Jump to content

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

On 11/7/2018 at 2:09 PM, austinpop said:

Listening Impressions of Qobuz vs. Tidal

 

I've now had access to Qobuz for a couple months, but due to travel and other commitments, I'd not yet done a careful head to head with Tidal in regard to sound quality. Well, I have now! For me, it was important to do this in a controlled manner, keeping all else constant. In my setup, this meant:

  1. using the exact same hardware chain
  2. using the same software player - LMS with Tidal and Qobuz plugins
  3. Stick to CD (Redbook 16/44.1) sample rate
  4. Pick the exact same recordings on the 2 services

This ensured that the only difference in SQ was the streams provided by the 2 services.

 

I listened to a bunch of albums, but here is a representative sample. I've provided links, so I'd love for people who have the ability to cross-check my findings with their own ears.

 

soldier of love.jpg

https://open.qobuz.com/album/0884977446371

https://tidal.com/album/3329114

 

brandenburg.jpg

https://open.qobuz.com/album/0709869117040

https://tidal.com/album/65306169

 

image.png

https://open.qobuz.com/album/0060255767267

https://tidal.com/album/79640505

 

Across the board, the Qobuz streams sounded better. The common theme was one of more openness and dynamics. The Tidal streams seemed to all suffer from constricted dynamics and a somewhat smaller and flatter soundstage.

 

I honestly did not expect this big a difference. Whatever the reasons, as I heard it, Qobuz delivered better sound quality than Tidal with the same nominal 16/44.1 content. Of course, things get even better in some of the cases where Qobuz has hi-res versions of the albums available.

 

Before you ask, I did not attempt to compare Qobuz hi-res with Tidal MQA. Not because I'm shy and retiring, but because I did not have the same software player that could play both. My preferred player is Roon, but it does not support Qobuz (yet). The LMS Tidal plugin does not support MQA streams (yet?). 

 

Once Roon support for Qobuz arrives, I'll be trying that comparison for myself. Whether or not I post anything about it, in light of the raging MQA debate - I doubt it!

 

Thanks, @austinpop.  :) 

 

I didn’t A/B; my listening to Tidal (RedBook and MQA) occurred IIRC over a year before I heard anything on Qobuz. I simply remember being unimpressed with Tidal, while I was immediately *very* impressed with Qobuz.  Every bit as good as local files.  (Of course this means it’s possible to find not terribly well recorded albums on Qobuz, just as you encounter with rips and downloads).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Plus one on the surprising superiority of Qobuz to Tidal. On my high-end tube monoblock system, Qobuz surprised out of the gate with soundstage, dynamics and overall detail quality. Being that both Qobuz and Tidal are touted as CD quality, this was not a small difference.

 

Qobuz has a smaller overall library than Tidal, (which millions matter to you is an individual issue) at least for the moment but there's a very deep catalog of jazz and classical probably not found elsewhere.

 

I'm running Qobuz streaming optical to Allen Organ AO75 monoblock amps completely rebuilt with McIntosh LS340s tower speakers. It's simply great and I'd second the opinion this is on par or very comparable with local sourced material. 

 

More on the rebuilt tube amps here: http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/the-mighty-allen-organ-75.840989/

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/7/2018 at 4:09 PM, austinpop said:

Listening Impressions of Qobuz vs. Tidal

 

 

Across the board, the Qobuz streams sounded better. The common theme was one of more openness and dynamics. The Tidal streams seemed to all suffer from constricted dynamics and a somewhat smaller and flatter soundstage.

 

I honestly did not expect this big a difference. Whatever the reasons, as I heard it, Qobuz delivered better sound quality than Tidal with the same nominal 16/44.1 content. Of course, things get even better in some of the cases where Qobuz has hi-res versions of the albums available.

 

Before you ask, I did not attempt to compare Qobuz hi-res with Tidal MQA. Not because I'm shy and retiring, but because I did not have the same software player that could play both. My preferred player is Roon, but it does not support Qobuz (yet). The LMS Tidal plugin does not support MQA streams (yet?). 

 

Once Roon support for Qobuz arrives, I'll be trying that comparison for myself. Whether or not I post anything about it, in light of the raging MQA debate - I doubt it!

 

It strikes me that you would be the perfect person to use some pro IT network tools and see if you can figure this out. Is Tidal or an ISP messing with the feed? I have noticed the same and I think that Tidal has become worse recently. I plan to switch bsck to Qobuz when it is Roon compatible. I had an account years ago when they were under the original ownership and should not have let it go. I switched to Tidal when Roon came around. I have also had Deezer and they were great as well. Tidal was fine in the beginning but the SQ has been sliding. Everything sounds like the volume level has been pushed up to the point of clipping. Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be perfectly honest, I didn't hear any degradation in SQ when I switched from Tidal to Spotify Premium. Between Spotify and ripped CDs, both streamed from my uR, yes there is a difference, but between Tidal and Spotify, not really.

 

I have no idea why that is, but I look forward to trying the same test with Qobuz.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, left channel said:

The "Hi-Res" label shows on albums in LMS (Squeezebox Server) too, as of Qobuz plugin version 1.350 released October 18th.

 

Thanks for the tip. I updated to 1.36, and it does now append the string "(Hi-Res)" to album names.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Jud said:

BTW - The current Audirvana+ UI does call out which Qobuz albums are hi res (as does the Qobuz app itself now), a nice touch.

 

Thanks to Qobuz and @damien78 for responding to requests for this feature.

 

It does?  Am I not getting this feature for some reason in A+? A+ says I have the latest version as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, AudioDoctor said:

 

It does?  Am I not getting this feature for some reason in A+? A+ says I have the latest version as well.

 

Same for me.

