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Tidal Pixie Dust EQ?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Mike42, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. Mike42

    Mike42 Heard it all before...

    late to the party, I tried Tidal a couple of month ago and I’m hooked. Not interested in their HQ MQA stuff, just the normal CD quality.

    I don’t listen to my own rips anymore because everything sounds so overtly vibrant, airy and dynamic. They must be applying EQ? That or my entire ripped library is dynamically compressed. It’s got me worried now that I had a parameter in dbpoweramp set wrong.

    Has anyone else found this with the standard stuff in Tidal?

    Thinking about it, my TT kills my rips too. Hmmm....
    Julf likes this.
  2. vinylslug

    vinylslug Making Tweaks

    I prefer my rips to Tidal, but there's not much in it - mostly during extended listening. On the same token, I prefer the actual CD to the rips. Again, it's subtle, but I can 'live with' the CD for longer. Maybe do another couple of rips by changing your settings in DBPoweramp and compare?
  3. Whatsisnaim

    Whatsisnaim pfm Member

    What hardware are you using? Do you use the same streamer for Tidal and CD rips? The general consensus as far as I can see is that CD rips sound as good as, if not a bit better than Tidal, and my own experience is just that.
    DBpoweramp is good ripper, and should be able to do bit perfect rips, so unless you are then applying lossy compression, I wouldn't expect and degradation.
    sunbeamgls likes this.
  4. clivem2

    clivem2 pfm Member

    I'm struggling with Tidal, I find it's a bit harsh. I use the same streamer as I do for my files, it's ethernet connected. Could be there's jitter / introduced by my router, it's all can think of.
  5. Julf

    Julf Facts are our friends

    Jitter is not propagated over ethernet - the receiving end has to be fully buffered, and the data clock has no relation to the audio clock.
  6. cooky1257

    cooky1257 pfm Member

    I just couldn't get along with it-something niggles and causes me listener fatigue, some suggest it could be watermarking but I'm now on Amazon HD and reasonably happy with the SQ.
    darrenyeats and davidsrsb like this.
  7. clivem2

    clivem2 pfm Member

    Yes, it's that listener fatigue as with the early days of digital..I won't be keeping Tidal after the 4 month trail period.

    I thought that whilst I was typing but couldn't come up with another explanation. However Cooky has a viable sounding one.
  8. robob3

    robob3 pfm Member

    I have been trying tidal for past three weeks. Signed up before the three month offer though!
    I find it a bit of a mixed bag. Some tracks have a weird distortion in the midrange I find.
  9. deserter

    deserter pfm Member

    FWIW I find the sound of Qobuz much more consistently neutral and listenable. Didn’t like Tidal, not being a techie I have no idea why . Spotify isn’t really HiFi, Qobuz gets quite close
  10. Julf

    Julf Facts are our friends

    What is your criteria / definition of HiFi?
  11. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    If one can hear the third violin fart during a crescendo.
    suzywong and Zombie like this.
  12. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    The watermarking is in the midrange to prevent you filtering it out and it is quite audible once you know what to listen for
  13. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    What is the point of said watermarking? Is it to deter listeners from making needledrops? On the basis of this thread it appears to be deterring listeners full-stop!
  14. sunbeamgls

    sunbeamgls pfm Member

    The files are watermarked in the vocal region. It seems to add some graininess and edge to vocsls.
  15. sunbeamgls

    sunbeamgls pfm Member

    It marks the file with info like which service it came from. If its clever enough it should be time stamped and also marked with the user account info.
    Then any distributed illegal copying can be traced back to the source.
    As usual those honest enough to pay a subscription are being screwed over whilst those downloading illegal torrents of CD rips continue to enjoy unmolested music...
    linnfomaniac83 and ToTo Man like this.
  16. robob3

    robob3 pfm Member

    The watermarking would explain it then.
    I will have to try another streaming service I think.
    Any recommendations? I have tried Spotify, was great to use but I found it a bit boring to listen to I guess.
  17. Heckyman

    Heckyman pfm Member

    Same here, during the trial I found Tidal "CD quality" had something weird going on vs Qobuz or CD rips which were fine.
  18. JensenHealey

    JensenHealey pfm Member

    Does anyone have real evidence that this watermarking is real?

    I want to know more then just listeners perception that something is 'wrong' in the vocal range. I listen to Tidal (via Roon) and i have not noticed anything,
    Jhenry likes this.
  19. clivem2

    clivem2 pfm Member

    I don't have any such evidence, just my perception. I signed up for the 1.99 trial; I had the expectation that the sound of Tidal would be the same as I have with my local files using the same streamer and DAC, indeed I didn't even consider that there might be a difference. It didn't take long for me to hear (perceive) a harshness. My initial thought was that it was something to do with my router and maybe it is, or my streamer. Whatever it is...it's very clear that the sound of the same track played from SSD on USB (ripped from my CD) vs Tidal over ethernet is quite different. I'd agree that the difference varies according to content.
  20. Whatsisnaim

    Whatsisnaim pfm Member

    I asked a friend who is an IT professional to have a look at this couple of years ago. He's good with Wireshark etc, and examined some Tidal streams, but could find no evidence of watermarking. He did, though, agree with me that 16/44 Tidal consistently sounded inferior to the same album as a CD rip. Since then, we have both started using Roon, and we both found that this levels the playing field, and internet streaming sounds the same as a CD rip. Roon does its own buffering of Tidal and other streams, and the way it feeds the client device is exactly the same, regardless of whether the stream comes from a local source of the cloud, which I believe is the critical issue here.

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