Qobuz vs Tidal

First off in the last 3 weeks, I have lost 90% of my vision so if there are mistakes please understand.  I am building my last house and will be moving in in late August.  I have ordered a fantastic two channel system, and I have a separate theater room.   The 2 channel system consists of Canary Audio Grand Reference Two Mono Amps, Canary C1800 Pre-amp, Lumin X1 Dac/Streamer, and an Inakustic 3500P power conditioner and Viking Accoustic Grande Voix horn speakers.  My theater room will include a 5.2.2 set up of Tekton Double impact in wall speakers.   My music source is a Lumin X-1 with a 4tb Synology NAS filled with over 10,000 titles.  In my last system I used Tidal to complement my digital library.  I am looking for either Qobuz or Tidal  for my new system.  I am looking for people who have both or have used both.  Which do you prefer and why?   If you have only used one please don't reply.  I need your help as I can no longer research the way I would like.  All your replies will be voice activated so that is how I am getting your information.  Ease of use will be critical due to my sight restrictions.  Thanks for your help.
I have both Tidal and Qobuz.  I prefer the sonics of Qobuz - a bit more depth/saturated, and I don't care for MQA.  I only retain both services because Tidal does have a number of titles that simply aren't available on Qobuz. In addition Tidal has a family plan which my kids are on.  Qobuz doesn't offer a family plan despite my constant suggestions they add one. 
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I have both. Quobuz sounds slightly better. You really have to listen, but it's there. That said, two things make Tidal the winner for me.

Tidal catalog is far superior for rock and Americana.

You cannot index your music with Quobuz. Albums are displayed in order of when you saved them. This makes retrieving albums or individual artists cumbersome to say the least.

For those with both, which is better for Blues music for selection and features, if you know? Thx

I have both Tidal and Qobuz. I subscribe to both, concurrently. And I enjoy both.

My recommendation: Go with Both, for a full Year.

The services are not much (in terms of cost) when you factor in your current systems spends.

As you approach the one year point, if you feel one service is sufficient for your needs, don't reup the other service. 

For me, having both offers flexibility and opens up the range of recommendations (via Roon Radio, in my case).  As others have already pointed out, the catalogs differ. 

I'm specifying a year versus a few months because a longer time period will help you develop a deeper and wider feel for the pros and cons and issues related to both and which service you connect with more and use more. 

I've experienced more hiccups with Qobuz. As one example, saved albums being unavailable for playback (though they exist in the Qobuz catalog). This usually self corrects. If it doesn't, I've found a workaround. [Note: my usage is via Roon and it may not be an issue if Qobuz is directly streamed]

Usage wise, I'm close to a 50/50 split between the two. 
I had both and now down to just Qobuz via Roon.
I Probably could have lived with just Tidal though as for myself the catalog difference for my choice of rock and blues was not a deciding factor.

I do not have a MQA dac so I opted for Qobuz for now and quite happy at $14.99 a month.
A lot of hires titles to choose from.
If the small cost is not an issue I would follow David’s advice and run both concurrently and make your own decision.

Good luck with your new house and systems.
Stay safe.
Sorry for your condition. Not sure if you might find this useful. It's a global radio station app.
Hi Will so sorry to hear about your sight I hope it's reversible. As far as Qobuz and Tidal I subscribe to both but prefer Qobuz. Slightly and I do mean slightly better sound quality and I like their catalog better. I keep Tidal for titles not on Qobuz.
Will, sorry about your eyes....hope you get this condition greatly improved. I've done Tidal and Qobuz....I prefer Qobuz for sound quality and I'm not an MQA fan nor do I care for Tidal's "hip hop" emphasis. If Spotify comes around to High Rez, I'll give them a try too. Good luck to you!
Yikes, yeah let me also add condolences about your sight, missed that on initial perusal of thread.  Hope it’s a temporary condition...
Both. I agree with David_ten, go with both for a year and make your decision. I personally have stuck with Tidal and for the sole reason of catalog and options as far as plans. I’m in the military and they offer a discount although that was not a factor in the end and only bring it up here as a point to the different options versus Qobuz. I believe that Qobuz will eventually sort their catalog and options out and equal that of Tidal. So, with both having certain limitations, go with both for up to a year and make your decision then. My humble opinion for what it’s worth.
I pitted Qobuz and Tidal to a lengthy side-by-side audition and wound up choosing Qobuz, this despite the fact I've got full MQA capability.  As excellent as the sound from Tidal may be, Qobuz has a slightly warmer, more lifelike tonal balance and slightly better imaging.  Tidal may be slightly easier to navigate but Qobuz certainly ain't no slouch on this point.  If you listen to classical, Qobuz embarrasses Tidal, selection-wise.  Then again, I'm enough of a classical junkie to also subscribe to Primephonic...a service that is absolute paradise for the classical junkie.  It doesn't hurt that Primephonic can give me the highest fidelity I receive from any source, including analog.

