TIDAL unveils hi-res FLAC streams for HiFi Plus subscribers

Jul 5, 2023, 6:56 PM UTC
2 mins read
TIDAL unveils hi-res FLAC streams for HiFi Plus subscribers
(Image credit: TIDAL)

TIDAL has taken a significant leap in audio quality by introducing hi-res FLAC streaming for its HiFi Plus subscribers. In a recent Reddit post, CEO Jesse Dorogusker confirmed the rollout of FLAC (free lossless audio codec) streams, delivering unparalleled high fidelity audio at resolutions up to 24-bit/192Hz. While FLAC files offer an immersive sonic experience, they come at a cost of approximately four times the file size of a standard MP3, which explains their limited availability on popular streaming platforms.

The implementation of hi-res FLAC streaming is currently in the early access phase for iOS users. TIDAL users fortunate enough to access the beta app can now choose from a vast selection of over six million tracks available in the hi-res FLAC format, with the library expanding daily. Enabling this feature is as simple as updating the beta app and selecting the “Max” quality option within the settings. Dorogusker emphasized that TIDAL is eager to gauge user feedback during this trial period before making the enhanced streaming tools available to a wider audience. Android users and those not affiliated with TIDAL’s early access plan can anticipate the feature’s availability in August.

Previously, TIDAL employed MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio as its hi-res streaming technology. However, MQA is more of an upscaling technique rather than a true lossless file format. While Dorogusker has yet to address the continued use of MQA, he has assured users that TIDAL will support multiple formats of hi-res audio.

As the availability of hi-res audio expands, so does the associated price tag. Access to FLAC streams requires a HiFi Plus subscription, which comes at a monthly cost of $20. TIDAL recently increased the price of its standard subscriptions from $10 to $11 per month. Speculation abounds that industry leader Spotify is also gearing up to introduce its own hi-fi tier, further intensifying the competition in the high-quality streaming market.

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