Qobuz

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geofos63

Member
Dec 28, 2020
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I really like the sound quality of Qobuz over Tidal, but I can't deal with the buggy PC app. In my library, I arbitrarily get double entries of albums, it's prone to freezing at times, etc. I'd be a huge fan of the service if not for that issue.
 

Fatburger

Member
Feb 7, 2021
5
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One HUGE difference is that there's no way to stream Tidal to my Marantz AV8805 in high res without some intermediate piece of equipment. Airplay 2 cuts off at CD quality. I can stream Qobuz at full resolution using a downloadable UPnP server on my Mac laptop and then use the Linn Kazoo client on my iPad (or the Mac - I do see some pause between tracks if I run Kazoo and server on the Mac which makes sense. I see no pause running Kazoo on the iPad. The Kazoo seems quite good enough for me. I looked into Roon and that's an outrageous price for what it does. Full directions for doing what I'm doing are here . I don't hear any significant difference between Tidal and Qobuz, by the way. I'm not always entirely sure that I hear the difference between high rez and CD quality. I hear much more difference with DSD, but I don't know of anybody streaming that. Let me know if you do.
 
Nov 3, 2015
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10,520
I ran Qobuz and Tidal subscriptions simultaneously for almost 6 months, now I'm with Qobuz solely. Tried Amazon HD too, but it's lack of Roon integration was a deal-breaker for me in the end. Never liked the Tidal Master format, Qobuz files always sounded better. MQA is not "Master Quality" at all - it's a proprietary, DRM, perceptual "lossy" format. A solution to a non-existent problem and a way for big businesses to get rich at the expense of the artist and consumer.
 
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flouncer

Well-known member
Mar 6, 2020
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I still hop between them all, but I find navigating Amazon HD a little frustrating, Tidal seems to suffer from rap pollution, and Quobuz with its keep it simple approach the most usable and suitable for me.

Pity Amazon HD wasnt available on usb pro, or other similar apps, OSs.
 

kdbur

Well-known member
Dec 7, 2015
26
4
10,545
I used Qobuz for a few years and love the sound and the layout of the app but being a techno lover, there were too many gaps to stay on, after Amazon HD became available.
 

kdbur

Well-known member
Dec 7, 2015
26
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10,545
I still hop between them all, but I find navigating Amazon HD a little frustrating, Tidal seems to suffer from rap pollution, and Quobuz with its keep it simple approach the most usable and suitable for me.

Pity Amazon HD wasnt available on usb pro, or other similar apps, OSs.
Yep, I agree with all your points but the genre's of what I listen to most, made me forgo the benefits of qobuz, in the end.............. and am kinda reasonable happy with Amazon HD.
 

James Robinson

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2020
9
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1,525
I have taken out a trial Tidal subscription a number of times (after each time What Hifi gives it a 5*review) - every time I have cancelled and uninstalled the application after a day or so. I mainly listen to classical music, and Tidal's classical offering (last time I signed up) was very limited in scope and search results were frustrating.

Qobuz, by contrast, presents both classical and pop music in a clear way - perhaps generally Qobuz favours albums over "tracks", which suits the way I listen (and anybody who wants to listen to classical). New releases are easy to browse on Qobuz, distinguished (fairly successfully) by genre. I have never had any complaints about the sound, and its HiRes subscription seems excellent value to me.

To my mind Qobuz is the streaming service of choice for those who want to listen to classical or (from what others say) jazz. Perhaps Tidal may be better for pop music, but What Hifi's reviews should make this distinction very clear.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
To my mind Qobuz is the streaming service of choice for those who want to listen to classical or (from what others say) jazz. Perhaps Tidal may be better for pop music, but What Hifi's reviews should make this distinction very clear.
I’d definitely second this. I tried Tidal for the second time a few months ago, and it was ok, but it was relief to return to Qobuz. I mainly listen to Classical, with some jazz and pop/rock. Furthermore the annual £149.99 for high resolution seems great value to me.
 

petergabriel

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2019
45
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www.petergabriel.dk
And once again a review states that one service sounds better than another. Makes no sense, as they are both using Flac, so how come one supposedly sounds better than the other? Most streamers will cache the flac files before they are played, so can't have anything to do with how the file is delivered. And how sure are WH that they are listening to the exact same masters? Has anyone compared the size of each platforms flacs, to see if the better sounding ones are less compressed, putting less strain on the player when unpacking?
 
