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:
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:
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.