Tidal MQA vs Qobuz hi-res

My brief experience.. for posterity.

Comparing Tidal MQA to Qobuz hi-res, you -will- hear degredation/loss in the high frequencies (violins in an orchestra etc) on MQA... assuming you have reasonably resolving equipment. For me, that’s Macbook USB to a $150 Audio Engine D1 DAC going to a $600 used Parasound A23 going to used $600 Kef LS50’s, $100 Transparent speaker cables and cheap USB and RCA cables.

The Audio Engine is surprisingly good for it’s price BTW. Over the years, trying different DACs in audio stores when I had an opportunity, I feel like you’d need to spend close to $1,000 to get something significantly better.

The A23 and LS50’s are really good too for today’s used prices. New, they would’ve been $2,500 a few years go

I didn’t even know that MQA is a compressed file until I listened to it. When I tried MQA playback on Tidal, I thought there was a problem with my setup. I’ll probably try hard wiring Qobuz once I get my Bryston. 
When you get a good system you will hear a difference. Right now, you won’t hear any difference between cables either. I saw you got a new Hegel, that’s a start on building a decent system.
Not sure if your equipment is doing all the unfolds for MQA?  Personally I’m happy with Qobuz and won’t let MQA dictate what DAC I can buy.  Tidal can pound sand for all I care. 
How do you discover music on qobuz? I like spotify and tidal artist and track "radio stations". Basically "play more stuff like this". Looks like qobuz has curated playlists. Ie, there're "artist" playlists which is just a bunch of stuff from that one artist. Yet if you go to that artist's page, there is no link to his/her playlist

I haven't had a chance to play with Roon yet.
I have a Bryston BDP Pi being built and it is a Roon endpoint, so I may try Roon for the first time. The Pi is also Qobuz and Tidal ready. It uses the Raspbery Pi processor as does the bigger Bryston BDP 3, so I’ll have to determine whether or not I like streaming at all.
I’m not a proponent of MQA because it is a way for the music industry to further leverage musicians. That said, I’ve listened to many excellent Tidal MQA albums and some that aren’t anything great. Like any recording, the sound quality hinges on the quality of the recording equipment and the engineer behind it. If it is subpar, anything done later is simply polishing a turd. From there, it is a matter of the quality of everything that touches the signal path and how well they interact with every other element along the signal path from the source all the way to the speakers (not to mention the quality of power coming in from the wall or the space the system is placed). Not to mention how they sound to your ears. Everyone’s preferences are different in one way or another. In the end, all that matters is what brings you enjoyment.
parker65310, MQA is just a shell in the same way DSD is, with exception to files actually recorded in DSD. The problem with MQA is that it’s a compressed file.
goofyfoot, I have a Hegel H590 with streaming built in. At least -some- streaming. You can do Spotify connect, airplay, etc. But you can't hand off Tidal or Qobuz to it. For that, you need something streaming those services into one of it's digital inputs. It will unfold MQA over USB from Tidal. They're going to be rolling out an update soon (I heard 30 days?) that turns it into a Roon endpoint. I have high hopes for that.
bataras, not sure what your saying but I believe the Bryston software allows users to sign in to Qobuz or Tidal from dashboard and stream directly via an internet connection. Mine will be hardwired to my router. I will then run the Pi to my Ayre QB9 Twenty DAC via USB. Connecting via USB will allow me to transport with high resolution. I’m thinking that I should find a router with a ground type power plug.
I’ve been thinking about buying a rechargeable battery powered, power station. My amp already runs off a battery.
yeah if the Bryston is signed into tidal/qobuz and streaming without you needing to keep your phone or computer connected, then you're "handing off" the streaming to it.
Couple of thoughts:1) if you're going to buy a power conditioner, look into Richard Gray's Custom 1200. Or their 400's....I have a 1200 and Jeff Rowland amps. I contacted Jeff as I was wondering same as you and the RG is a power conditioner he approved of...He wrote " The advice to not use added power conditioners is a general statement because there are some types that can limit current or regenerator types that do not work well with the power factor correction circuitry in some of our products. They most likely will not affect the performance in any way and likely improve the overall performance. You should be fine with the Grays."

