QoBuz by David Hicks
High-resolution audio is generally defined as music files that have a higher sampling frequency and/or bit depth than that of Compact Disc Digital Audio, which is specified at 16 bit/44.1 kHz. Now, finally, high-resolution music streaming is coming to the US. In fact, it’s here already. The directors of the SFAS have been given early access to Qobuz (pronounced Co-buz) Sublime+ service so that we could experience the World’s highest resolution streaming service. My early listening sessions have all been positive as far as the sound quality is concerned. But then, I prefer to listen to my music played back at a higher resolution even when the music I’m listening to is being streamed. I’m also excited for the North American launch when I’ll be able to purchase high-resolution files directly from Qobuz. But why switch to Qobuz from Tidal or any other streaming service you may be using? Well, whereas I have long enjoyed Tidal, for its ability to play millions of files as background music or for listening to an album before deciding if I like it enough to commit to purchasing it in hi-res or on vinyl, listening to music on Tidal has never been an audiophile experience. With Qobuz, it’s a different story.
Founded in 2007 in Paris, Qobuz (www.qobuz.com) has been available in 11 European countries, but now, they are taking aim at Tidal and every other streaming service in the North American market. If you’re going to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) in October, you’ll get to experience just how great true high-resolution streaming audio can sound. Qobuz has been named the Official High-Resolution Streaming Service for this year’s RMAF, CAF, NYAS, and Axpona. But then, they really didn’t have any competition. Other Music streaming services may boast that they offer CD resolution files, or less than CD resolution with MQA encoded enhancement, but only Qobuz has a music catalog with 40-million tracks, with over two million of those tracks in hi-res (24-bit up to 192kHz) FLAC streamable files. Poor internet connection? No problem. You can also download the files directly to your computer, or purchase files directly if you want to buy them. At least, you will be able to when they officially launch their US platform.
Stay tuned for more reviews and impressions. The exact US release date is not known, but it is promised for the fourth quarter of 2018 and hoped for by the end of October. Sublime+ service is anticipated at $25 a month and gives you access to all of the files.