What service do you use for music playback?


Exactly, that’s the main reason I eventually switched back from Tidal to Spotify. Also I feel that Spotify presents more personalized playlists. Something I always missed in Tidal.


Foobar2000. It’s free and has many free modules.


Eh. They’ve been saying that about Tidal every year.


I haven’t built that great of a digital collection because streaming is too easy. My wife mainly curates our record collection.

I beta tested Spotify years ago but switched over to Tidal as soon as it became available. I still maintain my Spotify account as part of a family account because the catalog is a little better. However my methods for discovery have evolved in the last decade or so. I do think Spotify crushes the user experience, especially the discovery experience, but Tidal isn’t that much worse. The only caveat is that unlike everybody else it seems, I don’t make playlists. I just listen to albums. So when folks complain about the user experience, that’s where I’m coming from when I say I think it’s pretty similar.


Is Roon worth the price? It’s just a music manager, correct?


I think it is, for a variety of reasons, but that’s a personal call.

No, it’s a lot more than that. There’s a topic here that talks about what Roon really is.


I find it odd that Google play music is not on the poll, considering they have the largest music library as compared to the rest, greater usability and features, and allow the user to upload up to 50,000 songs from disc, so you can add music to your own library that Google play might not have un their database yet, and listen to all your discs through Google play, wherever you are. This has been useful for me when I buy discs from local musicians (bought a bunch recently at FoCoMX in Fort Collins) who might not have their music on streaming services yet. A Google play subscription comes with a ton of other stuff as well, including YouTube red, which eliminates all advertisements from YouTube content.

I have the family subscription to Google play, which allows up to 6 distinct users with their own libraries, music preferences, and all receiving youtube red and every other feature of a Google play subscription. I sent invites to my wife, siblings and a few close friends to grab one of my 6 available user accounts. I’m paying the extra (only $15 total per month) for a family subscription so my wife and I can use it at the same time during the day from different locations, my family and friends might as well benefit from the remaining user slots for free.

Google play is by far the best streaming service I’ve used, and I’ve used them all since the very beginning. The audio quality is great, though I’m sure it doesn’t quite compare to a lossless streaming service. You also have the option to determine under what conditions it gives high quality streaming or reduced data consumption streaming. It also lets you download music to your local storage, so you can listen when you don’t have data service. I keep a 128 gb microSD card in my phone, and keep it packed with my favorite music and my own playlists so it doesn’t use data when I listen to those songs, and my music doesn’t stop when I travel through areas of no data service (I overland and spend a bunch of time on BLM land and national forests, so I’m without data a lot when I travel).

The only issue I’ve seen with Google play music is the app on Apple devices is seriously lacking. I’m not sure why, but the app on android devices is so much more fully featured and it just works flawlessly. I use android devices, so it doesn’t affect me, but my work tablet is an iPad, so it’s just something I noticed. I know Google owns android, but that shouldn’t stop them from developing the same quality app for apple.


I actually meant to add Google Play to the poll but unfortunately in its current state, the forum does not allow poll edits after 5 minutes of posting. Not even for staff / mods.

I am taking a deep dive into the code this afternoon to see what I can do about it. Obviously we don’t want to modify results but the ability to make evolving, organic polls is something that I would like to do.


My family uses Tidal when out and about. Though at home, we tend to use Amazon Music and Pandora due to the fact we have a Sonos system for home audio.

I really wanted to give Roon a try, and even signed up for a free trial, but in the end I never used it because of the time it would take to setup. Life is just a bit too busy now for that endeavor. Maybe in the near future.


I don’t do streaming, even as a part of younger generation.
Streamed tracks embed baseband watermarking, which at times cripple the SQ. Also very little of it is lossless.
As for availabilty, nothing beats offline storage. MicroSD maxes out at 256GB, so my entire collection can be easily stored on one of them. For playback OTG I use almost exclusively Sansa Clip Zip with RB 3.14


I used both tidal and spotify in the past, because while Tidal Hi-Fi sounded identical to spoitfy premium, I could still tell the difference between some of the tidal masters and their spotify premium counterparts.

After a while I decided that the $$ I’m spending on tidal aren’t worth it - there were only a handful of the aforementioned masters that I listened to on a regular basis.


Well done you. No sarcasm intended. RB is the way to go.


What is RB?


RB is a reference to Rockbox - a third-party, free, open-source replacement firmware for music-players/digital audio players that runs on a ton of different hardware.

It has some excellent features, and its not uncommon that it exposes, or extends, capabilities for a give piece of hardware that the manufacturer’s own software/firmware didn’t natively support (e.g. FLAC playback on an iPod … particularly useful in a pre-app/pre-iOS world).


I finally just signed up for tidal HiFi to see what everyone’s talking about and I absolutely do not hear one bit of difference. Using my Sennheiser momentum headphones connected to a headroom portable amp and my iPhone. So far not worth twice the price. I’ve only tried a few songs and albums but not impressed. Anyone have advice any advice before I cancel the free trial?


I mostly use Spotify premium, but my only negative is that I find Spotify is the most repetitive of the streaming services when putting on “radio” style playlists. I do enjoy Discover Weekly though as they actually do a good job helping me find new music that way.

I also like Google Play Music, though I don’t have a premium account. I’m not sure if anyone else has compared them, but for whatever reason I do feel like GPM’s sound quality is better than Spotify. I don’t know if it is just a mastering difference in the tracks they each get, but I tend to prefer GPM in that regard.


My advice would be “don’t try and force it” … if you don’t hear a difference/improvement then there’s no a lot of reason to pay the extra.

Beyond that, I would suspect that the chain in question isn’t really resolving enough to show the difference very readily - particularly if you’re not sure what you’re listening for (that’s based on having owned the Momentum Wireless Over-Ear 2.0 and various Headroom amps).

If I had to rank the streaming services I’ve tried (and/or still use) based purely on quality, then it’d look like this:

  TIDAL HiFi > Apple Music > Spotify >= Google Play Music > Amazon Prime Music

Spotify Premium and GPM are a bit of a wash. I prefer GPM when the content has actually been encoded at 320 kbps, but unlike Spotify Premium that’s not a completely consistent thing.


Where do you put Deezer? The Deezer Elite sounded pretty good, but for a while was only available if you had Sonos. I think that’s changed. Their selection was very spotty, however. Lots of obscure stuff, but occasional gaping holes, much like the roads here in Pennsylvania.


I switched from Spotify to Apple Music and so far it’s meh. If it wasn’t for Apple music having a better selection, I would have stuck with spotify.


I really enjoyed my Tidal trial but the selection was pretty bad.