For audiophiles, music is more than just a pastime; it’s a way of life and they demand the best listening experience possible. They are passionate about seeking the best ways to reproduce the sound from live or recorded music, through either headphones or in a quiet space with good acoustics. Throughout history, these enthusiasts have sought out many different sound sources to create their ideal listening experience. CDs, for a long time, were their go-to option due to their ability to create such a high-quality sound product. Seeing as how we are no longer living in the 1990s, however, their sources have had to evolve, with the times. One of the most beneficial evolutions is music streaming. Music streaming services have come a long way in recent years, and there are now several options that cater to audiophiles. In this article, we’ll list the 5 best music streaming services for audiophiles.
Tidal is often considered to be the best music streaming service for audiophiles. It offers high-fidelity streaming with its Tidal HiFi plan, which delivers lossless audio quality at 16-bit/44.1kHz, which is equivalent to CD quality. They also offer exclusive content from popular artists, and its curated playlists are often praised for their quality and variety.
With a slogan like “listen to music the way it’s meant to sound”, you have to be intrigued to learn more about this streaming service!
Pricing & Features:
Tidal offers a 30-Day FREE Trial. With this FREE plan, you will get a sound quality of up to 160 kbps, access to over 100 millions songs with limited interruptions and expert curated playlists.
Tidal HiFi – With this plan, Tidal will still give you access to their 30-day FREE trial. After your free trial ends, they charge $9.99/month. This HiFi option gives you HiFi sound quality of up to 1411 kbps, access to over 100 million songs and over 650 thousand videos. This also comes with NO ADS, it allows you to listen offline with unlimited skips, access to Live on Tidal which allows you to listen to music or play it live with other people in real-time, access to Tidal Connect which lets you listen in HiFi on supported devices. As if all that isn’t good enough, it also lets you track and share your listening habits and provides expert curated playlists.
Their most expensive plan is Tidal HiFi Plus. With this plan, you still get to take advantage of their 30-day FREE trial, then it is $19.99 / month. It is Master Quality Authenticated and includes Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio and HiFi. This plan comes with Innovative audio formats of up to 9216 kbps, access to over 100 million songs and 650 thousand videos, it is ad-free and lets you listen offline with unlimited skips. It also comes with Live on Tidal and Tidal Connect where you can listen in all innovative and immersive audio formats on all supported devices. You can track and share your listening habits and it provides expert curated playlists.
Tidal also offers the following options for plans:
- Family Plan for $14.99/month you can add up to 5 more accounts under one subscription.
- Student Discounts for high-school and college are available for both HiFi and HiFi Plus plans.
- Military Discounts are available to all military members (current or past) for 40% off plan pricing.
- First Responders Discounts are available to all active or retired EMS/EMT, firefighters and police for 40% off plan pricing.
While Tidal is likely the most expensive option for music streaming services, they say that their higher subscription price allows for higher payouts to the artists who create the music in the first place. They especially care about helping to give a better payout to the artists who are not yet well known in the music world.
- Audio, Smart TVs / Streamers, Auto, Cell Phones, Tablets, Laptops, Desktops, DJ, Smart Watches
What Users Like:
- The fact that the music streaming is high-fidelity, especially the Dolby Atmos surround mixes.
- The wide variety of video options available to watch, which includes livestreams of concerts.
- The “My Mix” option that gives you a personalized mix of both songs and videos for your enjoyment.
- The “Artist Radio” option that allows you to discover new artists, especially up and coming ones.
- Podcasts that are centered around music.
- The fact that you do not need to have expensive headphones in order to experience the high-fidelity sound that audiophiles always seek.
On a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the best), Tidal gets a 9. They only get the one point deducted to the fact that some people may find their $19.99/month plan to be too expensive.
Qobuz is another music streaming service that focuses on high-fidelity streaming. It offers streaming at up to 24-bit/192kHz, which is higher than CD quality. Qobuz also offers a large library of over 100 million hi-res audio tracks, as well as exclusive content and editorial features that cater to audiophiles.
Qobuz wants you to “rediscover music” by “placing yourself at the heart of the studio.”
Pricing and Features:
Qobuz offers two different types of Plans – the Studio Plan and the Sublime Plan. Both of these plans offer the same features, but have one main difference – the Sublime Plan also allows you to receive discounts of up to 60% off on all Hi-Res music downloads so you can stock up on your music download collection. Additionally, both of these plans offer three different options as to how many people can enjoy the benefits: Solo, Duo and Family. For further information about all of these plans, continue reading:
- 1) Studio Solo Plan – $12.99/month OR $129.99/year
- Stream and Download Hi-Res music. With studio quality streaming of FLAC 24-bit up to 192 kHz, access to over 100 million songs, original editorial content, over 500,000 album reviews and artist bios and the ability to enjoy offline listening, audiophiles will surely be excited to try Qobuz. Available for (1) person to enjoy. *Can still download songs, but the discounts are not offered.
