A wonderful streaming service for audiophiles and music lovers who recognize prime quality audio. It is among the best-sounding music companies accessible, although its strategies of curation might stand to be a bit of extra intimate.
- Clear, crisp, spacious sound high quality
- Clear, uncluttered interface
- Giant catalogue of music
- Good degree of integration with hi-fi package
- Curation abilities not as slick as different companies
- No official podcast assist
Hello-res audioAs much as 24-bit/192kHz tracks
Obtain retailerBuy tracks and albums from the Qobuz retailer
As digital music boomed within the early aughts, it moved from high quality to comfort. Abruptly having tons of if not 1000’s of MP3s in your pocket was the expectation, and massive, large information had been thought of quaint and bothersome.
The transfer in direction of streaming didn’t actually resolve that with smartphones popping up on the scene and information caps rearing their heads, the likes of Spotify with their low bit-rates turned the go-to apps.
Qobuz is a music streaming service that places ‘high quality’ sound at its coronary heart. It was the primary service to supply 16-bit/CD high quality information for streaming, in addition to the primary to supply 24-bit Hello-res information.
High quality and comfort are now not mutually unique as music streaming websites more and more look to supply higher high quality to subscribers. If you would like higher-quality music you will get it, the query is whether or not to decide on Qobuz or its rivals.
- Studio and Chic subscriptions
- Plans for one or two individuals, in addition to group subs
- Qobuz Membership group
Qobuz has distilled its streaming providing into two plans: Studio and Chic.
Studio gives entry to over 100 million tracks, offline listening, editorial content material, and streaming as much as 24-bit/192kHz FLAC for the worth of £/$10.83 per 30 days (when you pay for your entire yr). In comparison with Tidal, Qobuz is round half the worth.
Chic is similar other than providing as much as 60% reductions on Hello-Res downloads from the Qobuz retailer. That prices £/$15 per 30 days, once more cheaper than Tidal.
There’s the choice of signing as much as Solo, Duo, and Household subscriptions. Studio Duo and Household subs are £/$14.99 and £/$17.99 per 30 days respectively, with a Household sub capable of be shared with six others so long as they’ve Qobuz accounts.
Chic Solo and Duo accounts price the identical (the latter when you pay for an annual subscription), so when you’re on Chic you might wish to contemplate a Duo account over a Solo one and share it with one other individual. There’s a additionally a 30-day free trial to provide the service a take a look at drive.
In case your subscription elapses, you might be bumped all the way down to Qobuz member. You’ll have entry to editorial content material and might take heed to samples of tracks. There’s additionally the Qobuz Membership the place members come to debate music, with entry to Qobuz employees and music specialists, unique content material, and community-driven suggestions.
Sound High quality
- Clear, crisp, and spacious high quality
- Helps up 24-bit/192kHz
Current years have seen an upward pattern in direction of higher high quality streaming and Qobuz is on the head of that push with its max decision of 24-bit/192kHz. Qobuz sounds actually good, in actual fact I’d say it’s higher than Tidal or Amazon Music, each of which provide streams at CD high quality and better.
Listening with a Sivga Robin, Lenovo laptop computer (no exterior DAC), in addition to sampling the companies via an iPad, Qobuz comes out on prime in most comparisons. Noah’s Stand Nonetheless sounds clearer, extra detailed, and includes a trace extra depth than it does on Tidal, which by comparability sounds hotter in tone.
It’s the same outcome with Kendrick Lamar’s United in Grief, although Tidal feels extra upfront in the way it offers together with his voice, giving Lamar’s rhymes a bit of extra weight and influence. However listening to it on Qobuz does exhibit a greater sense of separation and readability throughout the soundstage, and that soundstage is wider on Qobuz too, although Tidal gives a greater sense of bass weight within the observe.
With Jon Baptiste’s Naima’s Love Track there’s that heat to the Tidal stream, with not the identical degree of crispness and element to the upper frequencies that Qobuz can apply, because the shake of tambourine is picked out with extra definition on the Qobuz stream. Amazon Music gives an even bigger bass efficiency and takes a unique tone to the tambourine which doesn’t sound as detailed or outlined. All through testing, Amazon Music typically is available in third, Tidal second and Qobuz on the prime with its readability and expansive soundstage.
