I was a Beta tester for both Tidal and Qobuz, so I have a little more time on each than most.
These are my findings and again, it's just my opinion.
CD quality streaming (16/44.1)...very slight edge to Tidal
HiRes/MQA...ABSOLUTELY NO difference. None. Nada.
Both services are excellent and I find they have pretty much the same catalog of music that I listen to. Again, "my" taste in music.
If you break down the monthly fees, (yes, I know that they both have longer subscription options, but I'm only comparing the monthly fee), Tidal is $19.95 and includes MQA. Qobuz is $24.99 for the HiRes service. Tidal seems to be, again, for me, the better value and that's what I decided on. I am no longer with Qobuz, but enjoyed listening to it.
I have been using Qobuz for several months and doing most of my listing using their hi-res albums (24-bit/96 and 24/192). The setup was very easy. I logged into Qobuz on my MAC Computer and created a Qobuz account. I signed out and entered the login info on my Aurender N10 Music Server and I was connected to Qobuz. The Aurender Conductor App interface is very easy to use and I was ready to start Qobuz Streaming in less then 2 minutes. Connecting to Qobuz was very easy on my Aurender. I assume connecting using other music servers is the same but I really do not know. I have not used the Qobuz computer interface other than for my initial signup.
Qobuz is new so I spent time searching their site for interesting albums. I have favorites on Tidal that, in some cases, are not on Qobuz. Substitute albums usually work. The question is should I keep Tidal? At this time, I probably will and see how it goes I prefer to maintain my favorite albums on Tidal.
Qobuz hi-res albums sound terrific. I wish their hi-res album section was better but I know they are adding new albums. The hi-res sound quality is excellent and much better than the non hi-res albums. Qobuz hi-res streaming is the reason why you should subscribe to Qobuz. IMHO, the hi-res sound quality is easily worth the price. In other words, Qobuz is recommended.
HG, i'm interested in Qobuz since I don't have a MQA dac, with no plans to buy one to access MQA on Tidal (I am a subscriber)
I’ve tried free subscriptions to Tidal, Deezer, and Qobuz. Tidal and Deezer have a deep rock catalogue. I was turned off by so much hip-hop being recommended by Tidal, plus they had a poor classical selection.
I upgraded my Qobuz to hires (Studio version) and the quality of the files are outstanding. I'll be staying with Qobuz hires.
Their rock catalogue is lacking, but the jazz and classical is very good. And I’ve noticed more titles being added.
On Bluesound Node the integration of Qobuz is identical to Tidal.
I've tried trial versions of Tidal, Deezer, Amazon Music and lastly Quobuz. I've decided that buying actual discs or downloading PCM and/or DSD is better for me than using a streaming service. Especially given that I'm mostly interested in audiophile reissues like MOFI, Analogue Productions, etc...which streaming services do not include in their libraries.
I admittedly like the idea of using a streaming service like Quobuz but personally don't find that the technology is where it needs to be (for me). I had several issues concerning instability and I noticed a difference in sound quality. For passive listening on something like a soundbar, it's fine.
Any streaming service (Tidal, QoBuz, etc) requires a fully operational network. This means your modem, router, cable signal being in range and all other related parts must be working correctly.
At the beginning, I had serious router issues and several Internet Service Provider (ISP) issues requiring several house calls to repair. My first router dropped packets and my 2nd router could not handle the streaming load. My third router, Luxul, is now working fine.
As was noted above, streaming issues concerning instability usually mean something is wrong with your network. My ISP Tech updated my in-house cables and corrected the wiring in my outside junction box.
Yes, I had similar instability issues caused by a corroded outside ISP junction box and issues with an ISP down stream amplifier. My cable signal strength also needed adjusting (this issue caused my instability issues).
Streaming requires these parts to be operating at full capacity. If you have instability issues, I suggest you investigate all the areas mentioned above. No, it is not easy and requires a cooperative ISP Tech to help identify and correct these issues. You should also confirm your modem can handle the streaming load. If it is old, you might need to replace it.
