Rdio Help Center

Sound quality

Alex John Feb 07, 2012 05:46PM PST

I have a number of questions, but the first is pretty straightforward: Is the sound quality (kbps) for music synced to iphone exactly the same as sound quality streamed from the website?

Secondly, I would like to know, if Rdio is capable of upgrading its sound quality, is Rdio considering doing so in the near future? Without mincing words, I will say that I can hear a distinct difference between Spotify sound quality and Rdio iphone-synced sound quality (Spotify's is superior, but I have not tried their mobile app).

I have recently signed up for Rdio unlimited with mobile access. As someone who is very excited about Rdio and its innovative interface for discovering music, sound quality is a very very important issue for me - it will help me determine whether I want to use Rdio only as a music discovering platform or, (preferably) for music consumption as well as discovery.

Is Rdio's sound quality something that Rdio has decided was not worth a higher investment or is it simply not possible to sync higher quality files to a mobile device?

I would appreciate honesty in this answer and not simply the "Rdio does not disclose information about sound quality" stock answer that I have seen floating around.

Thank you.

Community Responses

Up -10 rated Down
Vivian Rdio Employee Feb 08, 2012 12:49PM PST

Hi Alex,

Thanks for writing in. We’re not actually sharing exact bitrates at this time, because we experiment with different rates and encoding formats in an effort to provide the best possible listening and user-experience. We stream high quality audio over the web and wifi (for mobile devices), and only stream a lower bitrate if you’re on a 3G connection. Synced tracks will play at the same high quality as tracks streamed over Wifi.

We realize that this may not be as much detail as you’d like, and we apologize for this — if you have feedback about Rdio’s sound quality, please do let us know.


Up 0 rated Down
Nick Rigby Feb 08, 2012 04:03PM PST

Hi Vivian,

Is the WIFI stream quality the same as music that is downloaded from Rdio?



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Vivian Rdio Employee Feb 09, 2012 03:37PM PST

Hi Nick,

Purchased music downloads are delivered as MP3 files in the highest bit rate we have available to us, 256 kbps. (We will stream over wifi up to this whenever available.)


Up 6 rated Down
Ryan Kelley Feb 12, 2012 01:17PM PST

Just a question out of curiosity. How does Spotify have 320kbs available to them and you guys don't?
Still think Rdio's experience is worth the tradeoff, but I think you'd convert a lot of Spotify/MOG subscribers if this was clarified.

Up 1 rated Down
kevin kunnel Feb 13, 2012 11:55AM PST

Rdio please match the new "Extreme" setting in the ios Spotify app! I agree with Ryan I do prefer the Rdio app UX over ALL the others but... 320kbs can(is) changing my mind

Up 4 rated Down
Sergei Mutovkin Feb 25, 2012 09:25PM PST

I've recorded a few tracks by capturing output of RDIO App to the OSX system (via Audio Hijack) and compared them to the same capture from MOG and iTunes for the same songs (Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, Jean Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk) in all cases I could clearly see that RDIO filters out all frequencies above 16.5Khz. I believe is the cause of the shitty audio quality usually mentioned when people review RDIO. I really would like to know why RDIO decided to impose such a crazy restriction on their music? Are there any plans to change that? The issue I have is that RDIO is really superior to any other music service in terms of usability but I can't pay for this kind of sound quality :(

I believe 16.5Khz vs 22Khz I see on MOG captures is what makes all the difference and not 256 vs 320kbps.

Up 0 rated Down
Ryan Kelley Feb 28, 2012 05:52PM PST

Rdio support staff is there any validity to those claims?

Up 0 rated Down
Ryan Kelley Feb 28, 2012 05:53PM PST

I will say that the quality of the audio from the free version of MOG i've tried is superior to Rdio's audio quality.

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Slava Chernousov Apr 10, 2012 05:53PM PDT

You guys are losing customers because of so low quality of sound. You should offer paid option to stream on higher bitrates. I would pay.

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Robert Roper May 03, 2012 09:44AM PDT

Interesting this one shall be keeping a watchfull eye out, until you guys sort out the audio issues.
Stick with spotify for now me thinks?

Up 1 rated Down
Gary McCafferty May 14, 2012 03:54AM PDT

I'd also like to say that I'll be sticking with Spotify until Rdio sort out their codec.

