I recently switched from Spotify to Apple

Since Apple Music came up, I recently switched from Spotify to Apple, and in my opinion, it sounds much better, particularly in the car, which is where i use it most. I’ve tried Qobuz, Tidal, Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music, and for in car listening only would rank them in the following order for usability:

5: Qobuz
4: Amazon
3: Tidal
2: Spotify
1: Apple

which is not so surprising i suppose. Qobuz has zero radio function, and while driving, you can currently only browse music you’ve favorited. Tidal has a decent radio function, and I like My Mix. Spotify and Apple both add voice control via CarPlay, although the latter is a little more robust.

for sound quality in car the order is a little more surprising:

5: Spotify
4: Amazon
3: Tidal
2: Apple
1: Qobuz

all are set to their highest available SQ settings. Spotify frankly sounds just awful, compressed, noisy, hashy…whatever usability points they scored are completely offset by the unlistenable SQ. There’s also very little to distinguish Amazon and Tidal; both are a bit bass heavy, and I find it challenging to get the balance correct. That Qobuz scores highly should not be a surprise- you’re essentially listening to local music most of the time. Still, the dynamic range is sometimes a little too much for in car listening and it can become fatiguing. much better at home in a more revealing system.

But Apple Music is a very close 2nd, and has become my default when driving. it has none of the noise of Spotify, and none of the bloat of Tidal/Amazon. it’s perhaps a little rolled off at the extremes, or compressed if you will, but this is not a bad thing in the car. there must be something to the “mastered for iTunes” program. I don’t have an easy way to list to Apple Music in the home, but i’m very curious whether the experience carries over.

all impressions formed while driving the mean streets of 2020 in a 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio.


I agree with you about usability with Apple Music. Deleting offline music is awkward with one album at a time and multiple taps to do it, but I still like the suggestions feature the most.

I never really used Spotify, but Qobuz Sounds the best for me too.

I have noticed the same when using Spotify in a car (various rentals). Strangely though, Apple Music sounds a big fatiguing with my Bluesound speakers or even my bowers wilkins mm1 (pc). A bit bass heavy (A bit lower down than Spotify) and midrange forward (Probably the cause of listening fatigue). In these use cases Spotify sounded a bit better for me as long as I didn’t turn up the volume too high. Out of curiosity, have you tried comparing the two outside the car use case?

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i haven’t- there’s no easy way to do this in my home set up. i suppose i could rig up an apple TV, and use the native apps, but that’s not really how i listen to music.

i do have a RPi i could try, with RopieeeXL, which supports Spotify Connect and Airplay. might be innteresting.

I switched from Spotify to Apple in part for this reason. The sound quality is much better: in the car and with my Bluetooth headphones. I don’t miss Spotify’s discovery features which I found to be too narrow in their focus. Also, Apple works better with my Apple Watch so that was the final stroke.

put together a Pi+DigiOne running ropieeeXL to test Spotify vs Apple in one of my home systems. Coax out to a Lyngdorf TDAI 2170; speakers are Dynaudio Special 40s. Streamed via the desktop apps for both, so Spotify Connect vs Airplay.

My impressions mirror those from the car. Apple Music is listenable, a bit lacking in frequency extremes, but pleasant for the most part, if not the most engaging.

But Spotify just sounds excreable, flat, dead, no dynamic range at all, and the same hashy haze overlaying everything. blech.

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