The sound of QoBuz vs Tidal CD quality only

DomT

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I have been listening to QoBuz for two days now and something has struck me about it’s sound. I don’t mean HiRes vs non HiRes. I mean the inherent sound of QuBoz.

Obviously QoBuz play the files that they are given but I have noticed that albums have a softer sound than the ‘same’ album on Tidal. In fact Tidal albums sound close to my ripped CDs and QoBuz doesn’t; Qobuz is softer, more rounded, and slightly more relaxed. And this has happened with each album that I have compared so far for example Japan’s Gentlemen Take Polaroids - have a listen to the opening of Methods of Dance, the tone and punch of the bass drum is different as is the soundstage and sound of the sax. It seems to be something other than different versions. It’s not as though there are that many versions of the albums that I have compared.

I am listening on Auralic Altair G1 via ARC SP17, Quad 909 and Harbeth P3ESR so this isn’t exactly a hyper revealing system and yet the difference is clearly there it’s so obvious that no effort is required to discern the difference. I haven’t had time to check on the other system yet.

What have you guys found?
 

Sumdumgi

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I agree with you. I’m not really impressed with Qobuz CD quality or actually much of their HiRes either. I’ve just completed another 3 months with Qobuz and I felt the whole experience a bit flat. This is the second extended period with it, the first was beset with software problems with Bluos which took a while for Bluos to resolve. I’ve gone back to Tidal as I received a free 3 month period after buying a Primare I15 for a second system. I do think Tidal is a little more ‘lively’ though in reality I’m not sure that either are so much better than Spotify, particularly as the best user experience for me is Spotify.

Maybe I’m getting old and my hearing has diminished more in recent years but my ripped CDs and Spotify satisfy my listening fix. I won’t keep Tidal after the 3 months free. Will I be missing out - I’m not bothered to be honest, I love my music but have spent far too much time worrying about getting the best quality and now I’m focussed on the most enjoyment.
 

garn63

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Am guessing it, like most things hifi, is system/ears dependent then ?
My spkrs are vibrant/revealing so Qobuz plays nice for me. Smoother ? I dont know, but I like the Innuos presentation also. Don't feel I am missing anything.
I tend to follow my own nose & would hope others do too. It's how we (individually) would like the signal presented to us for enjoyment isn't it ?
Was happy with Deezer & their catalogue and would be happy with that again if it was available. Using Qobuz at the mo.
Perhaps it is indicative of having so much choice, but if I am honest I think streaming can be pretty good these days. Or is it my rolled off ears ;)
 
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ChemMan

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Approximately two years ago, I had both services for three months. I used BluOS to create a playlist with the four different file types from the same album. In this case, I used "time out of mind" from Steely Dan's Gaucho.

They were all very slightly different, but there was no way for me to say one was better than another. As I randomized the mini playlist, there was no way to tell which one was playing, and frankly it didn't matter.

Later I connected the CD player and tried some A/B. Similar results: Negligible differences and no preference.

We also tried my wife's Spotify account vs Tidal for an evening. For my money, the sound quality of Spotify was the Dog's Breakfast compared to Tidal.

On my system, in my room, there is absolutely zero difference between HR and CD quality.
 
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DomT

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I actually quite like the sound of Qobuz because it’s doing an impression of a turntable. It has a more organic sound. But as before one person’s ‘clear difference’ is another’s ‘are you kidding!’ But I remain puzzled about the difference as it’s unexpected.
 

Nopiano

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I’ve not compared for a couple of years. I started out with Qobuz in the early days, maybe six years ago. Then I tried Tidal on a trial when the prices shot up.

Couldn’t really say there was a difference that bothered me, but around the same time I encountered two dealers who were switching to Qobuz for SQ reasons. Soon afterwards, much keener pricing was launched and I’ve stuck with Qobuz.

Must try comparing a few CDs sometime, especially as I can level match fairly well with my preamp.
 

ChemMan

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I actually quite like the sound of Qobuz because it’s doing an impression of a turntable. It has a more organic sound. But as before one person’s ‘clear difference’ is another’s ‘are you kidding!’ But I remain puzzled about the difference as it’s unexpected.
Interesting. As both services are the same price I liked the availability of Jazz/Classical better on Qobuz, but felt they were both difficult to search for specific Classical stuff. Part of the reason I read HiFi equipment reviews is to find new music, and it's tough to run down a lot of the classical.

I also like Qobuz for all of the stuff you can read; liner notes if you will. But I'm recently enjoying the My Mix function on Tidal. I'm to the point where My Mix 1 knows what to play in the morning and My Mix 2 is good for reading. This is becoming priceless.
 
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karlsushi

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There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Qobuz sounds better than Spotify.

Qobuz vs Tidal is not something I've done back to back, but if there is a difference, it is very small on my system/s and not worth worrying about. Like others, my preference for Qobuz was largely to do with the nature of the catalogues, but they are much of a muchness really and I could live happily with either.

There are still tracks/albums you can't find on Qobuz on occasion, so I do use other sources from time-to-time (e.g. spotify, bandcamp, youtube etc), if that's the only place I can find something I'm interested in hearing.

Accessing music sources anywhere on the internet (rather than being restricted to whichever apps a streamer has available) is one of the main reasons I still use a laptop as a source.

Then, if there's an album I really like, I get it downloaded in FLAC on my hard drive for safe keeping and for guaranteed stability on playback.
 
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