Is there difference in sound quality between Apple Music and Spotify?

Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,280
4,260
Atlanta
As for as human perception goes the formats are almost equally matched. The differences will be in source material, mastering, attenuation level, encoding, compression, EQ and..... All of theses factors can very from track to track too. It is extreme hard for a novice to objectivity compare SQ, even under controlled conditions using source/level matched DBT.
 

Paco II

macrumors 68000
Sep 13, 2009
1,740
416
Sound quality is not going to be the deal breaker between the two. They are significantly differently enough services that you will likely just prefer one over the over.
 

HDFan

macrumors 68020
Jun 30, 2007
2,315
628
If you are really interested in sound quality then you should consider Tidal's hidef streaming. If you listen to a recording

1. with good provenance (high definition master which isn't degraded during the mastering to delivery media) and

2. Superior speakers and headphones

the difference is astounding. It can be as good, or even better, than attending a live performance.
 

Rigby

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2008
5,189
5,178
San Jose, CA
What do you think, guys?
The test wasn't blind, apparently wasn't level-matched (at least it wasn't mentioned in the article), and they couldn't be sure that the two services used the same source material and/or didn't manipulate it in different ways. Take it for what it is: A subjective impression that may be affected by the methodological flaws.
 

Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,280
4,260
Atlanta
Test wasn't blind, so it's worthless.
The test wasn't blind, apparently wasn't level-matched.....
100% with a small addition. It should be a double blind test (DBT) to be fully objective. Of course it must be source matched and MOST important level matched. A difference of as little as 1dB or 2dB will total askew any results.
 

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
26,417
9,883
Detroit
I'm not able to discern any sound quality differences between the two. I choose to use Spotify mainly for the user interface experience.
 

thiagueirass

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 24, 2015
65
21
I'm not able to discern any sound quality differences between the two. I choose to use Spotify mainly for the user interface experience.

I know. Some features on Spotify are great (like Connected and social playlists), but I don't like the idea to use 2 apps for music: streaming and my local library. The local files service on Spotify is not well enough.

The test wasn't blind, apparently wasn't level-matched (at least it wasn't mentioned in the article), and they couldn't be sure that the two services used the same source material and/or didn't manipulate it in different ways. Take it for what it is: A subjective impression that may be affected by the methodological flaws.
100% with a small addition. It should be a double blind test (DBT) to be fully objective. Of course it must be source matched and MOST important level matched. A difference of as little as 1dB or 2dB will total askew any results.
As for as human perception goes the formats are almost equally matched. The differences will be in source material, mastering, attenuation level, encoding, compression, EQ and..... All of theses factors can very from track to track too. It is extreme hard for a novice to objectivity compare SQ, even under controlled conditions using source/level matched DBT.
It's so interesting.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Tech198

macrumors G5
Mar 21, 2011
14,927
1,925
Australia, Perth
I know that Apple Music is streamed at 256Kbps in AAC while Spotify plays songs with 320 Kbps in MP3 OGG format. I've read that AAC format is superior than OGG. In my tests, I thought the sound qualify of Apple Music is better than Spotify. This article disagree: http://www.cnet.com/news/apple-music-vs-spotify-is-there-a-difference-in-sound-quality/

What do you think, guys?

I can't tell the different between a pin drop and and a tap.... so i'd say use either.
 

tonyr6

macrumors 65816
Oct 13, 2011
1,402
456
Brooklyn NY
Apple Music has the best sound quality. Not over loud. 256kbps AAC is a great codec. I use 192kbps AAC on my own music which sounds great too.
Play Music sounds good but has more of a over loud sound. 320kbps MP3 is fine but it is a outdated codec.
Amazon Music sounds the worst. 256kbps MP3 sounds horrible on there.
 
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coaama2

macrumors newbie
Sep 15, 2016
1
2
I was trying Beats right before Apple took over. And I've dealt with Apple's annoying software flaws for a year now. Finally said screw it I'm going to Spotify. Was actually very excited to swap over; spent hours adding all my bands. Then when I start listening on a high volume on my stereo system... Spotify doesn't have the *umph* that the sound of Apple Music does. Same source, same EQ, same songs played back-to-back unblinded; Apple Music using "high" quality streaming and Spotify on "extreme" (also tried "very high"). I'm really disappointed to go back to Apple Music and deal with the technical issues (like songs randomly not playing anymore or being deleted somehow or syncing old data so songs I added aren't added anymore). It's been over a year, I don't know if Apple will ever fix these things. But quality is ranked above all else so.. I'm going back :/
 

tonyr6

macrumors 65816
Oct 13, 2011
1,402
456
Brooklyn NY
Apple Music use to sound flatter but lately this past few weeks it sounds way better now. I listen to mostly old albums and I think many of them have been recently remaster for iTunes versions.

Now when I try Play Music I can't stand the sound quality and you can forget about the muddy Amazon Music.
 
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