Tidal or Qobuz

Many say Qobuz sounds better than Tidal, not Jay. 

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



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.