In any case, take advantage of the two services' free trial periods.  Run 'em side-by-side.  Neck and neck.   Finally, I must tell you that my eyesight was faiIing, but I was lucky enough to be a prime candidate for lens implants.  Got 'em for both eyes.  One of those miracles of the 21st Century.  Here's hoping that medical science will soon make your condition equally correctable.
I did try both and stayed with Tidal - I preferred Tidal interface by a big margin.... 
Thanks for the responses so far.  As for my medical condition, I had a stroke in the optical nerve in the right eye.  This same thing happened to me 18 years ago in the left eye.  It is not correctible.  Trust me I have asked every eye doc appointment I have had for the last 18 years.   

I am hearing a lot of sentiment for Qobuz. The great thing about the Lumin app is that it stores the last music played on the left side of the page so it is easy to navigate.  I am not a fan of hip hop from Tidal but I could usually click on any artist I was looking for and find it.    My musical tastes are Indie Rock, Jazz, Country, Classical.  I love strings and a nice sax.  I just listened to Annette Askvik - Liberty....what a great sax solo.  
I prefer Qobuz since I do not have the MQA capabilities in my DAC. I would also highly recommend Roon if you don’t already have it. It will combine all of your libraries together to organize it seamlessly. Qobuz, Tidal and your library of files will all be within one easy to search library. You would have to make your NAS into a Roon Core but it shouldn’t be too difficult to do so.
Will, is your vision going to improve? Was it just cataract surgery? Not macular degeneration I hope.

Wonderful system. I might make one suggestion. Trinnov makes an incredible Theater processor which will operate in 2.2 for Stereo use. Then your just need a plain streamer. The sub crossovers are in the Trinnov with the best available room control. You can not do better.

I do not stream. I download files from HD tracks and elsewhere so I have no opinion on Roon vs Qobuz. 

Good luck with your vision.

@willgolf Your Lumin X1 provides full MQA functionality, which means you will get higher resolution output via Tidal (with many more albums) over Qobuz.

Tidal offers (in many cases) higher bit rate recordings than the equivalent recording from Qobuz.

"LUMIN network music players can automatically perform Core Decoding and Hardware Rendering of MQA-encoded streams to get the maximum available Hi-Res music data (up to 24-bit 384kHz)."

To make a point, regarding catalog differences...just now, Roon - in their Recommendations Section - listed an album I was previously unaware of.

Blue Incantation with Special Guest Jerry Garcia. This was one of Jerry’s last performances.

It is a Tidal only offering.

Go with both services.
One potentially crucial point, assuming you'll be relying on assistive technology: The Roon app for the iPhone is completely inaccessible.

I've tried Tidal, Qobuz, and Amazon HD, and got rid of Tidal and Amazon, sticking with Qobuz.

-- Howard

Will, I’m sorry to hear of your medical issue.

I have subscriptions to Pandora, Spotify, Tidal, and Qobuz. I listed them below in terms of how much I listen to each:

  1. Qobuz
  2. Spotify
  3. Pandora
  4. Tidal
I do most of my "critical" listening with Qobuz.

Spotify doesn’t have the greatest sound quality, but does an amazing job of picking music out for me with its "Your Daily Mix" selections. I listen to it when getting ready for work and in the car.

Pandora has some stations that I like for working out. Sound quality isn’t horrible, but noticeably worse if you listen closely, which I don’t while I’m working out.

The only reason I keep Tidal is that it has a bigger library than Qobuz. I have DACs that do MQA and some that don’t. The sound quality of Qobuz’ hi-res selections through both my non-MQA and MQA DACs is excellent and doesn’t leave me wanting in any way.

I won’t get into the whole MQA thing other than to say that I don’t having to limit my equipment choices in order to get the full monty with MQA. Of course if you’re going to listen to hi-res music you need a DAC that will support the higher bit rates offered. MQA sounds different. Perhaps "better" than a hi-res file, perhaps not. I’ll leave it at that.

