Spotify-CD quality?

First post here. Thanks to all for a great forum.

I am streaming Spotify Premium, and the front panel of my Direct Stream with Bridge II says it is PCM, 16 bits and 44.1 khz. It sounds great. Can I trust my eyes and ears that this is CD quality?

I also use Roon with Tidal HiFi as well as a Synology NAS that I have ripped CD’s and SACD’s to, along with some other hi res audio I have bought and downloaded. Tidal on the system sounds great and I find many of their recordings are offered in better than CD quality, even if not MQA or listed in the “Masters” category

I find that Spotify has a deeper collection than Tidal, and I can find music there I would otherwise have to purchase as a physical copy. I have a nice CD player and turntable with hundreds of LP’s and CD’s. I am trying to avoid purchasing more physical music if possible.

It is 320 kbps and thus not CD quality. And yes, it does sound great.

I’ve never seen 44.1 output from Spotify Premium on my SGCD. Not doubting your eyes. I only get that from my Allo DigiOne Player when listening from Radio Paradise, but not from Spotify. Maybe your source upsamples?

@frudogg – I believe lossy formats such as AAC, mp3, Ogg Vorbis are often 16/44 when used in music streaming but I may be incorrect. In other words, bit depth and sample rate don’t indicate lossy vs lossless.

Someone chime in if I am incorrect.

Spotify uses the Ogg container format for their premium (320 kbps) service whereas most other lossy services use AAC or mp3.

“CD Quality” is a term I wish could be permanently erased from the lexicon.

SiriusXM and Pandora have both used the term in the past with extremely low bit rates.

64 kbps mpeg-2 is NOT CD quality.


Playing Spotify Premium via my Bluesound Node 2, this is what it says on my SGCD…

Wow! Wonder if the Node upsamples. Does it have setting that does? Very intriguing…

As far as I know, it doesn’t upsample at all. I’ve never read anywhere that it does. It just sends out what it receives. I was thinking about upgrading to the new Node 2i, but I figure I’m getting much better improvements/results keeping the original Node 2 and running it through the sweet SGCD.

Thanks. The Sweet Gain Cell Dac. Maybe a PS Audio gurú could verify why it’s reading that when Spotify doesn’t make the claim of 44.1. A real mystery or the SGCD is getting dupped?

I’m not losing any sleep over it. As long as it sounds good, that’s all I care about. :sunglasses:


I only got Tidal to get some FLAC. But if Spotify rolls it out, I Chops it from Tidal.

Sound quality shouldn’t determine which service gets chopped. They can both sound equally great with capable hardware. The choice more likely boils down to catalog variety, and ease of use.

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Exactly. That’s why I have both, and probably Qobuz when it’s available.

The thing about Spotify is that if you can’t find it on Tidal, you probably can on Spotify. Then again, there are things on Tidal that aren’t on Spotify. I think I read somewhere that Qobuz is geared more towards classical, jazz, blues, etc, etc, etc, and a LOT less geared towards rap, hip-hop and stuff like that.

That’s one of the reasons I don’t like Tidal. Every time they post a bunch of new albums, 90% of them are rap and hip-hop, the other 10% is everything else. And usually only about 2% of that last 10% is anything decent.

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Agree with both of you. Running both at the moment as well. The Spotify algorithm has me pretty much on with what I like as the AI has collected on me extensively. What I really hate about Tidal is the contamination of their suggestions and promoted music and artists, I’m too old for that crap, especially when a premium is paid. Should let me customize the clutter they just shove on ya. Aside from that, it works.

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And for the record, I’m not taking that Lemonade even if she squeezes the organic fruits and spikes it herself.

It is reading 44.1 kHz because that’s what it’s being fed. The circuitry that does this isn’t being fooled.

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Thanks @Paul for confirming the reading on the SGCD as correct. That leaves the source as the magic box.

Thanks Paul and others. I remember seeing on one of the PS Audio forums a statement that Spotify
is available with higher resolution than 320kps Ogg in “some areas”. Not sure about this and have been unsuccessful in verifying. The '“some areas” doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I live in Salt Lake City and we do have Google Fiber and a lot of tech companies here, for whatever that’s worth.
Anyway the Direct Stream sounds great with my Spotify premium stream and thanks for making a great product.

Spotify is a little tricky when it comes to their high quality streaming. Most is 320 kbps, though some albums are only available at 192 kbps, even if you’re paying for premium. Also, Spotify has beta tested 44.1/16 bit streaming in the past, so it’s not unreasonable to think some of those files are being used or tested under the radar.

You can always count on your DSD to tell you exactly what it’s getting in, though sometimes this raises more questions than it answers. Is this some rogue higher quality streaming from Spotify? Or maybe just part of the Ogg codec that Kerosene mentioned above? Or maybe a device in your chain is upsampling.

Who knows. As long as you’re enjoying how things sound, I wouldn’t stress too much :grin:

Well here’s another wrench in the works…

Roku just added a Spotify app. I’ve been streaming it for the past couple hours while doing some stuff around the house. I took a gander at the display on the SGCD and it’s reading 48 kbps. Then again, I think the Roku Ultra says that for everything, YouTube, Nexflix, HBO, you name it. It feeds the SGCD via Toslink.