Qobuz vs Tidal -- Frequency Spectrum analysis

I did a quick comparison of the output of Tidal and Qobuz for Daft Punk’s Get Lucky.

Tidal Master: Daft Punk – Get Lucky @ MQA
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Qobuz: Daft Punk – Get Lucky @ 24 bit 88.2 kHz
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This was roughly the same part of the song and about a 15 second sample. So yeah there’s quite a difference.

For comparison here is the “original” track @ 24 bit 88.2 kHz
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So essentially Tidal has less information in the song? Can you do this with Amazon HD/Ultra HD as well I am super curious. I just downloaded and started the 30 day free trial to go back and forth between Qobuz and Amazon…I would love to see if they measure differently.

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Amazon HD - Web Player
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Amazon UltraHD desktop player (track listed as 24-bit 48 kHz)

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Highest frequency at about 23 kHz (with theoretical max at 24 kHz).

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Interesting.

r.i.p

Before I make my final judgement can any one confirm/duplicate the results and methodology

Qobuz vs Tidal … FIGHT!

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Well, let’s make sound quality a factor. :wink:
These graphs show a lack of high frequencies in some samples and while that may be an indication of quality it is not the whole story.

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subjectively I’m the most impressed with Qobuz’s 16/44.1, I listen to that most often and even the 24/192 stuff is wonderful. I can’t say I’m as consistently impressed with Tidal

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Appreciate the testing. It confirms one of the reasons why I dropped Tidal and went with Qobuz. While there would need to be a larger sampling across multiple genres of music, Qobuz to me is just superior overall (but that’s a subjective, not a scientific opinon). But more testing would be valuable…

While I have a DAC capable of MQA - IMO it just doesn’t live up to all the hype - at least in streaming. MQA-CDs may shine - I don’t know. For instance, the Ottava MQA-CD starts from a 176/24 master - that’s impressive, but can we hear the difference? PS: MQA-CDs can be made starting from masters at 44.1, 88.2, 176.4 or 352.8kHz as well. I’ve ordered the CDs below to test MQA-CD. Warning: Unless you have a DAC capable of doing MQA you won’t hear all the benefits of MQA …

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So the Amazon Music HD wasn’t being streamed at the same quality 96khz than the other two services? What software are you using to measure with? This is really cool thanks for sharing your findings. I wonder if everything was the same for each service what the measurements would show? Since Qobuz and Amazon both have Flac up to 192kz 24bit to me this comparison is the most interesting as they are closest in price and in my opinion have the best chance of being the big two left in the space once the dust settles and Tidal becomes ashes.

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Right. The track was not available at higher than 24/48 from Amazon UltraHD (you can see this by clicking on the yellow UltraHD logo next to the track in their player. This is somewhat strange since Get Lucky usually is available at 24/88.2.

I use Audacity to capture from WASAPI loopback using the Chord ASIO driver. The driver is configured as 32/192 in Advanced Device Properties in Windows. After capturing about 20s I run Analyze/Plot Spectrum. Since this wasn’t meant to be scientific I then took a screen shot and posted here. That’s why the images vary slightly in size (so make sure you look at the axes).

Everything was captured at the best level the service had to offer for a popular well recorded Hi Res track. If Amazon had had the track at 24/88.2 then it likely would have looked about the same as the Qobuz track. I’ll try to find another track that is available at the same high sampling frequency for both services.

MQA is a lossless way of packing high frequency information into a lower frequency encoding. While it will never (lossless) sound as good as a real Hi Res file, it still sounds really good (to my ears). I do like that we are starting to have some competition in this space.

Cheers,
Henrik

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Thank you for a bit more information!

Honestly my Tidal subscription was gifted by a friend. A whole year! But for my self I’ll be keeping Qobuz and Amazon HD honestly… I just wish Qobuz would launch a family plan already lol

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Thank you sir! Great stuff, I would love to see head to head between amazon and Qobuz same track same recording quality if you get the chance! :pray::+1:

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I’m canceling Tidal at the start of January since I’m much happier with the higher resolution content of Qobuz made even better with their 1-year pricing plan. And, Qobuz appears to have expanded its US catalog quite extensively since the first reviews on this forum pointed out their shortcomings.

For me, the biggest noticeable difference remains the 16/44.1 playbacks from Tidal compared to Qobuz – Qobuz wins this battle with ease.

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Thank you @hnordberg for taking time to do this and post the results here! As it is nice to see information like this. I will say this I am still in my free trial of Qobuz and I am definitely keeping it as for myself it simply sounds better then Tidal.

@mshenay and @Speedster I agree, I too am very impressed by the ‘sound quality’ of Qobuz’s 16/44.1 compared to Tidal.

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By playing from Tidal what do you mean exactly? Tidal app or Tidal brower player or Tidal player on DAP?

I have found Tidal app to be playing horribly in comparison to playing Tidal tracks via Roon and even more via Audirvana.

Hi @ReAlien

I play Tidal via Tidal’s desktop player/app from my MacBook Pro.

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I’ve noticed Qobuz’s superior fidelity using both Windows applications on my Win10 Pro laptop and also while listening to each service on my main system with a disk server that streams both Qobuz and Tidal, and that difference is very noticeable.

My streaming server does not feature a DAC but does provide MQA support by performing the software unfolding (like Roon does) for those particular Tidal Masters tracks. So my comparison tests take advantage of that Tidal feature yet Qobuz still wins the head-to-head competition easily when comparing albums/tracks of similar pedigree.

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Qobuz had similar fidelity to tidal mqa when I listened yesterday. It was better in some songs, others just sounded different. I like the in-app resolution display.

I put in lots of my favorite artists and Qobuz had 90% but was missing a few big ones for me. On the mobile app, it lacks the recommendations and mymix channels that I like about Tidal.

The panoramas feature on Qobuz is very nice content.

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I strongly recommend to try listening to Tidal tracks via Audirvana :slight_smile:

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