To me what matters more than the bit-rate is how well it was recorded in the first place. There’s a lot of music that sounds amazing as a standard FLAC file and there's a lot of music that's hi-res that sounds "meh" to me.

Tidal does have a pretty good engine for creating playlists based on your listening habits. Not as good as Spotify, but this is one feature Qobuz lacks that I would like to see them add.

Tidal seems to focus on a younger demographic with a focus on rap, soul, and hip-hop, while Qobuz seems to target a more mature (older) audience, with a lot more alt/indie, rock, classical, and jazz on their landing page.
I’ve switched back and forth many times. I’ve settled in Tidal because they have more Blues and Jazz titles. The sound quality varies from album to album so I don’t think one wins out across the board. But I may switch back. Both sound great in hires. I’ve stopped buying CDs. 
For all of you that are Quobuz fans, how are you indexing your albums? In Bluos or Lumin, if you have 500 favorite albums they are all listed in chronological order by date they were added as a favorite. I can't see any way to find a particular album or artist w/o scrolling through the entire list.


Qobuz sounds better in general. Improved natural tone and smoothness. However, Tidal has a better library. My 5 month trial ended today for Tidal and I will miss it. Just don’t want to pay for two services. 
I agree Ozzy, I love the Lumin app but as you stated it adds your latest titles to the left side of the page.  Sometimes, I go in and delete titles I no longer want to play.  It is easier than having to keep searching for them on Tidal.  I wonder if Lumin is working on a solution for this.  I would love to be able to simply call up artists I want after I have selected them from Tidal.  I guess that is where Roon comes in if you so desire.
Ozzy, I use BubbleUpNP instead of the Lumin app.  It's much better.  It doesn't work with Bluesound devices however. 

I can sort my favorite albums on Qobuz by title, artist, or date (ascending or descending).  I can also search them.
I have had both Tidal and Qobuz.  Sound quality is def. better with Qobuz.  Jazz/Blues depth is currently better on Tidal.  Over the course of a year I found myself going more and more to Qobuz so just let my Tidal subscription lapse.  If you have an external music collection plus streeming I'd get Roon and use it.  I've Roon running on an older Macbook Pro with a couple external hd's plugged in and it all works like a charm.  
I've used both and settled on Qobuz running Euphony Stylus as I preferred Euphony over Roon. 
Sorry Will I did not see your second post. Very unusual to have a stroke in the optic nerve, maybe retro bulbar neuritis or temporal arteritis?
And both eyes, that really sucks. Tell me, do you think your sense of hearing has improved? Art Tatem said his did! Art made Oscar Peterson look like a limp biscuit.  
Lots of opinions here. If I were going to start streaming I'm not sure what I would choose going by the opinions here. Questions! Do any of them stream in high resolution 44.1/16 or above? Can you use a computer to stream? I've never looked into it. I have a SONOS system running the house and you get occasional drop outs which I find very annoying. Does this happen with on line streaming also?
I never have drop outs streaming my music from a NAS, Tidal, or Quobuz. But there are so many options available that turning to a PC for streaming seems silly.


Folks,Question - what is the best option control Qobuz or Tidal running on a desktop using a phone/tablet. I use Foobar2000 to play FLAC/DSD files on the laptop and use the Oppo 205 as DAC. The Qobuz app on the laptop cannot be controlled by the tablet Qobuz app. Spotify app on laptop can be controlled using the Spotify app on phone/tablet. Love the Qobuz quality over Spotify - but it is inconvenient to get up after each album or change playlist and go to the rack and select a different one.USB audio through the Oppo is miles ahead of using a CD on the Oppo or streaming using Chromecast audio, IMHO.

I had BOTH Tidal and QoBuz for about 4 months and eventually switched to QoBuz only. I like their hi-res content and other options.

I find the sound quality on the QoBuz 24/96 and 24/192 coded albums excellent and much better sounding than Tidal’s MQA coded albums. You can always search for #hi-res and it displays the hi-res albums. Or, search on #hi-res jazz.

The QoBuz catalog does not contain everything I want but I can always find something similar. I recently discovered QoBuz playlists and they are excellent. On my Aurender N10, I go to QoBuz, playlist and search for classical, jazz, blues, etc. Once I find something I like, I can make it a favorite playlist so I can easily find it the next time. QoBuz also easily lets you build you own playlists.

