Will be running through a PC with Audivarna to SGCD, Emotiva XPA-100 monoblocks, and Maggie LRS’s (prolly to go to 1.7’s in a bit). Does one service sound better? More features? Etc? New to streaming high end music.
IMO, there are just too many variables (system details, file types, network configurations, streamers, file resolution, recording quality, renderers, etc.) for someone to make a definitive declaration as to which service sounds better.
Where these services do shine (for me) is having them piggy-backed on my Roon Core program situated on my iMac desktop. Having all of my personal music files AND the libraries of Qobuz and Tidal curated, organized and accessed via Roon is a real treat, and I like looking up specific music and exploring via Roon at home much better then working with the services’ desktop and mobile applications. Roon radio is particularly great for exploring and meandering without any active guidance having both of these services.
I am getting long winded so I’ll close by saying that it has been my experience that individual album and track recording quality (and sometimes the “resolution” of different recordings/tracks) matter more than whether the music is sourced from one service or the other, in terms of sound quality. If you are not going to use Roon, and you have to pick one services or the other, then I would make my choice based not the following factors (in descending order):
- “Strength” of the library (which one has more of what you like)
- User Interface
Its all “good”.
Or if you go with an Aurender product, their Conductor App integrates the collection on your hard drive, Qobuz, and Tidal, so you are using same interface and search function for all three sources. Playlists seamlessly integrate tracks from all three, but the depth of the Roon metadata and other features are not there.
Like Scotte1, I find that recording quality overwhelms any differences in SQ inherent in the services. Although I find hi-res albums on Qobuz to be quite nice. Can’t speak for MQA on Tidal, though, as I’m not set up to decode those tracks. I’m currently running both services as I find that there is a larger gap in content than I initially expected. (sigh) If I can’t find an album on one of the services, it is usually on the other.
The input to my DS Sr. DAC that I use is Bridge II so I do have the added benefit of “full unfolding” of MQA files. That said (I don’t tend to seek particular resolutions or MQA files and do comparisons, so take this with a grain of salt), recording quality and musicianship generally trumps resolution, MQA or non-MQA, etc., in my experience to date.
Nevertheless, Qobuz has a much higher percentage of uncompressed hi-res FLAC tracks than Tidal, and does not use MQA’s lossy compression.
I use Roon and I’m now a lifetime member. I pretty much gave up waiting for PS Audio’s Octave release. When it comes out I’ll reevaluate it’s features/value proposition. My concern with Octave is that it will be a work in progress and I don’t feel like being a guinea pig, debugging software. I use both Tidal and Qobuz. Both are rock solid with a wired Ethernet connection on a 1GB service that I have. I’ve not had problems with either on mobile apps. I use Apple Ipads and Ipad Pro’s and Apple phones. All are solid with either app. Tidal’s is better developed than Qobuz’s current offering.
You’re choice could be driven by the type of music that you enjoy. For me, Jazz, soft rock and some blues is primarily what I listen to. Qobuz has higher bitrate offerings. Tidal has MQA but that’s a red herring. MQA is nothing about mastering but it’s about compression and DRM.
I find a lot of JAZZ on both services. There is some overlap. I’d try both’s introductory offerings and see which will work for you.
“I’d try both’s introductory offerings and see which will work for you.”
This is good advice. ^^
I have Tidal and Qobuz.
Why do I have both?
Qobuz doesn’t have a lot of songs I want to listen to.
I make playlists on Spotify then convert them to Qobuz and Tidal. usually 95-100% of songs are available on Tidal. Sometimes lower than 70% songs transfer to Qobuz.
Tidal has a family plan so my siblings and mom have personal accounts. Makes it very economical.
I’m not a fan of MQA I generally find Qobuz sounds better.
I’m really looking forward to Qobuz increasing their catalog. I’m really rooting for Qobuz to do well.
I like the way Qobuz lays things out more than Tidal.
I use Roon to stream both.
Does Qobuz do artists based radio station, algorithm generated, playlist like Spotify and Pandora? I don’t think so…
Since I use Roon I don’t know about that functionality. I don’t think Qobuz has it. They do have curated playlists. I rarely browse them. I have enjoyed a few I’ve selected.
What sort of genre(s) do you listen to, primarily?
a vast range of genres. Sorry not much help.
Actually, it does. If you have broad listening tastes and find that Quobuz does not offer a satisfying experience, it says something about maybe it not being a first choice for a large variety of music.
I had Tidal for about a year, then switched to Qobuz a year ago. I am a Roon user. It’s very rare that Qobuz doesn’t have something I’m looking for, but it depends on what your tastes. Qobuz has great quality IMHO and their playlists have come a long way in recent months.
I still prefer qobuz even with the tracks I cannot get. I also use roon the very very few times when a song just doesn’t sound right it’s always tidal. For straight SQ i would choose Qobuz.
I also get “track not available anymore” with tidal and then sometimes it’s available on qobuz.
If you have some playlists with spotify you can share them and i can show you what percent get transferred to Tidal and Qobuz.
It just occurred to me that a lot of the tracks that are not available on qobuz are newer and emerging artists. Think artists who are starting out and using bandcamp to sell their music.
I am in the Qobuz camp, has what I want for the most part, SQ seems a tad better to my ears/system, and the interface is convenient. I would suggest trials of both then decide on what works for you. In two months you’ll be able to decide.
This seems to be one of those topics that keeps coming back up. The only way to decide is to try both for yourself. I have both and I use Tidal more. I was only using Tidal and then tried Qobuz given all of the “Qobuz sounds the best, etc.”. To me some tracks sound better on Qobuz and some on Tidal. When my Qobuz trail ran out I didn’t renew as it just didn’t provide me enough value to justify paying for it in addition to Tidal. When Qobuz came out with the subscription special a while back I decided to give it another try. So now I have both again and they both have strengths I guess. I still find tracks on both that sound better. When my Qobuz special pricing runs out I don’t see myself renewing it. My kids are in college so I take advantage of the college pricing with Tidal.
I started off with Tidal, and was very happy with it, until I joined Qobuz.
I now use Qobuz almost exclusively, but I’ve maintained my Tidal subscription in order to optimise Roon radio (which I think is excellent), through which I’ve discovered a diverse array of new artists.
As others have reported, I find that occasionally Qobuz doesn’t have the album/artist I’m looking for, but IMO the SQ is generally superior on Qobuz.