In fact, utilizing totally different gear can yield totally different outcomes – Qobuz and Tidal had been much more even streaming by way of an iPad Professional with an MQA-compatible THX Onyx DAC – however the ranges of element, definition, depth, and readability had been typically greater listening to Qobuz.
- Clear, shiny, uncluttered look
- A number of editorial content material
Qobuz’s method to its interface is akin to a web based journal somewhat than the myriad suggestions that occupy the homepages of Spotify and Tidal. It’s much less about pummeling the person with playlists and new options and extra selective about its presentation.
The look of the interface is clear and shiny and it’s constant throughout smartphone, desktop, and pill. There are six tabs on the prime: Uncover (the house web page), Journal (editorial content material), My Playlists, Favourites, Purchases, and Offline Library. On the smartphone app that’s squeezed down to 5 (My Qobuz swallows up playlists, favourites, and purchases); with ‘Imports’ changing Offline Library.
Uncover breaks down right into a carousel on the prime (new albums, playlists); adopted by two rows of seven new releases. Then a ‘Tailor-made for you’ part, adopted by Qobuz playlists after which ‘The Style of Qobuz’, which is full of curated content material combined with editorial that dives again into an artists’ discography, album evaluations or Qobuzissime (which I received’t even hassle attempting to pronounce even in my head) that spotlights an artist’s first or second album.
I fairly like the feel and appear of Qobuz’s interface. It’s a somewhat relaxed method with a lot of the house taken up by album paintings, and it doesn’t take too lengthy to scroll via. Actually, you may press the web page down button on the desktop app twice and be virtually on the backside. I think about having fewer rows encourages individuals to leap into a piece and pop again out when carried out.
Qobuz’s method feels intellectual, mirrored by the character of its editorial content material (there are even hi-fi speaker evaluations!). It’s quirky however I sense Qobuz’s goal is in educating and interesting with the person to ship them down a rabbit gap.
On the backside of the display screen are playback settings that embody playback and quantity management, streaming high quality, speaker output (or DAC), and the present playlist. It’s maybe the busiest a part of the interface, however I like the quantity of management, tinkering, and data it gives.
- Large variety of tracks
- Obtain retailer
- Doesn’t actually assist podcasts
Qobuz claims to have over 100 million tracks at a minimal of 16-bit CD high quality. You’ll be able to hear as much as 24-bit/192kHz relying on the observe/album.
There’s additionally the Obtain Retailer whereby you may pay to obtain an album in CD high quality or Hello-res. FLAC, ALAC, WMA lossless, AIFF, and WAV are choices to obtain in, and you may even obtain in lossy 128bpbs MP3 high quality, although I don’t know why you’d wish to topic your ears to that.
Downloading tracks is a bit of sophisticated when you purchase straight from the desktop app. It shuffled me to the web site (the place I needed to log in) earlier than directing me again to the app for the obtain. It’s in all probability higher to start out on the web site and head to the app in hindsight…
Qobuz doesn’t assist podcasts though there’s a choice which seems to be person uploaded. If podcasts are your jam, Spotify and Amazon Music are higher choices. There are tracks in spatial audio which were combined in THX Spatial Audio, which may be listened to with any pair of headphones.
- Weekly curated playlist
- May very well be extra private
- Search operate is hit or miss
I’ve used Qobuz for a number of months and the one factor that retains popping up in my notes is its curation. I don’t assume it’s that nice.
I ought to add that it does work. The tracks it selects, for probably the most half, swimsuit my tastes; however Qobuz’s Weekly Q solely appears acquainted with me in a normal sense, and never an intimate one with its a two-hour playlist of tracks it thinks you’ll like.
