Achieving aural bliss through your favorite tunes has never been easier with Tidal, a high-fidelity music streaming platform that debuted in 2014. Initially introduced by the Norwegian firm Aspiro, it is now under the umbrella of Project Panther Bidco. Tidal’s unique selling point is its ability to deliver lossless music streams, utilizing high-bitrate tracks in lossless file formats such as FLAC, ALAC, and MQA. Be it on mobile (Android and iOS) or desktop, Tidal ensures maximum auditory resolution.
Mastering Mobile Music Experience on Tidal
Tidal extends its high-resolution musical experience to mobile users as well, recognizing the omnipresence of smartphones in our daily lives. Leveraging an innovative feature that identifies a USB DAC, Tidal ensures maximum data flow (bitrate) on any track. Connecting the device is as straightforward as launching the app and plugging in the USB cable. This seamless connectivity, combined with the high-quality sound output, truly heightens the mobile music streaming experience.
The Tidal Desktop Experience
For desktop users, Tidal offers an app (download here) that you can use on your PC or laptop. Users with a DAC or DAC/amp can optimize their auditory experience with a few tweaks. The preliminary step involves downloading and installing your DAC’s driver/firmware from the manufacturer’s website. Afterward, navigate through Tidal’s ‘exclusive mode’, ‘passthrough MQA’, and ‘force volume’ features. Tidal’s ‘exclusive mode’ comes into play for ‘Hi-fi’ (16-bit CD quality) and ‘Master’ (24-bit or “Hi-res” audio) quality songs. Activating this mode ensures that only Tidal can utilize the audio processed by the DAC or DAC/amp, preventing potential system-induced disruptions.
The ‘passthrough MQA’ feature entrusts the DAC with the decoding process, leaving the unfolding of the MQA file to it. However, this function is operational only if your DAC is MQA compliant. The ‘force volume’ function hands over volume control to the DAC/amp or amplifier and ignores the app and OS volume settings. It’s important to note that this function is unavailable if you activate the ‘passthrough MQA’ function.
Transforming Your Computer into a Supreme Music Vessel with Tidal
Follow the detailed steps below to maximize your music experience on Tidal:
Time needed: 2 minutes
- Opening the Tidal Desktop Version
Begin by launching the Tidal application on your computer. Connect your DAC/amp to your device.
- Navigating to Settings
Click on the three dots located at the top left corner of the screen. Select ‘Settings’ from the drop-down menu.
- Accessing the ‘Transmission’ Tab
Find and click on the ‘transmission’ tab within the settings. Scroll to the ‘Audio’ section. Select your DAC or DAC/amp under the ‘Speakers’ designation.
- Altering ‘Sound Output’ Options
Find the ‘sound output’ option. Click on ‘more settings’.
- Activating Key Features
Enable ‘Use exclusive mode’. If your DAC supports MQA, turn on ‘passthrough MQA’.
- Finalizing Settings
Return to the ‘Broadcasting’ tab on Tidal’s ‘Settings’ page. In the ‘Playback’ section, switch off ‘Volume Normalization’.
The ‘normalize volume’ function ensures a consistent volume level across all tracks, eliminating the need for manual volume adjustment with every song change. However, the function may influence the specific dynamics of a song or album style, potentially affecting your music experience. Therefore, when listening to an entire album, it’s advisable to deactivate this function to maintain the intended tonal balance of the tracks.
Tidal’s Hi-Fi and Hi-Fi Plus Plans
Tidal’s ‘Hi-Fi’ plan offers music streams at a maximum bitrate of 1411 Kbps (CD quality), costing BRL 16.90/month for individuals and BRL 25.35/month for family subscriptions. In contrast, the ‘Hi-fi Plus’ plan provides access to files in MQA, Dolby Atmos, and Sony 360 Reality Audio format at BRL 33.80/month for individual and BRL 50.70/month for family subscriptions. Although Tidal’s pricing may seem steep, the premium experience it provides makes it worth considering. Furthermore, it often competes with other platforms like Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify, and Qobuz, all of which offer varying features at different price points.
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Immerse yourself in a supreme music experience on Tidal by leveraging its high-quality music streams and unique features. By understanding and utilizing the functionalities offered, you can transform your everyday music streaming into an extraordinary auditory journey. Each song takes on a new life, letting you explore the depth and nuances of its melodies like never before.