Tidal has more lossy files than I first thought

Lately I have been using Roon to dig even more deeply into the corners of the music genres I’ve loved for ages. Alternative, “college rock,” punk, and their ilk.

The results have been very rewarding in terms of finding many artists that are “between” the well-known bands; i.e. individual musicians who are not themselves famous but played with other bands that influenced the big bands, and/or have released solo albums, both of which really help flesh out the true character of the big bands themselves.

But a lot of this music I have been finding is lossy. For the first year I used Roon/Tidal I’d maybe found 15-20 lossy albums. In the past 2 weeks since I have been on my new exploration kick, I have easily found twice that many, maybe more.

Tidal needs to go back to the record companies and get lossless copies!

Yes, if you go anywhere off the normal grid, I’ve found Tidal to be lossy and have heard some downright nasty sounding streams.

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Having just come across the Editors I was appalled to see that 4 out of 6 albums are available only in such a poor bitrate and encoding it makes the music nearly unlistenable, in particular, the higher mid and high frequencies are complete mush.
My point is, this isn’t limited to “specialty” music, and the quality isn’t just not lossless, but incredibly bad, miles and miles behind what you get on e.g. Apple Music.

I think as Tidal subscribers we need to tell them that we want them to backfill their catalogue to replace lossy Albums with better resolution. We pay a premium for resolution and I haven’t seen the lossy versions in my library changing much. Admittedly I haven’t checked whether a better version is available in each case, which I think involves deleting it from my Roon library and checking Tidal versions again, a somewhat clunky arrangement.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease !

Any idea on how to do that?

By the Submit a Request email I think.

Just did it. Let’s get vocal! (Because the forum users here are otherwise so shy :slight_smile:)

What did you file it under, i.e., Support Category?

I think I did it under support, technical.

It’s more to do with Editors’ mastering engineer to be fair. I have CD versions of their albums and they are brickwalled to f***.

This sounds like 90’s 128kbps MP3s, to give you an idea how bad it is… It’s not brickwalling at fault here, although of course it can’t help - Roon says the source is 22050 kHz 16 bit AAC. Try playing Bricks and Mortar from around 3:30 to see what I mean, the hi-hats and the cymbals are one big mess, and the voice has so much sibilance it pierces the ear.

Yes, as I said I have the CDs and I can assure you they sound shit.

edit: Regardless I cannot test your particular issue because my Tidal version is FLAC and sounds exactly the same. You will just have to take my word for it that the CD version is bad too :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, I’ve just purchased the “24 bit” download from Qobuz and it is quite poor, but it is better with respect to the high frequency compression artefacts I hear in the Tidal stream, and because it is 22.05 KHz there, that can’t help…
Are you in the UK? Funny how being in the Netherlands I don’t get the FLAC on Tidal, but I can download the fake high-res from Qobuz.

Yes, UK. It does some strange that parts of the library would be AAC and parts FLAC based on territory.

I also have some AAC stuff in my Tidal library but it tends to be from more obscure bands’ early output.

Must be some sort of legacy DB settings at Tidal. Hard to believe music licensing goes to lossy vs. lossless. Maybe Tidal just has to look at that and open up the right versions?

Part of this issue may be that neither Tidal nor Roon do a good job of identifying the format on any browser page. Sure Tidal has the “M” for Masters/MQA but short of that, there can be just multiple album covers that look the same and no way to tell them apart other than getting in and playing them. That is a bit disruptive to whatever I was listening to at the moment!

Hi Radu
I checked the Editors catalogue here on Tidal , there are four versions of that album listed.
There are two Flac versions including the deluxe one , if you delete your album in Roon and then search for it again you should see all four listed.

Why do they even have any lossy catalogue? It’s false advertising, no?

i haven’t noticed too many whilst making a parallel collection in tidal, maybe 4 or 5 albums out of the 1st 1000 albums in my collection. It’s not a huge problem, but irksome, to me.

More annoying are the droves of seemingly duplicate albums with no reference as to what the heck they contain different to others. It’s how they get away with saying they have 48million tracks i guess! 60% of them are dupes!

What gets me with all these big streaming companies is frankly how poor ergonomically their interfaces are. off topic, but I just subscribed to Netflix, how awful to try and browse stuff. Clunky is a polite way to describe it. Get it together! They fail to realise that the interface is a huge part of the product experience and should be being refined very frequently. I’m not digging at Roon in any way. It’s miles above most player products, many many thoughtful features here, like showing which playlists and tags objects are assigned to, ease of multiselection. Brilliant! And Roon is a small player with limited resources, so i doff my cap to them :slight_smile:

Sorry rant over… back on track!

It may be so in the UK, but in the Netherlands there’s just one, see screenshot:

I assume it’s music licensing with labels in different countries.

Same with Qobuz.

In a similar thread in CA, we found that the 22kHz is a result of not having a HE-AAC decoder (which should decode lossy Tidal 96kbps stream to 44.1kHz, not 22kHz.)

If anyone finds Roon only decode it to 22kHz instead of 44.1kHz, perhaps consider asking support, state your Tidal album and Roon Core platform OS. I did a search and found that Roon had fixed HE-AAC support for Tidal back in August 2015.