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Henri

Well-known member
Jun 24, 2020
8
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525
In Australia Tidal has been around for a while, Qobuz less than a month at time of writing this. I had been using Deezer at CD quality for quite a while and was happy enough at the time but thought I'd try Tidal because of all the up talk around it (note: Amazon HD is NOT yet available to Australian subscribers).
My system was then comprised of an Emotiva XSP -1 Gen 2 preamp, out to 2 x Emotiva XPA 100 monoblocks (via laptop into NAD DAC) and then to a pair of GoldenEar Triton Ones.
So, I tried a 3 month free trial of Tidal - at the end = no thanks. Insipid , grainy bass at times, music without a sense of envolvement. Sure, can be detailed and articulate (MQA of no interest to me - tried the 1st unfold via my Dragonfly Cobalt but, yea - na). Even via my Android phone bluetoothed to my car amp I consistantly found Tidal last behinf Deezer (even humble ol' Spotify at times) - there was just magic 'something' lacking all around.
Two months ago I sold the Emotiva gear and dropped in a new NAD M33 to simplify my room and life. Streaming all happening now via the BlueOS app - fantastic! When Qobuz was dropped on the Aussie scene last month I immediately signed for a 1 month trial - have about a week to go at time of writing.
Pros:
- Amazing sound quality - clean, detailed with bass heft and impact (of course all dependent on source material as always). I listen to Jazz, Blues, Ambient, trance, other odd/weird electronic music and abstracted sounds, plus some classic rock in small doses when I feel nostalgic.
- Great layout on Windows app, Android app - I find them very easy to use and navigate (your mileage may vary here)BlueOS does it's own thing and could be better here but I digress...
- Listing of bit rate is a big plus, as is the ability to view and change DAC source with WASAPI coverage etc
- PDF Booklets plus commentary (when available)
- Reasonable price for a yearly sub which i intend to do next week
- Qobuz does NOT nag me with Hip Hop and Rap screens and/or similar recommendations at all which Tidal ALWAYS did, regardless of my listening history.
- Multiple versions of an album are NOT a problem in my personal view. These 'multies' seem to be extended or special anniversary issues. Granted, I think Qobuz could label these with a bit more obviousness in the thumbnail view but nice to see them there anyway.
Cons:
- Catalogue is limited. In Australia this 'may' be a regional licensing issue, and, as a new service I will have to see how it pans out as it can take time for companies to make all their agreements. I intend to keep Deezer as well because of this issue as they fill in all the gaps here. I've long dropped Spotify.
- As others have said, even over 3 weeks I've noticed items disappear and then reappear...what is THAT about?...
Conclusion:
My take on all this is that it (your experience of the final SQ seems to be very dependent on: your system, your region, your musical tastes and personal prefs for app navigation etc.
Regarding the above post questioning how FLAC files can sound different on different services, well, others elsewhere online have suggested that each streaming company somehow injects a 'house' sound in there catalogues- intentionally or unintentionally. Perhaps due to unavoidable differences in their electronics/servers/wires/ancillary equipment (audiophiles tell you this all the time with home gear - why not the same with Tidal or Qubuz central?) Also, we don't know if they are all using the same FLAC files anyway, nor do we really know if any form of remastering/adjusting or whatever is going on (2nd poster mentioning French library files...hmmmmm).

I'm very happy to stick with Qubuz and Deezer for quite a few months an see where it all goes, but Tidal is not getting my money ever again.
 
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Natan90NL

Well-known member
Nov 2, 2021
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I know Sonos isn’t considered hifi, but after hearing Qobuz 24bit 48khz lossless on Sonos 5.1 arc ones sub set, damm that’s a big difference compared to Apple Music and Tidal. With true play and “neutral eq” it sounds really good.

