Tidal high fidelity streaming music service is a welcome high water mark for the world of streaming audio. It rescued a lost passion of mine for music and the pursuit of recreating a live music experience at home.
Sometimes I miss the good old days...
I have always been drawn to music and moved by the emotions it can stir. In high school and college I worked as a DJ for private parties. After college I was thrilled to discover that a person with no musical talent of their own could make a living helping people find the best solution to enjoy music in their homes. I was given an incredible opportunity to learn from some of the best audio brands and to be exposed to the upper limits of how well audio could sound in a home, of how close it could come to recreating the emotional experience of having heard it live. I think back fondly to the days I sat through Sumiko Audio's Masters set up classes in Berkley learning from John Hunter and team on how important speaker placement was to the resulting sound in the room. I recall learning the nuances of a true balanced circuit versus a balanced "design" in an amplifier from Bill McKiegan at Krell Industries, the benefits of FIFO filters and room correction from Andy Regan and Norm Steinke of Meridian Audio. I remember the odd sensation of walking into an anechoic chamber for the first time at B&W's Steyning, England research facility and having the chance to spend time with Dr. John Dibb of B&W learning the physics (the parts I could comprehend anyway) behind recreating sound from a speaker. I think back with a great deal of nostalgia of traveling around the New York market tweaking dealer demos for the big audio retailers of the time with the person who gave me my first job in this industry (and the opportunity to collect the previously mentioned experiences), Doug Henderson. Doug's personal audio compilation demo discs were a hot commodity among the high end audio salesman in NY at the time. Many of those salesman sold a lot of stereo systems with the help of Doug's recommended demos and his attention to detail when setting up great sounding audio systems.
Many of the people I've mentioned have moved on to other roles within the industry. Doug has since moved on to become the President of Equity International. The audio conglomerate including B&W speakers, Classe and Rotel electronics. I moved on to start my own audio/video installation business. Like many "audio guys" of that era my business quickly morphed into the tsunami that is home automation. I am often disappointed in how little high end audio our projects include. We still get the opportunity to do "special" rooms for people from time to time, but the reality is most of what we do is background music with the majority of the overall budget going to the automation part of the job. If I am honest about it a large part of the lack of high end audio we install is do to my waning passion for it.
That all started to change at a seminar given by David Solomon, National Sales and Marketing Director of Tidal at the ProSource dealer summit in Orlando, FL. David explained with great passion why Tidal was different, why their attention to high quality sound was important. Why we should care about exposing people to better quality sound. He convinced me that I should care about finding ways to enjoy better sounding music again. Dave compiled a playlist on Tidal called Dave's Faves that he felt really showed off the sound quality difference between Tidal and the other streaming services. Most playlists created today are focused on a specific genre, artist or mood. Dave's Faves spans all of those with the specific intent on finding good sounding recordings. Those types of high quality recordings that inspire emotion regardless of the style or artist.
I first tried it on my iPhone. Old habits of poor quality audio on a poor quality play back device would die hard. I was immediately impressed with the sound quality difference between Tidal and all of the other available streaming services. That small experience ignited something. I quickly started looking for my better B&W headphones to replace the stock Apple headphones I was using. I was excited by the prospect of it sounding even better. That led me to set Tidal up on my Sonos system. I told you those old habits will die hard. It sounded better, a Sonos Playbar of all things sounded better. I found myself exploring Dave's demo playlist and the rest of Tidal's catalog for new and old music to enjoy. For the first time on a streaming service I was inspired to recreate Doug's old demo compilations as playlists. The quality of the other streaming services was never able to recreate the experience of those discs being played on a high end stereo system. Tidal was getting me closer. I was rediscovering a passion. I headed down stairs to dust off my B&W CDM-NT speakers. I had long ago abandoned them for more simplicity of my Sonos system. The simplicity of good sounding music from Tidal had me excited at the prospect of hearing those speakers again. Of reliving the emotions that music can ignite.
Passion is Contagious
In my excitement about Tidal I have been talking to anyone who will listen about how much fun I have been having listening to music on Tidal. Two of those conversations led me to a private demo at Meridian's NYC showroom to listen to MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio format. Tidal is rumored to be one of the first streaming services that will utilizes this technique of making very large high resolution audio files smaller "folding" and then unfolding them on the playback end without degrading sound quality. The MQA encoded audio was astonishing, better than any other format I have heard. I will save the details on MQA and Meridian SE digital audio experience for a future blog.
If you are interested in trying Tidal please contact us at (631) 283-3455 for a promotion code to sign up and get a free month.
Explore TIDAL - High Fidelity Music StreamingPosted by TIDAL on Friday, January 23, 2015