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    Qobuz Tugs on Superman's Cape, Makes Bold Move With Industry's Best Pricing

    Today Qobuz dropped a bomb that nobody saw coming. The company lowered its lossless / high resolution streaming price to $12.50 /month (annually) or $14.99 /month monthly, and said "so long" to its MP3 service level. This new price is for what it calls the Studio Premier tier.  Qobuz, the world's best high quality streaming service, is now the least expensive. This is the beauty of a competitive market in which many companies are vying for consumers' hard earned money. I love it!

     

    There are some details to this new Qobuz Studio Premier pricing. According to the Qobuz website this is an offer that goes until January 31, 2020 for the first 100,000 customers. But, Some existing customers (HiFi and Studio Monthly subscribers) will automatically be switched to this new pricing. Yearly subscribers can renew for another year to get the pricing and receive either a discount or a refund depending on how much time is left in their subscription. 

     

    I really hope Qobuz keeps its prices at this level forever. 

     


    Perspective

     

    Amazon Music HD launched in September, 2019 at a price of $14.99 ($12.99 for Prime members) per month, while Tidal and Qobuz have held steady for years at $19.99 and $24.99 per month respectively. Amazon's HD launch has been terrific on many levels, and a nonstarter on others. It's wonderful to see the Seattle-based behemoth pushing higher quality music streaming at a scale only the biggest companies can, and for a price that was much lower than any of the competition. The product has been full of issues for people who actually want to play this high quality music on most devices, but the bigger picture here is that over 100 million people are exposed to better sounding music and the issues can be dealt with via software updates. 

     

    Shortly after Amazon's HD launch, many pundits signed death certificates for Qobuz and Tidal. In most cases when Amazon moves into one's territory, the end result isn't good for the little guys. However, it's great to see that Qobuz, a tiny French company that launched in the US on Valentine's Day, 2019, is not only competing with Amazon, it's putting out a better product for less money. David is beating Goliath on every single level (user interface, customer service, playback options, etc...).

     


    Bigger Picture

     

    Perhaps the best part about this Qobuz announcement is the fact that it isn't catering to a market of audiophiles who already consume as much high quality music as any service can deliver. The best part is that now high quality music is priced within spitting distance of the low quality diluted AAC, MP3 and OGG offerings of Spotify and Apple Music. Qobuz isn't under any illusions that it will put the giants out of business, but the company believes this is major step toward the democratization of high quality music. 

     

    There are absolutely zero guarantees in life or that this bold move will turn more of the masses onto higher quality music and possibly better sounding components, but one can be hopeful when a company lays the groundwork for it to happen. I believe this is best place to start when seeking a wider audience for HiFi as a whole. The manufacturers we are all familiar with can release products costing a fraction of the price of their normal products, but this is still more than many people will spend to take a chance on something better. When the price to take a chance on better sound is less than a single pot of tea per month, one doesn't have to wait until the 1st or 15th of the month to pull the trigger. 

     

    What I'm saying is that a healthier HiFi industry starts at the source with better quality music for a little bit more money than the low quality options. 

     

     


    Note: Streaming MP3 is still possible within the Qobuz apps, nice when using an expensive and limited mobile data plan, by setting the quality level within the apps. The only thing MP3 related that's going away is the option to select an MP3 only subscription. 

     

     

    Here's a link to the new Streaming options at Qobuz - https://www.qobuz.com/us-en/music/streaming/offers

     

    And, here are the details about the new pricing - https://try.qobuz.com/faq-studio-premier/

     

    "Studio Premier gives you unlimited access to over 50 million tracks in lossless quality or Hi-Res along with our exclusive, in-depth editorial content for $14.99/ month ($149.99/year). This limited time promotion is available to the first 100,000 new subscribers and existing users until January 31, 2020

     

    As part of our mission to make high-quality sound accessible to all, we have also updated our Sublime+ plan, to the new price of $249.99/year."



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    9 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    The Heos team is to blame on this one. I won’t say more. It would be embarrassing for them. 

    The same team that has not been able to implement Amazon's My Music within Heos?  😀😫

     

    Any ideas on my other questions above?

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    29 minutes ago, adam2434 said:

    Chromecast Audio - the native Qobuz app can be used to cast up to 24/96 FLAC to a CCA.

    • For 24/192 FLAC from Qobuz, does the CCA of Qobuz server downsample to 24/96 FLAC?


