- High Fidelity Sound Optimization
What are the benefits of high fidelity sound?
The goal of delivering high fidelity sound to TIDAL subscribers is so you can experience music as close as possible to how the artist created it. This means experiencing everything that went into the recording – the mix, all the instruments and filters, and more. In comparison, the standard definition on most streaming services is a lossy, compressed file format where key aspects of the recording are removed or reduced to shrink the file size.
You can access high fidelity audio on both of TIDAL’s paid subscriptions. TIDAL primarily serves FLAC files – a lossless format with bit and sample rates up to 24-bit, 192 kHz – to subscribers when they listen to music in the app, which is at least 4.4x the standard bitrate offered by other services.
Our commitment to open platforms for artists and fans drove our adoption of FLAC: every artist can create and deliver the format easily, and fans can use the broadly available audio hardware they already own to enjoy the files.
TIDAL HiFi supports the following sound options:
Lossless (FLAC) quality audio (16-bit, 44.1 kHz)
(up to 320 kbps) – Listen to the music you love using lower data usage with compressed AAC files
TIDAL HiFi Plus supports additional, innovative sound formats:
High fidelity lossless audio up to 24-bit, 192 kHz with HiRes FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec), an open-source format that every artist can create and deliver their music in, and Master Quality Authenticated audio (MQA).
Lossless audio with FLAC (16-bit, 44.1 kHz)
(up to 320 kbps) – Listen to the music you love using lower data usage with compressed AAC files.
Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio precisely place sound around you to create an immersive environment.
*By selecting Max quality, you’ll get the best source file for playback that TIDAL has to offer. Here is the breakdown of how TIDAL chooses the source file:
- If you select a track that has been delivered in both HiRes FLAC and MQA → the source file for the stream will be the HiRes FLAC version.
- If you select a track that has been delivered in MQA but not HiRes FLAC → the source file for the stream will be the MQA version.
- If you select a track that has not been delivered in either HiRes FLAC or MQA → the source file for the stream will be the FLAC version.
- If you select a track that has not been delivered in HiRes FLAC, MQA, or FLAC → the source file for the stream will be the 320 kbps AAC version (extremely rare)
What is the difference between HiRes FLAC, FLAC, and Immersive?
HiRes FLAC is the distinction we make for any FLAC file that is greater than 16-bit, 44.1 kHz, the standard CD quality.
FLAC is a two-channel, stereo format meaning music is mixed with a left and right speaker (or headphone) in mind. Immersive formats are multi-channel, meaning music is mixed with a three-dimensional space in mind, meaning sound is placed to the left and right but also above, below, and all around you.
What file types are included in Max quality?
You get the best quality version of any song on TIDAL when you select Max quality (only available on HiFi Plus). The source file you receive depends on the format(s) delivered to us by the artist.
The hierarchy of availability for playback is HiRes FLAC, MQA, FLAC, then ACC. This means if we don’t have the file available in HiRes FLAC, the source file will be the MQA version, and so on.
How much space will TIDAL HiFi and HiFi Plus audio files take up when downloaded to my device?
The following factors determine the size of a downloaded song: the file’s bit depth, sampling frequency, and compression codec used. Higher-quality lossless files, like HiRes FLAC, will be larger. Below are examples of file sizes for a 3½ minute song:
- Low (96 kbps) - 3 MB
- Low (320 kbps) - 8 MB
- High (FLAC, 16-bit, 44.1 kHz) - 30 MB
- Max (HiRes FLAC, up to 24-bit, 192 kHz) - 30 MB to 140 MB
- Max (MQA) - 26 MB
Note: Sizes of FLAC files can vary depending on music dynamics, the conversion tool used, what format the file was converted from, and the level of compression used.
What data speed does my internet connection need to be to listen to TIDAL HiFi and HiFi Plus?
For the best streaming experience when listening on High and Max quality, we recommend a steady Internet connection of at least 1.5 to 2 Mbps. Note that High quality audio usually consumes up to 10 MB of data per minute, and Max quality up to 40 MB of data per minute (varying based on the exact sample rates).
What is Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) technology?
Learn more about MQA audio and how it works here.
How do I know the audio quality of the content I am listening to?
To view audio quality on Mobile:
In the player below the progress bar, there will be a pill that says either FLAC, MQA, High, or Low, depending on both the audio quality level you’ve chosen in settings on that device and the formats of that specific song that have been delivered to TIDAL.
To view or make changes to the audio quality settings on Mobile:
- When using mobile data: navigate to Settings > Audio & Playback > Mobile data streaming and select either Low, High, or Max. Your choice will take effect from the next track played.
- When using WiFi: navigate to Settings > Audio & Playback > Wi-Fi streaming and select either Low, High, or Max. Your choice will take effect from the next track played.
- When using downloaded content for offline playback: navigate to Settings > Downloads > Audio and select either Low, High, or Max. Your choice will only apply to future downloads. You will have to delete and re-download previously saved albums and playlists if you want to listen to them offline in a different quality.
To view audio quality on on Desktop or Web:
To the right of the progress bar (bottom right corner) there will be a pill that either says FLAC, MQA, High, or Low depending on both the audio quality level you’ve chosen in settings on that device and the formats of that specific song that have been delivered to TIDAL.
To view or make changes to the audio quality settings on Desktop or Web:
Navigate to Settings > Streaming > scroll to Audio Quality and select either Low, High, or Max. Your choice will take effect from the next track played.