The Ultimate Guide To The Best Music Streaming Services For Audiophiles! (2023)

Are you an audiophile looking for the best music streaming services? Look no further! We have a list that’ll make you love music more in 2023.

Music streaming services have revolutionized the way we listen to music. With an ever-growing catalog of songs, albums, and genre-specific playlists, there’s something for everyone. But if you’re an audiophile, you may wonder which music streaming service is the best for you. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the best music streaming services for audiophiles.

We’ll look at the features offered by each service, the types of audio formats they offer, and the pricing plans available. Whether you’re looking for lossless audio streaming or need an expansive music library to explore, this guide will help you find the best streaming service for you.

Best Music Streaming Services

What is an audiophile?

Audiophiles are people with a passion for high-quality sound. People who are audiophiles enjoy listening to music and movies that have been sourced from high-quality sources, such as high-resolution audio or lossless audio. High-resolution audio files usually have a sampling rate of 24-bit or higher, so the audio has a high degree of resolution or detail.

High-quality sound reproduction is essential for audiophiles because it’s what enables you to distinguish between instruments, vocals, and sound effects. If a song sounds muddy or unclear, it will not sound good to an audiophile. The high-quality sound you’ll get from any good streaming music service will amaze you.

Types of Audio Formats and Codecs

The type of audio you have on a music streaming service will determine the amounts of data you’ll need to stream the music.

All audio streaming services offer a combination of formats. Still, you can also rely on the one that’s best for you: – It’s worth noting that even though both AAC and MP3 are considered “lossy” formats, you don’t normally experience any noticeable loss of sound quality.

That said, Lossless (CD-Quality) and Hi-Res streaming (Better Than CD Quality) formats, such as FLAC, WAV, AIFF, and ALAC, usually sound slightly different and offer a clearer, more high-resolution sound with well-recorded material. – Hi-Res streaming, however, is only available on select audio streaming services like the ones we list here.

RELATED: Best Audiophile Music Streamers Under $1000! (2022)

Overview of the Best Music Streaming Services

a. Tidal

Best Music Streaming Services

What we love:

  • One of the best-sounding music services
  • Great music selection, includes a lot of indie material other services lack
  • Excellent music discovery features/personalized playlists
  • Nice extras (Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio, Videos, Docs, Tidal Connect Streaming)
  • Offline Listening
  • Beautiful GUI

What to think about:

  • A little pricey
  • Needs MQA compatible gear for the highest quality/resolution/experience possible (Tidal software will output up to 96khz to any DAC)
  • Qobuz sounds a touch better

Tidal is a high-quality streaming service with lossless audio. It was previously owned by Jay-Z and supports artists by directing 10% percentage of your subscription to the artists you listen to the most. It offers a wide range of music (claims 90 million songs and 450,000 videos), including rare and exclusive tracks other services don’t have, live concerts, and documentaries. Tidal also has some of the best music discovery features, like many personalized playlists and album picks.

You also get music encoded in surround sound for a more immersive experience. In addition, Tidal offers lossless/hi-res audio streaming, so you don’t have to worry about any loss in sound quality when using your hi-fi gear.

That said, The subscription costs $19.99 per month for hi-res streaming (via MQA FLAC encoding), which is about double the price of other high-quality streaming services. You also need an MQA-compatible DAC or Streamer to take full advantage of Tidal’s Hi-Res streaming tier.

The TIDAL software will core decode MQA and output 96khz to any DAC. However, if you want to hear the resolutions above that, you need MQA gear that can do MQA rendering or Full Decoding. The good news is that MQA-compatible gear is easier to get now and more affordable.

If you want to give Tidal a go without fully committing, then check out their free trial. It’s the only way to try the service before you make a final decision. It works on various devices, including Android, Apple, Amazon Fire TV, and iOS devices. You can also use Tidal on PCs with their music-streaming desktop app.

b. Amazon Music HD

What we love:

  • Low Pricing
  • Decent extras (Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio, Ad-Free Podcasts)
  • Cheapest way to get better than Hi-Res quality audio (FLAC up to 24 bit, 192 kHz)
  • Beautiful GUI
  • Offline Listening

What to think about:

  • Limited Hi-Res content
  • Hi-Res streaming is not always bit-perfect (music is automatically upscaled in the software)
  • Would like to see some more music discovery tools

Amazon Music Unlimited is a high-quality streaming service that offers users a collection of over 100 million songs. It offers a great hi-res alternative to Spotify and is the most affordable service on this list.

Amazon Music Unlimited offers hi-res audio, lossless audio, and the ability to listen to music offline. It also has curated playlists for your preferred music genres and artists, so you don’t have to trawl through random playlists when exploring new music. Of course, it could use some more tools a la Tidal, but that’s not the end of the world.