Only the catalogue seems to fall short but the music “styles” like recommended, most streamed etc are also nice on Qobuz.
 

mickylane

Active member
Jan 31, 2022
1
1
25
I have spent so much time testing and comparing the sound quality on Tidal and Qobuz recently and I’ve come to the conclusion that it really does come down to personal preference-I am not sure if it is correct to say categorically that “X is better than Y” as there are so many factors at play such as what equipment you are using, what genre you listen to, and ultimately what sounds good to your ears is a very personal thing which is different for everyone. So there is no right or wrong here, just go with whatever sound you personally prefer with your particular equipment.
For me personally I was initially obsessed with the amazing clarity and detail of the Qobuz sound, with every layer of sound being so perfectly clean crisp and clear, with lush timbres, especially on the mids and highs. So I had Qobuz as my front runner initially.
However, I have now come to the conclusion that for me with my equipment I much prefer the sound of Tidal.
I think one of the main reasons is that Tidal compliments my particular headphones better than Qobuz. As I am using Sennheiser HD800 headphones with Sennheiser HDVD 800 DAC/amp, these headphones already give a very detailed “clinical” sound at the expense of some warmth, bass, and cohesiveness of the music as a whole. So with the Qobuz sound also being similarly very clinical I find it just that little bit too clinical: it’s quite flat, “dull”, too trebly and “middy”, lacking bass, depth, “punch” and cohesiveness overall, which makes the listening experience not as enjoyable for me.
Tidal is more enjoyable for my ears as it sounds more full-bodied, cohesive, richer, well-balanced between lows mids and highs, with more warmth, depth, soul, life and “oomph” (for want of a better word!), whilst still providing a sufficient level of detail and clarity across the different layers of sound.
Even though I find the clarity, detail, and timbre of the mids and trebles superior on Qobuz (perhaps this is what makes it so popular with listeners of classical music in particular?) for me this does not lead to a favourable overall sound when considering the music as a whole. Tidal’s overall sound is “greater than the sum of it’s parts” for me, if you get what I mean.
But again, each to their own- I can completely understand why many people would prefer the Qobuz sound to Tidal, and vice versa. Our ears are all different. And again, that sound will vary depending on what headphones or speakers each individual is using: I am sure that if I tried out various different speakers and headphones / setups I may find Qobuz better in some cases.
 
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Titntin64

Member
Mar 31, 2022
2
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.

I agree whole heartedly!
Like almost everyone I've spoken to on hi fi user groups, Roon forums etc, I find Qobuz to be the best quality streams by far. I did use Tidal for a while, but there's no comparison, standard CD's sound much more like the original than the same tidal version. You need to match releases of course, as a decent mastering can make all the difference, but where I can compare the original CD with streams on Qobuz and Tidal, Qobuz is demonstrably better and almost indistinguishable from my own CD, where I find Tidal is not the same and sounds worse.

Unlike the article, I would contend this also applies to the high res tracks where I find a proper flak file which is a bit copy perfect of the source, is miles better than MQA that 'went through the magic box to make it better'. Its difficult to ensure you are always comparing the same master, but trying new releases after a new remaster can often get you comparable tracks
I'm not saying I have not heard good recording from MQA, I have. But when you find two copies of the same master - the original unaltered 24 bit flac file has always sounded better than the MQA format. Not going to open this huge can of worms here, but MQA is lossy and you can hear it.

After a year of keeping both services, I ditched Tidal as I never used it due to poorer sound quality and only played from there if the title were not available on Qobuz, which doesn't happen to me very often. Your millage may vary if like modern rap hip hop etc, as Tidal is very much geared to that output and I don't consume it at all.

Overall, if sound quality is your concern, I would highly recommend you at least audition Qobuz.
I've been a hi-fi man for nearly 50 years now, and a trained audio engineer who helped in the construction and setting up of several London recording studios. Sound is all that important to me and I have no brand loyalties or axes to grind.
If you are reading this and have not tried Qobuz, I'd urge you to do so if the best reproduction of music is important to you. Happy listening!!
 

