Bad Spotify Sound Quality? 11 Common Questions (Answered)

Spotify allows its countless users access to an ever-growing library of incredible musical content. However, when it comes to listening to great music, sound quality is a crucial factor.

In this article, we dive into Spotify’s sound quality and the common questions that surround this important issue:

Control music at home with Sptify app on mobile.

1. How Good is the Sound Quality on Spotify?

Spotify ranks 7th place in the rankings of best sound quality in a comparative list of music streaming platforms. 

Spotify Premium has a maximum quality of 320kbs, with its free version allowing a maximum of 160kbs.

In comparison, Tidal HiFi provides lossless formats for an unparalleled listening experience, a sound quality setting not yet available for Spotify users. 

2. Does Spotify Sound Better on a Computer?

If you’re hoping that playing tracks on Spotify with your desktop computer will improve audio quality, think again.

Spotify has the same level of audio quality across all devices, whether on phones, tablets, or desktop computers.

The only thing that dictates the standard of sound is your Spotify quality settings and whether you are on a Premium account.

There are four standards of sound quality settings that can be adjusted with Spotify, no matter which device you are using.

They include:

  1. Automatic (quality is adjusted automatically depending on internet speed and stability to ensure uninterrupted playback).
  2. Low (24kbit/s)
  3. Normal (96kbit/s)
  4. High (160kbit/s)

Spotify Premium account holders have access to a 5th setting which will be covered later in more detail.

If you believe that you are experiencing a loss in quality when using your computer to use Spotify then you should confirm whether you are using the desktop app or the web player.

It is worth noting that the web player version of Spotify will not allow you to adjust quality settings, potentially resulting in a loss of fidelity based on the speed of your internet connection at the time of playback.

Spotify recommends that users download the Spotify app onto their computers to ensure they can access all that Spotify has to offer, including the ability to change the sound quality depending on their needs.

3. Do You Get Better Sound from Upgrading to Premium?

It’s not just the lack of ads that makes upgrading to a Spotify Premium account a sweet deal; Premium members enjoy higher-quality playback when listening to their favorite tracks.

Spotify Premium members have an extra quality setting they can toggle on.

‘Very High’ is an audio setting exclusive for Premium account holders. Once this setting is active, listeners will have the quality of 320kbit/s on all devices.

If listening via the Spotify web player, the sound quality will improve from AAC 128kbit/s (free account) to AAC 256kbit/s (Premium).

If you’re looking to improve your overall Spotify experience and ensure you’re listening to your Spotify playlists at the highest quality, then upgrading to Premium may be for you.

4. Can Premium Listeners Pay to Get Better Sound Quality on Spotify?

Spotify Premium account holders are getting the very best from Spotify’s services. There is no higher tier of account available.

Moreover, having a Premium account does not allow you to pay more to improve the sound quality that you already have.

The maximum quality you can expect from Spotify Premium is up to 320kbit/s.

Although there was mention of a new level of sound quality, coined ‘Spotify HiFi’, there has been no sign of it so far.

Perhaps in the future, this new sound quality feature may be behind a paywall, but we’ll have to wait and see. For now though, Spotify Premium is as good as it gets.

5. Does Apple Music Sound Better than Spotify?

Apple Music is the other giant in the room when it comes to the battle between music streaming dominance and, as you’d expect, sound quality matters.

Apple music may struggle to compete with Spotify in a number of ways, but it has the edge when it comes to quality.

Apple Music provides listeners with up to 24-bit/192kHz lossless quality.

Their audio also allows for spatial audio with Dolby Atmos.

Before you switch ships and head over to Apple Music, you should be aware that although Spotify doesn’t have the highest sound quality, it has beaten Apple Music in other ways.

Despite lacking the audio quality settings of Apple Music, Spotify provides better:

  • Discovery algorithms for users to find music they love.
  • Unparalleled user interface.
  • Diverse content that includes a fantastic array of growing podcasts.

6. Does YouTube Sound Better than Spotify?

YouTube Music has many similarities with Spotify and also offers some great features, however, what’s important here is the quality of playback.

Spotify Premium members will experience up to 320kbit/s playback, whereas YouTube will only grant listeners 256kbit/s.

Now that might look like a big difference on the page, but it’s worth remembering that unless you’re an audiophile with some top-notch audio equipment, you may not be able to register the difference.

If you are somebody that has the ear, the sound system, and requires higher fidelity, then maybe check out Tidal.

7. Does Spotify Sound Better than Tidal?

Tidal outshines Spotify when it comes to higher sound quality.

With its HiFi and Master audio settings in FLAC and MQA, there’s no doubt that it provides a superior listening experience.

