Home Tech Qobuz vs Tidal – Battle of High-Res Streaming Services

Qobuz vs Tidal – Battle of High-Res Streaming Services

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Qobuz and Tidal are the two most popular music streaming services in the market right now, and deciding which one is best is quite challenging. Therefore, if you are also confused between these two music streaming services, you have landed on the right page.

In today’s article, we are going to thoroughly compare both of these music streaming services to help you decide which one is going to be the best bet for you.

So, without any further ado, let’s get started –

Qobuz vs Tidal – A Brief Introduction

Qobuz and Tidal are both quite popular names in the music streaming industry, and each of them has its own pros and cons. Since it is not easy to say that one is better than the other, we will compare both of these music streaming services in a few different categories.

This comparison will include both company’s overview, sound quality, pricing, music library, user experience, compatibility, etc. In the end, we will also share our opinion on which music streaming platform would be a better choice for you.

So, let’s start this comparison with the company overview –

What is Qobuz?

Qobuz is a French music streaming service. It was founded back in 2007, making it one of the oldest music streaming platforms on the internet.

Initially, the service was just available in a few overseas markets, including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and Spain. However, recently, the company expanded its services to a few other countries, including the United States.

Qobuz vs Tidal

Even though Qobuz has gradually expanded its services into many new countries, it is only available in 18 countries. Despite the fact it is available in just 18 countries, it has over 300,000 paying customers. With this, you can easily get an idea of how popular Qobuz is.

What is Tidal?

On the other hand, we have Tidal, a Norwegian-based platform founded in 2014. However, the thing that makes Tidal stand amongst others is that it is not just a music streaming platform.

Instead, Tidal is more like an entertainment platform specialized in music streaming services where you can find plenty of other stuff such as music videos and others.

Qobuz vs Tidal 1

Another good thing about Tidal is that its services are available in over 61 countries, making it an excellent choice for people across the globe.

However, the platform had not disclosed the number of paying subscribers since 2016, when it reached over 3 million subscribers.

Qobuz vs Tidal – Sound Quality

Sound quality is one of the essential things for any music streaming service, and it can be a deal-breaker for many. After all, who would like to listen to low-quality audio music on their premium audio setup?

Qobuz and Sound Quality

Starting with the Qobuz, it supports a wide range of audio quality options to choose from. Qobuz uses the lossless FLAC files for streaming that they acquire from labels, right holders, and distributors.

Starting from 320 kbps basic CD-quality audio to the maximum of 24-bit/192kHz Hi-Res lossless audio quality, the audio quality range offered by Qobuz is pretty versatile.

While the audio range is quite versatile and the highest quality is exceptional, you need to take a few things into account before getting attracted to these numbers.

The very first and most important thing is that you need high-quality equipment to enjoy this Hi-Fi or Hi-Res audio quality.

Otherwise, the difference in audio quality of MP3 and Hi-Fi or Hi-Res music will be so subtle that it will be nearly impossible to understand the difference.

If you are an audiophile and you have the proper equipment, then considering Hi-Fi audio quality really makes sense.

Another important thing is that downloading these high-quality audio files will require way more space on your device than the regular 320 KBPS MP3 file.

Plus, streaming online will require a high-speed stable internet connection. So, keep all these things in your head.

What about Tidal?

Now, if we talk about Tidal, it also offers a pretty spacious soundstage. The sound quality ranges from basic high-quality audio of 320 Kbps to 24-bit/96kHz Hi-Res music. Tidal has over 25,000 tracks that are ready for streaming in Hi-Res quality.

Clearly, the highest frequency for Hi-Res streaming of Tidal is way less than what Qobuz offers. But as I already told you, if you are not an audiophile or if your gears are not good enough, you will rarely notice any significant difference.

However, if I have to pick one of these on the basis of sound quality, I would pick Qobuz.

Qobuz vs Tidal – Music Library (Slight edge to Qobuz)

After sound quality, the next important thing to consider while picking a music streaming service is obviously the music library.

