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Qobuz

EricLeRouge

Well-known member
Jan 15, 2020
33
10
45
A few comments regarding Qobuz from a hifi perspective:

- Qobuz has a terrible quality control, and many of the so-called "masters" that are on the service are actually poor quality digital captures published by the french national library (BNF), from when it had its entire vinyl library digitized by a Belgian company about 5 or 6 years ago. Those BNF titles have been digitized in a a rushed studio, and they sound terrible, even compared to vinyl rips published on Youtube. In practice, the titles released in high resolution are those published by the main music publishers, and they should be roughly be the same for Qobuz and Tidal (or other services, obviously).

- Qobuz is a much more "messy" than Tidal, e.g. Qobuz tends to keep several variations and successive remasters of the same titles, which makes very cumbersome and annoying for the subscribers. In addition, some titles "disappear" of the main library for no particular reason, and sometimes they re-"appear" in the library, so maintaining a collection of playlists can be challenging sometimes.

On the (very) positive side - As far as depth of catalogue goes, Qobuz has (by far) the best classical and jazz catalogue. Having used Qobuz and Tidal for several years (4 and 2 years respectively), I can say that classical music is almost absent from Tidal, whereas Qobuz can really offer a wealth of versions from all major publishers, so exploring a composer or an opus in Qobuz is a real treat for the music lover, student, or musician. For anyone interested in classical music at all, there is simply no equivalent, and the cost of €20 for Hifi (CD quality) or €25 for Sublime (CD+Hi-Res) is a steal if you think about it.

- Qobuz has a much poorer customer support than Tidal, and this can be very frustrating for customers, but it allows for a lot more technical tweaks for the more technology-oriented users

- Smooth integration with Audirvana puts Qobuz on par with Tidal, and it makes it very easy to use with a Kef LS50W system for example, but it really shines in USB or LAN connection, so a sound comparison between Qobuz and Tidal should probably use exactly the same chain of software, cables, speakers, etc. In my experience, Qobuz has superior sound quality in many cases, in particular in classical / baroque / opera, as the files have not been "normalized" or boosted for more customer impact, which I think Tidal does in some cases (so in practice sometimes Tidal sounds 'louder', but not better)

The overall quality of the high resolution masters varies considerably from one title to another, and there is simply no "tracking" of the original source of the files made available. Some files are made available by the publishers with the original bitrate of the latest known remaster (sometimes with the watermarking included), in other cases the publishers have resampled the files, and sometimes it seems that Qobuz have resampled the files themselves (e.g. some files are available at 24/96 when they are not available at the same bitrate anywhere.

Overall, I think in the future audio enthusiasts will need to look "under the hood" and analyze the actual files made available on platforms such as Qobuz and Tidal, and possibly define some methodology for checking the integrity of the files.
 
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DREADZONE

Well-known member
Nov 8, 2009
8
2
18,525
At the moment I have 3 music streaming subs: (1) googleplay @£7.99 (reduced price because I was an original subscriber) is good for vast catalogue - would discontinue because it is only Standard def, but has quite a few tracks not available from other two; (2) Tidal HiFi @£19.99 - unsure about the assumed improvement in listening experience with Masters: my system unfolds MQA up to 96kHz, and I do notice a nice difference with tracks that were originally mastered well . . . however, Amazon has given me a re-think!; (3) Amazon Music Unlimited HD £14.99 (but currently one month in to enjoying a 3 month free trial) - their HD tracks [CD quality of all material available in CD format] sounds very good, and HD Ultra [= anything above 16bit/44.1kHz, eg 24bit/44.1kHz, 16bit/48kHz up to 24bit/192kHz] sounds brilliant - certainly matching anything I've heard from Tidal Masters. I did a simple listening test with Fleetwood Mac The Chain (2001 Remaster) across both providers and both sounded excellent [the last 90 seconds of this track is a really good test in this genre].
So, jury is out on which to stick with long term; over the coming months I will weigh-up the catalogue merits of each provider. Also, I will examine Tidal's "transparency" with their MQA encoding for Master recordings vs Amazon HD's Ultra offering.
Anyone compared Tidal HiFi and Qobuz with Amazon Unlimited HD?
 

