They told me I wasn't going to be a beta tester and I have to wait with everyone else.
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.