Tidal has an awe-inspiring music library that contains over 70 million audio tracks that include music, podcast, and other types of audio files. Along with that, Tidal also features a massive collection of over 250,000 music videos. For Hi-Res streaming, Tidal offers over 25,000 songs.

On the other hand, Qobuz is solely a music streaming platform with a whopping 70 million+ high-quality audio tracks in its music library. Qobuz is solely a music streaming service, meaning you won’t find other types of audio stuff such as podcasts, audiobooks, etc.

However, one thing where Qobuz ultimately shines is its Hi-Res library. Qobuz library contains over 424,000 Hi-Res audio tracks, which is on par with any other Hi-Res music streaming service on the internet. Therefore, if you are an audiophile, Qobuz is easily a better choice for you.

That said, I don’t mean that Tidal’s music library isn’t impressive. Tidal’s library is excellent and pretty versatile, and it is well suited to people who want an all-around solution for audio streaming. If you enjoy listening to podcasts, audiobooks, and watching music videos, go with Tidal.

Qobuz vs Tidal – Pricing 

Both Qobuz and Tidal offer a bunch of music streaming plans, but the question is, which gives you a better bang for your buck?

1. Tidal

Individual Plans
  • Premium – $9.99/month
  • Hi-Fi – $19.99/month
Family Plans
  • Premium – $14.99/month, allows you to add up to six members
  • Hi-Fi – $29.99/month, allows you to add up to six members

For students, US military, and first responders

If you are a student, US military officer, or first responder, you can get all of the individual plans at flat 50% off.

Tidal basically has two different types of subscription plans – Premium and Hi-Fi.

The premium plan allows you to stream high-quality music up to a bit rate of 320 kbps. It gives you uninterrupted access to the massive audio library of Tidal. If you primarily listen to music on your smartphone and you are not an audiophile, this plan will be the best choice for you.

However, if you are an audiophile, then Tidal has the Hi-Fi plan where you get access to the massive library of Tidal along with 25,000+ Hi-Res music files.

2. Qobuz

Individual Plans
  • Studio Premier – $14.99/month
  • Studio Sublime – $20.83/month
Family Plans
  • Studio Premier – $24.99/month, allows you to add up to six members
  • Studio Sublime – $41.66/month, allows you to add up to six members
Similar to Tidal, Qobuz also features two subscription plans – Studio Premier and Studio Sublime

However, the good thing about Qobuz is that it offers the same sound streaming quality to all of its users, irrespective of the plan they buy. This clearly makes Qobuz a better choice than Tidal.

If we talk about the Studio Premier plan, then this plan gives you uninterrupted access to the massive library of Qobuz. Plus, users can also stream and download 424,000 Hi-Res audio files. This plan is suitable for music listeners of all types.

The other plan, Studio Sublime, is more designed for people who often buy songs and albums. With this plan, you will get exclusive access to special discounts when you purchase Hi-Res audio for downloading on your device.

If we compare both services, if you listen to Hi-Res audio, Qobuz surely offers the best value for money. Because at just $14.99 a month, you get uninterrupted access to one of the most extensive libraries of Hi-Res music tracks.

On the other hand, if you just want a streaming service to listen to high-quality music, Tidal can be a good solution for you.

Sadly, none of the services offers any free membership tier. There are only premium plans. You get a 30-day free trial to test their services, though.

Qobuz vs Tidal – Compatibility

When it comes to compatibility, both Tidal and Qobuz have plenty of options. They both have their native apps available for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and others.

Not only that, but you can also install these apps on your Apple TV, Roku, or other digital devices. Additionally, you can access the web version of the service if the native client isn’t available for your device.

Qobuz vs Tidal – UI, and UX

1. Getting started and signing up

Getting on board with Qobuz is very easy and straightforward. When you land on their homepage, you will see a try for free button. This button will lead you to the signup page, where you will be asked a few questions such as your email, your name, date of birth, and other things.

After that, if you want to go with a membership trial, you have to select that subscription plan to proceed further.

If you skip this step, you will not be able to get the free 30-day trial of the service. Even though Qobuz offers a free tier, that is not really free. With the free membership, you will be restricted to play samples, not the entire song.

