Tidal HiFi vs Tidal HiFi Plus: what Tidal subscription plan is best for me?

Tidal HiFi Plus interface
(Image credit: Tidal)

You've done your research and decided that when it comes to music streaming platforms, Tidal is the one for you. The next step? Deciding between the two available plans - will it be Tidal HiFi or Tidal HiFi Plus?

Unlike many other streaming platforms out there, Tidal's two plans offer very different packages. One keeps things affordable but holds back on features, while the other sees a steep rise in price but also a wealth of added bonuses.

With Tidal's main focus being on the quality of your audio, it will be no surprise that the more expensive Tidal HiFi Plus offers a much higher quality to your music... but is it worth the jump in price? We outline each plan below so you can make an executive decision when it comes to your preferred music streaming platform.

What you get with Tidal HiFi

Tidal HiFi is the music streaming service's base package. If you simply want access to Tidal's library without having to pay too much, this will be the option for you.

HiFi includes songs at a quality of up to 1411kbps (CD quality). This is the same quality you'll get on most basic streaming options. This plan gets you access to Tidal's full library of songs which is currently around 80 million but is constantly growing.

You'll also get access to Tidal's collection of 350,000+ videos, too. These include behind the scenes of music videos and songs being made, documentaries about musicians and the industry, as well as other exclusive content only found on Tidal.

With Tidal HiFi, you'll be able to download songs and listen to them offline, track and share your listening habits and favorite artists, and you'll have absolutely no ads with this plan.

Graphic showing Tidal's different sound quality

(Image credit: TechRadar / Tidal)

What you get with Tidal HiFi Plus

While Tidal HiFi Plus does add a fair bit to the monthly price, it does also add a number of interesting features, mostly around the quality of the audio that you are experiencing, along with everything you get with the regular HiFi option.

Firstly, up to 10% of your subscription is directed straight to the artists you listen to the most. On top of that, your top artists will get paid based on your streaming habits (a better pay out for your dedication).

The other benefit of Tidal HiFi Plus is the different audio types. While HiFi plays at CD quality, this plan boosts the quality to a maximum of 9216kbps. This is part of Tidal's Masters scheme. With this, you'll be getting audio at the level of the original recording. That is the highest possible resolution, or in other words, an unedited version of the song.

Along with the Masters audio (which is available on a huge range of songs), you'll also get songs that use Dolby Atmos or Sony's 360 Reality Audio. These both work to emphasis the sound stage of a song. Through certain headphones and speakers, these two audio types can make the audio sound like it is playing all around you or filling the room, creating a more dramatic effect.

A lot of these more advanced features were what especially stood out to us in our 4.5 star Tidal review.

What do Tidal HiFi and HiFi Plus cost?

It will come as absolutely no surprise that the increase in royalties and audio quality with HiFi Plus boosts the price considerably.

With both the HiFi and HiFi Plus plans, you can get a 30-day free trial, or if you're in the US, there is a free version available with occasional ad breaks.

Once your free trial ends, the HiFi plan will cost you £9.99/$9.99/AU$11.99 a month. That is roughly the same price as the likes of Spotify and Apple Music's base plans.

Alternatively, you can upgrade to HiFi Plus at a price of £19.99/$19.99/AU$23.99. That is a steep rise in price but it is where you will find the bulk of Tidal's added features.

On both of these tiers, you can get discounts in a few ways. Tidal offers a 50% student discount, family plans or even a discount for military or first responders in the US.

Tidal logo and name

(Image credit: Tidal)

Tidal HiFi vs Tidal HiFi Plus: what subscription plan is best for me?

Deciding which plan is best for you really comes down to one big question - how much do you value high-quality audio.

If you just like to listen to music, played through a normal pair of headphones, your laptop speaker or a TV, the HiFi plan will be the one for you. This will save you money while still getting you full access to Tidal's full library and all of its videos.

However, if you are really into your audio, Tidal's HiFi Plus plan will be worth the upgrade. This is mostly due to Tidal's Master quality audio, but the Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 audio are nice added features if you have compatible gear.

If you've spent a lot of money to get good stereo speakers or some of the best headphones, and connected up with an amplifier to really get the most out of your audio, the HiFi Plus will likely be a no-brainer.

It is of course important to remember that your extra money is also going towards a better pay-out for your favorite artists.

Alex Hughes

Alex is a journalist who has written extensively about all things broadband, SIMs and phone contracts, as well as scouring the internet to land you the best prices on the very latest in gadgets and tech. Whether that be with the latest iPhones and Android handsets, breaking down how broadband works or revealing the cheapest SIM plans, he's in the know, and will help you land a bargain.