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Audio Files: The Tidal Streaming Service

Is it worth double the price of Spotify?

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Ever since MP3s became popular in the late 1990s, musicians, audio professionals and audiophiles have been complaining about them. That’s because MP3 reduces sound quality by discarding most of the data in a digital audio recording. The grumbles have grown louder with the rising popularity of Internet music streaming, which uses MP3 or similar technologies to reduce the required Internet bandwidth. But a new service called Tidal promises to deliver the convenience of streaming with the sound quality of CDs.

Instead of discarding data, Tidal uses FLAC lossless compression. Thus, the audio is exactly the same as you get from a CD, down to the last digital bit. Like most other streaming services, such as Spotify and Pandora, Tidal is available through apps that run on Macs, PCs, iOS devices (iPhone, iPad) and Android devices, as well as through web browsers. It’s being incorporated into many new audio products, like streaming boxes, digital preamps and wireless audio systems, including Sonos.

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