Really like the interface, mobile app, discovery and the fact that I can log in with a browser, however you have to get the basics right before all that is worth paying for. A music streaming service has to get the audio quality right before anything else.

Up 0 rated Down
Pete o Jun 02, 2012 05:09PM PDT

Rdio needs to be way more transparent about this.

No way am I sending you 5 or $10/month for some undisclosed music quality. So good luck with that.

Up 1 rated Down
Erkki Hellsten Jul 08, 2012 01:04PM PDT

wanted: Better sound quality.

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Lukas Rohal Jul 13, 2012 10:37PM PDT

Yes, I add my opinion too. I like Rdio very much, especially the new web version. It is awesome and the social features too. EXCEPT one thing - and this is sound quality. I have Creative XFi sound and BOSE 2.1 speakers and made a comparative in sound quality. Yes, Rdio is better than Rhapsody (which streams 128kb/s), but worst than others. Best sound has MOG, than Deezer (web), Zune Music Pass and Spofity (but Spotify has very awkward bass and tiny sound space...). So, I canceled my subcription and will wait till some big changes are made. If Rdio offeres 256kb/s or 320kb/s quality, I test this quality and if it is equal with MOG or Deezer, I immediately activate my subcription. But until then, the sound quality is not acceptable for me. Thank you for understanding...

Up 0 rated Down
Donna Lemon Sep 08, 2012 08:53PM PDT

Glad I sampled the sound over the Roku before paying for a subscription for streaming. The sound quality is terrible.

Up 0 rated Down
William Cenk Sep 09, 2012 11:40AM PDT

I don't think I would switch just because the other services don't offer a competent mobile app, Rdio still offers the highest audio quality in a mobile app, and that's what I'll be using the most. MOG also doesn't offer a normal catalog/collection system, which is unacceptable. It's still very inconvenient to have to download my favorite albums in 320k.

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Kevin McCrossan Sep 14, 2012 12:24AM PDT

After a few days of using Rdio, I have fallen in love with this service! However, I can't abide the low quality sound. It's such a shame as it makes all the other great features moot. I'll be paying for Spotify for now, and regularly checking back to see if anything changes on the sound quality front.

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Brian W Jan 19, 2013 11:08AM PST

I've stuck with Rdio even though I've checked out MOG. MOG doesn't have a catalog I would be interested in actually paying money for. It's a fine service if all you listen to is the latest pop sensation. And as far as the sound quality of Rdio? I pipe my stream through a Yamaha Natural Sound receiver with vintage Boston Acoustic A70 tower speakers and I don't notice a problem with sound quality.
The only complaint I have on Rdio is the website itself. It needs some shading here and there for contrast. If you could offer an option where a member can actually change backgrounds, that would be golden. And the album art needs to show a larger picture when you click to expand.

Up 0 rated Down
Brian W Feb 03, 2013 09:49AM PST

I will take back some of what I wrote earlier. I do notice on some tracks too much compression. But MOG doesn't have the catalog to compare to Rdio, that much is true.

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Brad Lewis Feb 05, 2013 08:27AM PST

I will pile on here also - I have been an unlimited subscriber for several months now, and the music discover is so far ahead of the other sites I have stayed, but I am very close to canceling due to poor sound quality.

Up 1 rated Down
Simon Keating Mar 12, 2013 02:38AM PDT

I'm an Irish Spotify user, hate the Spotify interface, love the Rdio one, but lack of 320 kbps is a serious dealbreaker. I'd love to change to paid Rdio, please up to 320kbps :)

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Sebastian Handke Mar 19, 2013 06:10AM PDT

I don't like the Spotify UX and I love the collection-feature of rdio. And the new interface of the iphone app is gorgeous! But I will not pay for a service that refuses to be transparent about its quality.

Up 1 rated Down
Benjamin Pan Mar 22, 2013 01:04AM PDT

I much prefer Rdio's interface over Spotify's. If they fixed this ridiculous quality problem (as well as the linking of tracks across regional availability issues), I'd switch over *instantly*.