10 ways to listen to Qobuz

After selecting a plan and successfully registering on the website, you will be asked to select different music genres that you enjoy listening to.

This is an initial step that allows Qobuz to understand your taste in music and throw recommendations accordingly. Overall, I would say the signing process on Qobuz is pretty easy.

On the other hand, getting started with Tidal is also very easy. When you visit their website, you can see a free trial button. After clicking on it, you will be redirected to the signup page.

You can manually sign up using an email account, or you can continue with your social media profile on Facebook, Twitter, or with your Apple ID.

After registering, you will be asked to select a plan. Unlike Qobuz, Tidal’s free tier doesn’t even let you play samples. You can use the free plan to see their layout and UI, though.

Everything you need to know about Tidal – in 90 seconds | Mashable

However, to test their sound quality and library, we suggest you opt for the Hi-Fi plan, as you can downgrade your plan later on.

Similar to Qobuz, Tidal also asks you to select the type of songs you listen to. However, the good thing here is that instead of asking the entire genre, Tidal asks you to select your favorite artists from different genres.

For example, instead of selecting rock music, you get the option to select rock music bands and artists such as Måneskin, The Beatles, Nirvana, and others.

Similarly, you can select other artists as well, such as Johnny Cash, Lil Nas X, Ed Sheeran, Avicii, Taylor Swift, and others. Overall, I would say the signup process of Tidal is a bit better than Qobuz.

2. Layout and design

The user interface and layout of Qobuz are okay. While I didn’t find it very intuitive, it is not too difficult and tedious either. The white background on the web version looks great, but it looks a bit dated to me.

Indeed, the user interface depends on an individual’s choice and likings, and therefore, you may enjoy Qobuz’s UI over Tidal or any other music streaming service.

More than the web-based version, I like the Android app of Qobuz. The Android app looks very minimal and easy to use. On the homepage, you will see a bunch of newly released albums and tracks in your selected genres.

On the other hand, we have Tidal. The user interface of Tidal looks way more visually appealing and attractive than Qobuz. If you have used Spotify before, you will realize that Tidal’s UI looks very similar to Spotify. A similar thing goes with the smartphone app too.

Also, the user interface of Tidal is very easy to use. When you land on the homepage, you will be greeted with a bunch of sections such as Recently Played, Mixes for You, Radio Stations for You, Because You Added, Suggested New Albums, Tracks, Tidal Charts, and many more. On the homepage itself, you get a bunch of ways to discover new music.

Qobuz vs Tidal – Music Discovery

The music recommendation feature of Qobuz is okay. It is not too bad, but it is not too impressive either. When you land on the homepage, you will see “New Releases” tracks and songs based on the genres you selected during the signup. 

Instead of offering algorithmically personalized songs, Qobuz offers playlists based on Hi-Res songs, new releases, different genres, and more. Therefore, if you prefer personalized suggestions, Qobuz is not the right choice.

That said, these pre-curated playlists are not too bad. The only thing is that I didn’t like them, and I prefer personalized suggestions a bit more. There are chances that you might like those playlists, and therefore, Qobuz might be a good choice for you.

The biggest issue with these playlists, in my opinion, is that they are pre-curated. The thing is that I am a big fan of rock music, but I prefer listening to old songs more than some recently released tracks.

The issue here is that since they have pre-curated playlists, their list contains a big majority of recently released songs that, even though I might enjoy, I am not in the mood to listen to at the moment.

Now, if Qobuz had any recommendation algorithm instead of these pre-curated playlists, their algorithm would have understood that I prefer to listen to old music, and I would have received suggestions accordingly. This is the main issue with these pre-curated playlists.

Below those playlists, you can find two sections named Panoramas and News. Panoramas include descriptions of these playlists, insights, trivia, exciting overviews of artists, and other music-related topics.

On the other hand, the news section covers the latest gossip, news, and other trending topics related to the music industry.

