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How do I get the best Spotify sound quality?

Spotify sound quality
Super streams: you can adjust Spotify's sound quality

You’re sat at home with your fat fibre connection offering more bandwidth than you could ever swallow, but your Spotify-streamed tunes still sound thin. How do you ensure you get the best Spotify sound quality?

Spotify sound quality settings on the desktop

The first thing to note is that if you want the highest possible streaming quality, you have to be a paid-up Spotify subscriber. They don’t give out the sweet sounding stuff to the freeloaders. 

To check you’re getting the highest quality streams on your computer, open the Spotify app and click on the arrow next to your profile pic at the top of the screen. Now click Settings.

In the Settings menu, you should see a section called Music Quality. Make sure High Quality Streaming is switched on. It will go green when it is, as shown below.

Spotify sound quality settings on mobile

There’s a richer choice of sound quality settings in the Spotify mobile app. But finding the settings in the first place is no walk in the park. The easiest way is to click the Your Library button at the foot of the main Spotify menu, then click the little Settings cog at the top right of the screen.

Here you get to choose from a range of streaming sound settings, ranging from ‘low’ to ‘very high’.

However, the default option is ‘automatic’. This varies the sound quality according to how good the data connection is at the time. If you’re in area of weak 3G reception, for example, Spotify will dial down the music quality to keep the stream running. 

In my experience, it does a decent job, so I’d be tempted to leave it in automatic, unless you’re a complete music snob who would rather hear silence than a mutilated stream. 

Beware that ‘very high’ will chomp through mobile data, so if you’ve got a smallish data cap, you might want to lower the quality to avoid extra charges.

Spotify will also ask you which quality you want to use for music downloads – albums or playlists that you’ve chosen to make available for offline listening.

You’d normally only download albums/playlists on a Wi-Fi connection, so the factor to consider here is how much storage space you’ve got left on your phone. Upping the quality to ‘very high’ will swallow more storage space than the regular ‘normal’ tracks, which don’t sounds too crummy in the first place. 

To give you a rough sense of how much data ‘very high’ will use, one 4 min 28 sec track took up 10MB of storage on our test phone. A ‘normal’ quality download of the same length took 2MB of space. 

If you’re running short on space, go right down to the bottom of the Settings menu, and you can choose to store your Spotify downloads on the phone’s SD card rather than internal storage. 

Now read this: why is Alexa cutting off Spotify streams?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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