Up 0 rated Down
Blake Dunkel Mar 24, 2013 10:28AM PDT

I agree, I am currently on the fence between Spotify and Rdio. I *want* to pick Rdio because I like their interface a lot better (love the clean design) and I also like how it shows what other people are listening to the same songs as me so I can compare music taste and discover new music. However, the one thing that will probably lead me to settle on Spotify is their sound quality. On my computer, which has an extremely high bandwidth connection to the internet, I just listened to the song "Comeback Kid" by Sleigh Bells on both services, just as an example. I noticed in the higher frequencies, the Rdio version sounded very tinny and thin. On Spotify, it sounded fine to me. Is there anyway to hand some quality control over to the user, say, allowing them a higher level by choice, esp when connected to the internet via a computer. Either that, or adjust your library compression settings. Thank you! Otherwise, a great service!

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Gerardo Roca Río Apr 03, 2013 02:44PM PDT

For those of you audio-neophites: 320kbps constant bitrate is a fraud. You don´t get any better sound quality than a V0 encode, it will just add more filesize.

V0 is the encoding setting were the actual bitrate is set to the maximum quality *needed*. It gives a quality around 250kbps (it varies, of course) and I want to thinks (but don´t know for sure) that´s the setting rdio uses.

That said some songs sound more around 190 kbps or even lower sometimes when I stream them from this service. The actual bitrate quality should be always known by the customers.

I would never pay for a service that obfuscates the quality of the sound they deliver and you shouldn´t neither.

Up 0 rated Down
Geoff Airo-Farulla Jun 17, 2013 04:24AM PDT

I suspect that the poor quality sound cards in the devices we're using to convert from digital to analogue sound is the main quality limiter. Has anybody tried using a decent Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC) to upgrade the sound quality?

Up 0 rated Down
Charlie Goetze Aug 20, 2013 07:45AM PDT

Digital to analog converters have nothing to do with the audio quality being streamed by these various services. Nor does some idiot talking down to people as an expert. I prefer 320 Kbps but rate and not filtering out high frequencies etc as has been all edged here. I prefer the sound quality of MOG, but admit the Spotify offering of 320 sounds good but none of them have an excellent interface and sound quality. Perhaps Apple iTunes Radio coming this fall now in Beta will be the answer. Anyone tried Google Play?

Up 1 rated Down
Charlie Goetze Aug 20, 2013 07:48AM PDT

DAC can only improve what is already good. Rule number one the source quality is most important in audio.

Up 0 rated Down
Vaughan Woolsey Feb 09, 2014 10:14PM PST

Stop being angry! If you're a "TRUE" audiophile (which I think means that you're stuck up and suffering from a condition called "Confirmation Bias") then you wouldn't even be satisfied with bandwidth dependent web/wireless streaming music. You SHOULD invest as much money into purchasing CDs (which have more than the entire spectrum of human hearing in them at 16bit/44.1) or vinyl because you SHOULD also know that anything wireless is going to degrade quality regardless if it's 320 or 192. So, if you're a "TRUE" audiophile, you'd get the stick out of the place it's in and just enjoy music at a modest price and stop the griping.

And as far as the "consumer should know" and "stop obfuscating stuff from us that is essentially meaningless", just cut it out. They aren't obfuscating anything. Read the article below:


Up 0 rated Down
Josh DeBoer Apr 02, 2014 10:14PM PDT

If you don't believe Rdio sounds bad, sit down in my main listening area in front of my Martin Logans and you will tell the difference between Spotify and Rdio in 2 seconds.

Up 0 rated Down
Jason Core Oct 17, 2014 09:02AM PDT

How annoying. I just checked my Mobile App and since it was updated the settings for sound quality was set very low, even though I had it set to the highest on the previous version. Thanks Rdio for letting me know to change it when you gave me the update!!! Either way music has way too much treble on Rdio and Spotify, which I guess is just because of compression and I can tell the difference between a downloaded 320kbps album and a so called 320kbps album on an online service. So something isn't stacking up, however the fact the choice is huge currently outweighs this for me. My only hope is the sound quality will over time get back somewhere near where CD's are at, until then I will grin and bare it.

Up 0 rated Down
Števo Olejník Jan 06, 2015 01:04AM PST

I just switched from Deezer to Rdio because of new Deezer interface but I noticed the sound quality in a few seconds. I tried some songs to compare (I still have a few days of membership on Deezer) and Rdio sounds much worse - it is like from old radio comparing to CD.. So I think I will go back to Deezer, even when I love Rdio's interface.

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