Qobuz vs Tidal compared

I know it has been discussed several times & many seem to prefer Qobuz over Tidal. What I find strange - almost all reviews from professional mags to independent testers (whathifi, Rolling Stone, etc) seem to prefer Tidal and/or make out no significant difference at all - so basically pros seem to find things exactly the other way round.

Further Tidal has a library that exceeds Qobuz by miles - at least when I compare my playlist.

As I have subscribed to both on full hi-res at the moment I would like to hear what it is that makes you prefer Qobuz - just being curious and wanting to test things for myself.

Best,

I do not like MQA and my Linn Klimax DSM/3 does not support it natively, and this is the main reason why I drop Tidal in favor of Qobuz.

So it is the MQA, not the SQ difference or cost of subscription or the size of the library.

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… okay - thats an argument.

I’m running both in parallel at the moment and they both have a place for me with each one having pros and cons.

TIDAL is a long way ahead in terms of songs availability for the genres that I like (library), suggestions (Track Radio, Masters Track Radio, Artist Radio, Producer Mix, My Mixes, My Daily Discovery) and UI. Ignoring MQA for a moment, TIDAL FLACs deliver a really engaging sound. In fact, it’s engaging to the point of distraction if I am streaming TIDAL all day in the background while I work. There’s an emotional pull to the music. Having said that, it can become fatiguing after a while.

MQA works really well for me for offline listening on my DAP. The space saved on my micro-SD card for large offline TIDAL playlists is substantial. TIDAL’s management of the DAP’s filesystem for offline content appears to be a lot better than Qobuz so there’s far less lag in my DAP.

Qobuz as a desktop app is hard work, to be honest. Coming from TIDAL the UI is all over the place, there’s a distinct lack of useful suggestions and I find it difficult to find songs that I like.

However, the sound from Qobuz is like velvet, it’s like honey. So smooth and endearing. There isn’t the emotional pull from the music that I get with TIDAL. The music doesn’t distract me while I’m working. I can listen to Qobuz all day long and enjoy having the music in the background.

So, to summarise: TIDAL for a quick engaging fix of music, Qobuz for all day relaxing listening. I like both, but for different reasons.

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I wonder what it is that would make Qobuz so different - do they use other masters?

@Christoph_Longree

You’ve opened pandora’s box as many did before you, including myself :slight_smile:

Listen to whatever sounds best to you. It’s your money, your ears and your time. Best not to ask others as you will hear so many different opinions, you’ll end up even more confused :upside_down_face:

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Qobuz does not modify the recorded music in away, whereas Tidal deliberately change the SQ by MQA. Whether you like the distorted MQA sound is another matter.

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Tidal simply makes the bigger wave :wink: and with more money and power comes better reviews. Sometimes the more frequent ads are enough to change a professional magazine’s mind.

The reason why Qobuz or Tidal is preferred is due to technology (with/without MQA) and content (breadth/mass/selection). Some things are only offered by Tidal, others are only available on Qobuz.

A recommendation system can only be found at Tidal, but this only works for me after old (Spotify) hearts. Small offline files are also more helpful for some mobile customers, here Oobuz has a traditional whole album based “living room philosophy”.

Hip-hop is at the top with Tidal, classical, jazz is finely selected with Qobuz.

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I actually also have the impression that Qobuz has smoother/warmer sound - even whem comparing 44.1/16 FLAC… not sure why this should be so though…

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Tidal apps are miles ahead of Qobuz, especially for mobile. Tidal uses MQA, which sounds fine in my setup but many (including me) don’t support their business model and practices.

Qobuz needs roon as a front end, and with roon Qobuz is nice and sounds excellent. No mobile solution, though. Only the Qobuz app which is sub-par compared to all the others. They offer true, unaltered hi-res for those who want it. Qobuz has a nice download store for those who want to purchase a permanent license. But their apps are buggy and missing many features. They seem small, understaffed and underfunded, and struggle to develop new features. Their apps are basic and fine for those who only want to find an album and play the whole thing. With roon, at home, this isn’t such a big deal. (I have roon+qobuz and never use their apps.)

I haven’t noticed any big disparities between their catalogs for pop, rock and contemporary jazz. Qobuz seems to have mostly caught up.

I would not call them PRO’s. I think you talk of marketing pro’s.

Biggest difference is the price: €240 vs €130/ on a yearly basis.

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Tidal does not offer pure and simple hires material.
I have a number of 24/192 albums directly in Qobuz.
Tidal does not.

That’s about it, for my tastes I really do not see any huge difference in album availability.

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@R_Neal MQA sounds fine too - I have a Gustard A18 DAC that is a full decoder and the sound is great. I’m currently on a trial of Qobuz and will likely subscribe annually since I’m also going to subscribe to Roon once I have got some hardware up and running. That should obviate some of the deficiencies I find with the Qobuz UI.

I agree about the Qobuz Store - I have purchased hundreds of songs in FLAC and Hi-Res format from there over the last year and have been very happy with the experience.

Hopefully with Roon, the Qobuz experience will be elevated. From an audio quality point of view, I like all formats that TIDAL and Qobuz deliver.

When Qobuz discovers the equator we should discuss this again !!(Aus & NZ Excepting)

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I love the idea of Qobuz, it’s recommended albums for me have been second to none. So many they’ve pointed out that I would never have listened to. Their panoramas and “the taste of qobuz” section are fantastic.

That being said, their app is absolutely terrible. It is baffling to me how a streaming service today can’t sort albums from EPs and Singles.That alone bugs me enough to the point where I can’t use it.

Tidal has the “feed” feature that is fantastic, click the bell and you see a long stream of only artists you follow,what they have released. Something I used to have to use a separate app to track. They’ve also recently rolled out a daily discovery playlist that, at least to me, has been on par with Spotify in terms of algorithmic selection.

While I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this, I actually think Tidals app is now better than Spotify. Less clutter, more of what I want to listen to.

Given Roon doesn’t go mobile, the app matters.

this is my problem with Tidal. They only give me what I already put hearts on. Almost nothing new to discover. That’s how almost all competitors work or don’t have anything yet that works comparably well even after months.

I’ve found that Tidal does suggest new albums for me, the daily discovery works really well and I’ve found plenty of new music from the “Suggested New Albums” section.

Another area I’ve found works really well for discovering new music is this kind of section:

The first two options are really similar, one is from the actual artist and the next one is a different artist but is really close to what I like about the album I was listening to. As I scroll along, it strays farther from the original album but is still in the same vein, electronic.

This should be implemented by the end of this year according to Qobuz staff. They’re also working on a connect functions as Tidal and Spotify have. I was told a “big update” is in the works.

I could not agree more with you. Love or hate Tidal, their UI (to me) is the best out there.

I ditched Tidal for Qobuz a while back. Am not sold on MQA and that is the main reason for leaving Tidal. Am very happy with Qobuz.

I use Qobuz via Roon and also in the native android app on my DAP for offline albums when travelling.

As a side note I also use YouTube Music on my DAP and for streaming in the car. I prefer YouTube Music to Spotify.

Qobuz and YouTube music ticks all the boxes I need.

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none of this is new, just imitation


recommended for me because I heard this or that


additionally similar artists


additionally a comparable timeline


zusätzlich spezielle Albenempfehlungen
zusätzlich länger nicht gehört mal wieder anhören

and of course many personal mixes that always bring half really new for me

I hope Valence is soon ready to surpass that.

I have tried everything, no competitors left out for months. The recommendations are worse for me everywhere. Often they just trick me into offering exactly the really good stuff I’ve handpicked myself transferred from Spotify. I always lack the plus here I benefit in a different way from Roon.