Onto TIDAL. Ironically, I tried TIDAL MQA in my home system last night. I don't like it at all. It changes the music and not for the better. Yes, it compresses. And it magnifies certain frequencies while minimizing others..I played Amazing Journey from Tommy. A song I know well. There a sort of a backward played synthesizer or something that is in the forefront all along. With MQA it is buried.

In my car, TIDAL HiFi 16/44.1 is fantastic.

I'm going to try Qobuz soon at home for hi rez and in the car. If it sounds great in the home system and as good as TIDAL in the car, I'll drop TIDAL.

By the by, my home hook up is an interesting one. My Android that has UAPP>OTG cable> Douk Audio U2 USB Converter XMOS XU208 Digital Interface TOSLINK COAX DSD 192KHz>Digital coaxial cable>Classe processor digital input(and its DAC).

That $45 device is my network bridge and I can send MQA 24/192 through my phone. But I must go through UAPP(Google Play $8), Not TIDAL itself. Same with Qobuz.
I’m not completely sure about operations to be honest. It’s only been a week since I placed the order so I have another week until it arrives. Anyway, I’ll try operating it with the Bryston software at first and then give the Roon trial a chance. I will use my iPad to connect to the Bryston.
MQA sounds great most of the time, same goes for dsd. Get a good dac and you will hear a difference.
Good luck on getting the Hegel supporting Roon. I have had 3 Hegel integrated amps and for a couple years now, Hegel was promising to support Roon. I gave up and went another direction 
It’s hard to know what sounds good if one cannot here it matched with one’s own system. People insist on a particular DAC chip as being preferred above all others but implementation is key, filtering, power source, etc... Most people will buy over the internet, especially those living in smaller towns. A good DAC is essential but how that DAC functions with the other components is just as important. Most brick and mortar stores are struggling and may only carry a hand full of companies so we Audio lovers are at a disadvantage.
Wow - OP - your system is only as good as your weakest link - you have multiple weak links - hear is my system - 

Source - Tidal Hi Fi with MQA accessed via a LUMIN T2 (has the Sabre DAC)
Integrated amp - Krell K300i
Speakers - Maggie 1.7i with Maggie base panel
Cables and speaker wire by Anti cable.

my results with Tidal using MQA are amazingly good - I find new music all the time and the Soundstage is the best I have ever achieved. Horns and strings and vocals POP. Retired my turntable.

just my 2 cents 
Happy Listening

I for some reason think MQA on Tidal sounds quite good.  It is supposed to be what was recorded originally.  I have a Bluesound Node 2i and when I purchased it I also purchased an external DAC.  After comparing with and without the DAC, I found the Node 2i to sound best without the DAC.  The bass sound thin with the DAC.  Ended up selling the DAC for half price on Audiogon.  I also like the graphics and layout of Tidal.  I have not seen the layout Qbuz offers.  Tried the three month free trial on Amazon Music and preferred Tidal.
After I upgraded my Ayre DAC, I noticed my factory Mac mini was in need of replacing. I only played cd’s from my hard drive, no streaming. I’ve ever cared about streaming because higher end remasters from Analogue Productions, etc... are not available on streaming services. But just for grins, I will try streaming with my transport hard wired to my router.
Seeing that we are in somewhat of a digital renaissance, there seems to be a great deal of emphasis placed on streamers and transports. While I understand and agree with the need for a solid digital source, I still believe in a stronger need for a quality set of speakers, amplifier, DAC, and cables. Spending $ 22,000.00 on a streamer wouldn’t make any sense if the intended speakers for that system were somehow lacking in high quality reproduction and that’s not to mention other parts of the system.
To answer the questions posed - the Sabre DAC is more revealing and creates a better Soundstage than Lumin’s D1 or the D2 - I have owned the D1 (Wolfson DAC) for over 5 years, and just sold it on Audiogon6 months ago. I have a second system I use in my Mancave - just added the LUMIN D2 to that system 3 weeks ago - 

