooth, wireless Headphone, etc.

Now am actively downloading all favorites (playlists, albums, etc) from Qobuz via CD quality for car, BT, etc...easier for playback in these occasions, then go "live" streaming when critical listening in max hires setting.

IF Spotify ever offers true lossless / flac option, may reconsider and try as current interface is a bit more intuitive.

Apple Music because I'm stuck in Appleworld, and I don't want to pay for more services. Excellent sound on my gear anyway.

Tidal. Flac or mqa option or cd-quality. Tidal connect sends the res I set to my streamer directly from the phone app controls. My family option just dropped from $29 to $16.99

Amazon Ultra HD tier because I'm already a Prime member so the subscription is quite reasonable. I also listen to music on You tube because I play acoustic guitar and it is a marvelous learning tool, being able to watch the player and playing along. Being in my 70's and dealing with my degree of hearing decline, any hi-rez service is far better than my hearing so I chose Amazon for price and convenience.

Apple and Spotify here. Apple is now lossless and sounds surprisingly good. Spotify cuz I like the Spotify connect interface better than Airplay overall, plus I can use both in the car seamlessly. Streaming is for fun listening, discovery and band playlists. I love my analog setup, but streaming can’t be beat for sheer volume when it comes to new and sometimes obscure music. Plus, I really like internet radio pulling stations from Europe and what not. Just an endless amount of material.