QoBuz has tabs for new releases, media picks, QoBuz picks, etc. and these help me find albums I am interested in. QoBuz offers other selection options for finding albums. They have a music genre list that is very helpful.

QoBuz Customer Support has been excellent. I email them and they usually respond within 24 hours.  You can also request they add your favorite albums to their catalog.  I hope this helps.   


 It seems a lot of folks have tried both,and let their ears decide. I would highly suggest a streaming shootout. Keep the one that sounds better to you. 
curious to hear others comment on JUST the SOUND QUALITY difference they hear between the two (in their respective highest quality streams of course)

i know what i hear... just want to check against others’ experience

pls also list what your streaming device is

jjss -- I use a Mytek Brooklyn Bridge Streaming DAC connected to a PrimaLuna integrated amp. The Mytek BB is set to volume bypass mode.

In terms of the sound quality between Tidal and Qobuz, it's easiest to resort to the cliche and call Tidal more transistory and Qobuz more tubey. Tidal is slightly cooler in tonal balance. There is more bass and treble, and a little less midrange. Images are smaller and more precisely placed from left to right than via Qobuz. Qobuz, by contrast, is warmer and more midrangey in tonal balance. It renders better front-to-back depth than Tidal. Acoustic music, in particular classical vocals, sounds less like recordings and more like real life. Both do a fine job making vocalists understandable.
In terms of sound quality, Qobuz sounds better hands down to my ears. This is listening via not a particularly high quality digital source (iPhone 6S/Audioquest Jitterbug/Audioquest Dragonfly Red DAC). Qobuz even sounds better through the crappy tiny speakers built into an old external computer monitor. These are my listening notes comparing the two along with comparison to other streaming services.

Round 2, Qobuz vs Tidal: So far Qobuz is clearly better than Tidal even listening through pretty cheap desktop passive speakers. Tidal sounds very two dimensional and flat in its sound quality but with some harshness in the high frequencies. I’ll listen a bit more to Tidal, but so far I’m not impressed at all. Spotify Premium even seems to sound better than Tidal. Qobuz sounds clearer with more presence (more 3-dimensional?).

Some additional thoughts about Tidal after listening on higher quality equipment. I think they have applied some equalization to boost the bass and treble. In the process, I think side effects of doing this is to take out some of the presence of voices and instruments and add an artificial quality to voices and instruments.. Qobuz sounds a LOT better. Spotify Premium also sounds better. To my ears at least. (Disclaimer: Your results may vary). I’m currently listening to a track that is a MQA file on Tidal vs a CD quality file on Qobuz. The CD quality file on Qobuz sounds a LOT fuller and more natural.

Not a big fan of hip hop, but decided to listen to something that is squarely in Tidal’s area of focus. I listened to ’The Box’ by Roddy Ricch which is a MQA file on Tidal and CD quality on Qobuz. Same results. The Qobuz file sounds fuller and has more presence. Almost sounds like two different recordings when listening on Qobuz vs Tidal.

My subjective impressions of the musicality of the major HD streaming services:
1. Qobuz
2. Primephonic
3. Spotify Premium (320 kbps Ogg Vorbis which is not lossless)
5. Amazon HD
6 Tidal

Summary: I’m finding Qobuz to sound both more realistic and more engaging on all types of music. Jazz, Rock, Classical, even Rap/hip-hop.
calvin and ed

thx for your input, much appreciated

i will await a few more responses to the sq question
Qobuz has a slightly warmer, more lifelike tonal balance and slightly better imaging.

Similar observations with Qobuz. Back and forth multiple times again recently between Tidal and Qobuz (FLAC 16/44.1) using my 16-bit R2R ladder DAC. Hearing more layering and midrange clarity with Qobuz, was not expecting this. It does sound different.

While Tidal says the Hi-Fi service is true FLAC lossless, for some reason I hear a slight bass bump and the ultra highs are slightly compressed, less air, rounded off a tad compared to Qobuz. I thought I read somewhere someone shared Tidal’s software engine does something to mess with the flac files, tracks, but  can't prove that. Don't recall the source dissuasion.   