Once your network is correctly operating, you should be able to successfully stream these services. Unfortunately, I had all the above issues and it took me several weeks to get everything corrected. I am now streaming Tidal and Qobuz perfectly with no drop outs or related cable signal issues.
It is not easy getting all these parts working. You have to have patience and contact your ISP for assistance, when needed. I fully explained my streaming instability issues were impacting my listening to my music and the ISP Tech knew exactly what was needed. I suggest you start with your router first and then your cable company. As I stated above, every single part in the streaming chain needs to be confirmed it is working correctly.
Please contact me if you have any questions.
I recently had the cable technicians out to my house, one at the pole and one at the house due to weather issues. My router and modem were replaced. My download speed is around 250 mps with no latency issues. My Apple software is High Sierra.
The problems I had were in combination with using Audirvana Plus. I contacted Quobuz about those technical issues and I was told that it’s because the version of Quobuz that I was using was not licensed and that my problems would be passed on for further evaluation. But that doesn’t address the fact that my downloads sound better than what I heard while streaming. It’s not that Quobuz is bad overall, it’s just that it needs to improve before I’ll be willing to spend money for it.
I agree with the comments about being sure you have your network fully functional before concluding that a streaming service is buggy. A year or two ago I upgraded my router to a Netgear Nighthawk R7000 and I've never had as much as a hiccup. Tidal and Qobuz work equally as well for me with the only difference being their music catalogs - Tidal has more rock and Americana that I seek and Qobuz has more jazz. Unfortunately I've found I can't live w/o either catalog so I'm keeping both subscriptions for now.
Lowrider, I appreciate the comments about the "content" of the various streaming services you mentioned since I'm now completely into streaming when not serving my CD collection. Since my two favorite idioms are jazz and classical, I'll now certainly give Qobuz a try. I like Tidal but don't have a MQA dac and I do get turned off by the relentless promotion of a music genre I don't care for but that's Jay Z and what I expect.
Has anyone experienced tracks jumping from one to the other mid-stream? This has been a common experience for me as well as having to turn off my screen saver so that the stream isn't interrupted.
@goofyfoot , what streaming service are you using and what hardware?
I have experienced jumping tracks, but it only seems to happen when playing a selected stream and not an album.
There may be too much traffic on the 2.4gHz band.
I plan on buying a dual band router which can stream at 5gHz.
I'm streaming at 5gHz via ethernet not wifi. The problem occurred with Tidal and now Quobuz via the website player but with Amarra SQ. I've gone back to streaming France Musique and WDR 3 and they're free.
As for my high end stereo, I don't stream at all any more.
So 5gHz and ethernet, a good setup. I had this problem with Tidal and Deezer. Can you troubleshoot by using Tidal and Qobuz without Amarra?
I believe I have. The Amarra is touchy but once it's up and running, it rarely falters. Honestly, I've never had a problem while streaming from a radio station website iplayer but the signal is less than MP3 resolution.
@goofyfoot , right now I'm streaming on Deezer and tracks are skipping thru entire albums.
So, no idea what is going on. You and I have different setups and are both experiencing this problem.
I don't think I've experienced any skipping with Qobuz, only Tidal and Deezer.
Maybe I'll search Google.
I am a Qobuz subscriber. Love it. Great music selection and sound quality.
I GAVE UP ON QOBUZ!
I installed the Qobuz Windows app on a Windows10 Pro, quad core I7 machine with 16 gigs of memory. This machine is only used for my audio system, when running Qobuz (or Tidal) it's the only app I have running on the machine, with the screen saver turned "off". The PC is attached to my home network with an ethernet cable, and my Comcast service has about 185mb down, so from a connectivity perspective, I should be "good".
The whole time I used Qobuz (for about six weeks), I'd say only about 25% of the time did the app seem to work. Typically, the app would be doing who-knows-what, consuming more than 75% of the cpu, not offering a pointer to select anything. When I'd be able to select things, attempted to get a hi-res album to load, the play/pause control would be replaced with a spinning icon, most of the time never load the first track. Sometimes when it would load the first track, it would play for a while, then either stop, or skip to the next track.