IMO - the Wolfson DAC is ‘warmer’ than the Sabre’ - vocals on my Mancave system are amazing - this system is as follows- 

Source - Tidal HiFi thru a LUMIN D2
Integrated - Krell S550i
Speakers - Maggie 1.6qrs that I had ‘Gunned’
cables and Speaker wire - Anti Cable

IMO - I like both the Sabre and Wolfson DACs - it all depends on what you like to listen to - Mancave System is best with Jazz vocals, Sabre is best for complex orchestrations and Classic  Rock. The LUMIN T2 creates a HUGH soundstage and instrument separation is bigger so you hear more detail.

people underestimate the benefit of a dedicated Streamer / DAC - note I do not work for LUMIN.

referencing cost - Lumin D2 is $2300 and the LUMIN T2 is $5200.

both systems cost under —$15,000 each all in - Love the quality. 

i have never tried Qbuz - happy with streaming Tidal HiFi with MQA - like I said earlier - retired my Thornes turntable - not cost effective.

Tom899, I understand your point of reference where the comparison of the two different Lumin components are applied however, the Wolfson and the Sabre DAC chips would sound entirely different when implemented by other companies.Then you have companies who build everything in house and will charge whatever they can get given there is no point of comparison. And there is no point of comparison for most given most are unable to take that niche streamer and implement it into there own stereo.
A good reason to stay with a high-def streaming service is to support them. If you can afford it you can even use more than one (I don't use any, yet). I don't think Tidal has started making profits. Not sure about Qobuz. Amazon can of course afford to lose money for years but may give up if they don't reach some target they have set for themselves. 

This was from last year.
you might not have to gear
to talk about MQA    i don't care about it myself  or don't have any time to buy the gear that MQA is on.  
Eddie,  Don't take this the wrong way  
I'm in the camp that I like Tidal and MQA...so much so I haven't listened to a record or reel to reel in sometime. Of course some of that is convenience too, I often doze while I listen to music and don't want to have to rise to flip records or swap around tape.

For what it's worth my system for listening is Roon (Tidal):
Modwright Oppo 205 with power supply
Primaluna Dialogue Preamp
Primaluna Dialogue Amps with KT 150 tubes
Goldenear Reference Speakers
Acoustic Zen interconnects and speaker cables

MQA is a big con, and they lie about it to sell it. They are desparate. It is a lossy codec that creates harmonic distortion. It can sound "better" if you like the panita, or it can sound destructive (which it is) ... but it’s NEVER closer to the source. The source is the 16 or 24 bit wav files PCM ... in the NATIVE session rate of the mastering session.  Higher rates are NOT better and MQA is NOT better, if better means the objective master approved by the team.
I am driving my mac mini usb over  Emm Labs Xds1 V3 player, and i did lots of tests against Qobuz and Tidal, Qobuz always wins the contests...Qobuz has much  quite background and lots of details,,,
problem with Qobuz for me is the UI sucks for discovery, they're missing content that Tidal and spotify have and not alot of the content is Hi-Res.

I haven't used Roon yet, but I wonder when connected to Tidal and Qobuz if it's smart enough to grab hi-res tracks form Quboz when they're available and hide all the hunting from the user
Perhaps we listen to different genres of music but I find Qobuz has more HiRez titles than TIDAL has MQA.  I find the UI's of TIDAL and Qobuz to be similar, perhaps that's because of the integration with a dCS Rossini streamer. 

And the comparison of sound quality between HiRez and MQA is not close wit HiRez being the better.  HiRez titles also are more portable than MQA as you can Bluetooth HiRez from a phone to a car or other audio systems.   

