Spotify will soon offer lossless streaming with the promise of “CD-quality” audio – but is your system actually equipped to make the most of Spotify HiFi? And more importantly, will you be able to hear a difference?
To help answer these questions, a web-based ABX test from Digitalfeed.net puts your audio equipment (and ears) to the test. The browser-based audio test plays both lossless and lossy song samples – and challenges you to tell them apart.
The ABX test comes in three lengths: the most basic one has 25 trials and takes about five to 10 minutes, while the most comprehensive one has 100 trials and takes 15 to 30 minutes to complete.
Try it out for yourself here.
One potential snag with Spotify HiFi is the demographic of users who will be listening on wireless systems. The only current-gen Bluetooth devices capable of handling hi-res audio over the air are those equipped with Sony’s LDAC and Qualcomm’s aptX HD protocols.
Spotify has recognised this. In a press statement, the service said it’s working with “the world’s biggest speaker manufacturers to make Spotify HiFi accessible to as many fans as possible through Spotify Connect”.
During the streaming giant’s Stream On event last Monday (22 February), it noted that lossless streaming was one of its users’ top requested features. Spotify’s competitors, notably Amazon and Tidal, have offered this for some time.
Tidal Masters, which costs $19.99 offers streaming at 96kHz/24-bit. Meanwhile, Amazon Music HD costs $14.99 and $12.99 a month for non-Prime and Prime users, respectively, and offers up to 192kHz/24-bit streaming.
Without an external DAC, most smartphones and tablets can only handle 48kHz/24-bit audio when wired – a small step up from CD-quality audio (44.1 kHz/16-bit)
Spotify HiFi’s exact audio specs have yet to be announced.
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