What-HiFi Best music streaming services

Sound quality of Tidal compared to Qobuz

  • Tidal sound quality is better than that of Qobuz

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Qobuz sound quality is better than that of Tidal

    Votes: 6 100.0%

  • Total voters
    6
  • Poll closed .

JoostM

Active member
Dec 8, 2022
2
1
25
If you look at the What-HiFi Best music streaming services over the years you notice that Tidal is a consistent winner. In 2022 with one star more than Qobuz.
The main reason being:
The only other issue is that, while Qobuz claims to have more hi-res tracks than rivals, Tidal’s hi-res streams also sound marginally better for timing and dynamics.
Qobuz consistently missing in the awards made me try to do the comparison myself again. Of course I know that sound quality is very subjective and that this subjectivity is driven to a great extent by the kind of music you listen to, both at home and live. But based on my own experience the sound quality of Qobuz is at least as good as that of Tidal.
To be sure of my opinion I created a hi-res playlist with a diverse range of music to do the comparison again. For the comparison I used the Naim NDX2 streamer. You can do the comparison yourself by using the two playlists below:
https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/12472962
https://tidal.com/browse/playlist/8f17a855-56da-4373-87eb-9731bf2cf0a6
On the attached screen shot you can see the music on the playlist.
Overall my conclusion is that the differences are a lot smaller than between a good and a bad recording. So with both streaming services you can have a great time enjoying your hi-fi gear.
However I do feel there are differences, whereby my opinion is based on where do I feel closest to being in the studio with the musicians. Or put differently, when do I feel that there is the least interference between me and the instruments.
And for me the biggest difference, maybe not surprising, was with acoustical instruments.
For me Tidal gives me less depth and less air around the instruments than Qobuz. The biggest difference I heard was with the Prokofiev symphony. But there is also more air around the violin on Qobuz at the beginning of Beethoven, which makes it sound more natural. Also in 50 ways to leave your lover the drums and tambourine sound more natural to me in Qobuz and I also hear a certain harshness on Tidal later in the song (around 3 minutes).
Again the differences are small. But for me it confirmed my surprise that Qobuz has never been the award winner given that Qobuz sound at least as good as Tidal.
I am really looking forward to hear your opinion and experience.Tidal Qubuz hi-res comparison.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: Symples

Friesiansam

Well-known member
Feb 3, 2015
1,018
823
20,070
I only use Qobuz but, that is because the content is more inline with what I want and, I'm not going to replace my Pathos Converto or add a seperate DAC, just so I can unpack MQA files. I strongly suspect that if Tidal folds, MQA will disappear without trace.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
I’ve not yet listened to your playlists, but I will try to later. I’m a long term Qobuz user, but recently had a few glitches which I couldn’t pin on my ISP, so I signed up for a second time with Tidal. (I tried them before about four years ago, when Qobuz got costly) I’m still surprised Tidal doesn’t offer true HD, and I can’t unpack MQA on my Linn in any case. (A secondary point is I’m philosophically opposed to MQA as I think it’s a con)

I actually find Tidal better at labelling classical music. Too often, Qobuz lists just movement tempi in, say, a two symphony recording, without saying which symphony is which. Tidal seem to show both work and movement for each track - much more useful. But, like you, I thought Qobuz seemed a bit airier when I compared them.

I will stick with Qobuz I’m sure. I also know a Hifi dealer, and a distributor who told me they swapped their accounts to Qobuz from Tidal for SQ reasons. Why wouldn’t they when they want the best sound? But maybe if a had a MQA compatible DAC I might feel differently?
 
Last edited:

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
1,555
459
20,070
Not all the music on Tidal is available on MQA, the true lossless CD quality option i.e HiFi sounds pretty good to me, if you're not bothered with hires.
 

as286

Well-known member
May 12, 2011
6
2
18,525
Not all the music on Tidal is available on MQA, the true lossless CD quality option i.e HiFi sounds pretty good to me, if you're not bothered with hires.
I agree with your point that stuff not on MQA sounds better but I think the report above shows that even their HiFI is a degraded MQA.
 

busb

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2011
76
3
18,545
I still use Apple Music from a Mac Mini to a DAC. Well before Apple went full-res, I had a free trial of Tidal long before MQA hit the news. Apart from the laughable range of content back then, I found the SQ worse than from Apple Music - much to my surprise!
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
154
74
670
TIDAL MQA is NOT lossless and sounds worse than Qobuz, especially if you have the correct gear. On MQA issue see here: https://goldensound.audio/2021/11/29/tidal-hifi-is-not-lossless/#:~:text=MQA is not lossless.,Track streamed in compressed format.
Brilliant article. I considered a Tidal subscription, but I've changed my mind now. I thought the Tidal HIFI tier, would give me lossless CD quality at 1411kbps, but it appears these files are just the MQA files, minus the flags and metadata. Or am I missing something? This would be OK, IF the MQA files were lossless in the first place. It seems they are lossy after all. Shocking and disappointing. I'm using Spotify and it does sound average. I play the same music on CD, if I have it and the CD is just cleaner and has more clarity, detail and refinement. My Audiolab Omnia has all the chips and software, to fully decode and render MQA, but it probably won't get used now. I'm looking for a true lossless service, but I don't know if there really is one now. I don't know if I can trust them.
 