    CCA can’t resample data above its max rate. Qobuz or the app does the adjustment of either resampling or sending the appropriate sample rate from the cloud. 

     

     

     

    29 minutes ago, adam2434 said:

    Sonos - not sure on the details.  I believe you can use a Qobuz app within the Sonos app, but not sure if you can use the native Qobuz app with the Connect feature.  

    • Does anyone know if the native Qobuz app works with Sonos?
    • Of course, the max resolution on Sonos is 16/44.1.

     

    I’m unable to stream to a Sonos with the native Qobuz app. 
     

    Integrating with Roon solves the issue though. 

     

     

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    Trialing Qobuz Studio Premier.  This is how it's supposed to work, based on my experience so far! 

     

    Unlike Amazon Music HD, 24/96 or 16/44.1 FLAC seems to be working fine with the native app and a CCA.

     

    I like that both 16/44.1 and hi-res album versions can be selected, when applicable.

     

    I had a couple skips with 24/96 FLAC with a CCA in one location in my house, but a different CCA in a different location has not had skips.  Need to do more testing on CCA reliability with Qobuz 24/96 FLAC.

     

    It's a shame that Heos does not have Qobuz Studio Premier compatibility.

     

    What other streaming hardware platforms are compatible with Qobuz at resolutions beyond 16/44.1?

     

     

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    Is anyone using a Yamaha WXC-50 streamer with Qobuz 16/44.1 and Hi-Res FLAC?

     

    Crutchfield lists Qobuz for this device, but I also read that Yamaha dropped Qobuz on this device.

     

     

     

     

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    Learned that the Yamaha WXC-50 does not have Qobuz support.

     

    I have been reading about using the mconnect Player app or the BubbleUPnP app as a work-arounds.

     

    Anyone have experience with these apps and Qobuz?  Do they work well?

     

     

     

     

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    Yep, been testing the BubbleUPnP app for Android with Qobuz, and it is working well streaming to a Sony BDP.  Kind of cool that you can use your own FLAC library (minimserver running on my PC) and Qobuz within a single app.  I usually use the HiFi Cast app for my PC FLAC library

    I'll also test with Heos on my Marantz processor as the renderer. I expect this will work well too.

     

    Curious about the nuts and bolts of how Qobuz works with BubbleUPnP.  How does the Qobuz stream become a UPnP stream?

     

     

     

     

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    On 11/13/2019 at 2:40 AM, rando said:

    Deeper or broader?  Or both?  In your opinion.

     

    On 11/14/2019 at 12:19 PM, miguelito said:

    Rereading I realize maybe I posted too quickly... The albums listed above are NOT available in Qobuz US. There are quite a few misses, especially in the electronic genre, in Qobuz US. Many are available - at least for download - from Qobuz UK.

     

    I realize the simple format of my question aided the stabbing of fingers at the air.  Tidal has wearisome SQ and even more wearisome catalog availability.  I didn't ask about Tidal or EU options though.  Or even example albums. 

     

    Forget the unquoted section pertaining to remixes (there at least I got a clear and opinionated answer). :)

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    On 11/17/2019 at 11:28 PM, adam2434 said:

    Yep, been testing the BubbleUPnP app for Android with Qobuz, and it is working well streaming to a Sony BDP.  Kind of cool that you can use your own FLAC library (minimserver running on my PC) and Qobuz within a single app.  I usually use the HiFi Cast app for my PC FLAC library

    I'll also test with Heos on my Marantz processor as the renderer. I expect this will work well too.

     

    Curious about the nuts and bolts of how Qobuz works with BubbleUPnP.  How does the Qobuz stream become a UPnP stream?

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It works (most effectively in my experience), by optionally making the node an OpenHome renderer when running Bubble UPnP server. This also has the joy that a free OpenHome control client (like Linn Kazoo or Lumin) works brilliantly for iPad-type control. What I did pre-Roon.

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    On 11/16/2019 at 3:57 PM, The Computer Audiophile said:

    The Heos team is to blame on this one. I won’t say more. It would be embarrassing for them. 

     

    Yeah Qobuz seem hugely frustrated with this (as am I!)

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    12 hours ago, Patrick Cleasby said:

     

    It works (most effectively in my experience), by optionally making the node an OpenHome renderer when running Bubble UPnP server. This also has the joy that a free OpenHome control client (like Linn Kazoo or Lumin) works brilliantly for iPad-type control. What I did pre-Roon.