I am not too fond of these sections, but it depends on the individual’s choice. If you love to gather information or stay updated with the latest news about your favorite creator or music industry per se, you will surely enjoy this section.

Other than that, you can discover music on Qobuz by searching for that specific song, album, artist, or band. You can also head over to the particular record label’s page to browse songs of all the artists releasing their work under that label.

Overall, I would say that I like the search function of Qobuz more than the pre-curated playlists.

What does Tidal have to offer?

While Qobuz performs just okay for music discovery, Tidal features one of the most powerful recommendation algorithms to offer personalized playlists.

When you sign up, Tidal asks you to select your favorite singers, and then it displays songs of those artists, called your welcome mix. Here you can find most of the songs that you actually enjoy listening to.

Once you start listening to your favorite songs, Tidal starts learning your taste and prepares some playlists based on them. The best thing about this algorithm is that the more songs you listen to and like, the better these recommendations become.

If you like a playlist, you can also save it to listen to in the future before it gets refreshed.

Other than their personalized recommendation algorithm, the thing that I like is the number of pre-curated playlists they offer. Though these sections are based on your likings, there are plenty of ways to discover something new.

The different sections that you may find on their homepage are –

  • Recently played
  • Mixes for you
  • Radio stations for you
  • Because you added
  • Suggested new albums
  • Suggested new tracks
  • Popular playlists
  • Trending playlists
  • Popular albums
  • The charts
  • Party
  • TIDAL Rising

The songs you see in the first four sections will be wholly based on Tidal’s personalized recommendation algorithm.

The following two sections – suggested new albums and suggested new tracks, will display recently released songs based on the type of music genre, artists, and albums that you have listened to.

Rest other sections such as popular playlists, the charts, trending playlists, and others will show popular songs and albums across all genres. If you want to discover some new trending songs out of your favorite genre, then these sections can be a great place to look for.

Lastly, there is a TIDAL Rising section, and here you can find new rising singers and bands. This section is a great way to see some hidden, underrated talents.

Another way to discover music on Tidal is by heading over to the Explore tab. Clicking on the Explore tab will take you to a page where you will be greeted with a bunch of ways to explore music.

The very first thing that you will see on this page is a massive list of genres. You can select any genre, and Tidal will show you pre-curated playlists of popular songs in that genre.

Just below the genre section, you will see the mood, activities, and event section. This section will help you find music based on your mood or the activity you are doing.

For example, if you want songs for a party, you can select the party from this section. Similarly, you can get pre-curated playlists for the workout, dance, relax, meditation, romance, and others.

The explore tab is a great way to discover music that you haven’t listened to before. 

Overall, in my opinion, Tidal is way ahead of Qobuz in terms of UI and UX.

Wrapping it up – which one is better?

We have reached the end of this article, and still, it is not easy to say that Qobuz is better than Tidal or vice versa. I believe that the answer to this question ultimately depends on the needs of the individual.

If you are an audiophile and enjoy listening to Hi-Res tracks, then both Tidal and Qobuz are great options. However, if I have to pick one for Hi-Res or Hi-Fi music, I would go with Qobuz.

The reason is simple, Qobuz is less expensive and has a far bigger library of Hi-Res audio tracks than Tidal. 

On the other hand, if you are a regular music listener and not an audiophile, Tidal can be a great solution. At just $9.99 a month, Tidal premium allows you to access a massive library of over 70 million songs and 250,000 music videos.

You will be able to stream all these songs in up to 320 kbps, and that bitrate is not bad, either. Therefore, Tidal would be the right choice for you.

But if you just want a music streaming service to listen to high-quality songs and the personalized recommendation algorithm, then why not try Spotify?

After all, Spotify offers a much better deal with a more extensive catalog at the same pricing. Plus, Spotify’s library contains a massive collection of audiobooks, podcasts, stories, and more. And not to forget, Spotify features a free ad-supported tier, too.

What’s better? The personalized recommendation feature of Spotify is the best in the industry. Plus, Spotify is available across the globe.

With that said, here I am wrapping up this article. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot them in the comment section below. Our team will try to answer them ASAP.