New TIDAL tiers and MQA

I wonder what market trends has forced this change. DAC manufacturers push-back? Competition from Amazon, Spotify, and Qobuz?

Before this info was made public, I was considering disabling Tidal this weekend and only stream Qobuz for a while. I am fairly certain I won’t miss Tidal. When given a choice I choose to put the Qobuz version in my Roon library. It’s rare that I only see Tidal when I look at versions. I’ve also noticed that Qobuz frequently has higher res as well.


Good news to me I have both Tidal and Qobuz. I never listen to MQA. I avoid it on purpose.


I briefly had a Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ that decoded MQA. At first I didn’t think I could tell the difference. But after a while of A/B testing, especially with headphones, I could start to tell the difference. The MQA had less sparkle, especially when listening to selections that are predominately piano. There was something missing. Since then, like you @watchdog507 I stopped streaming MQA.


Why do you have both? Do you find that each service offers sufficiently different titles?

I have never understood the MQA argument. I remember a fellow audionut getting into a heated discussion over MQA. I told him if he doesn’t want MQA just disable it in Roon (He was a Roon and DSD w/Bridge user). Well he then got mad because I didn’t agree with him on how bad MQA was.

Unless I read the article wrong it looks like Tidal is going to offer tiers of service where the top tier includes MQA.

I was an early adopter of both. Tidal came out with decent rock, pop, and americana. But it’s jazz and classical was lacking. Qobuz came along and had good jazz and classical, but was thin on what Tidal was offering. So I have lived with both. Roon’s Integration of them is seamless making using them as if they are one.

Qobuz now seems to have caught up to Tidal for my musical tastes.


I also have both Tidal and Qobuz. When Qobuz came out all of the rave was how great it was so I gave it a try. I have found some music I like better on both services. I have the college rate on Tidal so I will keep it for at least another year. My Qobuz offer runs out soon so I probably will let that go until time to renew Tidal. I will then re-evaluate them both again.

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Here’s Darko’s post:

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I pay for Qobuz by the year so only $12.50 a month.

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I ditched Tidal after just a couple of minutes listening to Qobuz. On my (infuriatingly annoying and insistent) cancellation form I listed MQA as the reason for leaving. Not a fan.

This new tier isn’t enough to make me reconsider. I like the higher-than-CD-quality streams from Qobuz and the editorial part of the service tends to be more aligned to my musical tastes than Tidal ever was.

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I am sad to read Darkos comments on the lack of improvement 24.96 and 24.192 makes. He does say on high buck systems it can and my high buck system gets all damp and warm when it plays higher bit rates. Mmmmmmmmmm I say.

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Yeah, I’m super curious as to why.

Maybe the new ownership recognized the con job and didn’t want to be subject to the constant criticism.


Another streaming announcement, this time from Qobuz. It “sounds” like we all might be benefitting from a features war. Let the games begin!


This all makes perfect sense.

  1. Tidal needs to be price competitive with Amazon HD and Spotify Lossless.
  2. The high-res market is inconsequential so packed it together. It will likely die a death in 12 months and no one will notice. They will know once all subscriptions are renewed.
  3. It should dramatically reduce MQA royalties and kill it pretty soon.
  4. Qobuz have won the high-res market and their business model makes it viable.

DSD will remain a purchase/download market for a niche group of audiophiles. Qobuz rejected the idea of streaming DSD about 5 years ago.

Haha… It doesn’t matter what changes Tidal makes. After having Tidal since it first came out, I cancelled it a few days ago.

I was tired of Tidal not sounding nearly as good as Qobuz, and was tired of them shoving stupid MQA in my face every chance they got.

So you think. I have played several albums on Tidal that claimed they were the “original” versions only to look down and my SMSL M400 DAC to see that it was getting an MQA signal. Hence why I said above that Tidal is shoving MQA in your face.

That’s not to mention all of the other shady BS Tidal has been doing with MQA. And the fact that Tidal sounds nowhere near as good as Qobuz.

I’ve been using Tidal and Qobuz side by side for a little over a year now, thinking that I would keep Tidal just in case Qobuz didn’t have a particular album. Over the past year, I only came across two albums that Tidal has and Qobuz doesn’t. One of them Qobuz finally got, the other I won’t miss as I didn’t listen to it but maybe twice.

Plus there’s been rumors that Square, who just bought out Tidal, might shut down Tidal after a while. So who knows there.

No… I’ll proudly keep my Qobuz and very proudly ditch Tidal. I also have Amazon Prime and Spotify, so I have options with Amazon HD and Spotify HiFi when it’s available as well.

I will be the contrarian. I recently upgraded to the DCS Rossini DAC and Clock. Besides being an upgrade from the DSD it allowed me to consolidate 3 pieces of equipment into 2. The Rossini also is a full MQA renderer.

I tried Qobuz when first released in the US but dropped it quickly because the catalog was abysmal compared to Tidal. I am sure it has improved since then(it has to of improved). Classical and Jazz matter little to me unless it is solo piano or in the case of Jazz piano based(piano trio) and I can find enough to satisfy me on Tidal. I have tried Qoubuz twice and perhaps because I have been on Tidal for so long that my ears and brain are trained(some of you will say compromised) that I prefer the SQ of Tidal to Qoubuz.

Finally there is a financial component. Right now you can get a full year of Tidal Hi-Fi at Best Buy for $99.99. I had some gift cards available to me so I am enjoying Tidal for $65 for the next year.

I listened to MQA for a few weeks. Ever since, I make sure nothing MQA resides on my hard drive. After all, I don’t want my FLAC and DSD files to get contaminated. And I dropped Tidal.

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MQA vs FLAC, Vinyl vs Digital, HDD vs Streaming, Betamax vs VHS, etc., etc., etc. WHY does it seem that the first is the hottest debate of all?? Dang, it’s worse than Duke vs Carolina!! And, IMHO, the lamest argument against MQA is that it will rob us of our freedom to choose (Although not one person has given a logical argument as to how [I’m the biggest FLAC.DSD nerd out there]) Everyone, chill out, relax and have a homebrew. And let everyone listen to whatever they want in peace.

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Maybe the fact that Apple will shortly be announcing lossless streaming @ $9.99 / mo.?