DREADZONE

Well-known member
Nov 8, 2009
8
2
18,525
<< The overall quality of the high resolution masters varies considerably from one title to another, and there is simply no "tracking" of the original source of the files made available. Some files are made available by the publishers with the original bitrate of the latest known remaster (sometimes with the watermarking included), in other cases the publishers have resampled the files, and sometimes it seems that Qobuz have resampled the files themselves (e.g. some files are available at 24/96 when they are not available at the same bitrate anywhere).

Overall, I think in the future audio enthusiasts will need to look "under the hood" and analyze the actual files made available on platforms such as Qobuz and Tidal, and possibly define some methodology for checking the integrity of the files. >>

Agree with above.

The actual recording of the artist is much more important than the playback quality, and it would be useful to know the source. If you want to compare one platform with another, good actual source material could include Steely Dan's catalogue as it was all engineered by Roger (The Immortal) Nichols and produced by Gary Katz - both perfectionists in purity of recorded sound - but unfortunately the fire at Universal Studios in 2008 may have destroyed some of the master tapes. Their albums Gaucho and Two Against Nature are pure quality in 24/96.
I'm part of the group that thinks, whilst 192kHz may benefit some recordings, the listener is unlikely to hear the difference in audio playback terms between 24/96 and 24/192 masters. I have done a few A/B tests with Tidal vs Amazon and both sound really good in 24bit Master/Ultra quality - noticeably greater clarity than HiFi/HD.
 

Ramborme

Member
Jan 14, 2020
2
4
20
I must be doing something wrong, I'm only paying $15 a month for Qobuz, I don't have a MQA DAC, as such I think Qobuz sounds better than Tidal, I dropped my Tidal subscription and picked up Qobuz, my only concern is sometimes it's slow to respond, I'm using their app on a PC, using a Schiit multibit DAC and the sound is great,
 
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kenosha

Active member
Nov 15, 2019
4
5
25
I must be doing something wrong, I'm only paying $15 a month for Qobuz, I don't have a MQA DAC, as such I think Qobuz sounds better than Tidal, I dropped my Tidal subscription and picked up Qobuz, my only concern is sometimes it's slow to respond, I'm using their app on a PC, using a Schiit multibit DAC and the sound is great,
Same here.

To all who read Whathifi’s Qobuz review, I encourage you to give it a chance, sign up for the free trial period and compare it for yourself to your preferred hi-res streaming service.

I was a TIDAL subscriber for 4 years, joined Qobuz when it cut its price to $15/month, and spent a month comparing the two.

On my system (Cambridge CXNv2 streamer, Moon 340i integrated, KEF R3s), Qobuz hi-res sounds better than TIDAL masters, and Qobuz CD-quality sounds better than TIDAL CD-quality streams.

Qobuz‘s library is missing some of my favorite titles from TIDAL’s library, but the reverse is true, as well.

TIDAL’s iPhone app is a bit more polished than Qobuz, but not significantly so IMHO.

I’ve used Qobuz tech support only twice in the three months or so I’ve been a member, but each time they responded promptly and it was clear they read my questions carefully and had good answers.

I ended up quitting TIDAL, but I’m happy it still exists. The more choices in hi-res subscription services, the better for consumers.
 
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jules153

Well-known member
Jul 7, 2016
17
4
4,525
I would defo go with Amazon HD, great value and huge selection, but I doesn't cast in CD quality (or above) to my Chromecast Audio so it's Tidal for me!
 

Jules42

Member
Feb 23, 2020
1
0
20
I usually use Tidal Hifi to stream, (and I'm not totally convinced by its hi def - it could just be louder), but I've just taken out a Qobuz trial.

As I'm listening now, Qobuz sounds on a different level.

Dynamism, soundstage, speakers disappearing, all the indicators of a much better source....

.....but it's not as 'sweet' as my system usually is, but the dynamics and involvement are way worth it.

As a result, I suspect that different systems will prefer different services as they probably have different characteristics at source.

Feel free to flame me....
 
Feb 6, 2020
4
0
20
I have had a Qobuz subscription for a couple of years, mostly listening to classical music but keeping an eye on other genres. The way "new releases" are presented is very clear and easy to navigate, whatever genre; this is quite sufficient to find and try new music, without any of the "if you like this, you might like this" recommendations on other platforms. [Admittedly, this is the main thing missing from Qobuz.]

