How to Get the Most Out of Tidal's Extremely Hi-Fi Streaming

If you're new to Tidal, here are a few cool tips and features that you need to know about.

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Tidal is one of the most popular music streaming services for audiophiles and hi-fi enthusiasts. It allows you to stream lossless CD quality (16-bit/44.1 kHz) and true high fidelity (up to 24bit/96kHz) audio files that sound way better — about four times better, to be precise — than mainstream music services like Apple Music (up to 256kbps) and Spotify Premium (up to 320kbps).

There are two different tiers of Tidal subscriptions to choose from. The more entry-level option is Tidal Premium, which costs $10/month and gives you access to over 70 million tracks in "standard" sound quality (up to 320kbps), which is the same audio quality as Spotify Premium or Apple Music.

If you're really searching for higher quality audio, however, you should consider subscribing to Tidal HiFi. It costs $20/month and lets you listen to those same tracks in true lossless (or CD quality) sound, but there also even higher resolution tracks (up to 24bit/96kHz) — which Tidal calls Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) certified — that you can listen to.

If you're just getting started on your Tidal journey, here's a few tips and tricks of the trade.

Take advantage of the free trial.

Tidal might seem expensive, but you can actually get a pretty great deal on it if you're just signing up now. Tidal is currently running a sensational offer where you can a three-month trial of either its Premium or HiFi plans for just $3. That comes out to $1/month. The deal on the Hi-Fi subscription is obviously the better deal as you’re essentially paying $3 for a three-month subscription that would normally cost $60.

Tidal has been running this special offer for many months and it's not clear when (or if ever) it's going pull the plug on it. So take advantage of it while you can!


Make sure you're listening to high-resolution tracks.

A subscription to Tidal HiFi gives you access to CD quality and Master Quality (MQA) tracks, so you're going to want to make sure you're taking advantage of that great audio. The first you need to do go make sure that you're actually streaming the highest quality tracks available; you can do this by opening the Tidal app, clicking "Settings" and then "Streaming" and then selecting the "Master" option.

(Note: the above instructions are for the desktop app. On your smartphone, you'll select "Settings" and the "Quality.")

How to find the Master Quality tracks.

Tidal HiFi subscribers have access to Master Quality (MQA) tracks — but not every track, or even most tracks, are available in Master Quality. However, Tidal does make it fairly easy to identify and find these super high fidelity tracks. All Master Quality tracks have an "M" icon next to them. You can also discover Master Quality tracks by looking in the Explore tab under "TIDAL Masters" section, or looking in the Radio tab and listening to the "Master Edition" artist radio. All those tracks are Master Quality.

Bring over your playlists from Spotify or Apple Music.

If you were a previous subscriber to another music streaming service, such as Spotify or Apple Music, there are services that will help you transfer over your playlists so you don't lose them. One of the best-known service is Soundiiz. You simply sign up for the service with your email, select (and connect) your old service, be it Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, YouTube Music or whatever (it works with most music streaming services), and then choose Tidal as the destination service. It's pretty reliable and doesn't take too long. (Keep in mind that Tidal may not have every track from your previous streaming service, so some tracks might not carry over.)

Download Music to an SD card to free up space on your smartphone.

Just like pretty much every premium version of any music streaming service, Tidal Premium and Tidal HiFi, both allow you to download audio tracks, albums and playlists for offline listening. It's a little more important with Tidal, however, because you can choose the resolution of the sound quality you download and high-resolution audio files take up a lot more space. So you need to manage your downloads wisely.

A neat trick is that Tidal gives you the option to download music to SD card so you don't have to take up a huge chunk of your smartphone's storage. You can do it on your iPhone or Android smartphone, and it's really easy. Simply open the Tidal app, then go to Settings > Music Playback > Download Destination > and then select respectively the memory card option instead of your smartphone's internal memory.

Try editing a song.

Tidal has a Track Edit feature that actually lets you edit songs. You can edit the song's tempo to make it go faster or slower, or you can edit certain sections so that they fade in or out. In order to do this, you first need to have the track you want to edit download to your smartphone. You then can long-press on the track you want to customize and then click the “Track Edit” button. Once finished, your edited songs with have an "edited" icon next to them.

Save your favorite music videos and documentaries so you can watch them again.

A subscription to Tidal grants you access to a lot of HD video content. According to the company, Tidal offers over 225,000 music videos, short docs, movies, live concerts, events, and original shows and podcasts. There are a few ways to find and discover these videos, but the most popular is the "My Video Mix" feature; it takes your music listening habits and gives you personalized recommendations. You can also go to the Video tab and search for videos that way. And if you find a video that you will watch again, you can save it as one of your "Favorites" (just swipe over the video on your smartphone or right-click on your computer) and it'll add to your video collection.


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