I use the French version of Qobuz and I’ve had the occasional problem but generally, it’s worked quite well. Spotify has been rock solid, and Qobuz France has come in a respectable second place with everything else I’ve tried a very distant third (Deezer, Tidal etc … but in their early days, I’m sure they have gotten better).
Qobuz US beta just got an update, and the UI/UX is much better, and man does it sound better than the other services…I need to figure out if I want to go with Tidal or Qobuz… it is forestalling my purchase of Roon, at the moment. Too many big purchases recently and in the future…so I need to be practical (even though my impulse is to just say f’it and grab all of them lol).
I will say in my experience, Spotify best UI/UX and curation of playlists to my preference (they just get me ).
Qobuz has the best quality of lossless, and with the UI/UX update slightly better usability, but curation is no bueno.
Tidal is the split the difference between Spotify and Qobuz, better audio quality than Spotify, but not as good as Qobuz. Better UI/UX and curation than Qobuz, but not as good as Spotify.
Qobuz if it continues to update and improve its UI/UX and curation capabilities seems to be the best option at this point…plus that discount on lossless media is rather nice…
I discovered the Swiss Jazz internet radio when I was looking for Radio Paradise. For you jazz-heads out there, it’s definitely worth a listen.
On my cheaper than cheap set up (a used Moto 3 in wi-fi mode with my pair of VE Monk earbuds) it sounds wonderful. It’s even better through the DFB and my 58X headphones out of my MBP.
It streams at “HQ” (whatever that means) but the sound quality is great and the playlist is eclectically interesting.
Thanks. Seems anything streaming some type of HQ over web has got to be pretty good. I’ll give it a try later. I “Love” Radio Paradise". It is my go too for new or unknown genres to me for music. They throw everything into the mix, including the kitchen sink. Thanks for the heads-up. Tom
I never heard of Radio Paradise before you guys mentioned it. I haven’t tried it yet but I will. It sounds like a good way to discover some new music.
I’d like to hear impressions of sound quality on Radio Paradise and Swiss Jazz.
You will not regret it, except for buying new music from artists and geners you never knew existed.
I’ve always thought quality was great. Online web player will play with flac. No commercials. Occasionally a very small comment, and loads of apps for most platform. For me it is great. If I don’t donate, which is not required, I will feel guilty about it.
Hi J I was talking Radio Paradise. I love jazz and will be making my way to “Swiss Jazz” soon.
Well I cancelled Tidal, and I’m going to stick with Spotify premium for on the go and music discovery, and Qobuz Studio for now, once I get to the point where I start purchasing more music I’ll go with Sublime+ I am also deciding between Audirvana + and Roon… I don’t currently have enough personal music to justify either (personal being FLAC files, I have 100s of gb worth of MP3 from my young, dumb, and broke days )
I too shall be cancelling my Tidal subscription once the free try out period is over. I can’t justify the price for what little use I would make of it. I guess I too am at present a Spotify man. Just grown used to it I guess. I certainly get my money’s worth out of Spotify. If I want to hear lossless I think I will stick to Flac.
Went to sign up for this tonight (Good enough for Torq = Good enough for me) and got a screen that told me they don’t like Canadians.
Any un-Americans signed up through a VPN? Were you able to access the service without one afterwards?
I totally agree with you. I can’t justify the price of Tidal and Spotify is just so easy for the use I give it. I have the family plan which gives me an account for each of us plus one that we use as a general BGM for the house.
When I am actually focused on listening to music I use FLAC but for the rest of the time, when listening is a secondary activity, Spotify just works great and is so easy to move from work PC to my phone to my car to my home without breaking stride.
I had Spotify, but then used soundiiz to move my library to Tidal. Really enjoying Tidal.
I think spotify’s radio stations are a little better, but the My Mixes from Tidal are more approachable way to experience new music. Throwing new tracks in with the stuff you already like is a really good way to ease someone into new music. It’s less jarring.
Glad you’ve found something that you like. In the end it’s all down to user preference. I have just gotten used to Spotify though if I could afford to, I would have both.
This has been a very interesting thread to read. I have a vinyl collection that I have been adding to for the last 40 years. My wife and I dedicate our Sundays to vinyl only. I also have an extensive CD collection that I have been adding to since the first CD was released and managed over the last 5 years to rip it all to a hard disk on a NAS.
While I enjoy reading the liner notes included in the CD jacket while listening, I just did not have any more space to grow the collection and like @TORQ those CDs are all now in storage and will remain there. I use dBpoweramp to rip for the same reasons provided by @TORQ and JRiver on a Windows laptop as my music player/streamer because of its affordability (especially compared to Roon) and versatility, although it does not have the most user friendly UI. My wife sometimes finds it quite frustrating. Unlike Roon, there is no integration of TIDAL, Spotify or Deezer but there is a virtual audio driver (WDM) that can be used to reroute all Windows sound through JRiver so you can use the TIDAL desktop app and choose to output to JRiver or you can open TIDAL, Spotify, YouTube, etc. in a web browser or launch a video game and audio will be routed through JRIver and consequently through the WASAPI driver (if chosen) to your DAC. As such, this also allows you to use JRiver’s DSP functions.
While many people I know amassed a large digital collection of MP3s while Napster was up and running, I have always purchased my music, primarily because I felt that musicians did not need to be exploited more then they already were by the industry but also because of just how bad those early MP3s sounded. All of my digital music is either ripped or downloaded as lossless, in either a FLAC or WAV format.
