Tidal or Qobuz

Many say Qobuz sounds better than Tidal, not Jay. 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viRfrUktBY - 3:58 to 6:42



I have subscriptions to both but use Tidal most often.  I don’t notice any difference in quality for the most part.  I think Jay is correct it matters which song/album you are listening to.  Tidal is getting rid of MQA and replacing them with FLAC versions at a higher bit rate in many instances.

Qobuz sounds better only on most popular stuff. The rest is inferior to Tidal at least on the stuff I normally listening to. 

I tested them both and could not tell a difference on my gear. I went with Qobuz just because I didnt like the history of how Tidal came to be (The Jay Z thing).

Recently switched from Tidal to Qobuz after Tidal shut down their discounted annual subscription.  Can’t distinguish a real sound difference between them…both are great.  I do miss Tidal’s much better music selection in Blues, Folk, Bluegrass, Rock.  Qobuz’s selection often can be a few albums if any while Tidal offers many if not all of an artists discography. Also, somewhat disappointed more music isn’t offered above 16/144. Higher Res offerings are quite an improvement.  Still a lot of love for both services and streaming!

Qobuz. Sound is slightly better and they have about 1/2 million high resolution albums versus fifty thousand or so for Tidal. 

I used to have both services. But, I compared multiple track of the same album (same provenance) on Tidal and Qobuz and found the latter to sound better. There are some tracks on Tidal that are not on Qobuz that I wish I had access to, but Qobuz sounds better, and has more than enough. Plus I found Tidal’s hip hop centric recommendations and playlists not to my liking. Nothing against the genre, but I’m more of a classical, jazz, and acoustic/folk fan. Qobuz for me.


MQA is simply unlistenable (to me). Heard enough of that in one night to last a lifetime and switched immediately to Qobuz. Conductor control app can be a pain, but the SQ, not to mention the breadth of catalogue . . .  no other streaming service (in my experience) comes close.

I have both, and I  find Qobuz to be slightly better. Honestly, if someone preferred the tidal interface, I'm not sure the difference that I hear would be decisive, at least, until you get it into your head that one is better than the other.
then, confirmation bias kicks in

Amazon unlimited lossless. Less money more music  better layout same sound quality

Tidal sounds better to me 90% of the time. Neither is perfect though. There are albums available on Tidal that you won’t find on Qobuz. If you can afford to keep both, that would be the way to go. 

Started with Tidal, now with Qobuz and also Amazon music for titles I can't find on Qobuz. As a plus, Amazon is amazingly good sounding even via Bluetooth.

Tried Qobuz first. I listen to a lot jazz and they were missing some classic, obvious recordings. Cancelled Qobuz and went with Tidal.  Much better catalog of the music I listen to. Both Qobuz and Tidal sound good to me. 

I started with Tidal when it first came out, and then tried Qobuz when it became available in the US.  I decided to keep both.  I listen through BluOS where the Tidal integration is much better than that of Qobuz.  I find that Tidal has more albums and artists that I listen to, and sometimes gets new albums sooner.  Qobuz, on the other hand, has more hi-res content.  Personally, I like the Tidal interface better, and I also use their suggested "mixes" to discover new music.  

I have noticed no significant sound quality difference between the two.  

I also have Apple Music which is included free with my cell phone contract.  I like the way Apple saves and sorts your favorite albums but, sadly, they don't want to make available their hi-res streaming to any third-party companies.  I only use it for headphone listening since I don't want to tether my iPhone or iPad to my stereo system.

I am pondering this myself, having just set up Roon. How is Tidal vs Qobuz in regards to their jazz catalog? I have developed a taste for Scandinavian jazz and would like to mine that a bit more. Secondly, I don’t always like to play albums, does one or the other offer or excel at curated ’radio’ stations? I think Roon will do this for me as well?

I've tried both with main listening system and found that I prefer the SQ of Qobuz.  The exception was with overly bright recordings, where I found that MQA seemed to smooth thing over.


Only way to find out is fire up a trial on both services and exploritate.  Then sign up for monthly if you need more time.  then cancel the weakling.  

