What service do you use for music playback?

I spent far too much time trying to come to a definitive position on MQA itself vs. content released in MQA format, and whether it was MQA’s “technology” or just the different masters that sometimes made the MQA sound better.

When it became apparent to me that >90% of the time, maybe >95% of the time, it was really down to the master, I stopped even thinking about MQA support in my hardware. Those same “better” masters still sound better on a DAC without MQA support (and MQA support might add another 1-2% in the right cases), so it just wasn’t worth the concern. So I leave MQA-unfolding enabled in Roon, Audirvana+ and the TIDAL client, and don’t generally worry about it beyond that.

However, today a very early start today afforded me the opportunity to play through a bunch of Herbie Hancock’s works, some of which are available in MQA on TIDAL and normal Hi-Res PCM via Qobuz. And with those it is pretty clear that the Hi-Res versions beat out the MQA ones consistently, even with an MQA-enabled DAC (which may have more to do with the minimum-phase/apodizing filters used in MQA than anything else … I generally prefer linear-phase).


…and thank you for saving some of my brain time on this =)


Qobuz beta came in. Mobile app is pretty good. Haven’t tried desktop app yet.


I got my invite to the party yesterday also. I’m going to wait until Monday to start my 30 day trial when my new dac arrives.


Your comments about mastering quality reminds me of what I’ve learned over my 2 year (and ongoing) journey into audio gear - specifically, that recording/mixing/mastering quality is a huge part of how good something sounds. A good recording can make my motherboard’s audio out sound better than a poor recording on my ADI-2 > Black Widow 2.


I saw in the news that there is a new “hi fi” streaming service in the US, Quobus.

It begs the question of whether this or Tidal are worth considering for those of us without an extensive collection of CD or better-than-CD quality source material. Is the potential market large enough to drive subscription rates down or is the assumption that audiophiles will pay anything for a top quality listening experience?


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The assumption is that you will pay.

I presently pay for TIDAL’s hi-fi service, and for Apple Music’s family convenience. For anything other than casual listening, there is a worthwhile difference. I also listen to Radio Paradise, that streams FLAC. If Apple ever has lossless streaming, and supports it with their catalog, I don’t know if the high-end services would be able to support themselves.


I don’t see subscription rates falling any time soon.

While competition, in theory, could have that effect, my understanding is that these services aren’t even at break-even in most cases so reducing the cost of subscribing would just accelerate the rate at which they are losing money.


Millions/billions of dollars were made from AM radio and really basic portable record players in the 1960s.

Millions/billions of dollars were made in the 1970s and 1980s from 8 Tracks and Cassette tapes.

Millions of dollars are now made from hyper compressed ‘impactful’ music with no nuance or volume adjustment possible.

The buying public has voted, and they’ve voted for McDonald’s quality.


A quick update on my Qobuz trial…

I find that Qobuz generally sounds a tiny little bit better than tidal for the bulk of my library, with the exception of some of the 24 bit material which does seem to sound clearly better vs the “master” quality mqa stuff which sounds very clear but has a sense of unnaturalness when closely compared. (I don’t know how else to describe it.)

I used soundiiz.com to copy some playlists from tidal to qobuz, and about 20% of my library is unavailable on qobuz. For example, I transferred the first 50 tracks of my “Blues Guitar” playlist, and the following were unavailable (sorry for the terrible formatting):

