Tidal versus Qobuz

Validated my opinion. I bought a year subscription.

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Yes it’s a bit of a terminology problem as well i think, with the ambiguity of the term “normalisation”.

From what i gather online, Tidal is more or less using the same technique as replaygain, but their own variation where the loudest song is used as a ceiling:


I don’t believe i suggested them doing any resampling/remastering in my earlier post? Perhaps that is why i didn’t fully understand your follow-up to it… :wink:

Well your post prompted me to look into it further… EBU 128 S2 (supplement 2) is specifically targeted at streaming media provides and players, and the recommendation for broadcasters and cloud stream providers following EBU R128 (and Tidal is mentioned as an example) that use their own interfaces is that loudness is applied on their clients either by default or on demand rather than at source and be controlled by using meta data.

So in this example using Roon to optionally apply loudness normalisation if the user requires for content fits this model. This is also the approach used by Tidal’s own player. With Naim natively there is no option to use this normalisation meta data.

Or if no loudness normalisation is required, or the player (device) can’t process the loudness normalisation meta data, the source is not manipulated and the meta data ignored

Okay, but my earlier comment to which you replied “I very much doubt that” only mentioned:

“Both services probably have a normalize / replaygain setting, this adjusts the playback volume to a standard level. It’s possible that on one service this setting is enabled but not on the other, this is something you could check to be sure.”

So i’m not sure where the doubt applied to, since my next post to @PeterGekko showed a screenshot of the Tidal app with the setting in question (i didn’t realise he was using Roon at the time of writing).

I think the confusion may be that you interpreted me implying that this was something done on the provider/network level, while i was only referring to the setting in the app. :wink:

Indeed I thought you were referring to being manipulated at source… as opposed to manipulation with the Tidal player or a third party player at destination.
I suspect we are in agreement… as you and I have agreed on this point before… :grinning:

Re the OP: My Tidal via the bubble app has never sounded harsh or any of the qualities you describe. In fact it sounds almost as good as my locally stored music.

Yes all things being equal (CD master the same as stream master) your local media and the cloud media potentially can sound identical… the physical source becomes inconsequential… so local and cloud become the same thing as far as the media is concerned.

True I find with Naim, especially with the first gen streamers there was a SQ difference between on-prem and cloud … but that was down to network TCP characteristic differences between the two and one was typically FLAC and the other wav.
With the later streamers this difference has largely disappeared, especially when in digital output mode, and when using a proxy aggregator like Roon, these differences have disappeared. (For the same distro master)

I was responding to the OP. His comments make me think something is off.

I’m on a legacy streamer so and using a renderer for Tidal and it sounds quite good, esp transcoding to wav. But it’s not quite up to my local streams. I assumed it’s b/c of shortcomings with the legacy buffers. But perhaps I misunderstand. RP FLAC streams via minimstreamer sound better than Tidal and on par with local streams. And in cases where RP sounds better than my local I think can be attributed to inferior master recordings.

Yes, and I wonder if Qobhz will ever be bothered to get thru all the Canadian rules and regs. Our government seems to think we are bigger, better, and more populous than we really are.
Mais, c’est la vie …

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Thank you for all the background info.

There seem to be enough possibilities to fiddle with the level on the client side, so I don’t think my ears are deceiving me. As an IT person the CDN story is clear to me, I imagine my music surrounded by the latest jQuery library :slight_smile:

I will further delve into Roon. And switch off all levelling, compression and clipping (as a side effect). In good music difference in level is intended. My Naim is not supposed to be a source of elevator-music


Using Roon, leaving all the DA conversion to the streamer, Tidal can sound harsh in loud and/or busy parts of the music

It sounds like something is broken in your chain if that’s the case. Tidal sounded warm before I could get transcoding working and with transcoding it’s pretty damn good. Certainly not harsh, ever. And I’m very sensitive to bright/harsh recordings.

@ElMarko may I ask what are you using to render Tidal so that it transcodes to wav? Also, do you find this really gives sound quality improvements over and above Naim’s built in Tidal player. Thanks

Hi Jason, I’m using Bubble App on my QNAP to render which worked great for the FLAC but I couldn’t get it to transcode b/c of limitations with FFMPEG on the QNAP.

Here’s s thread documenting my issues. @Guinnless and @CrystalGipsy were quite helpful and I appreciate it.

In the end I opted to run a container with Bubble and it works without a hitch once I figured out I needed to uninstall my original Bubble app. The transcoding makes a big difference for me.

Here’s CG’s post documenting the container install. Works like a charm.

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Hi Elmarko,

That’s really helpful, thanks for taking the time to explain all this and for pointing me to the relevant threads. I’ll have a full read through it all and try to get my head around it tomorrow. :+1:

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It only sounds harsh if the master does. I have found equally bad masters on Qobuz. If it’s an MQA master then it can contribute to a bad master being more harsh if you don’t have an MQA renderer in the chain. This was why I finally let Tidal go and went with just Qobuz as although I have some MQA renderers my Naim system doesn’t. But I am still thinking of getting it back as its still missing so much and even with new releases that are always on Tidal.


Curious which new release you are not seeing on Qobuz… admittedly Qobuz aren’t good at announcing all their new releases, perhaps they have so many? I tend to use the music press to see about new releases and then access them via Roon into Qobuz.

One thing Tidal does have in its favour is that you can self publish your own music to it. As far as I know you can’t do that in Qobuz.

Yep there are quite a few independant artists that don’t appear and also they often only offer a smaller selection of a bands output compared to Tidal.

Cassandra Jenkins my favourite album this year is a recent one her latest album thats garnered very good reviews is not available nor is her debut all you get is some EPs. Ryley Walkers latest is also absent yet on Tidal from last Friday’s releases.

It ends up I listen on Spotify then buy from Bandcamp, but it would be nice to be able to not have to do this for albums I am on the fence about.

A couple missing from this week’s releases but nothing I ended up liking but again it’s missing material that I wanted to try out but have had to resort to other means.

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