I have both.  The only time I use the Tidal app is through CarPlay in the car.  In the house, I use Roon and Tidal, Qobuz, and my ripped CD collection for whole house stereo to wireless speakers throughout my house.  In my listenng room, I use Innous Sense with Tidal, Qobuz, and my ripped CD collection.  In general, I find Qobuz sounds much better.

I keep Tidal for several reasons (1) I get a veteran's discount, (2) I have a family plan, and (3) Tidal provides genre specific playlist based on my playlists and the music I play (60's, 70's, and 80's soul/R&B, contemporary jazz, and soft rock).  Qobuz provides playlists, but the genres are mixed together, which makes no sense to me.

In my listening room, I did A/B testing using Innous Sense against Qobuz HiRes tracks and Tidal MQA tracks of the same music.  Qobuz sounded much smoother - MQA didn't sound bad, Qobuz just sounded better.  I also did A/B testing using Innous Sense and Qobuz HiRes via my Innous streamer against Roon and Tidal MQA via the Bridge II card in my PS Audio DSD DAC.  Asside from sounding noticably better, Qobuz sounded quite a bit louder and richer.

I cancelled Tidal after using Qobuz and Tidal for about a year. Slightly better SQ but also the MQA nonsense was a turnoff. 

I'm going to try out Amazon HD thanks to this thread. 

Does anyone know where their respective servers are?

I wouldn’t be surprised if the difference of opinion relates more to data sped and loss and corruption getting  to where the listener is located than anything.  This is not necessarily geographic thing, but the greater the distance (typically) the more times the data switches hands before it gets where it is going.

If everything is working right, that won’t make a difference, but there is always something wrong somewhere.

I find Qobuz much better SQ on my reference system, very highly resolving with lots of digital bells and whistles, e.g., network switches, fanless silent mini with optimized settings, LPS, great DAC, balanced cables, big tube amp with lots of headroom, and  99dB speakers. Qobuz Interface however SUX.

Amazon HD good enough on my other four rigs, great interface, great recommendation logarithm, new releases drop quicker, more “fun.” I actually look at  Amazon on my phone to select content to pick on Qobuz! Qobuz bigger deeper soundstage, more stereo separation, depth, and detail. 

Haven’t tried Tidal, but based on thread sounds like Qobuz better SQ, pun intended.


I wouldn’t be surprised if the difference of opinion relates more to data sped and loss and corruption getting to where the listener is located... If everything is working right, that won’t make a difference, but there is always something wrong somewhere.

Streaming services such as Qobuz are using TCP/IP protocol, so the signal is bit-perfect to the user's modem or router and on to the streamer's cache. As for speed, you need very little even for hi-res audio - 20 Mpbs is way more than enough.

I have both TIdal and Qobuz. Tidal for years with the "master" account. I kept seeing videos and people saying Qobuz sounds better, so a year ago I also signed up for Qobuz. In my experience, Qobuz is the CLEAR winner (as far as sound quality goes). I still do experiments and confirm this by playing the same song back to back- one on Tidal and next on Qobuz. Tidal has nicer features and a bigger catalog, but 90% of what I listen to is on Qobuz. I'm afraid Tidal's subscription days are numbered since I use it less and less. 

Have had Tidal for years, got Qobuz also when Neil left Tidal, he has been back on Tidal but I kept Qobuz never thought about cancelling until now. Anyway, they both sound good, I feel Tidal sounds better for most recordings on my very revealing system. 

Lumen T2 Steamer/Mac Amps 275 X 2 in parallel/Mac Pre C2600/Klipsch Forte III's 



Amazon is the company people love to hate, but the simple fact is Amazon executes really well. Their delivery service is now bigger than FedEx or UPS, and they have addressed much of their employee issues with improved working conditions, better pay and benefits, most notably daycare and education. 

All that said, their streaming service is an equal competitor to Qobuz and Tidalin both selection and SQ. Not saying it is better or worse, but certainly you can't discuss the others without including Amazon. 

I pretty much agree with most about the difference between QoBuz and Tidal with QoBuz having slightly higher quality, same recording for same recording.  Both are good sources however after extensive listening to my favorite and familiar recordings, QoBuz seems to win out...  