- 2) Studio Duo Plan – $17.99/month OR $179.88/year
- Stream and Download Hi-Res music. With studio quality streaming of FLAC 24-bit up to 192 kHz, access to over 100 million songs, original editorial content, over 500,000 album reviews and artist bios and the ability to enjoy offline listening, audiophiles will surely be excited to try Qobuz. Available for (2) people to enjoy. *Can still download songs, but the discounts are not offered.
- 3) Studio Family Plan – $21.90/month OR $215.88/year
- Stream and Download Hi-Res music. With studio quality streaming of FLAC 24-bit up to 192 kHz, access to over 100 million songs, original editorial content, over 500,000 album reviews and artist bios and the ability to enjoy offline listening, audiophiles will surely be excited to try Qobuz. Available for (6) people to enjoy. *Can still download songs, but the discounts are not offered.
- 4) Sublime Solo Plan – $179.99/year (no month option available)
- All the benefits of a Studio Plan, plus the ability to receive up to 60% off discounts on all Hi-Res music downloads. Available for (1) person to enjoy.
- 5) Sublime Duo Plan – $269.89/year (no month option available)
- All the benefits of a Studio Plan, plus the ability to receive up to 60% off discounts on all Hi-Res music downloads. Available for (2) people to enjoy.
- 6) Sublime Family Plan – $349.99/year (no month option available)
- All the benefits of a Studio Plan, plus the ability to receive up to 60% off discounts on all Hi-Res music downloads. Available for (6) people to enjoy.
While these more upgraded plans may seem to be expensive to some people, Qobuz’s hi-res audio makes it more than worth it for audiophiles. Qobuz also offers everyone a 30-day FREE trial. It does require that you enter your payment info to take advantage of this free trial. However, under no circumstances will you ever be charged any amount before your 30-day free trial ends. Furthermore, you can cancel your subscription at any time, even during the free trial period.
- Desktops, Cell Phones, Tablets, Audio, Smart TVs / Streamers, Auto
What Users Like:
- The access to enjoy high-quality streaming that is lossless and of studio-quality audio.
- The wide array of songs available to listen to.
- The fact that they can both stream or download the available songs.
- Some of the extra features such as playlists for your guests to enjoy, interviews and articles.
- The high-quality sound of songs, especially to Jazz songs and Classical songs.
- Fun, easy to use app.
- The fact that listening to 24-bit music is an option, regardless of not having a specialized decoder.
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best), Qobuz gets a 9. This is due to the fact that it offers all the amazing features that an audiophile would want, is available on most devices they would need and has the different options available to upgrade your plan.
First, Deezer offers their FREE option which gives you access to music, radio and even podcasts. This comes with access to millions of songs and podcasts, makes recommendations for you based on what your listening history is, and a convenient way to quickly and easily access your “favorites”.
With Deezer Premium, you can play all of your favorite songs without the annoying interruptions of ads. This plan also allows you to listen to music while being offline, perfect for when your wifi might be spotty. With Deezer Premium, you can enjoy your songs in high-fidelity, just like audiophiles love, for only $10.99/month (after your first month which is FREE).
If this Deezer Premium plan sparks your interest, you can even choose to commit to their PREMIUM ANNUAL plan, which gives you ALL the benefits of their regular Premium plan at an annual discount of 25% off. This option will make your monthly payments only $8.24/month!
Even more exciting is Deezer’s option available to students. This awesome upgrade will give you ALL the benefits of their regular Premium plan at an annual discount of 50% off! That’s right… you can have all these benefits for only $5.99/month (after your first month, which is FREE)!
Deezer also has their FAMILY plan, which is good for up to six people to enjoy. At $17.99/month you can have your whole family listening at the same time, on multiple devices. If you have a whole family full of audiophiles, you should definitely take Deezer into consideration!
The best part… Deezer lets you cancel your subscription plans ANYTIME! (Not that you’ll want to cancel your plan, but we all know that unexpected things can come up in life).
- Desktops, Laptops, Cell Phones, Tablets, Smart Watches, Audio, Auto, Smart Voice Assistants, Smart TVs / Streamers
What Users Like:
- The ability to import MP3 files from a computer (this option does not work on cell phones).
- That they offer music and LIVE radio.
- All the discounts offered on plans!
- The FREE plan!
- The wide variety of original content which includes videos.
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best), we are giving Deezer a 10! We all know that being a student usually means that you are low on cash, so added points go out to Deezer for taking this into consideration.
Amazon Music HD
Amazon Music HD is a relatively new music streaming service, but it’s quickly gained a reputation for delivering high-fidelity audio. Its HD plan offers streaming at up to 24-bit/192kHz, and it also offers a large library of over 90 million hi-res audio tracks. Amazon Music HD is also compatible with a variety of devices, including Amazon’s own Echo Studio speaker.
With Amazon Music HD, you can hear music “the way the artist intended”. The clarity and richness is on-point and it even portrays the raw emotions behind the songs, which audiophiles will very much appreciate!