Some are spot on – suggesting Thundercats’ Them Modifications is on level contemplating I’ve that in playlists on different companies however some really feel like a stab at nighttime. Sure, I take heed to loads of movie soundtracks, however Henry Mancini’s The Pink Panther Theme? Not likely.
Then there are different tracks I’ve listened to earlier than (Billie Eilish’s when the social gathering is over) or songs that you just’d half anticipate everybody has heard (Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds). In fact, Qobuz can’t know what I’ve listened to on different companies, however Tidal and Spotify do a greater job of crafting a playlist the place I uncover (or rediscover) tracks.
Qobuz thinks that if I take heed to The Beatles’ White Album, I have to wish to hear Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Membership Band. It’s a good assumption, but additionally an apparent one.
Search can be a bit of hit or miss. No matter sorcery Spotify and Tidal use for his or her algorithms, these companies know what I’m on the lookout for whereas Qobuz isn’t all the time as fleet of foot.
- Not as broadly accessible as different companies
- Roon assist
- Built-in into hi-fi package
Qobuz isn’t as freely accessible because the likes of Spotify or Tidal, but it surely has been increasing its presence to extra gadgets and platforms.
There’s Home windows and Mac desktop assist, in addition to an online participant (naturally). Cell and pill covers Android and iOS, whereas there’s assist for Samsung TVs and Chromecast streaming – although I’ve all the time discovered that casting to a Cambridge CXN streamer from an iPad Professional unexpectedly cuts out after a couple of minutes.
Within the automotive world it helps CarPlay and Android Auto, however the largest assist is with hi-fi package. Producers are many from German-based AVM to Astell & Kern, Cambridge Audio, Devialet, DTS Play-Fi. Klipsch, Sonos, Naim, and iFi Audio who assist the service in a roundabout way. Software program-based AudirVana, BubbleUPnP, and Roon are additionally suitable. You’ll be able to try extra on the website.
Must you purchase it?
For those who recognize prime quality music: Not fascinated with Spotify? Not satisfied by MQA? Supporting streams as much as 24-bit/192kHz, Qobuz ought to heat the cockles of any audiophile’s coronary heart, although cellular listeners will need to take a look at their information plan.
You get pleasure from making your method via legions of playlists and suggestions: Qobuz understands what you want, but it surely’s curation abilities received’t fairly know you on an intimate degree.
For a high-quality audio streaming expertise, Qobuz is a superb service however one which’s additionally intellectual and considerably area of interest. Qobuz delights within the street much less travelled, giving extra oxygen to artists you might (or could not) be accustomed to. Don’t anticipate to see the most recent Lana Del Rey album taking on all of the air – she’ll be sharing it with the likes of the Buena Vista Social Membership and Django Django.
It has an eclectic sense of style that refrains from the mainstream posture of others, and it has launched me to music I don’t assume I might have discovered on different companies like Isfar Sarabski’s Planet. It additionally helps that it sounds wonderful: clear, crisp, and expansive, particularly if in case you have the gear to reap the benefits of its high-quality streams.
And it’s not too costly in comparison with the remainder of the competitors, particularly its Studio tier. Tidal is costlier, Spotify Supremium is wanting prefer it’ll be costlier, and Apple Music and Amazon Music are solely marginally inexpensive.
For those who benefit from the scope and variety of music, in addition to the prime quality it gives, I’d suggest Qobuz. For those who’re extra mainstream in your tastes, maybe stick within the comforting arms of Spotify and Apple Music with their slicker curation.
How we take a look at
We take a look at each music streaming service we assessment totally over an prolonged time frame. We use business customary exams to match options correctly. We’ll all the time inform you what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to assessment a product.
Discover out extra about how we take a look at in our ethics coverage.
Examined throughout a number of months
There’s no assist for MQA playback on Qobuz, it delivers audio in information as much as 24-bit FLAC.
As much as 24-bit FLAC
As much as 100 million tracks
AudirVana, BubbleUPnP, Roon, Home windows, Mac, internet participant, iOS, Android, Samsung TV, Chromecast, CarPlay, Android Auto, Cyrus, Devialet, DTS Play-Fi, Sonos