What's the difference between Tidal's two plans?

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Best answer: Tidal offers two membership plans, Premium and HiFi. The significant difference between the two is the subscription cost and audio quality. While the Premium tier streams lossy compressed files, which translates to ''standard'' sound quality, the HiFi tier uses lossless compression, giving you terrific audio quality.

  • Expertly curated content: Tidal Premium (From $10/month after 30-day free trial at Tidal)
  • Lossless streaming: Tidal HiFi (From $20/month after 30-day free trial at Tidal)

What's the difference between Tidal Premium and Lossless High Fidelity?

Tidal prides itself as a streaming service that unites artists and fans by offering quality content with either a Premium or Lossless High Fidelity (HiFi) subscription. While both tiers give users access to expertly-curated editorial content and high definition videos, the real difference is in the playback audio quality.

Tidal Premium is the base membership priced at $10 per month with audio streams maxing out at 320kbps. Since the files are compressed to Advanced Audio Codec (AAC) format as opposed to MP3, the sound quality is considered decent. At these bitrates, the audio quality is standard and at per with Premium offerings from the likes of Spotify and Apple Music.

However, an upgrade to Tidal's HiFi plan offers terrific sound to audiophiles and anyone who takes audio quality seriously. Although this tier will set you back $20 permonth, it's worth all the bells and whistles. Files are compressed losslessly to FLAC (44.1kHz/16bit) format, and you get to enjoy robust and clean streams. For the unversed, this means that there is no loss of audio quality during compression; you get to listen to files with CD-quality audio, just as the artist intended. Even better, the HiFi tier offers four streaming settings best suited for different devices and bandwidth.

  1. Normal - Reduced data usage and perfect for limited bandwidth or slower connections.
  2. High - Strikes a perfect balance between data consumption and audio quality by streaming at 320kbps AAC.
  3. HiFi - Stream Lossless CD-quality audio at 1411kbps or 16bit / 44.1kHz.
  4. Master Quality - Authenticated files from the mastering process. Studio audio quality with unrivaled clarity and depth.

Pick a plan that best suits your needs

The good news is both of the plans come with a 30-day free trial. After you test the waters, you are free to pick the subscription tier that speaks to your inner audio connoisseurs.

Chances are, the rest of your family members may want to hop onto Tidal's magic. Luckily, both subscription plans have a provision for the Family Plan which allows up to 5 additional family members totaling six on each account. In the same breathe, Tidal does offer discounted rates for students and the military. Unfortunately, this applies to US users, and you must confirm eligibility and reverify every 12 months. Whatever your listening needs are, there is a plan best suited for you.

Grace Monene is an avid Tech Writer. If she is not reading, she is reviewing or testing new technology. She also probably tweets way too much.