Tidal vs Qobuz: Which High-Res Streaming Service Sounds Best?

Which High-Res Streaming Service Sounds Best?

  • Tidal

    Votes: 1 4.5%
  • Qobuz

    Votes: 7 31.8%
  • Both

    Votes: 5 22.7%
  • Huh? What you say?

    Votes: 9 40.9%

  • Total voters
    22
Matthew J Poes

Matthew J Poes

Senior Audioholic
Very nice article, thank you. I have been a Tidal user for sometime and was wondering if I should move on to Qobuz. I think not, now. Tidal has improved its search function and niceties since the early days, it is quite good in that regard now, as good as Spotify.

The sticky part is MQA; so many manufacturers have dug in against it now and I don’t know why. I stream from an iPad and have the software to do the first unfold, but not an MQA DAC. There are some out there, but they are still not common. Noting now there are MQA CD, so another reason to go there. There is some evidence that the last unfold may be too subtle to hear, anyways.

Your results go along with many others; the specifics of how a recording is made are more important than the 16/44 vs 24/96 question. I have many great sounding CD and many more terrible ones. Putting them into a high res format will not fix their fundamental problems.

The interesting part is that many double blind listening tests have revealed DSD to be different and “better” than 16/44. Again, a simple digital transfer isn’t going to fix a bad CD, but there are many native DSD recordings in the world now. How come no one is streaming DSD?
I would say that the main thing that changed since I wrote this article is that QoBuz got a lot cheaper. It’s now a better value than Tidal while offering as good or better sound quality. It’s also dramatically improved song selection and search ability. I would not call it on par with Tidal or Spotify, but close enough that I did eventually cancel my Tidal subscription.

mad for DSD streaming. There are some niche companies doing this and it’s been discussed a lot. The main reason it isn’t being done is that it’s not popular enough and would cause support problems. All the current popular streaming systems rely on PCM at their core, even MQA. As such, there is no need to change the workflow. DSD’s biggest resistance was that everything had to change for it to be native DSD end to end. Some made the switch but not most. As such it was mostly a pcm to DSD to pcm encoding and decoding signal path. so what would be the point?

DSD is also data intensive compared to FLAC PCM so straight DSD streaming would be nearly impossible. Data rate would be too high. Maybe FLAC can be used with DSD to get a lossless compression, I don’t know a lot about that.
 
RichB

RichB

Audioholic Field Marshall
I would say that the main thing that changed since I wrote this article is that QoBuz got a lot cheaper. It’s now a better value than Tidal while offering as good or better sound quality. It’s also dramatically improved song selection and search ability. I would not call it on par with Tidal or Spotify, but close enough that I did eventually cancel my Tidal subscription.
I subscribed to Qobuz when the price dropped.
I am using the Roon interface so am less concerned about the search interface.

There is one case when I listened to an album that I can not longer find. Weird.

- Rich
 
I

Infinitif

Audiophyte
It’s always nice to read good articles like this and well documented but... for my part, I judge with my ears and they tell me there are lot of audio quality issues with Tidal compare to Qobuz !
Just take one example: Mozart Requiem - Wiener Philarmoniker - Karl Bohm - Deutshe Grammophon
Please listen to first track and tell me if this a good sound....
You will hear (whatever your devices are) a kind of trembling sound, very noticeable and unpleasant. No issue at all with the same album on Qobuz.
It’s not only a one album issue, I had the occasion to have this same trembling sound with other albums other tracks.
 

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