Streaming music to your favorite speakers, cans, or in-ear monitors is fantastic and popular. The industry regularly rolls out new products and services that fight for your attention and wallet. Some features appeal to those with specific interests, while others are generally interesting to the public. Whether listening to a golden oldie, the newest hits, the softest sounds, or the hardest rock – we want to share the benefits of lossless quality streaming.
What is Lossless Quality Streaming?
Have you heard of lossless quality printing or digitizing? The process involves taking the original image or video and printing or publishing it without losing quality. Wouldn’t you want the same in your music? When using a streaming service, your music is delivered from computer servers to your device, usually through an app dedicated to that service.
Many popular streaming music companies have millions of users, bringing bandwidth and server load (capacity) challenges. And, locally stored music takes up a lot of storage space on a device. So, the early solution was to compress music files.
Compressing music files made it easy for transmission, but the audio quality diminished. Applying compression to a sound file reduces the dynamic range — the span between the softest and loudest sounds. Compression quite literally squeezes the life out of it. And this loss in quality can be very frustrating. Thus, some inventive audiophiles recognized the issue and began examining how to reproduce CD quality and send it across the internet. Lossless quality was the solution.
Did You Know? There are over 50 million global music streaming subscribers at the beginning of 2022 up 26.4% from the previous year. Source: Musical Pursuits
How do I Get Lossless Quality Streaming?
You may search your phone’s app store and look for the best in music apps, but they may not offer lossless quality or only provide that quality on specific music genres. These services usually offer lower quality (aka lossy files) such as an MP3 or AAC. And many providers rely on tracks with lower bit rates or the amount of data transferred per second. In short, the higher the bit rate, the better the sound quality.
You must search for those music streaming services that offer lossless quality streaming. Here are a few of the most popular streaming options:
- Tidal – This is often rated as one of the best lossless quality streaming services. We like it because it offers a free option that includes high-quality sound. However, this also means you will listen to ads reproduced in high quality. You can also pay more for higher-tier memberships to remove ads and access better sound quality. In addition, Tidal also has a reputation for better compensation for their musicians, so it’s a great way to get a wide collection of music while supporting the artists you love.
- Qobuz – Qobuz is constantly rated as the best option for high-resolution streaming services for their high quality and a large catalog of old and new favorites. They also have artist interviews, liner notes, and an app that works well on all platforms. Unfortunately, there are no free options or live music stations.
- Deezer – This service matches CD quality music at 44.1 Khz at 16 bits. They offer a free tier for mobile users and 90 million songs. The paid tier is $15 per month with lossless quality. A highlight of the service is the ability to upload your catalog from competitors.
- Spotify – They are a leading name in streaming services and are best known for their large catalog of music and extensive podcasts. Over 80 million users currently use Spotify. They also have extensive apps and are constantly improving. However, their current lossless quality streaming options are less than ideal.
- Apple Music – They are a good choice for those who use Apple devices on a regular basis. As you know, Apple doesn’t always play nice with third-party apps. They offer a Music Locker option, which allows you to save your favorites, and Apple Music offers high-resolution sound. Oh, it has a competitive monthly price.
Get the Best for the Best
In a nutshell, many devices support lossless quality streaming. Today many integrated amplifiers and handheld devices like the iPhone (with the correct app) are built with streaming capability. However, if you like to move about, you might consider using a digital audio player (DAP). A DAP can operate alone or interface with your phone, offering greater power plus advanced digital-to-analog converters (DAC). The result is better sound plus the ability to drive more demanding audiophile headphones.
There is no point in paying for lossless quality to lose a ton of quality using standard audio equipment. However, DAPs from Astell & Kern, iBasso, or FiiO are robust devices that support up to 384Khz at 32 bits, more than enough for many lossless quality players. In addition, most Daps offer more advanced Bluetooth capabilities to connect to many output devices and a whopping 64 GB of storage which can be expanded further by a microSD card slot.
Keep the Phone?
If you listen to music through your phone and reply on the earbuds that came with it, streaming in high-res isn’t likely to impress you. But if you want a broader, more complex musical experience but want to use your phone, consider upgrading to a better headphone and use a portable headphone amp. Most are about the size of a smartphone but can expand the power and DAC capabilities of a phone. In addition, they use rechargeable batteries and connect to your phone, allowing you to use your favorite apps.
What About My Living Room?
Another path you might consider is a dedicated music streamer like the Bluesound Node. The cost is less than many DAPs while offering many unique features. Individuals with existing HiFi systems will enjoy the features and capabilities, plus a controller app for iPhones, Androids, Macs, and PCs. The Node supports up to 384Khz at 32 bits and fully integrates with the Amazon Echo platform. The Node also offers Bluetooth connectivity.
Stop into Audio Video Synergy and see all of the amazing options available for streaming music in high-resolution. From the very best in component systems and speakers, to headphones and headphone amplifiers, our selection is sure to impress you. Plus, we’ll walk you through the different services, because we’ve used them all.
No appointment is necessary!