MrReaper182

Well-known member
Apr 6, 2014
166
22
18,595
I use to use Qobuz (before I stopped using streaming services for music all together because most artists were not getting very much money for having their music be on those platforms) and it by far sounded the best to me of all the music steaming services.
 

Symples

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2021
131
69
670
I picked up a 12 month subscription of Deezer for £5.99 a month.
16bit 44.1KHz (no hi-res) but great value for money :)
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
154
74
670
I picked up a 12 month subscription of Deezer for £5.99 a month.
16bit 44.1KHz (no hi-res) but great value for money :)
That sounds good, although I would regard CD quality as hi res. I know the industry has different ideas about this! I keep waiting for Spotify to release a HIFI tier, at CD quality, or better. It might be a long wait, but I do like their interface and the way they offer me tracks I might want to listen to. I often do, to be honest.
 

Friesiansam

Well-known member
Feb 3, 2015
1,018
823
20,070
That sounds good, although I would regard CD quality as hi res. I know the industry has different ideas about this! I keep waiting for Spotify to release a HIFI tier, at CD quality, or better. It might be a long wait, but I do like their interface and the way they offer me tracks I might want to listen to. I often do, to be honest.
We'll have run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible, before Spotify go hifi..
 
  • Like
Reactions: Al ears

twinkletoes

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2021
244
154
970
Brilliant article. I considered a Tidal subscription, but I've changed my mind now. I thought the Tidal HIFI tier, would give me lossless CD quality at 1411kbps, but it appears these files are just the MQA files, minus the flags and metadata. Or am I missing something? This would be OK, IF the MQA files were lossless in the first place. It seems they are lossy after all. Shocking and disappointing. I'm using Spotify and it does sound average. I play the same music on CD, if I have it and the CD is just cleaner and has more clarity, detail and refinement. My Audiolab Omnia has all the chips and software, to fully decode and render MQA, but it probably won't get used now. I'm looking for a true lossless service, but I don't know if there really is one now. I don't know if I can trust them.
I find all of them have a "got ya" somewhere in the chain.... Apple you need a phone or tablet connected with USB to get the best and faff-free experience. Tidal needs specific hardware and software, can't be bothered with that. Qobuz is not really supported, so have to use a computer with USB to get a full-fat experience unless your are using roon which is another subscription ore you have specific streamer with integration through softwear. And spotify has the best functionality but i want cd quality play back in 2023 and there charging 9.99 for 320kbs, Just no.

basically, its a mess and you have to pic an evil.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
154
74
670
I find all of them have a "got ya" somewhere in the chain.... Apple you need a phone or tablet connected with USB to get the best and faff-free experience. Tidal needs specific hardware and software, can't be bothered with that. Qobuz is not really supported, so have to use a computer with USB to get a full-fat experience unless your are using roon which is another subscription ore you have specific streamer with integration through softwear. And spotify has the best functionality but i want cd quality play back in 2023 and there charging 9.99 for 320kbs, Just no.

basically, its a mess and you have to pic an evil.
Exactly! There are 2 things I want to see this year, a Spotify HIFI deal and lossless bluetooth, either from Qualcomm, or Oppo. I love Spotify, it just needs better quality files. I pay £9.99 and do listen for hours, every day, so I don't resent it. I would pay £19.99 IF I could get genuine CD quality. Crossing fingers!
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
880
567
19,770
Does all your equipment support above HD, as a lot just convert the Hi-Def down to HD.? (If your playback equipment says 16/44 then it is just HD (CD Quality).

Re-mastered means it will not sound the same as the original, but better or worse.

Bill
 
  • Like
Reactions: WayneKerr

SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
683
98
18,970
TIDAL MQA is NOT lossless and sounds worse than Qobuz, especially if you have the correct gear. On MQA issue see here: https://goldensound.audio/2021/11/29/tidal-hifi-is-not-lossless/#:~:text=MQA is not lossless.,Track streamed in compressed format.
Just to balance this out, as when I first read this some time ago, I too was of the view that it totally endorsed by cynicism of MQA. There's a lengthy thread on ASR that shows that goldensounds results are flawed. Doesn't change my opinion of MQA though, I also feel it's a bit of a con, but not completely sure as I don't fully understand the technology.

Exactly! There are 2 things I want to see this year, a Spotify HIFI deal and lossless bluetooth, either from Qualcomm, or Oppo. I love Spotify, it just needs better quality files. I pay £9.99 and do listen for hours, every day, so I don't resent it. I would pay £19.99 IF I could get genuine CD quality. Crossing fingers!
I'd recommend searching for the spotify premium v CDA blind test online. You'll be in a very small minority if you can reliably distinguish between them. There's an even longer ABX test that might potentially save you a lot of angst and cash. 16bit vs 24 bit is probably where the biggest gains are to be had, though personally I'm subscribing the best value, so lowest price with biggest catalogue that are Roon compatible.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts