These were my impressions of Qobuz vs Amazon HD as of Nov 2020:
Winner for me is Qobuz for the following reasons.
Amazon: Sounds more flat. Less drive than Qobuz so that some music sounds like it is plodding along. Sound is less full. Amazon HD doesn't necessarily do anything wrong (as does Tidal), but also clearly not as good as Qobuz to my ears.
Qobuz: Much more presence than Amazon HD. More 3-dimensional. Better pace and drive. Better low-frequency response & definition. More range to conveying the emotion in music: (i.e., calmer for calmer music & more drive & pace for more upbeat music)
I've been using Amazon Unlimited since July. I listen to albums in ultra hd and haven't heard any commercials.
Qobuz does sound better for the most part but Amazon sounds at least good and is cheap I subscribe to both to increase my selection of music.
i remember seeing the ad campaign for Amazon music but didn’t pay much attention to it. Do you pay a separate subscription price or is it rolled up in you Prime membership?
It's $7.99 if you have Prime but that said I can't remember ever seeing a bill for it.
It’s just being charged to your credit card through your subscription. Amazon sneaky fuckers.
So no one talks about Tidal anymore? I never liked it personally. I left it and when they asked me why online I said it was way too hip hop centric. I tried to sign up about a year later to check out the MQA and they would not let me on!! Lol.
I’ve been using Amazon Music HD for about 6 months and am happy with it.
Amazon offers a three month free test drive. If you Don like it, cancel and you’re not out anything.
All the best.
I've had Amazon HD since it's inception. I felt it was a step up sound wise from Spotify. The family plan is about $200 annually.
I tried Qobuz for almost a year and to my ears it was an improved sound presentation the imaging was much better but the selection was really lacking compared to AmazonHD Qobuz would have some of an artist but seemed not to have my favorites. They have a way to request an album be added but not once did any my requests be filled.
It was finally too frustrating to continue and the improved sound quality wasn't worth having both. The Qobuz app is also buggy and poorly designed. (no scroll bars on the saved library... come on).
I usually use my local storage for the music I listen to and use Amazon to explore new stuff. I really wanted to like Qobuz but except for the sound difference Amazon is a much better product.
I use streaming primarily for auditioning recordings. If I really like it I then buy a download or a CD. I use an Android phone but my wife has an iPhone. She had a free Apple Music subscription and started to make playlists, etc and then the subscription vanished and she was upset. I tried to interest her in Qobuz but it was a leap too far for her. So I canceled my Qobuz and we have anApple Music subscription for $10 less a month than my single Qobuz. Qobuz did sound a tick better but Apple sounds better than Spotify, for example, and so far it’s fine. Interesting, Apple Music works much better on my Android phone than Qobuz did , so I actually listen to it more while driving than I did with Qobuz.
I did the free Amazon trial and it sound’s fine as well. I could have lived with it if my wife had wanted to go that direction
I've tried both. I prefer Qobuz because the songs each provide information (limited) about who is on each track. I also like the recommendations from Qobuz, especially for classical and jazz. Amazon already gets enough of my money.
It's hard to find the most recent stats on Qobuz, but I believe they pay more per stream to artists than Amazon.
Amazon (on Windows, anyway)
- Works only through default sound drivers
- Hard or impossible to get through a Roon or DLNA system
- Very large catalog
- Low cost
- Works through ASIO or WASAPI Exclusive sound drivers, which gives best sound
- Networks easily with Roon or other systems
- Smaller catalog than Amazon
- Slightly higher cost
I did not make sound comparisons. Qobuz won for me because of its ability to integrate with my main (networked) audio system, currently using Roon, previously using DLNA. It also was a winner by independently controlling the sound drivers used, to avoid meddling by Windows or other OS in my desktop (USB-connected) system.
I found Amazon HD an exercise in frustration to get working at reliable highest resolutions or to integrate with my system. Perhaps that has changed in the several years since I tried it?
The difference is Amazon plays on very few Hifi devices.
If you are happy with your computer or Bluesound you might never hear any difference.
When I acquired the ability to stream music I got trial subscriptions to both Tidal and Qobuz. Qobuz won the face-off and I still enjoy it immensely. It didn’t matter that for a time I also had MQA capability.