    Do you mean what is described in this article?

    https://www.hifizine.com/2019/07/stream-qobuz-to-anything/

     

    Did the BubbleUPnP app get updated since that article, such the you no longer need to run the server?

     

    Could you please explain the advantages of this with Qobuz?

     

    I am currently using Qobuz and the BubbleUPnP app (on my phone) without the server running on my PC, and it seems to be working fine with the renderers I've tested so far (a Sony BDP and Heos on a Marantz processor).

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    14 hours ago, adam2434 said:

    Do you mean what is described in this article?

    https://www.hifizine.com/2019/07/stream-qobuz-to-anything/

     

    Did the BubbleUPnP app get updated since that article, such the you no longer need to run the server?

     

    Could you please explain the advantages of this with Qobuz?

     

    I am currently using Qobuz and the BubbleUPnP app (on my phone) without the server running on my PC, and it seems to be working fine with the renderers I've tested so far (a Sony BDP and Heos on a Marantz processor).

     

    Yeah effectively that - I never wrote it up, but I used to do exactly that. Just your own library, Qobuz, Tidal from one control point.

     

    The main advantage would be cutting wireless out of the frame (my servers are near my router), except for control. So more stability for hi-res streaming really.

     

    The advantages of OpenHome would be as claimed on the OpenHome wiki:

     

    http://wiki.openhome.org/wiki/OhMedia

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    11 hours ago, Patrick Cleasby said:

     

    Yeah effectively that - I never wrote it up, but I used to do exactly that. Just your own library, Qobuz, Tidal from one control point.

     

    The main advantage would be cutting wireless out of the frame (my servers are near my router), except for control. So more stability for hi-res streaming really.

     

    The advantages of OpenHome would be as claimed on the OpenHome wiki:

     

    http://wiki.openhome.org/wiki/OhMedia

    Thanks for the info.

     

    I've been exchanging some emails with Bubble too.

     

    Based on when he said, some renderers have to use your phone as a proxy if you don't have the Bubble server and OpenHome configured.  I believe I confirmed that this is the case with my Sony blu-ray players because Qobuz tracks would stop playing shortly after I close the BubbleUPnP app on my phone.  With Heos, the track would play to the end after I close the  BubbleUPnP app.

     

    I think installing the Bubble server on my PC and configuring OpenHome for the renderers will make my phone a controller only, meaning that the BubbleUPnP app on my phone will not need to be a proxy server for my blu-ray players, and that I will not need to rely on my phone to pass the stream to the blu-ray players.  Most of my renderers are hard-wired to my network, so I want to avoid streaming over wi-fi as much as possible.

     

    I don't know much about how Qobuz works with BubbleUPnP, so the above may be off-base.  🙂

     

     

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    OK, I installed the BubbleUPnP server on my PC and made the Marantz processor and Sony blu-ray player OpenHome renderers.

     

    Now, in the BubbleUPnP app they show up as separate renderers with OpenHome in parenthesis.

     

    When I select them in the BubbleUPnP app and start a Qobuz album, the album continues to play after I exit the app.

     

    However, the album will stop playing before it is over with the Sony blu-ray player.

     

    Also, with Marantz processor, when I was testing last night, the BubbleUPnP app screen switched to a different album and the Marantz processor was no longer highlighted as the renderer.  The original album continued to play, but it seems like the BubbleUPnP app lost connection to the renderer and displayed the wrong album.  I had to restart the BubbleUPnP app for the original album to display and for the Marantz processor to be highlighted as the renderer, as it was originally.

     

    So, it's a bit wonky for me right now.

     

    I wonder why Qobuz does not allow you to select a DLNA/UPnP renderer directly from the native mobile app, avoiding the need to use the BubbleUPnP app and server.

     

    I see that the native mobile app has a "Connect" feature, but no devices show up.  It would be very convenient if DLNA/UPnP renderers on the network could be selected directly, similar to the convenience of Spotify's Connect feature.

     

    The "Cast" feature does show my CCAs though.

     

     

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    On 11/8/2019 at 8:17 PM, Enjay said:

    Is this for the US only, the European site has the same standard pricing as previous including the MP3 option?

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    On 11/23/2019 at 10:37 PM, ambre said:

    Price of subscription in Europe are still the same. What a shame

    😫

     

    They have intimated there may be some action on this at some point.

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