Does TIDAL Hifi compare to CD quality?

Hi there,
besides the MQA discussion I wonder how Tidal is ripping their Hifi content … there is an interesting artefact in the following Hifi format song by Peter Gabriel‘s Sledgehammer:
Listen closely to the part between 16 and 18 secs … you can definitely hear a pre-echo which is not there in any CD, originally mastered nor remastered, and is not noticeable in the MQA file.
So my question is: are all of the Hifi files on Tidal real FLAC files that reflect the original CD files or are they lossy? Thank you for your opinion on this!
Best regards, Michael

The streaming services will have the latest remastered version released by the labels. So, I doubt that any version on the streaming services for Gabriel’s So, is the actual mastering from the original CD release.

I am partial to the 2012 B&W remaster done in 24/48 for the Society of Sound.

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I don’t have the CD, only Tidal, all three variants claim to be ‘remastered’. But I agree there is a ‘pre-echo’ on both 16/44.1 variants. We could speculate that this is tape print-through from the original tapes when it was remastered, but you’d need to do some digging to find out what was done. I’d conclude that the mqa version is either a cleaned up version of the same master, or a different source. The mqa is about 5dB quieter, so it’s definitely’different’.

I don’t think you can draw any general conclusions about mqa vs flac provenance on Tidal from this example. It’s entirely dependant on what’s been supplied by the record label, and is getting horribly confused by Tidal’s launch of separate ‘hifi’ and ‘master’ tiers in Australia. If you’ve not been following those threads, I’d suggest you don’t!

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That pre-echo is absolutely not there on the original 1980s CD. I know, I just listened to it.

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I have both the originally mastered and the 2012 remastered CD and there is no such pre-echo on either of them … and I don‘t think there is any other master out there …
But maybe it is something like a digital waterprint …

It still sounds like tape print through to me… do we know whether this was a digital or an analogue recording?

I have found evidence of at least four digital masters - original, 2002 remaster, 2002 SACD remaster, and 2012 remaster. I’ve not found anything specific about the mqa master.

Might be worth noting that the remasters all have lower dynamic range than the original master.

A bit more digging suggests most was recorded analogue on two Studer A80s, but there was a Mitsubishi digital multitrack in there somewhere as well. I think the master was 30ips analogue tape.

I thought Tidal and others are supplied by 7 Digital. I often hear BBC Radio broadcast credit 7 Digital too.

Also there is no unreal FLAC file. Flac is the compression the file is within this…

Yes it sounds like tape print through, but why should Tidal use an „old“ tape with this issue for their Hifi and lower resolution audio when there are 44/16 masters without this issue?
I just wonder …

It’s not Tidal’s choice, unless someone’s cocked up, which is possible. They should be using whatever file the label provided, possibly via a third party. It’s interesting, which is why I’ve been looking around, but I’ve not found anything that sheds any real light on where that transfer came from. Certainly, print-through is possible if the tape’s not been spooled for a while, and would of course appear on a high resolution digital transfer, but why it appears on the Tidal 16/44.1 but not the mqa I could only speculate. The level difference is telling me it’s a different master, and may well originate from a different tape.

Perhaps the answer is listen to the version you prefer - you have lots of choice!

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