For me Qobuz has the huge advantage that it very naturally displays music by albums, rather than individual tracks. I've found no other streaming service (and I have tried many) that is so well suited to classical music.

Every so often I think I should try Tidal, given WHF's consistent rating of this above Qobuz. Last time was two months or so ago - I paid for a month's subscription, and only used it for a day, finding its way of responding to any classical search extremely frustrating.
 

Albert35

Member
Mar 19, 2020
1
0
20
I have used Qobuz, Deezer (hifi), Apple Music and Tidal on different systems (devialet amp + wilson-benesch, android phone with wireless LDAC, astell kern + audeze, computer+hugo to devialet). My thoughts.

Tidal Masters and Qobuz High Res provide better quality only at the top configurations at home. When listening to background music or walking on the street, the difference is very small. Think about how you listen to music and the equipment you will use.

I don't hear much difference between Tidal and Qobuz when listening to THE music at home (not doing A/B testing or trying to spot differences). The difference is clear when listening to Apple Music and Deezer (some songs for the latter), better separation of instruments, more details, wider soundstage.

I prefer Qobuz to Tidal for the folllowing reasons.

1. As someone said, Tidal for jazz and classical is really bad. I am not into hip-hop and R&B where Tidal is stronger. They both seem similar for rock and pop with Tidal having a slight edge for country & americana.

2. Qobuz is album based while Tidal is playlist oriented. I prefer to listen to the whole album. As an example, Tidal has jazz playlists by instrument, period, singers, subgenre and so forth while Qobuz's jazz playlists are much more limited. Then Qobuz offers a better repertoire of jazz albums and they are easier to find.

3. Music labels are easy to follow in Qobuz, impossible in Tidal. There are 3 or 4 labels I follow and it is very easy to see new releases. Having said that, one could subscribe to the labels' mailing lists and get the new releases sent to the email box. Qobuz just makes my life easier.

4. Qobuz editorials are fantastic. They have long articles on albums, genres (eg. americana, flamenco, afrobeat, etc.), labels (I have discovered some great small labels thanks to them), singers, musical periods, etc. Great to spend a couple of hours reading the article first and then listening to the albums and songs selected to illustrate the article'. I could buy a classical, pop, jazz, rock or world music magazine, read the articles and then find and listen to the recommended albums and songs. Again, Qobuz just makes my life easier.

5. Qobuz metadata is better. I prefer it for jazz as it is easier to find out who is playing a particular instrument or the composer.
 

Leon Martin

Well-known member
Mar 19, 2020
35
8
45
Qobuz may be one of the best sounding streaming services out there, but that doesn't mean it is the best option for all.

Qobuz : Read more
What the review fails to mention is that you need a MQA DAC to fully unfold Tidal's Master files. Without one all you can get is the first unfold ie if using the app on PC. Having listened to both Tidal Master (fist unfold only on PC outputted via USB into the CXN V2 streamer) and Qobuz Hi Res via a CA CXN V2 streamer I couldn't discern any difference. Ultimately, native streaming Qobuz via the CXN gave me a much neater solution. It's a pity Tidal don't offer their Masters in PCM format also.
 

Matt1970

Member
Apr 16, 2020
1
1
20
After nearly 6 years with Tidal, I have just switched to Qobuz as it sounds a lot better on my set-up. I have a Sony receiver and headphones that both support hi-res and the sound is just a lot more spacial and detailed than Tidal. I'm also saving £60 a year now that Qobuz is £14.99 after the free month trial. I also tried Amazon music HD as that also has a free trial but that sounded no better than Tidal on my set up so I quickly discounted that option.

The funny thing is I'm sure Tidal used to sound a lot better than it does now and I haven't changed any aspect of my set-up. I note Qobuz mentions compatibility with Sony whereas Tidal doesn't, so maybe they had a falling out.
 
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mistyvales

Member
Apr 20, 2020
2
1
20
I would also have to disagree about the sound quality of Qobuz being poor. It just seems very misguided.

More often than not, Qobuz delivers better performance on higher resolution files than Tidal does with compressed MQA. I've listened on a MQA DAC as well, and while it does sound good, it just has something missing that the same uncompressed version does on Qobuz. It may vary per system however..

