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How do you think about Qobuz store?


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Hello,  

I’ve been considering Qobuz Download Store to purchase music digitally.

As a classical music listener, I find Qobuz’s selection is wide and updated well.

Here are couple points that I perceive as Pros / Cons.

- Pros

1) If I subscribe its Studio Sublime ($21/mon), Qobuz offers discount(usually 50%) on Hi-Res albums.
After discount, purchase makes financial sense compared to buy CDs from Amazon with discounted $.

2) As far as I understand (at this point) I can choose quality / format of download. This appeals to me. I want to download files as Aiff, and so far this is the only store providing this sort of service.

3) DRM Free, seems NO restriction after purchase. I can have files just like personally ripped files from CDs.

4) Also, even just for streaming part, Qobuz is the only service that specifically shows its streaming quality. (For other services, I can choose the quality in the set up, but some people suspect that the service providers change the quality depending on streaming situation.)
This applies to Streaming Offline Download feature. Qobuz provides hi-res offline download. (as a part of streaming service extension) 
I wish more streaming services specify their download quality.

Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’m new to this service, and this service changes its policy/price/feature without clear notice.

- Cons

1) Qobuz can chagne its price / plan in the future (It has been changing prices / membership structure couple times already) - Maybe not critical, but still I feel little annoyed.

2) My intension is NOT to debate this part but think I need to mention.
- Myth? Psychological effect? Or Reality? - it’s a common issue for all streaming services, not just Qobuz. 

Quite number of people constantly point out that Qobuz’s upsampling quality (most common) 24/96 does not sound good as their CD rip. Even higher resolution does not sound better than their CD rips.

Some even point out that streaming services have couple different mastering versions and use it randomly. (still show the same album cover, so it looks like the same.) Any insider informaiton?

Some people has a hypothesis that this sort of experience comes from clipping of streaming service sides. So once listeners sort things out properly, then both really sound identical.

Most widely available quality such as 24/96 does not show any noticeable difference for normal listening. (At least Qobuz’s discount with sublime membership cancels out this factor.)

Briefly, the point is, Qobuz’s download store sound worse than CD rips. (Or at least not identical)

3) For classical music, the search function is not great, and requires some tricks. This is a common problem for most streaming music services. I’d like to note that Idagio’s search has been most useful.


Is there any Qobuz user? Especially Sublime user shopping at its Download store?

I’d like to know other listener’s experience.


Disclaimer: As I specifically stated above, this is not about Quality difference debate. 
If one experience any difference, please respect each other, and don’t simply say “NO they are same”. - Therr might be technical glitches that, in fact, create the difference without the listener's awareness. 
Some other factors can affect the result. 


Happy new year.

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As a subscriber to Qobuz, they are my first choice to download an album and only if it isn't available there will I search elsewhere, there are exceptions to this of course, such as the now gone Acoustic Sounds which had its own versions and mastering of albums. I find that once downloaded the file sounds indistinguishable from any other identical mastering in a similar format, ie: it is only the streaming that makes the file sound worse, worse here being relative as it still sounds great. In the end the best part of this is you are free to make your own decision as you don't need to subscribe for more than a month if you don't want to. During that month you can make your mind up for yourself.

No electron left behind...

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6 hours ago, Sangbro said:


Briefly, the point is, Qobuz’s download store sound worse than CD rips. (Or at least not identical)
 

 

Stuff I buy from Qobuz sounds just as good as my CD rips, to me anyway.

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Qobuz sublime is a good deal if you buy about an album a month or more - then you save on purchases about what you pay in premium for the sevice ($100 a year, approx.). It's a yearly subscription only, so if they change their subscription in the future, it doesn't matter. Surely they will let any subscriber finish their year under the ongoing conditions, or give a rebate on a new subscription to make up the difference.

 

Downloads vs. streaming: I often-not always- think HD based file playback sounds better, even when I A/B. Semi-scientific, but not double blind tests.  I could be imagining this - at least in many cases - as my testing isn't fully blinded.

 

However, there are some albums where it is known that the download version and the version sold on disk are different masterings, even when both are 24/96 (bluray disc). It's also possible that the version streaming from Qobuz is a different mastering than something you buy on a regular CD and you may like the CD better.

 

That said, the hi-res streaming generally sounds excellent, so I'm fine with it. I also tend to buy downloads or discs of albums that I  intend to listen to repeatedly, so it's sort of a moot point for me - if I really like/want the music I buy it, and then I don't care what the stream sounds like, as I don't play it.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Just be aware that not all albums benefit from the sublime discount. 

 

I ended up downgrading from sublime because so few of the albums in my “Favourites” list qualified for the discount.

 

I may just be an outlier use-case.

David

 

MacMini, Mytek Manhattan I DAC, Avantone The Abbey Monitors, Roon

 

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I’ve been a Sublime subscriber for years now. I’m still on the now defunct subscription of €199 annually which I was able to renew in spite of it not being offered to new subscribers now. So at least so far they have been customer friendly here. 
 

I hope that they keep this alive for me as long as possible as I’m buying on average 3-4 high res albums per month and the discounts already more than pay for the entire subscription. 
 

I typically use lossless streaming for discovery and on all albums I consider keepers in my library I want the best possible resolution (within reason). 
 

I’m still buying downloads for two reasons:

 

I am still not sure the high res streaming model can survive long term, and by now my local library (thousands of ripped CDs and hundreds of high res downloads) would be sufficient to keep me happy even if all streaming services would go out of business (this has already happened to Qobuz previously). 
 

Furthermore most artists can’t survive on streaming revenues and the share going to the artist is larger for downloads. 


The other thing I like about Qobuz is that I have access to all my purchases in high res format everywhere without carrying them around, either via the iOS apps or via Audirvana+ on my MacBook. 

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10 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

 

Their Hi Res download store has gone.

 

7 hours ago, One and a half said:

See here, yes it's no more.

Wow, wasn't aware of that.

What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well.
It helps men to rise above themselves.
 
  ―  Albert Camus, The Plague.

 

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Since Qobuz started the download plan, I've pretty much not used HD tracks anymore and sadly Acoustic Sounds ( got a letter from AS as I buy a lot of LP's from them) . But I still get my LP's from AS.  

The Truth Is Out There

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