I have experimented extensively with lossless audio and the Groove Music service. Then I got curious, how does the streaming audio compare between both services?
Normally, to compare streaming audio quality in a scientifically valid manner the streaming audio files would need to be compared using identical equipment – except that type of experiment contains an inherent fallacy when it comes to music streaming.
These days when you purchase a service or a piece of equipment you are buying into a digital ecosystem. Usually, when combining services and devices, there are benefits (both tangible and intangible) to being monogamous to one ecosystem. Have an android phone? Then google Music will work more smoothly than other music providers. The same goes for Apple and Microsoft.
So I did my audio test in my home theater and compared the audio quality of Groove Music playing though the XBOX One vs Apple Music playing on an Apple TV 3.
All other equipment stayed the same – reasonably high end equipment, nothing too crazy expensive – after all running a free blog where you discuss electronics and rant against gun owners isn’t very lucrative! (Boston Acoustics Tower Speakers, Onkyo Receiver, Golden Ear Force Field subwoofer). In both cases the devices were streaming uncompressed HDMI and the sound settings on the amplifier were identical.
It was no contest. The Apple TV streaming from Apple Music’s sound quality blew away the Xbox One streaming from Groove Music. It wasn’t even close. Heck – even Mrs. Mindcrime could tell the difference and described the sound of the music from Groove on the Xbox One as “muffled and muddy”.
This is by no means a scientific test, however if you are considering shelling out for Groove Music – and as a Microsoft fanboy I hate to say this – you should probably give Apple Music a listen first.