While I do agree that Qobuz is missing a lot of albums that TIDAL has, it's also true in the reverse and to some degree, Qobuz offers more versions of the same album in different formats. Why does that matter? Well, more often than not a Redbook master from the 90s sounds better than a loudness war post-2000s era master does. Some of them are so brick-walled and loud that they sound like they're being squeezed!

In the end, I actually decided to keep both simply for the variety, but usually switch to a Qobuz stream if the album is on both services. Tidal does have a lot more newer albums, and appreciate the fact that there are options for every genre.

On a more important note, do both services still have some albums with digital watermarking?
 
Last edited:

ctt

Member
May 1, 2020
1
1
20
I've been using Qobuz (USA) very heavily for about 6 weeks now, more than I normally would due to being home from work awaiting COVID-19 to pass. Coming from CD's as a source for my system, I am really enjoying the increased realism permitted by the higher resolution files. As for music offerings, I have spent many hours trying to find albums which I own in CD format that are not available on Qobuz with virtually no "success." Far from discovering missing albums, I am instead excited to learn through this search how much more music not already in my physical collection is available from favorite artists.

I have scoured Qobuz's available offerings in most all genres, but admittedly very little modern pop/hip-hop (but don't worry, Dua Lipa's catchy new album is on there!). The word on the street seems to be that Qobuz is only for you if you listen to just classical or jazz. But the collection of music available in Rock, alternative, indie, world, etc. is flawless from my humble (but demanding) perspective. Grateful Dead, Foo fighters, Nirvana, Wilco, Wax Tailor, Bassnectar, Daft Punk, Tiesto, are a few of the artists I have been exploring through qobuz and have found all the albums I own plus all the others I already knew of but don't own plus many other albums that I didn't already know of. AND many of these albums are available in much higher resolution formats than CD quality. Even within the above-mentioned non-classical groups, probably at least 1/4 of their offerings are "hi-res"--higher than CD. If you have a decent system to send these files to, you are going to enjoy the improved sound of these higher than CD tracks. (for reference, my chain: Denafrips Ares II DAC>bottlehead crack amp with quality vintage tubes>Sennheiser 800S).

I'm thinking of boxing my CD transport and putting it in storage now that I have qobuz. It's that overwhelming. Furthermore, the qobuz iphone app is great and now that I can listen to any albums I was listening to before on the go (parties, boat, more popular music when hanging with friends, etc.) but now in CD quality, I have canceled my Apple Music account.

For the cost of a CD or two per month, and minus the cost of apple music, I am truly pleased with Qobuz and would have to give a nearly unqualified recommendation to any and all. Nearly because the computer based software is not flawless. I sometimes have to close qobuz and reopen when it suddenly malfunctions. Sometimes, a track plays in a very "damaged" way -- something equivalent to a scratched cd. Or, a track will display as playing, but no sound is coming out of the speakers. To be fair, this might be in part due to the computer, not the streaming software. But closing and reopening usually fixes this. I would have to use a quality macintosh computer as the streaming source for awhile to know if it is just my often glitchy albeit nearly new Dell computer that is causing these problems.

Also, I emailed the qobuz technical team email address a simple one paragraph question about a network streamer without onboard DAC's that they would recommend/partner with 2 weeks ago and have yet to receive a response. I did have better luck with a different question which I posted to their facebook page, but even that took a week to respond (they did apologize for the delay, but still...)

I should also mention that qobuz is very good at helping me to discover new music through its music suggestions and its "discover" category.

I can't compare to the obvious competitor Tidal, but as I am a cellist and love classical music, all indicators are that Tidal's current meager classical offerings would severely disappoint me...even though their technology that is supposed to remove the ubiquitous ringing recording artifact intrigues me.

In conclusion, once the hi-fi consumer market discovers how great Qobuz is now, I expect it to really dominate. I am thrilled with it thus far and plan to design an audio system for my livingroom with Qobuz as my primary music source.
 
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chungus

Member
Jun 17, 2020
1
2
20
I also have to disagree with the conclusions of the article, to my ears Qobuz beats Tidal at both CD quality and higher. I've subscribed to both at least 3 times in the past and done A/B testing with headphones and on my main system, and every time Qobuz is the clear winner. This is both good and bad as I do agree that Tidal has somewhat of a better catalogue selection for certain genres, but at the same time its not a dealbreaker for me.