Both excellent.  User interfaces and auto playlist algorithms are very different.  Qobuz interface and algorithms get me further out of my comfort zone and into newer recordings and artists. Tidal, less so. I use both to keep my listening fresh.

I completely disagree with Jay.  But I like his wall of speakers.

To my ears there is an obvious difference streaming thru an Innuos Nextgen Statement and the InnuOS Sense app. 

Qobuz is much closer to ripped files and is richer and more detailed than Tidal.

tidal uses MQA which really sucks because they crop out some of the upper and lower frequency and compress some of the quality of the sound. It's horrifying to use tidal because of this. Qobuz pure uncompress sound.

Although playlists are not so good on qobuz.

Spotify surprisingly has the best playlists and their interface is very nice but the quality sucks and we all know its really quite sad it is. 

roon is a nice thing to use to act as a host to qobuz as it provides a lot of commentary related to albums as part of its interface. I was able to import Spotify playlists into roon and that was a worthwhile thing to doAlthough the interface at times is kind of annoying only because they're not using humans when they design they use chimpanzees who really don't know what they're doing. 

So I did a Qobuz vs Tidal face-off about two months ago on a variety of tracks - and found that Tidal had more detail, more resolution, and sounded less compressed with everything I tried. Tidal had higher highs and lower lows. If Jay is right and it varies track to track which is better, then maybe I didn't try enough tracks, but Qobuz for me was inferior in exactly the same ways with every track I tried.

But my case may be much different as I'm based in Canada. Qobuz came to Canada just in May for the first time, and they did so by acquiring an existing company - I believe a small streaming service.  So it's possible that what I hear through Qobuz in Canada is not the same as what folks in the US hear - different data centres, possibly even different files.

@anzaanimalclinic and All, I wonder if other variables could be at play here. It seems many prefer Quobuz but also I think @jays_audio_lab has more than enough experience with ultra high end gear to be a trusted authority on the topic as well. As many of us have experienced, and while some others have mocked from the sidelines, there are so many variables that come into play, all of which play a part in the experience we perceive, which could very well be different for each of us.

I wonder if there are variables we are not aware of, for example, does it matter how far away we are from Qobuz’s and Tidal’s data centers? How many data centres does Tidal and Quobuz have? And would some locations serve higher quality than others?  And does user load on the data centers make a difference?  What if the data center is experiencing high demand? I know they would use all of the same source files. BUT…. If things like jitter, electrical noise, and vibration make a difference in our digital playback systems at home, maybe these things also have an impact in the data centres? I’m sure some will mock this notion; go ahead it’s fine! But for those who have experienced the often large effects of home tweakery, including control of AC noise, vibration and jitter, why would these things not matter at the source?

I initially went with Qobuz since I wanted high resolution PCM when available and not MQA. Now that Tidal has moved away from MQA to high resolution PCM, my advice would be to pick the service that has more of the music you prefer. I think 99.99% of the folks using these services will not be able to detect sound quality differences, if any, for whatever reason. One day, I will revisit Tidal to see if I find any content advantages.

BTW, I'm a Roon user simply because I love what it offers regardless of sound quality which I find excellent on my optimized network.

Tidal’s been implementing what they call “Max”. Basically a non-MQA hi-rez format identical to what Qobuz offers today, up to 24/192. Not all streamers are caught up on it though but it’s becoming available at a steady pace. I have also read that the newest hi-rez additions will be in Max and no longer in MQA. But I don’t know how reliable this information is.
I’ll amend my earlier post about Tidal sounding better to me than Qobuz…that was the case with a Lumin streamer or with the inbuilt network renderer in my DAC running as a Roon endpoint. I just got an Aurender N200 and I would say that with this streamer the scale had tipped towards Qobuz. There are still albums on Tidal that sound equally good or better but Qobuz is the better source overall with Aurender in my system. I guess it’s the implementation and processing that matters as well as the source. Live and learn! It’s what makes this hobby so interesting.





Once fully broken in, it would be interesting to hear a comparison between this and your former streamer.