Music streaming

The best lossless music streaming services in 2021

It’s official: 2021 is the year of lossless streaming. It took years and huge technological advancements, but it’s finally getting easier to listen to high quality sound without taking out the turntable or CD player. That’s because the two biggest music streaming services, Apple Music and Spotify, got into the mix – well, we’re still waiting for Spotify to roll out its hi-fi service – and it forced all streaming services without. loss, like Tidal, Amazon, Qobuz and Deezer, to take note.

The other big thing this competition has brought about – it’s more affordable to get lossless streaming. Since Apple is introducing a lossless tier for Apple Music at no additional cost (an Apple Music subscription costs $ 10 / month), it has forced the hands of other streaming services. Tidal, Amazon Music HD, Deezer, and Qobuz have made their lossless streaming subscriptions cheaper.

If you want to increase your music subscription so that you can enjoy CD quality (or better) sound, we’ve rounded up the lossless streaming services that will let you do just that.

Apple Music

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Apple has just activated its new lossless quality options in Apple Music, allowing subscribers to increase the quality of their tracks at an additional cost. That instantly makes a $ 10 / month Apple Music subscription one of the best lossless streaming deals. To make this lossless streaming possible, Apple has introduced a new proprietary codec called ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec), which starts streaming in CD quality (16-bit / 44.1kHz) and that audio quality will be played natively on all Apple devices, such as iPhones. , iPad and Mac.

The service will also be able to play higher resolution audio files, up to 24-bit / 192kHz), but you’ll need an external DAC that supports it to experience it. Additionally, lossless audio only works over a wired connection, but AirPods Max does not support lossless mode even in wired mode.

In addition, Apple Music will be able to spatialize audio and Dolby Atmos tracks, for listeners eager for this more immersive experience. (Note: Only newer devices from Apple will support these spatial and Dolby Atmos audio tracks.)

To turn it on:

• Go to Apple Music
• Go to the menu bar and select Music> Preferences
• Select the Reading tab
• Under Audio quality, turn Lossless on or off

Number of lossless tracks: 75 million (by the end of 2021)

Maximum broadcast quality: 16 bit / 192 kHz

Supported formats: AAC, ALAC

Price: $ 10 / month (3 month free trial for new users)

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Tide Hi-Fi

tide app

As of November 2021, Tidal has split its subscription service into three different tiers. Tidal Free, an ad-supported service that plays lossless tracks (up to 160 kbps). There’s Tidal HiFi, which costs $ 10 / month and lets you listen to over 80 million tracks in CD-quality lossless sound (up to 1411 kbps). And finally, there’s Tidal HiFi Plus which costs $ 20 / month and additionally lets you listen to Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) certified tracks (up to 24-bit / 96kHz) as well as audio tracks like 360 Reality Audio and Dolby Atmos Music. The big advantage of subscribing to Tidal HiFi and Tidal HiFi Plus is that you get access to artist exclusives, music videos, and live concerts.

Number of lossless tracks: more than 80 million

Maximum broadcast quality: 24bit / 96kHz (if you subscribe to Tidal HiFi Plus)

Supported formats: AAC, ALAC, FLAC

Price: $ 10 / month (30-day free trial for new users)

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Amazon Music HD

amazon music hd app

Amazon launched its lossless streaming service (Amazon Music HD) in fall 2019, and it has two big selling points. First, it’s affordable; it costs $ 8 / month for Prime members (or $ 10 / month for non-Prime members). And second, it lets you listen really high resolution audio. There are two different levels of lossless audio to choose from. There are “High Definition” tracks, which are roughly CD quality, there are “Ultra HD” tracks, which are 24bit / 192kHz and the highest resolution audio available to streamers.

Number of lossless tracks: more than 60 million “High Definition” tracks; millions of “Ultra HD” tracks

Maximum broadcast quality: 24 bits / 192 kHz

Supported formats: FLAC

Price: $ 13 / month for Prime members; $ 15 / month for everyone else (90 day free trial for new users)

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Deezer HiFi

deezer music app

Deezer is another great lossless streaming service that lets you play CD quality FLAC files without loss. He had to adjust his plans and prices (because of Apple Music), but the Deezer HiFi plan remains the best option for audio enthusiasts. The downside is that it doesn’t support Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) leads like Tidal’s $ 20 / month plan.

Number of lossless tracks: more than 73 million tracks

Maximum broadcast quality: 16 bit / 44.1 kHz

Supported formats: FLAC

Price: $ 15 / month ($ 2 for the first two months)

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Qobuz

qobuz music app

Qobuz is one of the best lossless streaming services due to its intuitive application and large catalog of lossless and ultra high resolution tracks. (If you’re looking for the best audio quality, Qobuz and Amazon Music HD are your two best options.) The only real downside to Qobuz is that it lacks some of the extra features – like auto-generated radio stations, a karaoke mode, and music videos – which other lossless streaming services have.

Number of lossless tracks: more than 70 million tracks

Maximum broadcast quality: 24 bits / 192 kHz

Supported formats: AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, WAV, WMA lossless

Price: $ 10.83 / month (30 day free trial for new users)

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Spotify HiFi

spotify app

Spotify’s first lossless streaming service, Spotify Hifi, was announced earlier in 2021 and is expected to launch before the start of 2022, but it’s not yet here. Also, not much is known about Spotify HiFi yet, other than that it will provide “CD quality” sound and work great with Spotify Connect compatible speakers (which are most speakers without wire). There is no news on the size of its catalog of lossless music. And we don’t know the prices yet.

Number of lossless tracks: to be determined

Maximum broadcast quality: TBA (but we assume 24bit / 96kHz)

Supported formats: to be determined

Price: to be determined

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