As a classical nut, I also truly appreciate Idagio. I must say, too, that the sound quality I get from the CD quality Idagio is often just as good if not better than Qobuz’ hi-def offerings.
I pay $16 a month for a Family Unlimited Music plan. I got four months free and I can use on multiple devices at the same time. I built a dedicated PC last summer for streaming and gaming. I use a Sound Blaster AE-7 sound card analogue out to my pre amp for stereo in my main system. I also listen on my android with a Hip Dac. I realize both my DACs are under $200 (with headphone amp) so I am sure others will have better SQ. But Amazon HD and Ultra HD sounds more than good enough for me.
@edcyn Thanks for the reference to Idagio. Weird spelling! I thought it would be "Adagio."
hilde45 -- Yeah, I guess they had to come up with something that was unused and sounded vaguely classical. In any case, I may have mentioned this before here but Idagio seems to have about every classical recording ever released. From Karl Muck to Kaija Saariaho. It's the proverbial Aladdin's Cave.
The big question is what sounds better. Tidal Hi-Fi subscription or Qobuz. Someone demonstrated Qobuz in a blind test and I picked Qobuz every time. Problem is I am not willing to give up the Tidal format. I was sold on the idea of hooking up my Node 2i to my ARCAM via digital cable. The guy from the Cable Company told me the DAC inside my ARCAM was better than the DAC inside the node 2i. However, don't I give up being able to reproduce hi-res up to 24/192? I believe Qobuz does not need to fold the music files 7 times like Tidal. Perhaps as a result Qobuz is able to unfold faster and image better.
High Res and MQA are two separate things. You can play 24/192 without it. I know that for sure on Amazon and I’m pretty sure it’s the same with Tidal and Qobuz.
The way I might parse this question is would you rather listen to music via Airplay or with ethernet hard wired into your streamer. For SQ airplay isn't as good as wired up or wified in. Many here are all about SQ.
The Qobuz (and Tidal) interfaces versers Amazon's is something to consider.
Finally Amazon doesn't play with Roon. So there's that. Amazon doesn't work with native Lumin software. AURALiC Lightning DS would also be another airplay kind of interface. For now that's it, I think.
Also with Qobuz I was also to import (with some losses) all of my years in the making playlists from iTunes.
Airplay 2 does 44/16 which is CD resolution so no problem there. The sound is CD quality. Also includes metadata including album art in case of streamers with a digital display.
SoniclyQobuz is the best, and has a bunch of hires stuff, not as many masters as I would like but that may be an option in the future .HQplayer is a excellent program
to take any well built audio computer to-the next level you need a dedicated SS drive and plenty of Ram ,but it has tons of flexibility and Roon already has it built into it your music sounds night and day better then anything out there ,with a streamer you-get a clean presentation , with HQplayer your music you decide exactly howto taylor it to your system, having atop sound card is key which truly lowers the noise floor and little green computer sells Sonore ,if you have the patience to learn the program over several weeks.
Tidal sounds great in my gear heap and that made Amazon (tried it briefly but...meh) seem unnecessary...A Node 2i into a Bifrost 2/64 DAC (the Node internal DAC doesn't sound nearly as good as either of my outboard DACs)...I don't see any reason to switch to Qobuz although I might try it just out of curiosity or peer pressure or to seem hip as it's important to at least "seem" hip.
However, don't I give up being able to reproduce hi-res up to 24/192? I believe Qobuz does not need to fold the music files 7 times like Tidal. Perhaps as a result Qobuz is able to unfold faster and image better.
Tidal encodes hi-res into MQA format, which is a lossy compression method. When unfolded back to hi-res, the data is not identical to the original. Qobuz delivers the original hi-res data lossless and unaltered.
fwiw, I was listening to the same recording (Klaus Tennstedt conducting the London Philharmonic in Mahler Resurrection Symphony from the LPO house label) played both on AirPlay and Chromecast yesterday. Streamer is Cambridge Audio CXN 60, source was Apple Music. For some reason my Android phone wasn’t able to cast to the streamer, but my Android tablet was able to. I had to charge tablet up so while that was occurring I used an iPad, which apparently won’t do Chromecast afaik, so I used AirPlay to the CA while awaiting the charge on the Android tablet.
