Best audio source for HQ Player with Roon

Hi all,

This might be a noob question and if it was answered already, please let me know (I couldn’t find anything).

If one were to buy the favorite albums on Qobuz for a future use with HQ Player and Roon with a DAC like, for example, the Holo Spring 3, what source type would be best? The standard CD quality or one of the Hi-Res formats (96khz / 192khz)?

Thank you!

imho, The real answer is the best mastering that is available for that release. A fantastic mastering at CD quality will sound better than a lousy one in higher resolution.


Makes sense, but what about for the same master? Could a specific hi-res version actually sound worse with HQ Player + Roon + DAC?

Leave HQPlayer out of the equation for this. Buy two copies of the same mastering in different resolutions and see if you can hear a difference without using HQPlayer. If you do, then go with the version you think sounds best.

The original resolution of the master should be the better one, this information is frequently available

Interesting! Is there a specific website with the information? I haven’t noticed this information on Qobuz or HDTracks, for example.

You should dig a bit … label site, specialized magazines and so on

NativeDSD includes original format (even if they would happily sell you DSD1024 of something natively recorded in 24/384 DXD format)…

I believe at least a while ago they even had a free download of the same track(s) in different formats for easy comparison.

Hold your nose and prepare your anus. Life is not what you make it…

Maybe not sound worse, but I’ve seen plenty of hi-res on Qobuz and Apple Music, that are fake.

i.e. they show bandwidth of CD quality but have been up-sampled to a higher sample rate.

I’m not saying it is audible but in those example, the CD quality is sufficient - HQPlayer will do a better upsampling than the studio (unless they are using HQPlayer Pro version).

The only way you will know is by analyzing.

I did it as an experiment when hi-res really went mainstream (Apple Music) but it is a tiring process to do every week obviously.

After my several weeks of analysis, I now know enough to not automatically trust a hi-res release is real.

I actually brought this to the attention of Jussi and there are some filters in HQPlayer now to (try to) combat fake hi-res

This is not a new issue - fake hires has been seen on HDTracks and Qobuz a long time ago. But as I mentioned, Apple took hi-res mainstream (giving it out for free for existing customers - Amazon copied the same the very next day) recently. So the amount of fakes has increased a lot.

Only way to know is run a spectral analysis. You likely can’t tell by ear. SO then someone would say, if you can’t tell by ear, why worry? Well if you are buying music, often the hi-res copy costs more than the CD quality.

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Thank you for this great answer which addresses the doubt that I had.

I think bringing all answers so far together, it can be summarized as: If it is verified that the hi-res resolution stems directly from the master, the hi-res version should be better than the cd version. Otherwise, it might be safer to get the cd version and take care of the signal processing yourself (less likely to get value for money and potentially worse).

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Overall, my generic recommendation is to buy the original recording/mastering format. This is not always known though.


That’s the issue, I would mainly be interested in reissued old albums which may or may not have been retransferred / remastered. I guess that when in doubt, save the money and just go with the cd version.

If you’re willing to do the research to find the right master I would not buy from Qobuz. As far as I know, they don’t supply enough info to determine exactly what it is you’re buying.

On the other hand… Qobuz Sublime gives you deep discounts on almost all their high-resolution content making the hi-rez click easy if you don’t care and just want to hope the higher resolution, if available, has that little extra magic.

I’m in the don’t care camp. If I want to buy something I don’t want to start yet another hobby with now having to determine what exact mastering / release I’m trying to buy. This puts me in the corner of the room of people who don’t know what they are missing and I’m good over here :slight_smile:

Audiophilestyle has done some nice write-ups comparing releases of iconic albums though.

Or find the original CD and rip it.


I think that my oldest physical CD version of DSOTM is the best RedBook version, also from technical perspective.

When I have time, I need to compare it against the latest hires versions.

There was a short time of magic when a few artists took the opportunity to really embrace SACD by going back into the engineering room and seeing what they could do. Brother’s in Arms, DSOTM, Wish you were here, etc. A few of these masterings later became digital downloads.

Wait a few years and people will tell you the best version is the Atmos version. I’m not sure I’m happy with that.

One of the worst so far. 88.2/24 “hires”. Just one track, but I think the source is 128 kbps MP3 file upsampled to 88.2k (using rather poor algorithm):

P.S. MP3 spec says that for 128 kbps and lower it may make sense to limit bandwidth to 16 kHz. Many MP3 encoders do this, but not all. This is because higher the frequency, more bitrate it takes to encode it. And if highest frequencies are encoded at lower bitrates they may end up starving the bit alloocator.

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Ha that is bad.

What track and album?

I’d love to compare Apples vs Qobuz vs Tidal

It is one of the tracks from Madonna’s Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones album. Of course this album is collection of tracks from very old recordings up to the very latest. But many of these are DJ mixes, so while casually listening this while reading the forums, I just ended up spotting this one.

So far most tracks seem to be upsamples from 44.1k.

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I already engaged the 20 kHz “cut the crap” filter for this album. :sweat_smile:

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