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What bitrate does Tidal play back at?

Tidal Android Guitar Lifestyle

Source: Chris Wedel/CordCutters (Image credit: Chris Wedel/CordCutters)

Best answer: There are multiple streaming quality options through Tidal, with bitrates of 96, 320, 1411, and 3000 kps. Higher the bitrate and bit depth means the higher the quality for your favorite music.

  • Awesome bits: Tidal (From $10 after Free 30-day trial at Tidal)

How do you like your bits?

Musicians, like other artists, may do with paint or dance, combine sounds to create their art, and generally, they have a specific way they want people to hear it. These artists spend countless hours getting the sound just right and engineered perfectly for your ears. Tidal is here to make sure that music hits your ears as the artists intended by offering multiple bitrates for your streams.

First things first, all streaming music is compressed at some point or another to allow for a smaller file size. This compression is done in a variety of ways for different file types, but for music, we'll focus on two file types —AAC and FLAC.

AAC is of higher quality than MP3, but still compressed and "lossy." This means that some details in the original recording are lost during compression. FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec, so the details are retained during compression.

FLAC files are common in the digital music industry, but not so much with typical audio streaming services. Even though this file type is compressed, it is still much larger than MP3 and AAC.

Now, this is where bitrates also come into play. Bitrate, if you're unsure, is how much data per second is required to play the audio. Also, it tells you how much data is stored in that particular track — higher bitrate means more data and potentially better sound. When you see that extra info show up on the streaming page, or in the app settings, bitrate is usually one of those data points.

How good are the bits on Tidal?

There are four different quality levels for the music on Tidal, and you can select the max level option for Wi-Fi and cellular. Each quality level has a different bitrate available, and some even offer different bit depth (range available between quietest and loudest moments), file types, and sample rate (the number of audio samples per second).

Masters HiFi High Normal
File Format FLAC FLAC AAC AAC
Bitrate 3000 kbps 1411 kbps 320 kbps 96 kbps
Bit Depth 24 bit 24 bit 16 bit 16 bit
Sample Rate 96 kHz 44.1 kHz 44.1 kHz 44.1 kHz

So if you want to hear the latest album from your favorite artist in the best quality possible, then Tidal's Master Quality Audio is the one for you. Its HiFi option is also a fantastic sound choice that is higher than other streaming services.

Aside from bringing the best audio quality, Tidal also has exclusive songs, albums, and videos — even hand-picked playlists created by people, not computers. You get to listen to the music you love along with discovering new artists and songs anywhere you choose and hear it the way the artists intended.