Like others, I subscribe to other services like Spotify and Google music to have complete access to any missing recordings. I'll gladly take better quality 95% of the time vs worse quality with 100% catalogue availability.

To my ears, Tidal actually has more "detail", but I would call it more artificial and grainy detail, which is not pleasant. Music sounds a bit more artificial, and bass response is not as clear and somewhat recessed. Qobuz is just easier on the ears and much easier to enjoy.

I also have no interest in artificially limiting my DAC selections to those which are comparable with MQA, which is a proprietary and, honestly, still somewhat controversial format and process.

I'm also a bit confused at the overall conclusion of the article, like this quote for example, "Its CD-quality streams, meanwhile, are greater sticklers for detail than Tidal’s, although such discrepancies are hardly discernible when we listen through budget headphones plugged straight into a laptop."

How is that helpful? What is the point of even mentioning this? Overall the article feels like it was written to fit a predetermined conclusion and wasn't very well researched.
 

EricLeRouge

Well-known member
Jan 15, 2020
33
10
45
I've been using Qobuz (USA) very heavily for about 6 weeks now, more than I normally would due to being home from work awaiting COVID-19 to pass. Coming from CD's as a source for my system, I am really enjoying the increased realism permitted by the higher resolution files. As for music offerings, I have spent many hours trying to find albums which I own in CD format that are not available on Qobuz with virtually no "success." Far from discovering missing albums, I am instead excited to learn through this search how much more music not already in my physical collection is available from favorite artists.

I have scoured Qobuz's available offerings in most all genres, but admittedly very little modern pop/hip-hop (but don't worry, Dua Lipa's catchy new album is on there!). The word on the street seems to be that Qobuz is only for you if you listen to just classical or jazz. But the collection of music available in Rock, alternative, indie, world, etc. is flawless from my humble (but demanding) perspective. Grateful Dead, Foo fighters, Nirvana, Wilco, Wax Tailor, Bassnectar, Daft Punk, Tiesto, are a few of the artists I have been exploring through qobuz and have found all the albums I own plus all the others I already knew of but don't own plus many other albums that I didn't already know of. AND many of these albums are available in much higher resolution formats than CD quality. Even within the above-mentioned non-classical groups, probably at least 1/4 of their offerings are "hi-res"--higher than CD. If you have a decent system to send these files to, you are going to enjoy the improved sound of these higher than CD tracks. (for reference, my chain: Denafrips Ares II DAC>bottlehead crack amp with quality vintage tubes>Sennheiser 800S).

I'm thinking of boxing my CD transport and putting it in storage now that I have qobuz. It's that overwhelming. Furthermore, the qobuz iphone app is great and now that I can listen to any albums I was listening to before on the go (parties, boat, more popular music when hanging with friends, etc.) but now in CD quality, I have canceled my Apple Music account.

For the cost of a CD or two per month, and minus the cost of apple music, I am truly pleased with Qobuz and would have to give a nearly unqualified recommendation to any and all. Nearly because the computer based software is not flawless. I sometimes have to close qobuz and reopen when it suddenly malfunctions. Sometimes, a track plays in a very "damaged" way -- something equivalent to a scratched cd. Or, a track will display as playing, but no sound is coming out of the speakers. To be fair, this might be in part due to the computer, not the streaming software. But closing and reopening usually fixes this. I would have to use a quality macintosh computer as the streaming source for awhile to know if it is just my often glitchy albeit nearly new Dell computer that is causing these problems.

Also, I emailed the qobuz technical team email address a simple one paragraph question about a network streamer without onboard DAC's that they would recommend/partner with 2 weeks ago and have yet to receive a response. I did have better luck with a different question which I posted to their facebook page, but even that took a week to respond (they did apologize for the delay, but still...)

I should also mention that qobuz is very good at helping me to discover new music through its music suggestions and its "discover" category.

I can't compare to the obvious competitor Tidal, but as I am a cellist and love classical music, all indicators are that Tidal's current meager classical offerings would severely disappoint me...even though their technology that is supposed to remove the ubiquitous ringing recording artifact intrigues me.