Henri

Well-known member
Jun 24, 2020
8
3
525
I agree whole heartedly!

Overall, if sound quality is your concern, I would highly recommend you at least audition Qobuz.
I've been a hi-fi man for nearly 50 years now, and a trained audio engineer who helped in the construction and setting up of several London recording studios. Sound is all that important to me and I have no brand loyalties or axes to grind.
If you are reading this and have not tried Qobuz, I'd urge you to do so if the best reproduction of music is important to you. Happy listening!!

Thanks T64 - I appreciate your perspective.

UPDATE from my last input almost 1 year ago:

After living with Qobuz (and still Deezer) for the last year I have not changed my mind - Tidal's sound is of lesser quality in, 'my' system - your mileage may vary. Again, system is NAD M33 out to GoldenEar Triton Ones. All control done through the bluOs app on Samsung tablet.
As a last test I again ran Tidal as a trial (new email address) for one more time and did many comparisons of many styles of music. Limits are of course:
(1) A slight delay in switching over using the BluOs app but it's pretty minimal and can't be helped
(2) I can never be sure that I'm listening to the same master or version...

However, after many files and styles, running Qobuz I consistently heard better separation, clearer highs, tighter bass and more detail.
Tidal while nice, always sounded slightly more 'dull', less expansive or engaging, while it's bass was often a bit too 'pushed' forward.
Same results with headphones, although sometimes Tidal had more weight and attack 'punch'. My cans are not audiophile grade as I do not do critical listening on headphones, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Pros for Tidal = great 'Tidal Connect' feature which is just so easy to use through the BluOs app. I do wish Qobuz would build something just as good. Have mentioned it but they say it's way down the track...

Cons on Qobuz = in this regard is that with BluOs I have to use their app 'within' BluOs itself (Deezer is like this also). This can sometimes lead to slow loading and seeking, plus the app layout is a bit limited in terms of easy search for your Favorites. BluOs is a bit of a closed ecosystem but I now accept that and just hope for improvements over the years.

BTW - Amazon HD arrived in Australia after my last post and, after a trial (in fact before it ended) I just laughed and deleted it. Sound quality was on a par with Deezer but the app, either Android or Win desktop was terrible, with a limited jazz and electronic catalogue that made Qobuz's look like a veritable galactic library. As for Spotify Hi Fi - I'm still laughing...

Having said all this, I have to say that the vast majority of my listening is from my own ripped FLAC library of many thousands of tracks from ripped CDs or downloads from over the decades. Streaming is secondary to my listening but very important for finding and evaluating before purchasing my own copies.
 

Praefectus

Member
Jun 23, 2022
2
0
20
In the last 5 months I have tested Deezer, Amazon HD, Apple, Tidal, Spotify and Qobuz.

  1. Tidal and every song which have "Master" label is no longer lossless. Even with HiFi trier. MQA is lossy and if you choose to stream CD Quality they will serve you FOLDED MQA coded music anyways. Lossless are tracks without their "Master" label. I don't buy the MQA crap. Author said that Tidal sounds better than Qobuz. It is because his ears has been lied by MQA company. MQA is 'tuned up' lossy codec.
  2. Deezer is CD Quality. It's fine when you change your sample late manually to 16bit 44,1 khz. That's all.
  3. Amazon's HD Wasapi in Exclusive mode is not working so there's no point of having HiRes if you can't use your DAC to listen with bit-perfect mode. You have to change the sample rate (manually) of your DAC every time you listen different song that have different sample rate.
  4. Apple Music, sounds good but their Windows App is a disaster. Outdated crap with very limited options, also their ALAC don't speak to me as it is no longer FLAC (OpenSource).
  5. Qobuz - Their golden standard is brilliant CD Quality and LOTS of HiRes music with very good support of Wasapi in Exclusive mode. So DAC is changing its sample rate every time song needs it. I have an impression that Qobuz sounds the best and most premium of all. Their customer support is also brilliant.
  6. Spotify - laughable ;))
 

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