ONLY audio/streaming quality TIDAL QOBUZ

Is there finally a conclusion just above the pure audio quality from both services played with Roon of course with the sources?

@RobertW, it’s unclear what you are asking.

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A final conclusion which one “sounds better” without considering catalog or other aspects I’m sure. Because we have no threads about that and a final conclusion is surely just around the corner :slight_smile:

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Do you mean which one sounds better? That’s pretty subjective.

Lol in 10 characters

But I’ll play nice: I think the answer is no due to subjective preferences and differences in hardware.

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I’ve conducted some null tests comparing Qobuz, Tidal, and Apple Music over the past year. When doing null tests of rips from the same masters, the differences are minuscule, just very faint high frequencies far down in level. By any objective standard, these differences are inaudible in normal listening. This explains why there is no consensus; there is no meaningful difference.

If either the masters or your signal paths are different when making the comparisons, then of course there can be audible differences.

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Thanks everybody for your thoughts. Sorry when the question isn’t easy to understand. I want to know if there is a different in sound when the SAME music source will be played through/with Roon. Just compare the sound, nothing else. Of coarse I speak from streaming hires music and critical listening.

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No you will find all opinions on this site. You will find the following.

  1. There can be no difference so long as the masters are the same as bits are bits.
  2. Qobuz sounds better to me
  3. Tidal sounds better to me
  4. I cannot hear any difference
  5. Subjective tests are meaningless
  6. I don’t care one sounds better to me
  7. Apple music sounds better
  8. Qobuz sounds better though its own app than through Roon
  9. New versions of Roon sound better
  10. But others think the same version sound worse than previous ones

This is just 10 off the top of my head. And of course, you will get views like it depends on your equipment and how your core is connected.

See these recent threads for some samples of this kind of conversation which really goes nowhere fast, there have been many over the years.

Qobuz vs Tidal compared - Audio Gear Talk / Music Services - Roon Labs Community

Apple Music better sound quality than Tidal? - Audio Gear Talk / Music Services - Roon Labs Community

Sound quality of Qobuz via Roon vs Qobuz direct - Roon Software Discussion - Roon Labs Community

So sorry no conclusion at all.

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In the Tidal / MQA case the bits are of course different, so cue the debate if MQA is better :wink:

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That’s an easy one! Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. :wink:

I think you have to draw your own conclusion in the end. So many variables in play with marginal differences to compare. But it is important. Time is precious and you don’t want to feel like you’re missing out on a better experience. You listen to a song you’ve heard a bunch of times before and suddenly, it sounds better than ever! “What?! Why?!” Then you waste an inordinate amount of your precious time trying to find out. “Are others hearing this too?” It’s completely irrational. But weirdly enjoyable.

Once more a big THANKS to all memebers here.
I will wait now longer … ;-)) Maybe ROON/TIDAL(as i own it) will make a “better” sound in the future.
BUT it was more a principle question,
iam extremly happy with my sound thanks Meridian,Trinnov Tidal and Roon.
Cheers

Totally agree with you.

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Get a trial for both and just go with the one you prefer. But to me they both sound exactly the same and Tidal wins because of a better algorithm and UI.

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Subscribe to both. I generally prefer Qobuz sound to Tidal. But will listen to some Tidal MQA. I really prefer Qobuz music selection options however.

I’ve decided to downgrade my Tidal subscription from Hifi+ to the standard Hifi.

Even though I have one DAC that fully supports MQA, all my equipment in the rest of my apartment does not.

I always felt very hard pressed to spot differences in SQ. So the money saved by downgrading I can now use for something different. In my case funding an annual subscription of Deezer.

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In the view from outside looking in, an audiophile stereotyped is that of some who seeks the holy grail and will go to no end to find it. Nothing wrong with that, each to their own.

What I’m attempting to say, but badly, is I’m a musicphile. Music first, always have been. I don’t think I’ve lived a day without listening to music for the sheer enjoyment, love and toe tapping it brings.

With my limiting factors of life (cost, wife) my listening equipment is not “high end” but for me is good enough to get the most enjoyment out of my music tastes.

I believe, feel we get too caught up in “which sounds best” but there’s nothing wrong with anyone who constantly strives to better the SQ.

I occasionally, mainly in my van, listen to music on Spotify. With Roon Arc this is less so, but Tidal occasionally doesn’t have an album I want to listen to.

Many will say it, the mastering process matters more. I agree.

Null tests do reveal slight differences between streams of lossless tracks. Whilst mostly the results are not much in difference, I do think this audible difference (the track without) may reduce the dynamic of a track compared to the one without the difference. Hope that makes sense.

Might be going sideways on this topic, but I think it’s relevant, just.

Roon for me is more important than which streaming service I should use. The user experience matters much more to me. Roon gives me a single UI across all my systems/devices. Before being a Lifer, and before knowing of Roon I used Spotify 100% of the time for its Connect function. At times I did get a twitch in my neck over SQ, but enjoyment of music took over.

I use Tidal almost exclusively but do not like their native app, Android or iOS. With Roon and Roon Arc this doesn’t matter. The SQ of Tidal is great. So is Qobuz.

I’m sure if my systems were more “high end” (hate using that, but I think we all know what it means) I’d have a more revealing system where source content may matter more as SQ differences would/could be more audible.

I have tinnitus and a slight hearing loss so seeking the extra SQ doesn’t, to me seem necessary.

FWIW, my systems are Sonos Fives (stereo pair), HomePods (stereo pair), Apple TVs via Sonos Soundbars and a good ole RPi4 > Topping E30 > Schiit Magni 3 > HiFiMan Sundaras. AirPod Pros😂 and a few other items. These provide me more than enough musical joy.

Whilst some enjoy the car they drive and the journey they take, I prefer looking at the scenery.

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I’m more of a musicphile myself as well. Until last year I was just happy using USB sound cards and my good nearly 20 year old hifi setup.

Only about half a year a go did I start upgrading my gear. Which culminated in my new setup in the living room, which I have posted in the relevant topic.

But my main listening setup is now basically.

Cambridge Audio CXNv2 → Marantz M-CR612 → Dali Spektor 2 speakers.

My secondary (MacBook Pro)

iFi Zen DAC V2 → PreSonus Eris E4.5 BT monitor speakers.

And I have a WiiM Mini, and 2 Harman Kardon Citation One speakers throughout the house. Which connect to Roon through AirPlay. The Marantz can also be approached by Roon through AirPlay as well.

Good enough for me. As stated before, Tidal sounds good enough to me with the basic Hifi subscription. So Qobuz, Tidal and Deezer do it for me. I also have Apple Music, through my Apple One subscription, but I’m not using that a lot.

Even though Deezer only offers 16 bit/44.1 kHz, it sounds very good. And have an excellent catalog. In my opinion their app beats the Qobuz and Tidal ones by far. And as icing on the cake, my Cambridge has full support for the service. Just too bad that Roon does not. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Since Tidal delivers lossy MQA, I would always go with Qobuz. Qobuz only delivers lossless, bit perfect audio and has promised to do so in the future. I’m not claiming that MQA sounds significantly worse than lossless codecs, but for peace of mind I wouldn’t accept lossy codecs out of principle.

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