Pricing and Features:
For those of you who have an Amazon Prime membership, you automatically gain access to Amazon Music “free” of charge, but this comes with a lot of annoying ads, constantly reminding you that you don’t have “Amazon Music Unlimited”. To avoid this annoyance, you will more than likely want to upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited.
With Amazon Music Unlimited, you have a few options of plans to choose from. (As an added bonus, the lyrics to the song you are playing will automatically pop up on your “now playing” screen, when listening from devices with screens.)
Individual Plan lets you listen to all your favorite songs, ad-FREE, as well as ad-FREE podcasts! It even lets you listen offline and provides you with unlimited skips so you don’t have to listen to a song that you don’t like… no one likes having to do that. This plan is most likely going to give you the most bang for your buck because it offers the first THREE MONTHS FREE and then is only $8.99/month! Audiophiles are going to want to take advantage of this plan as soon as possible!
Family Plan lets you enjoy all the usual benefits of Amazon Music Unlimited but with the ability to listen on up to six devices at the same time. This plan is perfect for an audiophile family, seeking the best music streaming services. The first month is FREE and then it is $15.99/month after that.
Single Device Plan is a feature only available through Amazon. This special plan allows you to listen to your favorite songs on any single Amazon device, such as a Fire TV or Echo device. This plan is available for the first month FREE and then is only $4.99/month!
Student Plan gives you all the benefits you love from Amazon Music Unlimited, but offered at a discount, exclusively to students. It is offered for the first month FREE and then is only $5.99/month after that!
- Cell Phones, Tablets, Desktops, Laptops, Fire TV, Alexa-enabled devices like Echos
What Users Like:
- The large list of music and videos available to them in the Amazon library.
- The HD option which includes: lossless/CD quality audio and preserves the original recording detail of songs.
- The Ultra HD option which includes: better than DC quality audio at up to 24-bit, 192 kHz.
- Access to over 100 million songs in HD or over 7 million songs in Ultra HD.
- The 90-day FREE trial, of course!
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best), we give this a 9. As far as the best music streaming services go, it may not have all the same options as its competitors, but it is available exclusively on Amazon-friendly devices, which is exclusive to Amazon Music.
Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming services, and it’s about to get even better for audiophiles. The company has announced back in 2021 that it will be launching Spotify HiFi, a new plan that will offer lossless audio quality. While details are still scarce, but the co-president recently mentioned that ‘coming at some point’, Spotify HiFi is sure to be a game-changer for audiophiles who want the convenience of Spotify’s vast music library.
For the time being, let’s speak to Spotify as it currently stands. When searching for the best music streaming services, Spotify tends to be at the top of the list with their music streaming library of over 82 million songs with an audio quality of 16-bit/44.1 kHz.. They have not only been a trailblazer in the music streaming world, but they continue to add more and more awesome features.
Pricing and Features:
Spotify FREE gives you the ability to play songs in shuffle mode but it does include playing ads.
Spotify Premium includes four options to choose from so you are sure to find the best option for your family:
- 1) Spotify Individual is $9.99/month and comes with ad-free listening, the ability to stream songs while offline and on-demand music playback.
- 2) Spotify Duo is $12.99/month and allows you to add two family members to the plan so you can both listen to your favorite songs at the same time, instead of having to pay for two separate subscription plans. Spotify’s AI will even curate a “duo mix” which is a combination of the music that you both love to listen to, so you can share in your musical interests. As long as both people live at the same home address, this option is great for you!
- 3) Spotify Family is $15.99/month and comes with the ability for six people to use Spotify at the same time, from different devices. They even will curate a “family mix” which is a mix of the songs that all of your family members love to listen to. Again, it is a requirement that all of these family members reside at the same address in order to enjoy this service, rather than paying for up to six different Spotify accounts. As an added bonus, they even have a Kids app which has music that is appropriate for children, giving parents peace of mind about what their kids are hearing.
- 4) Spotify Student is only $4.99/month so all students should greatly appreciate its affordability! The only drawback to this plan is that it is only good for up to four years and then you would have to switch to one of Spotify’s more expensive plans.
In order to get the most out of your music streaming, all of these Spotify options should be appealing to audiophiles, whether you are seeking an individual (Spotify Premium) plan or a family plan of some sort.
- ios devices, Android devices, Desktops, Laptops, Tablets, Cell Phones, Audio, Smart TVs, Gaming Consoles, Smart Watches, Alexa-enabled devices
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best), Spotify definitely gets an 8 (we would give it a 10 if the launch of the Hifi tier wouldn’t be only in empty promises)! The number of compatible devices, the constantly improving features, the popularity, and the ease of access make this rating a no-brainer!
In conclusion, audiophiles have several excellent music streaming services to choose from. Whether you prefer lossless audio quality or hi-res audio tracks, there’s a streaming service that will cater to your needs. Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer, Amazon Music HD, and Spotify HiFi are all great options that offer excellent listening experiences.
For more comparisons detailed comparisons between different music streaming services, check out our comparisons page.
If you liked this article and want more information on how to take full advantage of all of Spotify’s features check out our list of articles covering nice tricks and tips for Spotify users.