It seems they gave free passes at the NY Audio show, those guys have access to Quobuz.
I just got an email from Qobuz:
Among the questions on the form are "Products used", with things like Auralic, Sonos, Naim, etc. Sadly, LMS/Squeezebox wasn't on the list, though LMS does have a Qobuz plugin. I marked "Other" and put in Squeezebox Touch, assuming they wouldn't know what piCorePlayer is (I do still have a Touch, though.) I hope the Qobuz plugin will still work with Qobuz in the US.
We can't comment on Roon just yet, but we are all big fans of Roon here at Qobuz US. We hope to give you good news at some point :)
You are now a Qobuz Studio subscriber!
Unfortunately I canceled because I use Roon. Very disappointed
Keep in mind that while I do use the Qobuz desktop app to browse, I'm using the 3rd party Qobuz plugin for controlling playback on the LMS server (I'm pretty wedded to the LMS ecosystem). USB Transport in my big rig is a Raspberry Pi 3B. I did test a bit using a direct USB connection from my macbook to my Vega DAC.
Impressions so far:
Finally got into the Qobuz BETA program in the US.
Music streamer: Aurender N100H
DAC: Ayre QX5/20
Setup the Qobuz account online and then on the Aurender. Tidal was already setup on the aurender.
I spent the last several hours a/b comparing Tidal with Qobuz and my conclusion is that I will be switching to Qobuz and pay the extra $5 dollars for hi-res access. Every song that I compared, in all genres, in my opinion was noticeably better and in some cases significantly better on Qobuz compared to Tidal. Also, Qobuz Hi-Res songs sounded better than the equivalent MQA songs on Tidal. In regards to the sound quality, Qobuz wins hands down in my opinion. The sound is fuller and richer, with better bass. In terms of overall polish and stability, like searching for artist and suggesting playlists, Tidal is still better in certain aspects than Qobuz (Note: I wasn’t using the Qobuz app so it could have been the Aurender Conductor app not being stable for the Qobuz service causing these issues).
I also tried a/b comparing Tidal and Qobuz streaming directly to the Ayre QX5/20 via ethernet and the results were the same.
Qobuz is still a bit buggy (good thing they are still in beta), for example I noticed that some albums will show up in search results but you can’t play them (probably due to licensing issues in the US). I’m sure they will work out the kinks. I haven’t extensively look through the Qobuz catalog just yet but, I think their Jazz and Classical selections seem better than Tidal.
Overall: I’m pleasantly surprise with the the sound quality and service. I thought that the sound quality was going to be similar to Tidal, but in my opinion, it’s way better. In a revealing audio system, you will definitely easily notice the difference.
nycjlee, when you wrote that when you tried streaming Tidal and Qobuz directly to the Ayre QX-5/20 via ethernet the results were the same did you mean the sound quality was the same or that the preference for Qobuz that you observed in the previous paragraph were the same?
I steam Tidal to a QX-5/20 via ethernet using Roon.
LMAO thanks mahler123 so I obviously let despair get the best of me! :p But there is a good outcome I read the comments above by you and gdnrbob2 and decided to email Quobuz CS. I got a response in under 24 hours they fixed my account and I am signed up as a beta user! Relative to experiences with Tidal CS this was first class service, now what should I listen to first!?
Yes, very good selection on classical and jazz.
Listening to Cal Tjader right now.
Also listened to the remaster Sgt. Pepper album and heard things I never knew were on that record.
And, make sure you set the output quality. I have it on the highest level and am not experiencing any streaming issues. So, I guess, I can drop Spotify (though I do like the Discover tab), Deezer was nothing but problems. Only Tidal remains besides Quobuz.
+1, I agree Spotify sound could be better, but most of Tidal is showing 44K output on my DAC, which is the same as Spotify.
FWIW, after 3 days, I think Quobuz is a keeper. Much better selection for Classical and Jazz than Tidal, and if I get the Supremo subscription, I get a discount on downloads.
Bob don't pay attention to the 44K with Tidal the difference is in the kbps reading. 44K is redbook CD standard the difference it Tidal is Flac and Spotify is MP3 with never get above 320kbps. And as far as Quobuz I am sticking with Hifi as I am 16/44.1 all the way no hi-rez for me. And so far enjoying both classical and jazz on Quobuz.
The issue with Qobuz is that it’s missing a lot of albums. Especially in the Alternative/ Indie / Folk / Americana/ Metal genres. Many smaller US labels are missing completely.
32 of my Tidal favorites (albums) are missing, plus many additional albums I browse from my favorites.
As much as I like to cancel Tidal, and keep Qobuz, I am afraid as it stands now, I will stay with Tidal. Cannot keep them both
I was offered a month's trial, installed the Qobuz 64 bit Windows app on my quad core I7/16 gig Dell machine, outputting to my DAC via USB. I also have the Tidal Windows app installed on the same machine. I have my audio system "hard wired" to my network, with Comcast service with about 200mb down.
