Tidal & Qobuz (newbie)

E-Greetings to you all.
c2 months ago I test drove an ND5XS and had the great debate, my MQA Streamer (1/4 of the price of ND5) will champion that of yours… how wrong I was.
First things first, coming from a modest streamer and moving to an MQA supported streamer, there is a difference in MQA vs CD Quality via tidal, a noticeable one at that… I agree, some master albums do sound better than others but overall you do pick up the silver spoon and force MQA down your neck just to enjoy a more open soundstage and what I can only describe as ‘being closer to the band/ instrument… with an hearing aid’.
Now… interesting, comparing the two, the ND5 at CD quality got that silver spoon and the last time I saw it was 24 hours later, never to be used again. The quality of Naim products are THAT good.
So, FFWD and I have recently purchased ND5XS2… my question is, I enjoy tidal and I have enjoyed a number of master tracks, I used Qobuz to compare the two and found the MQA on my streamer did pip Qobuz. Now I have the XS2 I’m beginning to think to get the best out of it I need to revisit Qobuz and part way with Tidal to capitalise on the XS2’s inbuilt DACs… what are your thoughts? and I know I know I know, but can I expect to hear the benefit of Qobuzs top tier subscription when compared to that of the MQA via my BS Node i

The ND5XS2 along with all Naim streamers can’t play and decode so called Tidal ‘master’ tracks as these are all MQA encoded.
However on Qobuz you can usually find the source distributions likely used for making the MQA versions as lossless PCM distributions.

Thank you for the response Simon

If you want to compare Tidal MQA with Qobuz, you could try Roon, as your new streamer supports it. Then you at least get the first ‘unfold’ of MQA. Personally I preferred Qobuz in general for sound quality, but you have nothing to lose by doing a free trial of Roon.

Thanks Chris, that’s a good idea. Logically I know Qobuz will sound better but I’m hoping a few Forum users will help me rip the band aid off - my head tells me people’s personal experience is worth more than paper print… like yourself and Simon and other forum users it seams naim is far better at the qobuz party than tidal

To be fair to Tidal, I found that their regular 16/44 material sounded pretty much the same as Qobuz when comparing both via Roon. It’s the 24 bit stuff that I thought gave Qobuz the edge.


It’s that edge I’m looking for :grin: thanks again Chris

I used Tidal for about 2 1/2 years and was not interested in MQA at all. Qobuz became available in the US and I signed up for the 30 day trial. Well after doing some comparisons, my system, my room, my ears, I cancelled Tidal and signed up for Qobuz. The bonus was the Tidal HiFi monthly subscription was $19.99 a month and Qubuz Studio subscription which provides HiRes music is only $14.99 a month. If Tidal did sound better I would of kept it, it was just a bonus that Qobuz streaming music sounded better than Tidal in direct comparison and the cheaper monthly price was just icing on the cake.

Give it a trial run and see what your system in your room listening with your ears tells you.

Good luck with your decision.


Thank you Seakayaker, much appreciated

Qobuz for sure, currently listening to Carla Bley 96/24 and it’s really very good, Tidal always left me a bit disappointed even 44/16 like for like

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Thank you Hollow, seems pretty evident Qobuz is the way forward

Yes, however as said above the lower definition 44.1/16 material is identical from Qobuz and Tidal… though do check which distribution master is being streamed as there are usually several, and they often don’t sound the same … however like for like they sound the same, as they are the same.
It’s higher definitions (anything above 44.1/16) where the SQ differences come into their own. Tidal is limited to MQA for all such instances. Qobuz offer higher definition as true PCM up to 192/24 for a few recordings with 44.1/24, 48/24 and 96/24 being the most popular. Most new material does appear in 24 bit now.

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Best to avail of the free trial and judge for yourself though

Thanks Simon, it was the MQA that brought me to tidal as my current streamer unfolds the file. When I tried the the ND5 first gen it made a mockery of both MQA and 16/44. I’m a big fan of tidal but think subscribing to a service for one particular file format is a ‘nice to have’ but a bit excessive given the performance of the nd5. I’m want to give my ND5 2nd gen the correct fuel if that makes sense… I’m hoping between Qobuz HiRes and the DACs I’m going to pair performance thus improving the overall sound stage / quality on the +24 bit music from QB

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I’ve just started it, downloaded my albums and awaiting delivery of the ND5 :grin:. I have read a few reviews on catalogue gaps but so far no dramas. To note, in comparison to tidal a lot of QB tracks are +24 bit when compared to 16 on a tidal. It seems QB has more, I suppose HiRes files available

There isn’t really a catalogue gap as such… both Tidal and Qobuz have a huge overlap and then each has titles the other doesn’t have.
Yes there may be marginally more compilation albums and ‘US urban’ music on Tidal compared to Qobuz, and Tidal seems to carry less classical music labels. … but all in all not huge differences… albeit there may be different distribution masters, play lists may need to be re curated between the two.

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Agreed, that’s what I’ve seen and doing… can I ask a question, connections… snake oil or worthwhile upgrade… I’m currently using rca to rca (chord C-Line) and feel this will be fit for purpose. As we ever fall down the rabbit hole, is there benefit in using din to rca (Gotham 2 and chord chrysalis is what I’ve shortlisted)? My amp will only accept rca

All other things being equal marginal gain in using DIN to RCA… there is one less ground connection… but I wouldn’t go out of your way here.

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Update ND5 has arrived, set up, running in and sounds great… Source, Qobuz.
Thanks all for the advice


Thanks Simon, I’ve just got into Naim streaming with a Uniti 1 and was wondering why Tidal Masters were only coming through as 44/16. Still sounds amazing compared to the Sonos it replaces.