1559720387_ScreenShot2018-11-11at1_39_47pm.thumb.png.bcb8f5dfd8c5d9fa2f45d2eef95f756e.png

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/4/2018 at 4:35 PM, Martin H said:

Do you mean they don’t appear on the new releases page?

 

You can obviously access every album through an app but I guess you mean you might not know it exists? Obviously you can search by artists and then see all of their albums. I know on the browser you can search by release date but tbh I don’t know if that’s possible in the app or not. Not noticed it I guess. 

ciao, Martin...yes, except for a some playlist suggestions and few miscellaneous rec's, the desktop and mobile apps only offer recent releases(and the ability to specifically search). There are no additional ways to browse their vast catalog. Only the Qobuz website offers this option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Qobuz has announced a major update to the Android app, rolling out slowly to all users now. If you download/import local files, they suggest you start making playlists of those tracks now, because it's going to forget about them during the update. On my phone I usually access Qobuz via UAPP, but when I opened the official Qobuz app today it displayed this blog post: http://blogsv2.qobuz.com/qobuz-blog-en/2018/11/09/qobuz-update-to-android-application/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Jud said:

 

I assumed Mac was the same UI as the Windows version I am using.  Currently a bad assumption, apparently, but I would imagine it would not be too long in coming (though I have no hard information to that effect).

 

My apologies.

 

No worries Jud, thanks for clarifying.  I was assuming that may have been the disconnect.

 

On a related note, Qobuz and @David.. Qobuz, Hi-Res Music Evangelist have came through and now have one of the albums I requested a while back! Thanks!

 

I highly suggest everyone listen to this, it is a very rare recording of Duke Ellington and Alice Babs in Paris in 1963, Serenade to Sweden is the title. I have this on vinyl (cost a fortune) and a recent CD Re-release, but this is the icing on the cake.

 

Some background on why this album is special to me.  Leigh Kammon used to have a show on Minnesota Public Radio on Saturday evenings called The Jazz Image, and a few of the songs from this album were the backing songs when he needed background music, or behind him softly while he was talking. It's beautiful music. My Dad and I have many fun memories spending our Saturday evenings listening to this show, and some funny ones only in hindsight... Such as the night we ran the batteries dead in our boat while on Isle Royale during a rare occasion we could pick it up while anchored in a bay there. Anyway, fast forward a few years and my Dad and I are in Best Buy and he runs unto one of his buddies that is also a well known Jazz Trumpet player, who's name for the life of me I can't remember right now. He was looking for a replacement for his Digital Audio Tape Recorder that had broke. Me being the young college aged budding audiophile, helped him find the thing he needed and we parted ways. Months pass, I am back at school and I get a hand written letter in a package with a CD inside.  The guy had felt that he owed me a thank you for helping him out, he also let me listen live to him and his band mates play which I felt was awesome enough, but what he did was record the album Leigh Kammon (they were buds) would play onto a CD-R and sent it to me. The internet was barely a thing back then, finding this album would have been like finding a needle at the bottom of the entire ocean. I still have that LP to CD-R album too, it's awesome.

Sadly, Leigh Kammon has passed and the Jazz Image died with him. We still have this though:

https://www.leighkamman.com

 

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 5.39.00 PM.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, davidovada said:

ciao, Martin...yes, except for a some playlist suggestions and few miscellaneous rec's, the desktop and mobile apps only offer recent releases(and the ability to specifically search). There are no additional ways to browse their vast catalog. Only the Qobuz website offers this option.

 

Can you provide the URL for the website, so I can go browsing for new stuff ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/18/2018 at 4:43 AM, David Craff said:

 

Hello,

Currently we display the hi-res logo of an album without distinguishing that it is available for download and/or streaming in this quality. An evolution is underway in our applications to distinguish between the two.

 

The listening and downloading rights are not identical for the same album.

I'm still confused. I've tried downloading 24/96 content at the native resolution, but the "import" comes in at CD quality. I've yet to get anything above CD quality, whether streaming or playing back from my downloads.

Qobuz screen shot.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, left channel said:

Qobuz has announced a major update to the Android app, rolling out slowly to all users now. If you download/import local files, they suggest you start making playlists of those tracks now, because it's going to forget about them during the update. On my phone I usually access Qobuz via UAPP, but when I opened the official Qobuz app today it displayed this blog post: http://blogsv2.qobuz.com/qobuz-blog-en/2018/11/09/qobuz-update-to-android-application/

I guess the rollout is rather slow; not yet seeing on my Google Pixel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, loop7 said:

I guess the rollout is rather slow; not yet seeing on my Google Pixel.

 

I don't have it yet either, but it's nice they're giving everyone ample advance warning to start creating those playlists if needed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, eatapc said:

I'm still confused. I've tried downloading 24/96 content at the native resolution, but the "import" comes in at CD quality. I've yet to get anything above CD quality, whether streaming or playing back from my downloads.

Qobuz screen shot.png

Have you tried changing the import quality in the preferences?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, loop7 said:

I guess the rollout is rather slow; not yet seeing on my Google Pixel.

 

I've just now received it. Very attractive design. No prep before upgrading was needed as I don't use it for offline files. My preferences were reset, for example the Wi-Fi streaming cap changed from 24/192 to 16/44.1. Playing with it, I managed to lock up the app by accidentally downloading the White Album, which is very big, while I was near the edge of my Wi-Fi range... and I eventually had to restart the phone. Sigh. #apps

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Musicophile said:

Have you tried changing the import quality in the preferences?

Yes. My streaming along with import & download quality have all been set to 24/96. The quality changes to CD quality as soon as I play or download anything. High-res just doesn't seem to work -- at least in the pre-launch app for the United States.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×