Frak, I can hear the difference. Immediately. Tidal sent email inviting me to resubscribe. I cancelled the day before Apple Music launched, offering three months free streaming. I spent weeks adjusting to the mushier, bassier sound imposed upon the music. I anticipated some synergy between the service and iTunes but just don’t see it, and my overall listening declined post-Tidal, after rising considerably when a subscriber.
There’s a fullness from the lossless encoding that I hear but can’t adequately describe. Vocals are crisper and clearer and the highs really pop. It’s like if a pin dropped during the recording you would hear it. What I hear more from Apple’s low-bitrate encoding is false fullness from amping bass and the lows. Or so my ears say.
So Tidal gets another play. I’m resubscribed and will listen to and otherwise experience both services during August. Apple’s presentation is more pleasing, but I’m surprised to find the playlists don’t appeal to me more than the other service. I will make a final choice based on overall benefits, of which fidelity is only a part. Music availability, discovery, presentation, and price to subscribe matter, too.