In conclusion, once the hi-fi consumer market discovers how great Qobuz is now, I expect it to really dominate. I am thrilled with it thus far and plan to design an audio system for my livingroom with Qobuz as my primary music source.
Sometimes Qobuz lacks some pretty obvious references, but sometimes they ‘disappear’ from their database and ‘reappear’, so you may want to try. I have also had some success trying different spellings, or using part of,the name (frustrating, I know). One example of this is Bill Evans Trio - Waltz for Debbie, which is difficult to find, and has
I've been using Qobuz (USA) very heavily for about 6 weeks now, more than I normally would due to being home from work awaiting COVID-19 to pass. Coming from CD's as a source for my system, I am really enjoying the increased realism permitted by the higher resolution files. As for music offerings, I have spent many hours trying to find albums which I own in CD format that are not available on Qobuz with virtually no "success." Far from discovering missing albums, I am instead excited to learn through this search how much more music not already in my physical collection is available from favorite artists.

I have scoured Qobuz's available offerings in most all genres, but admittedly very little modern pop/hip-hop (but don't worry, Dua Lipa's catchy new album is on there!). The word on the street seems to be that Qobuz is only for you if you listen to just classical or jazz. But the collection of music available in Rock, alternative, indie, world, etc. is flawless from my humble (but demanding) perspective. Grateful Dead, Foo fighters, Nirvana, Wilco, Wax Tailor, Bassnectar, Daft Punk, Tiesto, are a few of the artists I have been exploring through qobuz and have found all the albums I own plus all the others I already knew of but don't own plus many other albums that I didn't already know of. AND many of these albums are available in much higher resolution formats than CD quality. Even within the above-mentioned non-classical groups, probably at least 1/4 of their offerings are "hi-res"--higher than CD. If you have a decent system to send these files to, you are going to enjoy the improved sound of these higher than CD tracks. (for reference, my chain: Denafrips Ares II DAC>bottlehead crack amp with quality vintage tubes>Sennheiser 800S).

I'm thinking of boxing my CD transport and putting it in storage now that I have qobuz. It's that overwhelming. Furthermore, the qobuz iphone app is great and now that I can listen to any albums I was listening to before on the go (parties, boat, more popular music when hanging with friends, etc.) but now in CD quality, I have canceled my Apple Music account.

For the cost of a CD or two per month, and minus the cost of apple music, I am truly pleased with Qobuz and would have to give a nearly unqualified recommendation to any and all. Nearly because the computer based software is not flawless. I sometimes have to close qobuz and reopen when it suddenly malfunctions. Sometimes, a track plays in a very "damaged" way -- something equivalent to a scratched cd. Or, a track will display as playing, but no sound is coming out of the speakers. To be fair, this might be in part due to the computer, not the streaming software. But closing and reopening usually fixes this. I would have to use a quality macintosh computer as the streaming source for awhile to know if it is just my often glitchy albeit nearly new Dell computer that is causing these problems.

Also, I emailed the qobuz technical team email address a simple one paragraph question about a network streamer without onboard DAC's that they would recommend/partner with 2 weeks ago and have yet to receive a response. I did have better luck with a different question which I posted to their facebook page, but even that took a week to respond (they did apologize for the delay, but still...)

I should also mention that qobuz is very good at helping me to discover new music through its music suggestions and its "discover" category.

I can't compare to the obvious competitor Tidal, but as I am a cellist and love classical music, all indicators are that Tidal's current meager classical offerings would severely disappoint me...even though their technology that is supposed to remove the ubiquitous ringing recording artifact intrigues me.

In conclusion, once the hi-fi consumer market discovers how great Qobuz is now, I expect it to really dominate. I am thrilled with it thus far and plan to design an audio system for my livingroom with Qobuz as my primary music source.
You may want to experiment/test Qobuz played from Audirvana, a bit-perfect software on Mac, and a decent USB cable — that takes Qobuz one level higher than the iOS/OSX app.
 
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mcfc4heatons

Member
Jun 23, 2020
2
2
20
I honestly don't know where the Tidal sounds better Qobuz coment comes from, I've honestly noticed no difference, if anything I felt some tracks sounded better on Qobuz. I've just switched to Qobuz as I'm old school and decided to go back to buying my albums outright rather using a subscription service and Qobuz are one of the few that let you buy hi-res tracks and albums, so far I have been really pleased with Qobuz ....

I personally think that's a very unphair review citing Tidal sound quality as far superior to Qobuz and not accurate ..
 