I find the Qobuz app is a little flaky. Sometimes the cursor doesn't appear to select an item, like it's doing something in the background, consuming all the resources...though Windows doesn't show the processor or memory particularly busy. Not a consistent thing, more of an occasional nuisance. I do find their selection of classical to be better than Tidal. And, I do like their search function to be more rewarding.
When I compare music I'm familiar with, Tidal with MQA and regular CD quality, Qobuz either running regular CD or hi-res quality, more times than not Qobuz (to me) sounds a little more "distinct", not a huge difference by any means, but noticeable. Most of the 96/24 and 192/24 music from Qobuz is just awesome to my ears!
I'm not yet ready to commit to Qobuz, just had it for a few days, but so far I think it's a winner. I wouldn't give up Tidal for Qobuz.
If I decide to keep Qobuz, I'll set up Roon to stream both.
I've been on the US beta for a couple of weeks, listening through Roon into a PS Audio DSD.
Qobuz hi-res streaming provides the best sound quality I have ever experienced in my listening room, hands down. We're through the looking glass now. For $25 a month I have access to 170,000 albums in 24/96 and 24/192 quality.
I was a big fan of Tidal MQA over normal 16/44 material, and Qobuz hi-res sounds better. In comparison, MQA sounds a little recessed, a little crispy and brittle. Hi-res brings all the detail and all the body.
For my musical tastes, Qobuz is missing perhaps 10% of the titles I might enjoy in Tidal. But I could spend a lot of time exploring those 170,000 hi-res albums before I get around to missing what's not on Qobuz.
I agree with 'cymbop' in that Qobuz, which i have been beta testing for a week,is a better alternative to Tidal in a number of ways..The hi-rez sound is, in my opinion, as good or better than MQA. The availability of so many classical albums makes it a no brainer too. The complete 'Living Stereo' group of albums is there.The site is well structured and the playlists are superb..I will be staying with it after the 1 month is over..
"Who is using g [sic] Qobuz and how are you finding it?"
1. Qobuz > Tidal
a. audio quality: to my ear Qobuz "Studio" is better than Tidal hifi and Master: broader dynamic/frequency range, better definition, presence, air, blah blah quack quack ... fill in favorite insipid audiophile adjectives.
b. metadata: Qobuz seems to have broader and deeper collateral data on their catalog selections. Sadly the suck UX’s in web player and Mac native app make it hard to get to (see 3a.)
c. classical catalog - though after cursory look only Qobuz marginally better than Tidal.
2. Qobuz < Tidal
a. curation (playlists, "events" etc): Tidal sets a low bar and Qobuz manages to fall under it. See 3c.
3. Qobuz == Tidal
a. both Qobuz and Tidal native Mac apps are crappy. So is Spotify’s. Not quite a race to the bottom but close. Tidal seems to have copied Spotify’s UX - apparently what’s good enough for Sweden is good enough for Norway. Too bad Qobuz chose a "light" theme as background - at least France could learn from Sweden & Norway.
b. both Qobuz and Tidal seem to have hit-n-miss catalogs. Surprised to find certain off-path classical titles in Tidal’s catalog, as well as more recordings than Qobuz from Nikhil Banerjee (greatest 20th century sitar master you’ve never heard of).
c. both have stupid, what-are-they-thinking assemblies of ’multimedia’ (music, bio’s, AV media, reviews, commentary etc). These seem more the whims of self-indulgent editors and hipsters than anything of much value to subscribers. Producing and/or licensing and curating good content is expensive (hiring experts and licensing expert material). Neither Qobuz or Tidal seem to want to spend that money. On the other hand that might price them right out of business.
Ultimately audio quality wins the day for me - I’ll probly ditch Tidal after my Qobuz beta/free trial ends. French heritage also gives me some vague, grudging alliance to Qobuz. It won’t be without some PIA given the shortfalls noted above. C’est la vie.
After a few more days using Qobuz, the slightly-better-than-Tidal audio quality may not be enough to overcome the absolutely sh!tty search UX and catalog indexing. Even if Qobuz has the recordings I've painstakingly assembled in my Tidal library, if one can't find them they might as well not be there at all. Awful, and a real disappointment.
Also continuing to find holes in the Qobuz catalog compared to Tidal - in classical recordings, of all things.
@usery, As a Qobuz beta tester, please report all your comments and suggestions to Qobuz. Thanks.
Everyone needs to report their finding to Qobuz.
I have already reported that my Aurender N10 needs an Qobuz API so they can sort my favorite albums into artist sequence. And, another API so my Aurender can create a tab so I can select 24/96 coded albums and 24/192 coded albums. Qobuz reports these are on the list but no time frames.
My Roon friends report they already can sort albums and have filters for hi-res selection.
After a month of using Qobuz, i signed up for yearly subscription at $249.00. To my ears, the Qobuz high resolution SQ easily trumps Tidal. In direct comparison between MQA 24/96kHz and Qobuz 24/96kHz files, Qobuz is superior in dynamics by a good margin.
I also liked the fact that with Qobuz I no longer need to pursue a MQA compatiable DAC.
Since i use Aurender conductor app, I experienced no issues with artist or albums search with Qobuz.