Quality of music on Tidal across the world

Hi Everyone,

Just trying to get to the root of an Argument. One of my friend says that quality of music on Tidal and same set of speakers will sound much better in the US compared to a third world country.

Assumptions:
Same set of speakers or headphone
Same music
Same player
Same source , be it Qobuz or Tidal
High speed broadband of 300MBPS

Has anyone every experienced something like this. It doesnt make any sense to me. Logically they will need to have two different setups to stream different quality music to different countries. It will break the uniformity in design of the companies hardware. Let me know your thoughts.

Regards,
Guru

I would ask your friend for explanation. Streaming service providers tend to use global CDN service providers that make media available and balance the load globally for their clients - and as such the media will be the same subject to rights no matter where you are - now the local infrastructure and distribution network may vary - but because TCP is used that is unlikely to make any difference assuming the critical throughput is achievable. Also some emerging economies can have better infrastructure than some established environments as they have no or little legacy to contend with.

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it is hard to connect Tidal server from China. Tidal gonna do sth.

I use Tidal with Roon in both Brazil and Canada. Some of my gear in both locations is identical. I have never noticed any difference in sound quality, and can’t think of any good reason why there should be.

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Environmental conditions as air pressure, temperature and relative humidity do have a perceptible impact on sound.

Maybe the hifi tier isnt available in some countries and thats what he meant? Other than that I cant see how or why they would be different.

yea … thats what I think. Its just network bits downloading, composing and playing. The process cant change for same equipment.

nah… hifi tier is available.

We decided to keep natural conditions, Voltage differences out of the equation.

The file being played from streaming service is temporarily downloaded to the user’s disk, analyze the file from Dhaka and from NYS for example and you will know all …

P.S.
Of course, I can’t tell you how to pull up this temporar file, but do some experimentation - I can assure you that this is’t impossible.

Ahh… yes that could be the case for some markets, that would likely be down to regional rights management and possibly market conditions…

You could, or use WireShark and look at the CDNs being used to serve the media… if it’s Akamai … which Tidal has certainly used and may still be using amongst others, then that is a global CDN.

Remember there may be different distributions from the publishers/distributors for different global markets, just like with CD, so masters may be slightly different.

We found the answer in this video:

Mr Singh, I am in South Africa - and I have a VPN and can download the same song from pretty much any country - it sounds pretty much the same. I am assuming your friend is suggesting differences in song quality depending on which server it originates from. But if your friend was referring to countries that don’t stream hi-res (perhaps due to rights or bandwidth) then it will be unlikely that such will be limited to 3rd world countries

Pardon me, 3rd world country??? I don’t see why we here in Europe should be called that. Tidal sounds the same here…

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not sure what “compared to a third world country” means. I will pretend I did not read that.

Provided that the network is reliable, there should be no streaming quality difference in either part of the world, otherwise Tidal’s business model is not good. This would be tested better with a mobile DAC and headphones as the speaker experience depends a lot on the environment.

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Early in my experience of TIDAL (hires stream) 3 or 4 years ago I did have some problems, however not in terms of sonic performance, instead in dropouts for random periods and frequency. Roon guys chased it down to the decision-making of the international streaming service provider down-prioritising digital audio streams…and the Roon guys succeed in adjusting the attitude of the streaming service.

I live in a third world country…Australia.

Cheers

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Thanks Everyone for sharing your thoughts. I am planning to compare Tidal with Qobuz and maybe shift to Qobuz.

By the way I have started to like Roon more and more. Its not just the player … but the people connected to it are also awesome. Initially I used to tell myself its just another media player now I have started to say its Not just another Media player. Its special.

Cheers

I’ve run internet-facing services as a system administrator at several times in my career. What I know from inside the industry relates directly to what most of the other commenters here are saying.

Basically, whether or not any streaming service sounds better around the world depends on two things:

Bandwidth - you’ve got 300Mbps, but depending on location, upstream you may have quite a bit less. Even so, hi-def audio streams are far, far lower bandwidth than 300Megabit. (I live in a remote area in the US, and have 18Mbps down, and can still stream high res audio with no issues). When you’re sending signals across the world, crossing oceans can limit bandwidth depending on the number of hops and how many other people are using data across the same cable, although modern fiber optic trans-oceanic cables are pretty fat pipes.

Second factor is availability. The streaming service may, depending on legal distribution requirements or just technical availability, limit streams to certain locations. This may limit availability of some of the source media, but if you’re in a high res capable area according to the service, that should cause no issues.

Once the stream is fully buffered and available in your equipment, there should be no real difference other than those two factors. Network latency doesn’t really affect streaming at all other than a possible delay on starting to play the content as it buffers up.

However, it is fair to say that in some less IT infrastructure developed nations the main national network peering infrastructure may be less diverse or limited… this is essentially how the national networks ‘inter’ connect to other global networks… so at peak times capacity or latency might increase, perhaps significantly. Now although TCP is nearly always used for audio streaming, so is resilient to short transient throughput (bandwidth and latency) limitations, there may reach a point where the required throughput can’t be critically maintained and dropouts occur for a flow. This is an issue for public internet peering… if there is a private CDN provider network used and available in the country then the National peering point infrastructure can be bypassed for media transfer…
As often case the reality of the situation is not always straightforward.