Tidal provides playback in lossless formats which allow listeners to get as close as they can get to the original recording of a track. Spotify does not currently offer any format at this level.

It’s worth keeping in mind that Tidal’s quality comes at the cost of data usage – up to 18.20GB an hour.

Additionally, decent headphones will be required for listeners to actually experience what Tidal offers.

8. Has Spotify Talked About Offering Lossless Sound Quality?

Back in February 2021, Spotify announced the exciting news of their upcoming release of lossless sound quality for its Premium subscribers – naming it ‘Spotify HiFi’.

Unfortunately, to this date, there is no evidence that this upgrade will be happening any time soon.

Spotify currently streams its music in an Ogg Vorbis format (320Kbps), which compresses the music and loses a lot of the intricate recorded details.

The idea behind ‘HiFi’ is for Spotify to provide an audio quality that is as true to how the artist intended it to be listened to.

With no new announcements on the horizon, Spotify users will have to be patient for the time being, and more to the point, be satisfied with what Spotify Premium currently provides.

9. What Sound Settings Can You Adjust on Spotify?

Adjusting equalizer settings on Spotify can really alter how the music sounds, and dramatically improve playback, as long as you know how to properly use them.

You can isolate and adjust specific frequencies for each track, making them sound dramatically better.

Spotify introduced equalizer settings back in 2014, meaning users are now able to tailor and adjust their music to their own tastes.

It’s worth noting that you can only adjust the EQ settings through the Android or iOS app for Spotify, so if you are using the desktop version you will have to adjust the EQ on your device – not through Spotify.

  • To access Spotify’s EQ settings, all you have to do is go to your profile and tap on settings.
  • For Android devices, navigate to your audio settings and you will see the option ‘Equalizer’.
  • For iOS, you will have to go to ‘Playback’ instead.

Here you can manually adjust the following 6 frequencies:

  1. 60Hz
  2. 150Hz
  3. 400Hz
  4. 1kHz
  5. 2.4kHz
  6. 15kHz

If this is too complicated for you, or you are uncertain how to properly use an equalizer, all you have to do is choose one of the handy presets that Spotify has already provided.

Here’s a List of Spotify’s EQ Presets:

  1. Acoustic
  2. Bass Booster
  3. Bass Reducer
  4. Classical
  5. Dance
  6. Deep
  7. Electronic
  8. Flat
  9. Hip-Hop
  10. Jazz
  11. Latin
  12. Loudness
  13. Lounge
  14. Piano
  15. Pop
  16. R&B
  17. Rock
  18. Small Speaker
  19. Spoken Word
  20. Treble Booster
  21. Treble Reducer
  22. Vocal Booster

Experimenting with these settings can vastly improve your listening experience. Try picking a setting that aligns with the type of music you love.

For example, if you are a rock music fan, then try the preset ‘Rock’ and you may be surprised to find it sounds even better.

Read up more on the topic of “loudness”, in our article exploring which streaming platform plays the loudest.

10. Does Spotify Require Good Sound Quality from Artists?

Artists submitting music to Spotify have to do so using either FLAC or WAV formats.

WAV is the standard format in which CDs are recorded in, but it does not support metadata and the file sizes can be huge.

For this reason, Spotify recommends using FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec). This format has high resolutions of up to 32-bit, supports metadata, and compresses the files to nearly half the size of a WAV file.

Unfortunately, Spotify users currently can’t listen to playback in FLAC format, but instead only in AAC and Ogg Vorbis. For now, recording room quality listening will have to wait.

11. Why Does Spotify Sound Bad on My iPhone?

Some iOS users have reported that when they listen to Spotify on their iPhone, the audio quality is pretty poor and the songs sound brassy or tinny. Others have complained there are even issues with Spotify’s volume settings

This is not ideal, considering most of us use our phones as the main device to listen to music nowadays.

If this is happening to you then take a look at these tried and tested methods to help improve the sound quality of your music:

  1. Try a clean reinstallation of the Spotify app.
    • There may be an issue with the app itself, and some iPhone owners have found a clean reinstallation resolves the issue perfectly.
  2. Adjust both your Bluetooth and WiFi settings.
    • If they are both activated some have reported it can negatively affect Spotify’s sound quality.
  3. Use a different speaker or different headphones.
    • The problem may be with a connected device, not the iPhone itself.
  4. Adjust the audio quality on the Spotify app.
    • If the download or streaming quality is low, your music will simply not sound as good.

Some users have complained of a high-pitched “hiss” on Spotify. If you experience this issue, please read our article with troubleshooting tips for white noise on Spotify.


Free Spotify vs Spotify Premium

Apple Music vs Spotify: Which Is Better?


Best Spotify Equalizer Settings: How to Make Your Music Sound Better

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