Chromecast easily beats AirPlay. The work starts arrestingly with violin tremolos followed by slashing double basses, which were much fuller with Chromecast and threadbare on AirPlay. The mid range was much fuller on Chromecast.. And while I don’t have a CD for this particular recording, in the past I’ve done comparisons with CD vs AirPlay and found AirPlay to be wanting in comparison, albeit a step up from Bluetooth .
I have had Amazon HD since it came out. I tried Quobuz and listened to songs with both and couldn't hear any difference.
3-D imaging, accuracy, etc. High quality sound. Other improvements are noticable way more than any music service.
Thanks everyone for the great feedback. Much appreciated.
I use a iPhone running mainly Plexamp app to stream from my personal library which is mostly full res ripped CDs . There are some mp3s in there as well that I acquired and those sound ok but yes thinner and less dynamic overall. I cast to Cambridge evo 150 via either google cast or airplay. Have done some quick compares and no big differences jumped at me but will give it some more attention and see. Fwiw it is airplay 2 that does cd resolution and my app indicates that is the case when playing either way.
the Evo can stream higher res than cd and I have found a couple internet radio stations that do that. Those generally also sound very good sometimes better sometimes not noticeably better than CD res…depends mostly on the source material playing more than merely the streaming resolution. In any case there are differences but nothing bad so it often becomes a matter of cutting hairs to decide which is best, so I tend to not care much, as long as the music is playing loud and clear.
I have Amazon HD for about 2 years now. Very happy with it. I just had to try Qobus though. I have a pretty good system, about 20k. What I noticed is Qobus does sound BETTER, tighter, more dynamic, just more clarity and oomph.
Amazon is much easier to navigate and use, their format is better, IMO.
Qobus has been a nightmare at times to use, not really user friendly.
I have noticed with either outboard DAC i own, that Amazon will generally register a song as HD but, doesn't always register exactly what the streaming rate is properly. With Qobus , my DAC's register exactly what the streaming rate is. Be that 16/44 24/192 24/96, etc. Amazons streaming wont do that, I don't know why. Some how I think Amazon is cheating somehow or somewhere? I am still keeping both for the time being. But, every time I listen, it is always Qobus I prefer. Just sounds better. I will say that Amazon sounds very good and is easier to navigate though! Robert TN Hope this helps someone.
@robshaw I stream both Qobuz and Amazon on an Auralic Aries Mini which displays sample rate in the app and both services show sample rate there.
Thanks for the response. I haven't listened to Amazon in a while, as I prefer Qobuz. In my main system, I use a Meitner DAC M1, which shows exactly the streaming rate. If I remember correctly, on the DAC, Amazon will show HI DEF, but it was always 24/192. When i use Qobuz, it will show exactly 16/24 24/48 24/96 24/192 depending in on the streaming rate of the song. I use a windows based computer to stream through my Meitner DAC hard wired via Ethernet cable. Don't know whether I explained myself well enough.
I've used AmazonHD and compared to Qobuz using a Bluesound Node 2i into a PS Audio DirectSream DAC Sr. (coaxial and optical) and there is no difference whatsover between the two services when played back BitPerfect..
I did a comparison video last year that anyone with Bluesound can try.
I'm actually in the same boat with the comparisons between the two services. I've had Amazon Music HD for awhile now and really enjoy it. However, when I purchased my new Bluesound Node (the newest version) last month, I was given a 60-day free trial of Qobuz. So, I'm in the early stages of doing A - B testing between the two.
If I had to choose RIGHT NOW, I'd probably go with Qobuz and pay the extra. However, on my junior league system -- it's not a slam dunk for Qobuz. Both services sound really good on my set up, however, I do give the edge to Qobuz.
I will try to report back later when the 60-days is up.
I compared the 2 pretty extensively and I believe quobuz sounds SLIGHTLY better. The bigger issue for me is Amazon music has no support on Roon and the support on BluOS isn’t great either. Quobuz is supported by more streamers and is more user friendly than Amazon music on the streaming apps I have used.
You said "I use a windows based computer to stream through my Meitner DAC hard wired via Ethernet cable."
Can you explain in more detail? I assume the ethernet cable goes from your router to your dac which contains a streamer. Can the ethernet cable somehow go directly from your computer to your dac?