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mcfc4heatons

Member
Jun 23, 2020
2
2
20
I also have to disagree with the conclusions of the article, to my ears Qobuz beats Tidal at both CD quality and higher. I've subscribed to both at least 3 times in the past and done A/B testing with headphones and on my main system, and every time Qobuz is the clear winner. This is both good and bad as I do agree that Tidal has somewhat of a better catalogue selection for certain genres, but at the same time its not a dealbreaker for me.

Like others, I subscribe to other services like Spotify and Google music to have complete access to any missing recordings. I'll gladly take better quality 95% of the time vs worse quality with 100% catalogue availability.

To my ears, Tidal actually has more "detail", but I would call it more artificial and grainy detail, which is not pleasant. Music sounds a bit more artificial, and bass response is not as clear and somewhat recessed. Qobuz is just easier on the ears and much easier to enjoy.

I also have no interest in artificially limiting my DAC selections to those which are comparable with MQA, which is a proprietary and, honestly, still somewhat controversial format and process.

I'm also a bit confused at the overall conclusion of the article, like this quote for example, "Its CD-quality streams, meanwhile, are greater sticklers for detail than Tidal’s, although such discrepancies are hardly discernible when we listen through budget headphones plugged straight into a laptop."

How is that helpful? What is the point of even mentioning this? Overall the article feels like it was written to fit a predetermined conclusion and wasn't very well researched.
I'm very suspicious of the article too ... I would say to anybody who read the article to try Qobuz and make your own mind up which sounds better...
 
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Danarama

Member
Jun 23, 2020
2
0
20
I must be doing something wrong, I'm only paying $15 a month for Qobuz, I don't have a MQA DAC, as such I think Qobuz sounds better than Tidal, I dropped my Tidal subscription and picked up Qobuz, my only concern is sometimes it's slow to respond, I'm using their app on a PC, using a Schiit multibit DAC and the sound is great,
Same here.

To all who read Whathifi’s Qobuz review, I encourage you to give it a chance, sign up for the free trial period and compare it for yourself to your preferred hi-res streaming service.

I was a TIDAL subscriber for 4 years, joined Qobuz when it cut its price to $15/month, and spent a month comparing the two.

On my system (Cambridge CXNv2 streamer, Moon 340i integrated, KEF R3s), Qobuz hi-res sounds better than TIDAL masters, and Qobuz CD-quality sounds better than TIDAL CD-quality streams.

Qobuz‘s library is missing some of my favorite titles from TIDAL’s library, but the reverse is true, as well.

TIDAL’s iPhone app is a bit more polished than Qobuz, but not significantly so IMHO.

I’ve used Qobuz tech support only twice in the three months or so I’ve been a member, but each time they responded promptly and it was clear they read my questions carefully and had good answers.

I ended up quitting TIDAL, but I’m happy it still exists. The more choices in hi-res subscription services, the better for consumers.

Hi,

I've signed up just to reply to these messages. I often take WhatHiFi's reviews as Gospel, but in this case I have to agree with the both of you on this.

I Stream from several Android devices into an AudioQuest Dragonfly red, either straight into IEMs or into a basic Cambridge Audio amplifier paired with some B&W DM601 MK1 speakers or some Sennheiser HD650 cans (Yes I'm double amping)

Tidal was my first "Hi-Res" Streaming service. I used it for quite some time. I thought it sounded pretty good to be honest, though the point of Lossy MQA is lost on me and ended up opting not to play the Masters, even though my DAC did the unfolding.

Then I signed up for the trial of Amazon HD and eventually switched at the end of the 90 day period because after a lot of Back to Back comparisons, I thought it sounded more dynamic than Tidal.

Then, I learned that Qobuz had dropped their subs to £15 GBP and now I've been using them exclusively for a while. Though I haven't had the chance to B2B the service with Tidal, I did manage to do so with the Amazon HD service and found no discernible difference for the music I've been listening to, which is quite eclectic.

I am an audiophile wannabe and NOT an Audiophile in reality, but I'm really enjoying the service. I think it sounds great and is a good price. There are a few omissions in the catalogue for sure, but in general I am extremely pleased and don't hear anything particularly detrimental with the entry level equipment I am using.

Currently I cast from Tablet to Nvidia Shield with Dragonfly red using either the amp and speakers or the amp and HD 650's OR straight from my phone (Via USB Audio Player pro) or laptop to the DAC using the Fiio FH5 IEMS . In all cases it sounds punchy, bright and full. Perhaps being wrong is the new right?!