When I was purchasing physical copies of music I really enjoyed the experience of talking about music to the lads at the local record shop and being turned on to new music by their recommendations, something now done by algorithms and shared set lists. At the larger discount/supermarket stores such as HMV, Virgin and even Sam the Record Man (only in Canada) some had listening stations where you could listen before buying but many didn’t and I hated buying music blindly, especially when my disposable income was limited. But Napster was around the corner and about to take us down a road where music is not purchased but either leased or used as a vehicle to sell us adds.
For me, streaming initially served the same purpose as those listening stations at HMV - to discover music and decide whether I wanted to spend my hard earned cash on an album. While almost all of those music superstores have gone under, there has been a resurgence of the local used CD and vinyl shop, where I still go to talk about music, be turned on and occasionally buy but I really like the convenience of digital downloads and the fact that they don’t consume physical space. I am now faced with a quandary similar to many people my age who have over the years invested a lot of time and money into their music collections; if I subscribe to a hifi streaming service like TIDAL, will the majority of my collection become redundant? If I stream, do I then stop purchasing, in which case a big chunk of the money I have spent on streaming is lost if TIDAL goes under? From what I have learned from this thread, while not yet available in Canada, I really like the idea of Qobuz, especially as an integrated component of Roon. Roon because of its extensive knowledge/metadata base and Roon Radio for its discovery capabilities. Qobuz because of the option to purchase music at a discount. I just wish that option was also available in the less expensive streaming plans as I would only use Qobuz to test out and discover music that I would purchase. In this context, streaming at 320 Kbps would be sufficient.
Is the Roon/Qobuz model the future of music or a stopgap for the Gen X and Boomer generations?
I agree with @TORQ’s comments about allocating too much of one’s budget to gear while ignoring the quality of the source and by this I think it can be said not only of lossy vs lossless digital files, but the quality of the recording in terms of how it was mastered and mixed, whether it be reproduced in an analogue or digital format. I would easily choose a good recording as a 320K bitrate lossy over an uncompressed bad recording. And if I had to choose between hearing the lossy good recording on a mediocre system or the bad lossless recording on a great system, I would choose the good recording on the mediocre system. Rush’s original release of Vapor Trails in 2002 is an oft-discussed example of the terrible effects of the loudness wars (it’s brickwalled) something previous releases by the band had not been so adversely affected by. After two songs from that album were remixed and released on their Retrospective III release, there was so much positive reaction by fans that the band decided to remix the entire album in 2013.
“One Little Victory” is a good track to compare, which you can do on YouTube:
As regards digital vs analogue, which is a very subjective choice for numerous reasons, I will only say this: during the loudness wars, which still exist, in the early days of digital there was almost always a different master for digital and analogue, where the master for vinyl pressing usually had less dynamic range compression than the one for digital reproduction. While limitations due to the physical properties of vinyl and how it is cut were the main reason, highly compressed recordings can still be cut to vinyl and most vinyl pressings today are cut from the same digital master used for the digital release. You can read more about it here
I found the music review section of The Absolute Sound in particular, to be helpful before widespread internet - even in the Usenet era. I bought many an album that had 4+ rating on both sound and music.
Damn good question. I questioned ROON a lot at first, but have grown to like it very much. Integrated with TIDAL at this point, I don’t know if I want to afford TIDAL and Qobuz. I still buy albums (vinyl), and Qobuz seems to have an attractive model if you want to BUY hi-res files. I like the art and the inflexibility of the album format. No shuffle buttons for me.
I find that I do download some TIDAL hi-res into my favorites curated by ROON. About half of these are files where I already own the vinyl, but I want ROON to make connections in my tastes. For those of you who watch BAR RESCUE on TV, what I really need is a “Partender” for music app, where I can simply scan my collection of albums and it would catalog them for me. Preferably in a way that ROON could see, but a significant portion of the vinyl just never made it into electronic format. (The Great American Eagle Tragedy by Earth Opera, Floyd’s of London - a major Pink Floyd bootleg, Commercials in a Plain Brown Wrapper - Mad Ave Productions and almost none of my Dad’s Mexican 78’s). Curiously a lot of other stuff has (The Fugs, David Peel and the Lower East Side, Yma Sumac).
I’ll probably spring for the “lifetime” subscription to ROON, but I wonder if ROON or I will have the shorter lifetime.
Roon can help here, at least when paired with TIDAL. Although the interface could be improved, it’s pretty good at picking up versions, releases, and remixes. I would imagine it’s the same with Qobuz.
I’m not real happy about the current state of the world with various digital formats, let alone the Digital vs Analog (Philosophically, I tend to think of the real world as Analog, but then when you get down to the quantum mechanical level, it’s really sort of discrete, if not precisely digital). The Edisonola in the attic has a speed adjustment, two diamond disk tonearm extensions, depending on what size record you are playing, and a Victrola attachment so you can waste those stupid steel needles playing your RCA Victrola 78s if you want to. If you want your shellac to last, you shouldn’t be re-using the Victrola needles much, which is why they came in a box of 100. Somehow Apple, Google, and Amazon can’t seem to let something like ROON into their precious ecosystems. “Bleech”, as Alfred E. Newman would say when he failed to not worry.
I enjoyed reading your post.
I ended up canceling my Tidal subscription trial this weekend. I had the 3 month trial for $2 but I found myself not really using it. The desktop app never worked for me on Hifi or Master quality despite changing DACs and outputs - I could sometimes get it to work with on-board audio but most of the time not, and never could get it working with any of my external DACs. The app seemed to work, but I just didn’t feel it, as I do with Spotify. I think having all my buddies use Spotify and having it so integrated makes it hard to leave. Plus we have a family subscription to it already and so paying for two music services seems illogical – also have Prime Music (through Prime account) and I think Apple Music too, though I do not use it.