Rock Me Baby;“B.B. King Eric Clapton”;“Deuces Wild”;1
Let My Guitar Do the Talking;“Guitar Shorty”;“Rare Blues Rock”;1
Deja Voodoo;“Kenny Wayne Shepherd”;“Ledbetter Heights”;1
Miss Ida B;“Buddy Guy”;“Buddy’s Baddest: The Best Of Buddy Guy”;1
T-Bone Shuffle;“Albert Collins Robert Cray Johnny Copeland”;“Blues Rock - Guitar Shredders”;0
The Moon Is Full;“Albert Collins Robert Cray Johnny Copeland”;“Essential Sleepy Blues”;1
Lion’s Den;“Albert Collins Robert Cray Johnny Copeland”;“Blues: Famous Families”;0
She’s into Something;“Albert Collins Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland”;“Texas Blues Gems”;0
Bring Your Fine Self Home;“Albert Collins Robert Cray Johnny Copeland”;“Lonely Man Blues”;0
Black Cat Bone;“Albert Collins Robert Cray Johnny Copeland”;“Hoodoo Blues”;0
Albert’s Alley;“Albert Collins Robert Cray Johnny Copeland”;“Best of Electric Chicago Blues”;0
Blackjack;“Albert Collins Robert Cray Johnny Copeland”;“Five Star Modern Blues”;0
Something to Remember You By;“Albert Collins Robert Cray Johnny Copeland”;“Blues Guitar”;0
Am I Wrong;Keb’Mo’;“Keb’ Mo’”;1
I’m A Hero (Album Version);Keb’Mo’;Suitcase;1
Born Under A Bad Sign;“Albert King”;“Born Under A Bad Sign”;1
Bright Lights;“Gary Clark Jr.”;“Blak And Blu (Deluxe Version)”;1
Tin Pan Alley (AKA Roughest Place in Town);“Stevie Ray Vaughan Double Trouble”;“Couldn’t Stand The Weather (Legacy Edition)”;1
Voodoo Child (Slight Return);“Stevie Ray Vaughan Double Trouble”;“Couldn’t Stand The Weather (Legacy Edition)”;1
Scuttle Buttin’;“Stevie Ray Vaughan Double Trouble”;“Couldn’t Stand The Weather (Legacy Edition)”;1
Little Wing;“Stevie Ray Vaughan Double Trouble”;“The Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble”;1
Pride and Joy;“Stevie Ray Vaughan Double Trouble”;“Texas Flood (Legacy Edition)”;1
Riding With The King;“Eric Clapton B.B. King”;“Riding With The King”;1
Riding With The King;“Eric Clapton B.B. King”;“Riding With The King”;1
Fire On The Floor;“Beth Hart”;“Fire on the Floor”;1
Blues Deluxe;“Joe Bonamassa”;“Blues Deluxe”;0
Hey Joe;“Popa Chubby”;“The Essential Popa Chubby”;0
Sloe Gin;“Joe Bonamassa”;“Sloe Gin”;0
Fire On The Floor;“Beth Hart”;“Fire On The Floor”;1
Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues;“Buddy Guy”;“Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues”;1
The Bluest Blues;“Alvin Lee”;“The Anthology”;0
St. James Infirmery;“Hans Theessink”;“Songs from the Southland”;0
Rock Me;“Great White”;“Once Bitten”;1
I’ll Take Care Of You;“Joe Bonamassa Beth Hart”;“Don’t Explain”;0
Don’t Look Back;“John Lee Hooker”;“Don’t Look Back”;1

The SRV legacy edition failed as there is no legacy edition on qobuz, but the normal edition is there. Hans Theessink albums are available to buy, but not stream. The rest I haven’t been able to find the same masters/tracks that I’m used to listening to, and about half of them aren’t available at all.

If Qobuz is going to fill out the library after beta, that’s great. I’ll have to reevaluate when they do.


I wouldn’t argue any of those points.

But they have little to do with whether the current streaming companies are making enough money to be able to engage in competitive price-cutting.

TIDAL is reportedly circling the drain, I’ve lost count of the number of negative financial analysis and/or complaints I’ve read about Spotify not paying it’s providers what it is supposed to, Apple operating Apple Music as a break-even “feature” (which was how they started with the App Store) and so on. When you’re losing money, or not able to pay your bills, because you’re paying more for what you’re reselling than you’re taking in, reducing cost and hoping to make it up somewhere else is more of an accelerant to failure than anything else.

On the current trajectory, I would expect all of the streaming services to have to increase their subscription prices, at all tiers, before they’ll be able to reduce them.


That’s a very enlightening post, Perfessor. I may wait just a bit on adding Quobuzz.
Recently, I’ve been delving into both world and 40’s latin invasion. Surprisingly I find that TIDAL has a robust catalog in Latin Invasion.


I love Radio Paradise. It is my go to for Discovery of new music.

Try it for free. No loss in that, pun intended. You’ll get an idea what it’s like if nothing else. It’s pretty good, just needs a better library.

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Speaking of Radio Paradise - what about EQ on iOS?

So, I find I have a specific need to try EQ. And I’d really like to have EQ available for Radio Paradise. Haven’t tried it yet, but I do have Radio Paradise set up as a station in ROON, so if I’m housebound, I can try to see if ROONs EQ can work on the RP stream.

iOS seems to be recalcitrant about any global EQ. I have Equalizer, like @pwjazz but I don’t think there is any way to get it to work outside the box.



If you’re OK with their 320kbps stream, you can use Neutron App and stream within there using the URL.


Roon, Tidal, and Qobuz.

The newly upgraded Roon Radio is a pretty good way to focus in on music you like, or may have forgotten.


I used to live in France and I got my Qobuz account many years ago. They’ve always let me stream in the US and I’ve had their “Sublime” plan for many years. I love it, and although I also have a family Spotify plan, Qobuz has been my go-to place for buying music. I’ve pretty much stopped buying CDs from Amazon and all my music buying over the past few years (I still like the old fashioned idea of “owning it”) has been from Qobuz because it’s often incredibly affordable with the Sublime discount.

Based on the comments here, I downloaded Roon last night and it’s amazing. It’s pretty much almost exactly what I wanted, although I had to do a bunch of finagling to get it to work on my all-Linux set up.

But, Roon+Qobuz might just be everything I needed!

Thanks for all the pointers to the fine folks here.


Roon is very interesting. I’m on a one year plan now, but will probably extend it to lifetime. Some buy it as a player, I like it as a magazine/database. And the EQ function is OK too.


Qobuz. I signed up for the US beta trial but find it unbearably slow. Anyone else have this problem?

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