Best Streaming Services for Your Sound System
In 2018, if you have a quality sound system, you deserve a quality music streaming service. There are many music streaming services out there, each with its own perks and problems. Whether you’re listening to music for personal enjoyment or playing ambient music for a social gathering, you and your friends want a quality music experience, especially if you’re going to buy a nice sound system.
This article will look at the best music streaming services and compare them to one another. The best way to do that is by grouping different music streaming services according to sound quality. The following are the three sound quality groups we will mention in this article:
- High Resolution – Highest quality audio available, better than what you can hear on a CD. Think of high-res audio is the audio equivalent of HD video.
- Lossless – The files are compressed but the actual sound is not. That means uncompressed sound quality whose data usage costs the same as compressed sound.
- Lossy – Compressed audio. This means that aspects of the sound have been sacrificed in order to make the files smaller. The most common lossy sound file is the mp3.
This article also goes into other features of these music streaming services aside from audio quality.
High Resolution Options
Tidal – Tidal is the music streaming service that hip-hop mogul Jay Z bought in 2015. Tidal “HiFi” membership is a premium, lossless streaming service whose other features make the the subscription price worth it for many.
Tidal’s best quality is that they offer a large collection of high resolution audio tracks through their “Tidal HiFi” membership. Tidal’s high resolution audio “Masters Collection” is the best and only streaming high resolution service on the market. Tidal also holds the biggest collection of exclusives from the most popular musicians.
Tidal’s biggest problem is that they do not offer a free version of their service. Also, their music selection isn’t as large as many of their competitors. That being said, if quality and exclusivity are what you’re looking for, Tidal is the streaming service for you.
Tidal – Tidal’s premium “HiFi” streaming subscription also provides their entire library in lossless audio quality. This is much better quality than Spotify’s best audio quality as Spotify currently only provides lossy audio. Tidal also has the aforementioned exclusives we talked about earlier.
Deezer – Deezer isn’t a new streaming music service, but it is new in America. Deezer is available in 183 different countries and boasts massive library.
When using their “Elite” membership, Deezer provides lossless streaming audio utilizing FLAC files for maximum audio quality. FLAC is the most popular, lossless audio file format.
The main issue with Deezer is their curation features are lacking. Other streaming services such as Apple and Spotify provide significantly better curation services. Deezer also lacks exclusive content, but many argue that their that large library makes up for it.
Apple Music – We all know Apple. They’re the company who made digital music files the standard with the iPod. They’re the company who made podcasting a booming industry. The iTunes Store became the industry standard for buying music online. Apple Music is their relatively new music streaming service.
While Apple offers its own lossless music file called ALAC through iTunes purchase they only offer lossy audio through Apple Music. There are reports that Apple will roll out new features allowing people to listen to FLAC files with iTunes and iOS 11, but there is no evidence that these FLAC files will be available for Apple Music subscribers.
Apple Music offers an impressive 3-month free trial subscription for those interested in trying their service. They also have an impressive list of exclusive songs and albums worth the audio quality sacrifice to some.
Google Play – Google Play Music is a good option for those looking for a lossy streaming music service and a cloud library with other unique content features such as the ability to upload your own music. Google Play Music offers a variety of lossless file formats alongside other more common lossy formats. One of the more interesting aspects of Google Play Music is its integration with YouTube, which makes Google’s library content even more unique.
The main criticisms of Google Play Music is that it lacks certain music features. It’s missing some big albums and there’s a lot of non-musical content. The non-musical content may be interesting to some users, but if you’re just looking for their audio streaming capabilities, you may find it unnecessary.
Spotify – Spotify made the list due to its large-scale use and popularity. If streaming high resolution audio is your primary motivation for subscribing to a streaming service, then you should forgo Spotify You can probably do better than Spotify if you’re using quality audio equipment.
There is a rumor however, that Spotify may start testing a new lossless streaming option. However, if you’re looking for a large variety of music and social media integration, you might like Spotify.
Pandora – Pandora may be known as the original online streaming service. It has lossy quality music which makes it great to play on your phone with inexpensive headphones but it leaves something to be desired when played on quality audio equipment. Pandora has a great music selection algorithm but its library isn’t very large.
Tidal – Tidals least expensive subscription, “Tidal Premium”, only offers lossy audio. “Premium” doesn’t receive access to all of Tidal’s other exclusives.
Deezer – Deezer standard subscription, “Premium+”, only offers lossy audio.
Great audio equipment will help improve your music listening experience but it can only do so much. To make your system really sing you need to pair it with the a music streaming service that will provide the best audio quality you are comfortable with.
High resolution and lossless audio files provide a music experience the way the artist intended by delivering music to your home without losing anything. Remember, music from a lossy streaming service has had audio removed from the file in order to make it easier to get it to you. Great equipment will make your music sound great but it can’t playback what isn’t there.
There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when looking for the perfect music streaming service. Argenta has the expertise to point you in the right direction regarding your musical needs. Let us help you not only pick the best sound equipment, but find the best streaming service to use as well