My biggest issue with Amazon Music HD is the decision to impose automatic upscaling when listening to hi-res music via an external DAC. That means the service will upscale 24/44 music to 24/192 if that’s what your DAC can handle. That lack of bit-perfect playback will undoubtedly be annoying to some audiophiles (like me).

That said, the tracks sound good regardless, and the subscription costs $8.99 per month (if you have Amazon Prime, $10.99 without), which is significantly cheaper than many other high-quality streaming services.

You can also try Amazon Music Unlimited’s free trial, which lets you listen for a month before you decide whether you want to subscribe to the service.

c. Qobuz

Best Music Streaming Services

What we love:

  • Tons of Hi-Res (FLAC) tracks
  • Probably the best-sounding service overall
  • No need for special MQA DACs
  • Excellent editorial content for music buffs
  • Clear designation
  • Qobuz Connect Streaming
  • Offline Listening
  • Affordable

What to think about:

  • It lacks some of the indie music that Tidal has
  • Not many music discovery features
  • Basic UI

Qobuz is a high-quality streaming service that’s known for its robust, lossless audio streaming. It’s available in many countries and probably provides the best sound experience overall.

Qobuz offers a combination of remarkable sounding hi-res streaming and lossless audio, making it an excellent choice for audiophiles. They also have some of the best editorial content, providing in-depth knowledge regarding many albums and artists reminiscent of Roon. The subscription costs $10.83 per month for one person, which is significantly cheaper than other high-quality streaming services (namely Tidal).

Conversely, with Qobuz, music discovery features are few and far between, and the UI is pretty basic. On the other hand, like Tidal, it interfaces with many music streaming apps and software packages like Roon, and it also has a quick streaming option with Qobuz connect. Additionally, as stated earlier, it has it’s probably the best-sounding music streaming service, so if you are purely interested in the best sound, this is probably the service for you.

You can try Qobuz’s 1-month trial here, which lets you listen to a variety of music, including classical, jazz, and orchestral pieces.

d. Apple Music

What we love:

  • Affordable
  • Top-notch music discovery features/personalized playlists
  • Nice selection of Lossless/Hi-Res Tracks (ALAC)
  • Decent editorial content for music lovers

What to think about:

  • Apps work best on Apple Devices

Apple Music is a high-quality streaming service that offers a wide range of music genres and artists. It’s available in over 100 countries and includes a free trial option. The subscription costs $10.99 per month, which is on par with most of the other high-quality streaming services.

If you’re heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, then Apple Music has much to like. First, it integrates great features that work with Apple’s phones, headphones, and speakers, like Spatial Audio and Share Play.

In addition, Apple Music has some of the best music discovery features, like great curated and personalized playlists, plus some of the most on-point music recommendations based on tracks you mark with a “love” tag.

In addition, Apple Music has a nice selection of lossless and hi-res tracks and probably one of the most beautiful and easy-to-use UIs in the business.

You can also try Apple Music’s free trial, which gives you one month of the service for free. It’s the only way to try it before deciding whether you want to subscribe. You can listen to the same music you hear on radio stations or choose from a selection of curated playlists.


Best Music Streaming Services: Our Picks

Best overall for audiophiles: Tidal is a high-quality streaming service with the biggest selection of major and indie titles. That means you have the best chance of finding the album you’re looking for compared to other streaming services. You also get excellent music discovery tools, so it does a great job of recommending new music you may like. That said, It costs $19.99 per month, which is expensive compared to other services.

Best for newbies: Amazon Music HD is a high-quality streaming service that costs $8.99 per month (with a Prime subscription) and has a great global music library. It’s available in over 60 countries and offers a free trial, letting you listen to 30 days of music without charge. However, some audiophiles may not like the automatic upscaling of hi-res tracks.

Best for music lovers on a budget: Qobuz has the best overall sound and excellent editorial content, which provides in-depth info regarding the music you’re listening to. If you’re mainly interested in sound quality and want to start an online collection of well-recorded audiophile-oriented recordings without breaking the bank, then this service may be the one for you.

Best for Apple Fans: Apple Music costs $10.99 monthly and has a wide range of music genres and artists to explore. Music discovery features are excellent, and there’s a ton of lossless content. It’s available in over 100 countries and has a free trial option.

Best Music Streaming Services: Conclusion

The best music streaming service for you will depend on a variety of factors, including your preferred music listening habits and the amount of money you want to spend. We’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a comprehensive guide to the best music streaming services for audiophiles, so you can explore your options and find the best music streaming service for you.

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