I've had both and I'm in agreement with the run of this thread: Qobuz an easy winner over Tidal, for sq as well as web interface.
I think Qobuz sounds a tiny bit better.  If I am going to play something and it's available on both I go for Qobuz.  I subscribe to both I'm sort of locked in with tidal since I've been there so long but for me 150 a year is worth it to get better sound and there are plenty of titles you can't get on Qobuz that are on Tidal.  
Finding several references indicating Qobuz has more albums in Hi-Res Audio quality. I don't use hi-rez MQA and only need the service with the most Lossless FLAC (CD Redbook) quality files, offering the most "remastered" albums, even better.

Not a Tidal or Qobuz fanboy, could care less about brands, only care about the provider who offers the best FLAC service and ease of use, access, to quality content. If Spotify offered FLAC/Lossless, it would be game over, but they do not - not yet. Maybe some year! 

Still confused why I'm hearing a notable difference between Tidal vs. Qobuz for simple CD 16-bit/44.1 FLAC tracks   ???

1. Why Qobuz sounds closer to real CD, more accurate, layered, with better instrument separation ??? (on my all-tube system).

2. Is Tidal doing something to alter or bass-boost their FLAC tracks?

3. Has anyone found Amazon Music HD (FLAC/Lossless) to sound more rolled off or more compressed (856k average) comparatively?

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by the sound, it seems there is some add’l processing going on with the tidal stream

it is a little more tizzy, less warm, slightly phasey in comparison to quboz

or is quboz just processing differently? don’t think we will ever know
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For just regular HD (CD quality), I don't think there is any difference. 

Nope, not talking MQA. Don't use MQA, prefer not to. Yes, hearing a difference for sure. Yes, specifically talking "regular HD CD quality" - FLAC Lossless only and yes, hearing a worthy difference.  

re: Tidal vs. Qobuz sound with CD quality tracks (16/44.1) only;  

Checked with a few critical-listener colleagues today who are using my exact same MHDT DAC (16-bit R2R Ladder tube design) and (both with similar type all-tube audio systems) hear a distinguishable difference at CD quality level with Qobuz vs. Tidal. Both report it's not the same to them either.  In fact, one switched from Tidal to Qobuz today as a result sampling 3 well regarded albums.  He indicated "instantly hearing a quality improvement with Qobuz over Tidal with regular CD bit/transfer rate". And, he too is a long term Tidal consumer like me.  We are now of the belief Tidal is doing something during digital transfer to alter even CD tracks, somehow. Will need to read up more on Tidal's software engine.   

Listening now:
Just sampled several tracks I've played for the past year with Tidal Hi-Fi. With Qobuz there is this a notable naturalness to strings and voices - more similar to CD through my same DAC with a tad more enjoyable tone and texture there. I use string/eectric guitar and piano keys as a reference too. My ear is particularly tuned to these instruments, fwiw.  

TIN PAN ALLEY - Stevie Ray Vaughan:
>>Listen to this track on Spotify Premium, then Tidal Hi-Fi, then Qobuz Studio Premier and compare<<.  Qobuz is simply more natural to me. 

LANDSLIDE - Fleetwood Mac (2017 Remastered):
>>Listen to the tone of the strings and texture of her voice and compare<<. High strings offer a very nice tone and timbre on Qobuz. 

Qobuz Studio Premier is nice.  It also could be our MHDT DACs are helping to realize the difference in 16-bit FLAC. It’s not smeared with Qobuz CD-FLAC quality, at all.  I don’t know what it is, but really like it.  Tried Amazon, will revisit quarterly. Thought for sure Amazon would dominate soon, not yet IMO. 

Glad to see the competition with streaming services heating back up!  

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the sound difference i described pertains to non MQA Tidal feed vs Quboz Hi Res
Thank you for the suggestions. Tidal keeps bombarding me with 4 months for free, so maybe I will sign up and try those tracks. Never been a fan of Spotify sound though, and I think that is beyond just u

In addition to sound differences, spent the entire weekend on Qobuz comparing the back-end application functionality, catalog, and playlists featured. IF you are are daily streamer, its worth researching more.

Qobuz is different from Tidal, in more ways than I had originally thought. I’d recommend looking at both on trial and give yourself time to figure out which one offers what you want for services, access, sound, content, and extended features.

I canceled Spotify Premium and Tidal HiFi today and subscribed to Qobuz to try it for a while primarily for the sound and differences in how content is arranged and presented, and see it more as a "preference" decision.   

As the OP, I appreciate all of your comments. Spotify is great to listen to music when you're taking a shower or working in the garage. I did like Tidal when I used it before but based on everyone's comments I think when I set up my new system in October I will go with Qobuz.