What is Spotify HiFi? New lossless Tidal HiFi rival is finally on the way

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Chris Smith

Spotify has announced plans to launch a Spotify HiFi tier for Spotify Premium subscribers, which will arrive later this year. What is Spotify HiFi?

What is Spotify HiFi

Spotify is planning to launch a higher-quality version of its streaming service, later this year, called Spotify H-Fi. The long-requested feature will finally see Spotify rival Tidal HiFi for audio quality.

The platform will provide CD-quality, lossless audio. This means audio much closer in quality to the original recordings. Listeners will enjoy more depth and clarity, provided they have headphones and speakers good enough to showcase the format.

What is HiFi audio

HiFi or high-fidelity audio is also known as high-resolution audio or lossless audio, which means there is no loss of quality in the digital music file.

Digital music files are compressed in order to keep the file sizes down. For a 3.5 minute song, for example, a standard compressed audio file is around 2mb. The same file size for a hi-res track is around 20mb.

Related: How to play hi-res audio on your iPhone

On the plus size, that means the tracks do not take up as much physical storage or, when streaming, require as much data. There’s a trade-off for that though; compression results in some data being discarded and a very distinct loss of audio fidelity, compared to a compact disc.

Which hi-res audio codec will Spotify HiFi use?

There are various formats providing high-resolution audio, rather than their being one overall standard. Spotify hasn’t made clear which format it will use as yet. Tidal HiFi uses the FLAC format at 16bit / 44.1kHz.

That stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec and maintains the quality of the original format. Tidal HiFi subscribers also get access to Master Quality Authenticated recordings, which are of even higher quality. Spotify hasn’t yet confirmed whether it’ll provide master recordings.

Will I need new speakers or headphones?

Spotify says that it is working with “some of the world’s biggest speaker manufacturers” to ensure that Spotify HiFi can be accessed through the Spotify Connect. It is yet to reveal the technical requirements, but you’ll need a compatible host device, as well as some good headphones or speakers to enjoy Spotify HiFi. Some people like to use an external Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC) in order to give the system a boost.

When is Spotify HiFi available?

Spotify has only confirmed that HiFi will be available in select markets from later this year. The company says more details are coming soon.

How much does Spotify HiFi cost?

Spotify HiFi will only be available to Spotify Premium subscribers, who’ll be able to upgrade their sound when the feature launches in their market. Spotify has yet to confirmed how much extra the HiFi tier will cost beyond the £9.99 a month for Premium.

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