Maybe I wasn't too clear. My Windows based computer is my streamer. USB from computer to DAC, and also Hardwired Ethernet connection from router to computer port. I have NO noise that is audible to me, I bring laptop to my listening area on table and use my mouse to select all my listening preferences via Amazon HD or Qobuz. Works and sounds GREAT. Hard for me to believe an actual streamer could sound better? Hope this was a little better stated.
I used this method until about a year and a half ago. I did find adding a separate dedicated streamer fed by ethernet via a switch and optical cable lowered the noise noticeably in my set up. I stream Qobuz via Mconnect, but have not found a way of streaming Amazon Music through the streamer yet.
Hard for me to believe an actual streamer could sound better
@robshaw Believe it — it’s a real thing. Your computer is very noisy, and although you won’t hear actual noise per se, the music quality suffers a lot, which you might not notice until you use a decent streamer. The difference is not small, and I’d strongly encourage you to at least demo a streamer in your system to see what you’re missing. I was skeptical too until I added a streamer, but there’s absolutely no going back. I control my music through Qobuz on my iPad or iPhone — easy peasy and no computer necessary. Just my $0.02 FWIW.
@robshaw Count me in as one more guy who consistently prefers the stream I get via my dedicated streamer/DAC over what I get from my Microsoft laptop. More color. More space. More dynamics. Less distortion. Cleaner, more beautiful sound. Of course, that doesn't mean I spurn stuff I have on my laptop's hard drive or on various SD Cards, etc After all, how else could I listen to the recordings me and my buddies did over the years?
to those trying to help, I really appreciate it. I have what I believe is a very nice system. However, as far as understanding Audio, etc. I am somewhat of a novice. I want to thank dbb, soix,and edcyn for their suggestions. Other than paying off previous audio purchases, you have my attention. Just a few novice questions, I currently use my laptop to stream qobuz, i pick a song on qobuz, and hit play. When over, I just pick another song, etc. If I were to get a streamer down the road, how does it hook up to my system,(from where to where) I have an outboard DAC that I love, so I would not look at a streamer that has a built in DAC. Second, Do I needs to have the computer hooked up any longer. Does the streamer down load my qobus account?? Would I just access my streamer via an app from my phone for qobuz? One of the posts mentioned that Amazon HD isn't supported by any service, other than the Blue sound node which I had and didn't care for at one time. Love the way qobuz sounds, but, their site is very poorly done compared to Amazon HD. Somewhat of a dilemma, when it comes to Amazon and streaming? Any help would be appreciated. So hard to imagine my system sounding better has me very intrigued. Robert TN For what it's worth, I just got a pair of FRITZ carbon 7SE bookshelf speakers for a secondary system, in a smaller room. These were chosen from a suggestion of another member a very short time ago. I can't thank the person enough, I wish I could member his name? They are GREAT, so impressed!!!! Thank you
@robshaw Goodonya for keeping an open mind on this, and you’ll be richly rewarded for any effort you make toward getting a separate streamer. BTW, totally agree with you on Qobuz, and I prefer the Amazon interface too but not at the expense of sound quality. Also, great choice on the Fritz speakers and not surprised you’re very impressed with them (maybe @erik_squires was the helpful member who recommended them?).
So, to answer your questions, I run Qobuz on my iPad/iPhone wirelessly through my iFi Zen Stream streamer. The Zen Stream doesn’t link directly to Qobuz (yet) so I spent $6 on an MConnectHD app that has an interface somewhat similar to the Qobuz site. The streamer can work over Wi-Fi, but it has issues with that so I’m going to use an Ethernet cable to get around that and will likely sound better as well. Since my router isn’t near my stereo I’m gonna use a TP-Link Wi-Fi extender (that plugs into an outlet) and run an Ethernet cable from that to my streamer. Then you just use whatever digital connection that works from the streamer to your DAC and you’re all set. Sorry for the long-winded reply but hope it helps.
