Based in the US, Tidal has rendered Hi-Res streaming music service to more than 50 countries throughout the world. As the absolute leader in the high-quality digital audio market, Tidal has a new and powerful competitor today, music streaming service Qobuz has announced to launch in the US this year.
Qobuz is an audiophile-oriented streaming music platform based in France. It has been available to over 10 European countries for the past 10 years. Specialized in the quality of audio rather than the numbers of songs, this French company provides Hi-Res streams without playing on proprietary equipment.
If you're a fan of High-Fidelity tracks, you now have those 2 options above. But which one is better? Don't worry, in this article, we will compare these two streaming music providers line by line. Read on to find which one suits you more.
Qobuz offers all of its Hi-Res music in FLAC format, while Tidal uses the MQA format. By the comparison, the MQA format is regarded as a smaller file size with the same quality as the FLAC format.
It is worth mentioning that the MQA format has caused lots of controversy between audiophile groups on the internet for the reason for the goal it states: providing a listening experience of end-to-end losslessly. To achieve this target, MQA uses a special technique called "temporal deblurring", which may have an influence on the audio's details by minimizing ringing artifacts in the song being played.
Both Qobuz and Tidal offer streaming music with CD standard, which bitrate/sample rate is 16-bit/44.1kHz, and also provide Hi-Res options.
Qobuz's premium service Sublime+ offers sound quality which is up to 24/96 without MQA decoding. You need to download Qobuz's desktop app on PC or purchase compatible hardware to access the improved quality.
Tidal accepts MQA to encode its Master's files, which are normally 24-bit and either 44.1Hz or 48kHz. Again, a Tidal's desktop app needs to be installed on the PC to play Masters series. Or you can choose to a third-party player which has the MQA capability, such as Amarra, Audirvana, Roon, etc.
Both Qobuz and Tidal own mobile and web version, which can be suitable for many players and hardware devices but Tidal obvious build cooperative relationship with more partners. A large number of Hi-Fi companies have Tidal onboard, whilst a small part of them make streamers to Qobuz such as Sony, Yamaha, Linn, Electrocompaniet, and so forth. In addition, Qobuz finds a new way to figure out this problem. It allows users to use Google Chromecast to stream music from Qubuz. You can pay £30 for it to transfer songs with bit/sample rates up to 24/96.
If you'd like to play Tidal music on some hardware devices without the Tidal app, there is a useful method to solve this problem. You can use AudFree Tidal Music Converter to transfer Tidal music to MP3, FLAC, WAV, AAC, M4A, and M4B with 100% lossless quality. And then you can freely import converted Tidal music files to any device for listening.
Qobuz claims that it has about 40 million CD-quality tracks and a couple of million Hi-Res songs in its library though sometimes the library looks barren when looking for popular artists and tracks. Tidal announces that over 60 million tracks and plentiful exclusive interviews and videos can be found in its library.
On the side of genres, Tidal's genre lists do not include ambient, probably this belongs to "electronic", but you can find "kids", "retro", and "gospel/christian". There is also "classical" which is seldom released on the new list. Qobuz's list of genres is a bit more familiar and includes "Ambiance/New Age".
Obviously, both of Qobuz and Tidal are putting more effort into music quality instead of quantity. So it seems a good idea to use them as complementary for each other.
4 price plans of Qobuz
1. Premium: $10 per month/ $100 per year (for 320 kbps MP3-quality streaming)
2. Hi-Fi: $20 per month/ $200 per year (for 16-bit, 44.1 kHz CD-quality streaming)
3. Studio: $25 per month/ $250 per year (for 24-bit, up to 192 kHz Hi-Res quality streaming)
4. Sublime+: $300 per year (for all of the benefits of Studio, and 40% to 60% discounts on Hi-Res purchases from the online store)
8 subscription types of Tidal:
To explain in advance: Premium offers standard sound quality, HiFi provides a lossless High-Fidelity sound quality. Students' plan and the Military's plan are not available in all geographies. All the plans' prices vary depending on geography and local currency.
1. Premium: $9.99 USD per month
2. HiFi: $19.99 USD per month
3. Family Premium: $14.99 USD per month (for 6 accounts)
4. Family HiFi: $29.99 USD per month (for 6 accounts)
5. Student Premium: $4.99 USD per month
6. Student HiFi: $9.99 USD per month
7. Military Premium: $5.99 USD per month
8. Military HiFi: $11.99 USD per month
If you place a higher value on the music library and software's capability, Tidal is a better choice for you with the help of AudFree Tidal Music Converter. And you may choose Qobuz when you prefer high-quality tracks without MAQ formats. Or, if you only long for the ultimate listening experience, just download both of them to satisfy yourself.