Qobuz Celebrates Its Second Anniversary in the United States

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(February 12, 2021) In just two short days, one of the industry’s more notable Hi-Res streaming services – Qobuz – turns two in the US. According to the service, 2020 was a big year of growth. In fact, its American subscriber base doubled in size. Originally founded in France during 2007, Qobuz is now available in 12 countries around the globe.

One of Qobuz’s claims to fame is being the world’s first Hi-Res streaming service. And holding true to that claim, the service offers streaming quality up to 24-bit/192kHz audio. That kind of quality certainly sounds impressive, and what’s more impressive (if not hard to comprehend) is Qobuz’s catalog of more than 70 million titles. In other words, more than enough for the hardest of hardcore audiophiles.

Last year, Qobuz launched an all-new out-of-app conversation series called “Qobuz Live.” With a mission of educating music fans, Qobuz Live has featured a range of personalities, recording artists, and representatives from some of the industry’s biggest speaker manufacturers. This is all in addition to in-app features that deliver editorial content, liner notes, lyric booklets, and the like.

Celebrating Qobuz’s US success, Managing Director Dan Mackta stated: “We’ve come a long way very quickly, made possible by enthusiastic partners in the music industry and creative community.”

For more information about Qobuz, visit www.qobuz.com.
 

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Sonnie

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I'm a subscribed fan. :wave:
 

welldun

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Hello, Todd, I'm glad you posted about Qobuz, as I have a few questions about the whole Hi-Res audio thing. But before I get to the questions, allow me to share a small discovery/story.

I haven't tried Qobuz yet, but I've heard some good things about it (no pun intended :greengrin:). Most recently I dusted off an AsusT100TAF mini laptop that's been sitting around. I decided to put Windows 10 on it a while back, and the thing is just not powerful enough to do much with it. However, if does have a USB port on the keyboard so I figured what the heck... let's see what I can do with this thing!

Since my AVR (Pioneer SC-99) has a USB-DAC on it, I decided to test out Amazon Music HD which is running a 30-day free trial and also claims to have 24bit /192kHz music available. I was able to install the Amazon Music HD app on the T100TAF and connected it via USB to my SC-99. This worked out great!
In order to get a resolution higher than 24bit/48kHz from the SC-99 USB-DAC, Pioneer includes a Windows driver that will allow the laptop to recognize the SC-99 as an audio interface when connected via that USB. Doing so now allows the Amazon app/program to use the 24bit/192kHz that is available to it.

Not all of the music on Amazon is available in that high of a resolution, so that app tells you 3 pieces of info (in bit/kHz) related to the audio quality when it is streaming the music, so you can see the resolution of what you are actually listening to. It tells you the file's rate info, player's rate info, and the rate that the track is actually playing at.... COOL.

This brings me to my questions... As silly as they may seem, I will ask them anyway.:rolleyes::greengrin:

1. Given the fact that human hearing deteriorates as we age, and the possibility that we may have also damaged it along the way through accidents and or listening at too high a volume over the years, what exactly should we "expect" to hear when playing a Hi-res file beyond 16bit/44kHz?

2. Since the goal of many audiophiles is to "hear it the way the audio engineer heard it", wouldn't it make sense to then use the same (or similar) speakers that the engineers actually listened to it on? I'm always "WOWed" by some of the exotic "high end" speakers that are out there, and I don't think those are what the engineer is listening through. :justdontknow:

Part of me thinks most of this is for bragging rights more so than actual use.... Like driving a Ferrari in the slow lane...:olddude::rofl:

Anyways, I'll give Qobuz a try after my 30 day trial with Amazon ends. Thanks for the buzz.
 

Todd Anderson

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First off... I love the fact you're using an SC-99. I reviewed that back in 2015 (perhaps '16?). A beast!

Here's my thoughts on your questions, I'm sure others will have a different take:

(1) I suspect that most people (if not all) would have an amazingly difficult time hearing a difference beyond CD quality digital audio. That said, I do think it's possible to discern between lesser quality and 16/44. For me, personally, the benefit of Hi-Res streaming is that you're guaranteed to feed your system 16/44 or better. CD quality and better has a much smoother sound, depth to low end, and a notable clarity to high-end... and it's clean sounding. I think purists/audiophiles would tell you that resolutions higher than 16/44 have an airiness quality. But, I can't hear it. Perhaps certain speakers/systems would bring that to light? I'm not sure.

(2) Good point. And, yes, you're probably right! The big X-Factor is the room. Those same speakers will sound entirely different in a different room. So, you'd have to place those same speakers in a very similar space.

To your point, speakers allow us to see an artistic creation, but with a tinted lens. For me, I much prefer those lenses to be tinted on the higher functioning side of the equation (like the systems that you describe) versus a $4 pair of earbuds from 5 and Below! ;-)
 
Last edited:

JStewart

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Another satisfied Qobuz customer for more than a couple of years now.
@welldun , its been a a while since I've used the Amazon App. I found it was really not very good compared to Qobuz app in the areas of visual appeal, searching, organizing of favorites(songs, albums, artists) and playlists. Maybe things have changed. If not, being they are the same price makes it a no-brainer, unless you need to your music service to part of the Amazon's "Echo" system.

2. Since the goal of many audiophiles is to "hear it the way the audio engineer heard it", wouldn't it make sense to then use the same (or similar) speakers that the engineers actually listened to it on? I'm always "WOWed" by some of the exotic "high end" speakers that are out there, and I don't think those are what the engineer is listening through.
To your point, speakers allow us to see an artistic creation, but with a tinted lens. For me, I much prefer those lens to be tinted on the higher functioning side of the equation (like the systems that you describe) versus a $4 pair of earbuds from 5 and Below! ;-)
I agree with you Todd and well put. It took me a while to learn that "hear it the way the artist intended" is nonsense because it's not possible.
 

welldun

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Thank you both for your feedback (again, no pun intended)! :greengrin:
And yes Todd, I love my SC-99. Currently it is powering a 7.4.4 setup: That includes a full set of Andrew Jones, Atmos Enabled Pioneer Elite speakers (a pair of EFS-73 towers, the EC-73 center channel, and a pair of EBS-73). Then there is a pair of SP-BS41 (non Atmos until I can find another pair of EBS-73). I'm using an AudioSource AD1002 to power the back surrounds. Handling the bass are 4 SVS SB12-NSD (one in each corner) connected to a MiniDSP 2x4HD. On the visual side I have a Elite Screens Aeon Series 100" screen lit up by an Epson 5040UB.
For the room which measures 18L'x13W'x7' 4"H, this is more than enough.

I've learned a lot over the years from forums like this one, so there is always some tweaking to be done when something new is learned, but so far so good.
I appreciate all of the knowledge that you guys share.:T
 

RichB

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I use QOBUZ through Roon and love it.
I bought it when they reduced the price to $15 per month.

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Sonnie

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I use QOBUZ through Roon and love it.
I bought it when they reduced the price to $15 per month.

- Rich
Hey Rich,.. glad to have you with us.
 
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