Thanks so much. I don't want to spend a fortune on a streamer, but, you have me really curious now. Reason, If I don't keep Qobuz,(Love the sound, but terrible interface) the streamer will be wasted money, as no streamer really supports Amazon HD. except the node, which I don't want. Is there a streamer available that is plug and play, easy hook up, easy interface, and good to go right away. Yours sounds very difficult, I can see me putting my fist through the door while hooking it up. As I get older, very little patience. Thanks for all your help though. Much appreciated. Thank you Robert
After looking at a couple of videos about the zen streamer, it doesn't sound to bad to hook up. Sounds like what you said. I guessing that that app you spent $6 for enables the ifi streamer to accept Qobuz?? other than that USB to USB dac to streamer and use also Ethernet cable, for better connection. Your I phone in my case has to download and IFI app and the you would stream your qobuz app for song listings??? Pretty close?
I’ve used Amazon Music HD for the last year and recently signed up for Qobuz. I listen mainly through a Bluesound Node into a Schiit Bifrost 2/64 using the USB output. I have mostly enjoyed AMHD and find the service quite a bit better than Spotify in terms of sound quality. I cannot really compare AMHD to Qobuz on my main system, as I am having an issue with Qobuz. Disappointingly, through the Node, I find the sound quality from Qobuz inferior to AMHD, and Spotify for that matter. The volume gain from the Node using Qobuz is very low. Even with the volume turned up on my integrated amp, the music sounds flat with reduced dynamic range. Vocals seem a bit muted, and the bass response is lacking. I have tried every iteration of settings in BluOs, including replay gain. As well, I tried the coax and optical outputs from the Node into the DAC – same issue. Airplay from the AMHD and Qobuz iOS apps offers the same result. I do find Qobuz marginally superior to AMHD through my PC based headphone setup.
Has anyone else experienced issues with the Node and Qobuz? Any input would be greatly appreciated.
@robshaw Heh heh. I hear ya and I have little patients for tech snafus myself. If you don’t like the Qobuz interface you ain’t gonna like MConnectHD any better, but I find it at least serviceable. At $399 the ZS provides a lot of sound quality for the price, and if you go hard wired as I mentioned you shouldn’t have any problem. But, there are other options out there that may work great for you. Again, best of luck.
Your I phone in my case has to download and IFI app and the you would stream your qobuz app for song listings??? Pretty close?
@robshaw I guess you could do it that way, but I just went to the iFi website and enabled the connection there. Sorry, it’s been a while since I did it and my memory for these things is not so good. You would then run your music exclusively through the MConnectHD app. It worked well until I ran into Wi-Fi issues, which is why I’m going hard wired. I do really love the sound quality of the Zen Stream and it actually sounds better than spinning CDs, which is why I’m sticking with it despite their poor customer support and Wi-Fi issues.
To soix: Thank you so much for the updates. I looked at several video's about the IFI ZEN streamer. Geared to several, but, not really Qobuz, which I found strange. It seems as though the hardwired is the way to go. I may look into that soon, However, now looking to upgrade my second systems pre amp and amp, in that order. Since you enlightened me on the streamer, I'll add that to my list of things to think about. Much appreciated!!!
I have used Amazon HD through WiFi on a Bluesound Node 2i and an Auralic Aries G1 for a couple years now and have been completely satisfied with the sound quality and their vast catalog. I can't comment on Qobuz as I have not compared the two.
I occasionally stream through Airplay but find the sound to be improved streaming directly to the devises through WiFI using the devise apps and not the Amazon app. The Amazon app is fine and actually better than the Bluesound app but you are limited to Airplay. I believe Airplay is limited to 24/48 Res where through WiFi you get the full 24/192 resolution. Also, I find the Auralic Lightning DS app superior to the Bluesound app and it interfaces to Amazon HD perfectly.
I use Amazon HD via a Node 2i with a wired network connection. I recently got an outboard DAC which I think improved the quality. I've tried Qobuz several times when they had deals. The sound quality on both is excellent especially with well mastered hi-res recordings.
Now, I don't obsess over the sound quality because most of the time I use streaming is for background music and when I'm checking out new stuff. Most of my real listening is done on vinyl.
But, Qobuz drops out several times a day when I used it, only for a couple of seconds, but it's really annoying. In the 3+ years I've been using Amazon Unlimited, I've maybe had 2 dropouts in that entire time. That, and the lower cost of Amazon for me (we have Prime), and there hasn't been a real reason to switch.
I'll probably try Qobuz again, they have a month free deal going on now. Maybe they've improved the service since last time I tried it.