I tried accessing Qobuz via their web client, and using Roon, same result.
So, last night, I reached my limit and cancelled the service.
To be fair, when I'm streaming from Tidal, very occasionally it'll be playing a track, then stop, with the icon spinning, but this is VERY rare.
So, I think I'll stick with Tidal.
@ejr1953 I had similar issues with the Windows app. I was part of the beta group and reported it and have been contacted by Qobuz. They are working on a revision to the app and have asked me to be a tester. No word yet on when it will be ready.
It may be something specific to your computer. It works with no issues on my laptop which is a less powerful machine than my desktop system, which is where I've experienced the issues you have. I have one DAC driver installed on the laptop, and have three installed on the desktop (MHDT Labs Orchid, Sony TA-ZH1ES, and Peachtree Nova 300). The Peachtree driver seems to be the one that has caused issues. The application works OK when that driver is not installed.
The app also works great on my tablet with Bluesound's BlueOS app.
First off, when I downloaded the desktop app it would freeze, I would have to go into my task manager to close it, never was able to play even one track. Then I just used the Web player which worked fine, but all the files played back at just 44.1/16, even when they were supposed to be high-res files! So then I loaded the App on my iPad, this time the music would skip as if it had to buffer more of the track to play, the thing is my internet service for download is 250mbps, way more than I should need and my Steamer (Cambridge AZURE 850N) is connected directly to my Gateway with a CAT7 cable, I have no issues streaming High Res TIDAL or Spotify, regardless of what device I am using. Lastly, I really do like Qobuz, the selection of music is more to my liking compared to TIDAL, but right now it's way to "buggy" for me. So for now I tip my hat to TIDAL and will revisit Qobuz maybe in another 6 months??
I slightly prefer the sound of Qobuz 24 bit PCM ("Native Quality Audio") to Tidal MQA. TBF, my DAC is not MQA'd, so I only get the first unfold with Roon. But why would I ever buy new hardware to play MQA files when I can play an original hi-res file not needing folding and unfolding?
For now, I am keeping Tidal because there are about 30 albums in my library on Tidal but not Qobuz. I could just buy those albums but that amount of money will also pay for about 2 years of Tidal. If Qobuz adds most of those albums I will cancel Tidal.
I've been using Qobuz for a few weeks, and I have found it much better than Tidal for classical and similar for Jazz. There are some annoying titles/labels that appear on one or not the other. Random example: Joey Alexander is on Tidal, but not Qobuz (are other Motema titles on Qobuz?). Qobuz does a better job of giving you lists and suggestions, at least for Classical and Jazz.
I'm probably overconfident in my ability to distinguish them, but I think I like hi-res over MQA. Certainly it gives you more streaming and equipment options.
I use BubbleUpnP as my control point, which integrates both services and my music server (Minimserver) and will even search them together, so you can find your piece wherever it lurks. Neither has J. Wagenaar's overture to Cyrano de Bergerac, which I'm going to hear tomorrow night at Geffen Hall, along with a couple of warhorses.
I compared Qobuz 24/192 against Tidal MQA with a few songs today. Obviously this is a tentative opinion. Qobuz has a higher streaming rate in terms of kps and sounds better.
Can anyone help/explain to me why when I'm playing the Qobuz application through my web browser, my Streamer reports 16/44.1 regardless of what high-res file I choose? Any and all high-res files I have tried do not report what they claim they should be?? When playing TIDAL through my Desktop App, anything that is a high-res file reports correctly. I am unable to use the Qobuz Desktop App because it is unresponsive and just freezes up.
grm, I had the same problem never seeing any hires songs even though I have Qobuz Studio.
I’m using a Bluesound Node 2i with my Android and asked for help. I was told the settings had to be changed to accept 24/96 or 24/192.
You can PM me if you think the same instructions will apply to your player.
Also, hires files cant be identified until the song/album is loaded into the player screen.
