If you haven’t already seen or heard, Qobuz, a french music streaming company, has relatively recently (since about late 2019) branched out to offer its services to the US market. That means there is now high resolution streaming in the US. Specifically, up to 24-bit 192kbps resolution streaming, that was not available before. In other words, quality music streaming. And, best to mention, I now have access to actual high resolution music at my finger tips. Truthfully, a family member is subscribed and I’m just using that to be able to test systems and what not at the highest quality without having that as a limiting factor.
Either way, this is just me saying that we now have access to high resolution music streaming, and that I’m giving my thoughts and mentions in this little review. To be specific, this is for their Studio Premier plan, that does not offer the option of buying tracks at reduced price, and as such, I will give my thoughts on the services offered from Qobuz for their Studio Premier subscription.
Like I said, I am not the one paying for the subscription. A family member is. However, he has allowed me use of it, and I am glad to report that the quality is overall great. There are subtle differences from Tidal as I’ve experienced it, and the Spotify subscription I use for my daily listening that I also have a student discount for (with a great library if I might add). If we are talking about value, in terms of personal value with these 3 music streaming subscription services, I find the most value in the Spotify service, as my student discount brings the price down more than half of the original cost. however, the ability to stream with the utmost of quality is a superb thing. With certain more sensitive systems, the difference and jump in price is 100% worth it.
To elaborate, If I were to compare the actual sound quality with the same songs I can find on all three platforms, the same song played on Spotify is generally warm and bass-heavy, while Tidal is colder (but not thin by any means) with what seems like slight bass emphasis, and Qobuz is the “coldest” sounding, which is relatively sharp to listen to, but the details in my opinion is much much better than Tidal when volume, depth and amount is called for in a track. It gives a more transparent impression for sure. I did notice that Tidal and Qobuz does still update their library with newer songs, and even branching out to more of the kpop that I just personally like to listen to. The most complete by a far stretch is still Spotify for the library, but Tidal has been catching up in certain aspects. Qobuz will the the last among the three in terms of the amount of songs from my perspective, but 70 million is still no small feat, featuring high resolution version of quite a number of songs my dad uses as references for his critical listening in his system, which, makes it so convenient to just sit and listen. And you might wonder, these services present a different sound to the same song? Yes, believe it or not, and you’ll have to listen to them to see what I mean.
If there is one thing that Qobuz does well in terms of educating their potential and current customers, I must say they have a great simplified way of letting their customers know that the best way to experience their music streaming is to have the right equipment, which is 100% true. You guys know about these equipment from my previous articles, and in many ways, I think their simple way of explaining with graphics definitely trumps my wordy explanation. Simply put, if you want to experience high resolution music streaming of 24-bit 192kbps, you’ll need a capable DAC of converting this format which then leads to speakers that are powered, in simple terms. Of course you can add anything in the middle such as amplifiers, for non-active speakers, definitely think about a sub to complete the sound spectrum. I think, even if it’s by coincidence, I’ve set my system up quite perfectly for playing back high resolution audio presented by Qobuz, and it definitely shows in my comparison of the services I’ve had experience with.
I must also mention, I have also tried Qobuz on my phone, which is connected to a portable USB-C DAC and headphone amplifier that is able to output to a max of 24-bit 192kbps which I have mentioned I had gotten sometime ago because of my need with my phone. I connected them to my V-Moda Crossfade Wireless II in wired mode which is certified Japan Audio society High resolution capable, and that also presents a distinguishable quality in that everything is portrayed relatively effortlessly at higher volumes, as well as the transparency, soundstage and instrument separation as I’ve found in my own stereo system as well.
As I have mentioned before with higher bit-rates, accuracy and subtle nuances are much better distinguished. However, there is a maximum to that distinction, as not all songs feature speed of note changes or the staccato speed of classical pieces. However you can also tell with how instruments are separated, how the sound stage is presented, and the sharpness of the image of the stage with higher bit-rates, as everything becomes more effortlessly clear with the right equipment in my experience.
And that is exactly what Qobuz offers. A high resolution experience (although a criticism is that the maximum 24bit 192kHz format is rare and far between), as it may not offer much in terms of the past songs, or niche genres. When it does offer, then, the detail is in then in the quality of equipment and the ability of them. In terms of the CD Quality, they are better than Tidal in my opinion, providing just ever slightly more detail with a slightly colder sound characteristics in comparison, which makes it seem more transparent. However, if you are looking for the song quantity, both are still quite severely lacking compared to Spotify. However, between the CD quality streaming services, Tidal wins out in this category by a little more. However, all of these services do offer free trials, so if you are really unsure which ones fits your listening preferences the most, do try the trials as they offer the best judgment experience as everyone listens to their own unique set of tracks that cater to their likes and priorities. Finally as a disclaimer, I am in no way sponsored by Tidal or Spotify. I pay for them (well my dad for Qobuz and Tidal, and Spotify myself), out of my own pocket and these are just recollections of my experiences with their services and applications (I need to add this experience in the article above).
However, this post was also done because I am now an affiliate with Qobuz! If you’d like to check them out, even if it’s just for a free trial, use the affiliate link below, there’s no extra cost, but it’ll help me out for my future endeavors! And until the next time, stay safe, stay respectful, stay passionate guys!You have the best Hi-Fi equipment; you deserve the best sound. Experience your music in 24-bit Hi-Res quality with Qobuz streaming and downloads. Get a free trial now.