My main issues with Qobuz are:

- No dedicated Android TV app
- Sometimes missing content I want to listen to
- Apps are a bit clunky, particularly the Windows 10 one

My main issues with Hi Res streaming platforms in general:

None of them offer the full platform experience (App offerings, functionality and algorithms) that is offered by Spotify.

I'd like to close out by echoing several other posts in this thread. Please don't let the article steer you away. There's a free trial; you can make up your own mind
 
Last edited:

Danarama

Member
Jun 23, 2020
2
0
20
I'm also a bit confused at the overall conclusion of the article, like this quote for example, "Its CD-quality streams, meanwhile, are greater sticklers for detail than Tidal’s, although such discrepancies are hardly discernible when we listen through budget headphones plugged straight into a laptop."
It's a confusing statement for sure. Who pays for Hi Res streaming services and then uses Budget headphones connected to a generic laptop sound card DAC?
 

squall1

Member
Jul 10, 2020
2
0
20
I saw this article referenced someplace else and really couldn't believe it so I came over to read it. For my system I run a CXN V2 Series 2 to a CXA81 out to a pair of Usher Audio Mini Dancer 2's.

I have both Tidal and Qobuz and rarely do I find the base CD quality tracks on Tidal better than the same on Qobuz. I've been doing a lot of a/b comparisons with my wife and for most tracks, Qobuz wins. This doesn't even factor the higher resolution files as the CXN won't deal with it the Tidal Masters which is a shame, but honestly the hi res Quboz is so good I doubt there's much reason to worry about it.

Like the others here, I encourage others to give both a try and see which works better for you. I would guess that you will be scratching your head trying to understand some of the conclusions of this "review". I've been very happy with the quality of Qobuz tracks.
 

djh1697

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2008
49
3
18,545
This is an interesting thread! I think a lot depends on the telephony system, your local street cables, and of course your home network system.

I use Roon, which integrates your personal collection, Tidal, and Qobuz seamlessly. If you have, of course, a valid subscription to the music services.

My USB MARCH DAC is connected to my Intel NUC Windows 10 Roon Rock, I had to use Windows 10 because the Roon Rock Linux does not appear to support some USB DAC's. My DAC will handle DSD256, the difference between the sources is obvious, however, I am gobsmacked that my ripped CD's sound so amazing when converted to DSD256.

WHF should do a review comparing different digital music standards, Roon does the first unfold of MQA, but DSD sounds better in my humble opinion? How about finding a DAC that supports all types of digital encoding and doing a review comparing.?

I have done some comparisons, in order of preference
1. My turntable is tops! Pink Triangle PT1, Rega RB300 (rewired by Audio Origami), Elys2 Cartridge. Set up by #PeterSwain of #Cymbiosis! Yes he can do more with his majikal hands than build LP12's all day!
2. Tidal FLAC 48/24 MQA192 (Roon conversation DSD256)
3. Qobuz FLAC 192/24 (Roon conversation DSD256)
4. CD Rip 44/16 (Roon conversation DSD256)

I have no CD player of any note to play the CD on,

I built my own Roon Rock server, I *might* consider selling some in the future, they can be hassles to fine the correct drivers for if you are using a USB DAC, that is why installed Windows 10 to help there.
 

Tommaso Cora

Member
Nov 8, 2020
1
0
20
I bring my experience if useful. I have a limited experience of Tidal and Qobuz (3 months of listening each, partially in comparison).

I have a mixed hifi system composed by:
- topping d90 mqa (bought brand new this year)
- audionote soro push pull (valve amplifier with 4 tubes 6L6G)
- acapella harlekin speakers (2 ways, closed box)

I bought the topping mqa version thinking at Tidal as a consistent option for the music i listen, but I was disappointed by the equalization of Tidal itself. "Hard" and "fatiguing" in listening for my personal taste. Beyond any technical dissertation I have to say that i found Qobuz listening "Softer" and "relaxing" indeed. Closer to my taste and easier to enjoy music, also when not focused ;-)

Unfortunately the Qobuz available catalogue is smaller, talking about what I know and look for, that's an omnivorous mix. Less known authors or niches outside jazz or classic are often hard to find.
 

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