Another vote for Quboz here vs Tidal
In my system it really was easy to hear the difference in hires Quboz vs Tidal MQA.
As far as Quboz settings, if you load the mobile app you can go right in and tell it what the max allowed replay is , it is in 4 steps in fact.
I had to do this on my mobile app before it worked correctly and streamed 24/192, the default is I believe 16/44.
Is there a way to search the Quboz library prior to signing up for the service to see what music is available?
Bryston is supposedly adding Qoboz to the BDP-2. I was hoping to review the music prior to that availability.
I just tried to see if I can browse Quboz without signing in or taking a free trial and it does not look like you are able to.
But a 30 day free trial cannot hurt for sure.
Thanks for the help.
As soon as it is available on my Bryston BDP 2 I will sign up for a free trial.
Now what to do with the 6000+ cd's I have? (BTW, I have loaded them onto a 8TB hard drive) with the best resolution possible).
Likely the same as myself, box them up and place in attic to gather dust!
Apart from my SACD and a few "special" cds and new CD bargain buys that is where my collection resides.
I access all my ripped CD direct over my network for now using mConnect on my Ayre EX8.
I MAY give Roon a trial but so far having a hard time believing $120 a year can be worthwhile.
Ok. I have reversed my conclusion: MQA is better than Qobuz high resolution. MQA is richer. My wife picked MQA immediately in a blind test. We agree.
I am keeping both subscriptions.
I had the Qobuz Windows app installed on a powerful Dell machine, and found it only functioned about 20% of the time, when it did, I enjoyed its selection of classical music and though I think the sound quality of MQA from Tidal vs. hi-res from Qobuz was a "toss up", some masters sounded fuller in MQA, some sounded "clearer" in hi-res, the app was so frustrating I cancelled my Qobuz account.
I recently purchased a Roon Nucleus Plus server, got my Roon core moved from the Dell to it, and signed up for Qobuz using it to stream, all frustration with Qobuz is "history".
I still would say the sound quality of Tidal MQA vs. Qobuz hi-res is a "toss up", both sound awesome. I decided not to choose, subscribed to both services, now that my Nucleus streams without problems.
I'm enjoying Qobuz through my Vortexbox/LMS music server, routed through a Squeezebox Touch into a Bel Canto DAC. No problems with skipping, pausing or delays. Sound quality is excellent. I plan on sticking with the service
I am enjoying Qobuz as well and would like to share some search tips. You can filter your search by Hi-Res, new releases, and more. When you type your search, include the following hashtags in the search bar to filter your results,
- #HiRes to filter to only Hi-Res files
- #NewRelease to filter to only new releases from the past month (even if they were not featured on the discover page)
- #ComposerOnly to filter the query to composer only
- #Award to filter to releases with an award (Qobuz Award or Press Award)
- #MultiChannel to filter releases in 5.1 surround sound (we have about 300 albums available in 5.1)
I have Qobuz and Tidal and overall prefer the sonics of Qobuz. and likely slightly prefer my files to Qobuz. I listen to lots of hirez files (I have about 17 terabytes of files). Tidal is still pretty good but I can see dropping Tidal as a possibility. time will tell.
my dac is the MSB Select II, fed by the SGM Extreme server. my dac does do MQA, which I do like mostly on Tidal, but my files are consistently better than MQA, as is Qobuz.
I have a few enhancements to my network which have made positive differences in the overall performance.
I use an MSB product called the Pro USB, which lowers noise between my server and dac. it is a box the USB plugs into which converts it to fibre then plugs that fibre directly into a fibre SFP module on the MSB dac. the Pro USB is proprietary to the latest versions of MSB dacs which are modular so can accept the proper input module.
I use fibre SFP module plugged directly into my server and then 50 feet of fibre to my network to lower noise. this really lowers the noise of the streaming and files I play from my NAS on my network.
my server uses PCIe storage with the controllers directly into the CPU which allows for improved performance compared to local SATA SSD storage or my NAS; I am expanding those PCIe drives on my server from 2 tb to 32 tb and will transfer all my files to my server.