I used TIDAL for a couple years before switching to Qobuz and to me Qobuz is a better option and costs $5 less per month.
HI guys,

After reading the thread, let me bring in my experience.
1. Streaming is a very hard form of listening to music, for there are many more factors involved than with other traditional ways. I'll not discuss them here, but a more than decent streamer is required. I tried many options and decided for smallgreencomputers.com equipment, not only for cost but above all for they offer much better equipment than many famous brands. I spent a lot of money with such trials, because, as someone said above, we don't find many options to try from local stores. So, even returning equipment add cost because of shipments. 

2. Tidal X Qobuz. I believe that Qobuz sounds better than Tidal (not huge difference, but there is a difference). However, Qobuz has less albums available than Tidal (I'm talking from classical music perspective). So far I'm sticking with Tidal for that reason. Sometimes, even CDs I have in my collection are not available with both of them. Solution I'm thinking: save my unavailable music in an external HD and move to Qobuz for better sound quality.

Enjoy your music!
I don't hear a huge difference between hi-res files on Qobuz and MQA files on Tidal.  I'm of the mind that the original recording process and mastering are more important than if the file is high-res.  I have some hi-res files that sound amazing.  Santana Abraxas dsf files for example.  But then again, if you play a good vinyl copy of Abraxas on a good vinyl rig ... it's also a big "wow!"   

A FLAC file of well recorded, produced, and mastered music is much more enjoyable to me than a hi-res file that is none of those things.  There's a lot of mediocre quality music that's labeled as hi-res that's nothing more than a lipstick wearing pig.

I don't like being forced to buy new equipment to listen to MQA.  I don't care for all the "unfolding" going on and I like that Qobuz is more affordable and caters more to my musical tastes - classic rock, jazz, and electronic. 

All that being said, I have subscriptions to both Qobuz and Tidal as there are sometimes things I'd like to hear that aren't available on Qobuz.  However, I find myself switching over to Tidal much less often than in the past.

I’m brand new to streaming. Just got Tidal and Node2i 4 days ago, and i’m in the "comparing to CDs & LPs" phase. I’m noticing a few things. The albums on Tidal are sometimes EXACTLY the same as the CD. But sometimes they are the same master, but a couple dB louder, and thus more compressed/limited. I have 3 CDs of one album that are 3 different masterings (1985,2001,2009). Tidal has the 2001 & 2009 masters available. The 2001 sounds exactly the same, but Tidal’s version of the 2009 master is about 2 dB louder than the 2009 CD.
As for MQA, it seems like the highs are a bit soft and squishy sounding. I was expecting better sounding transients from MQA, but they sound less exciting instead.
I have heard several 70-80’s rock tracks that are simply crushed. I pull out my old vinyl to A/B with Tidal, and sometimes it’s better, and sometimes it’s worse, but the new versions are always more compressed. MQA isn’t worth a damn to me if the dynamics have been squashed.
Qobuz offers different file formats to download. All that I have seen have "CD quality" (16/44.1) as an option with a few lower options (mp3s, I think).

The files you dowload at 16/44.1 will be just that, 16/44.1. However, is that really what it was originally? Is there a possibility that some of those are upconverted files?

I ask because I have seen a few somewhat obscure albums in "CD quality" while I have doubts that they ever made it to CD. I am probably just paranoid, but provenance of streaming files seems unknown at times to me.
I A/B listened to Qobuz HighRes and Tidal MQA.  I didn't hear much of a difference. In some cases, a track would sound better on one than the other, but neither was a clear winner in that department.  When it came to CD quality tracks, there was no appreciable difference between either streaming service or tracks played from my Innous Zenith MKII network streamer.  I settled on Tidal because it has more of the music I like and I get a 40% military discount. 

I use Roon.  My PS Audio DirectStream DAC (DSD) renders MQA and I like the sound.  I placed a Matrix X-SPDIF 2 between the Zenith and DSD.  The Matrix does not render MQA; however, sound quality via the Matrix i2s HDMI interface is noticeably better than what I had before.

In my case, I think my choice of system components had a bigger impact on SQ than my choice of streaming service or the format of the music streamed.