Tidal vs Qobuz yet again

We recently bought Uniti Nova and I am getting my head around streaming options. I know there was a lot of discussion regarding SQ of different services. I subscribed to trial with Tidal Masters and Qobuz.
My main confusion is with Tidal Masters - is seems still not possible to stream masters quality sound via native Naim app - it drops to Hi-Fi (?CD quality), on the other hand it is possible to stream masters quality from iPad via AirLink, not sure if this a way. I was under impression new Tidal Connect should sort the issues with MQA incompatibility
Qobuz looks more straightforward with quite lots of albums in Hi Res SQ and easy to stream

Naim does not support MQA. You will only experience CD quality with Tidal and Naim. Qobuz provides HiRes streaming.

I started streaming with Tidal and switched to Qobuz when it became available in the US after doing a month of side by side comparison.

My system, My Room, My Ears.


I’m in the states as well and Qobuz just sounds better to my ears on my 272, and SU before it, than Tidal.


I too moved from Tidal to Qobuz.

Just tried a 3 month trial of Tidal for £2 and found little difference in content available or SQ vs Qobuz.

Tidal Connect has nothing to do with it. It’s just a way to let the Tidal app act as a remote for the streamer. No music data goes through the app, and decoding the MQA would still have to be done on the streamer and would require an MQA license payment.

I have moved to QOBUZ as well. My wife still uses the TIDAL subscription. We cannot mess up each others playlists and play history anymore now. :joy:

Also, I like the fact that I can now play high resolution files on the Atom HE, which was not possible with TIDAL. Having compared the two streaming services I prefer QOBUZ, but only by a small margin.


Factor in Qobuz Sublime and it’s tough to find any reason to go back to Tidal for me. Qobuz hi res files are pretty great and the discounts have me buying loads of music again. And when I stream locally my Qobuz purchased music sounds better than when streamed from the cloud. Another win.

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A couple of years ago I changed from tidal to qobuz because I found I preferred the sound of Qobuz.

A couple of months ago I took the tidal offer of £2/month to compare them again. After a week I cancelled the tidal as in my system it doesn’t sound as good as Qobuz.

With regards to qobuz hires, some streams are higher resolution than others. I use an Ndac which illuminates a light on the facia when it is playing hi res; I would say most of the albums that are labelled hi res by qobuz do not illuminate the light.

The difference is confirmed by pulling the network cable while streaming music from qobuz.

Ndac hires light lit – buffer holds 15 seconds of music.

Ndac hires not light lit – buffer holds 26 seconds of music.

Streaming CD quality from qobuz - buffer holds 38 seconds of music


Tidal playing CD quality (flac) - buffer holds 36 seconds of music.

Tidal playing Hires quality - buffer holds 44 seconds of music. (My sbt isn’t able to play tidal hi res streams at high res).

Tidal playing MP3 quality - buffer holds 92 seconds of music.

Streaming CD quality (wav) from a NAS - buffer holds 29 seconds of music.


The Naim app should show the bit depth and sample rate, no? Maybe only in the Now Playing screen. Roon shows all available versions to choose from, with the (claimed) resolution info.

Of course 88.2 vs. 96 vs 192 kHz sample rate makes a difference in file size and hence the buffer duration, but the bit depth (24) is probably more important for hires. The size is easy to calculate, too:
2 channels * bit depth * samples/second = file size per second in bits. Divide by 8 to get bytes, and by 1,000,000 to get megabytes. Divide by 2 for flac compression.
(MQA will be smaller because lossy)

In any case, there is no consistent difference between different albums in different hi-res sample rates - the recording/mastering is much more important. And sometimes the 16/44.1 CD quality sounds better than a 24/192 remaster. Plus, I suppose, there are albums that are ostensibly hi-res but are just upsampled CD, or just carry hi-res file headers. It’s happens on all places streaming or selling hi-res

That said, when I moved from Tidal to Qobuz a year ago, I lost not a huge but a considerable number of favorite albums. But now I have a Tidal family account as well, and Roon shows me both Tidal and Qobuz for all albums, and it seems that Qobuz caught up, not completely but noticeably for my music. The difference would not be enough to pay fully for Tidal in addition to Qobuz

Do you know whether the files Qobuz sells are typically the best of the ones that are available to stream for each track?

Does this just depend on what each label supplies to buy and to stream?

I don’t know any of that. I’m more interested in comparing the same files to make the contrast b/w local and cloud.

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I’m not using a Naim streamer to feed the Ndac, so no Naim app.

The Ndac HD light illuminates at sampling rates above 48kHz. So, the majority of music I stream from qobuz labelled as HiRes must be less than 48kHz.

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Was on Qobuz, just trued a month on Tidal.

Back now on Qobuz, even though my collection is totally random in the Naim app!

You can transfer favorites between Tidal and Qobuz with Soundiiz

Sorry but something is not right here. I have Qobuz plying from my Innuos to my DAC (brinkman nyquist) via USB. The nyquist reports the same bit rate as Qobuz every time. I think there would be quite a lot of complaints if Qobuz were misleading people about the quality of their streams

I think there is an option with Qobuz Studio Duo having two separate accounts

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On the other hand I am still able to play Tidal Masters quality via AirPlay, is there a contradiction?

It’s different because when using AirPlay the music data is sent by the Tidal app from the mobile to the streamer. If using Tidal Connect, the Tidal app only tells the streamer what to stream, the data does not pass through the mobile.

It is possible (but I am not sure) that in the AirPlay case the Tidal app or iOS does the first MQA unfold. However, I don’t know what this would gain as AirPlay is limited to CD quality (16/44.1) anyway.

In general, you can always play MQA, its whole point is that it degrades to a version that can be played on devices that are not MQA-licensed, albeit degraded to less-than-CD quality. I.e., it plays but it loses all of the benefits MQA might have, if any

Thank you!
Qobuz is a logical option than

Add another vote for Qobuz. After I finally abandoned Spotify in January I trialled both Qobuz and Tidal side by side for a couple of months. There were a few things I could find on Tidal but not on Qobuz. But not many. I can’t honestly say a could reliably detect much difference in sound quality at cd level. But there is sufficient hi res music on Qobuz that, in the end, swung my preference that way.

As a side question: why did Spotify not follow through on their promise to provide cd quality streaming? Are there so few people that care about sq that this won’t seriously affect their bottom line?