Amazon HD vs. Tidal HiFi (MQA)


just wanted to mention, that as a happy TIDAL-user (non-MQA) for years, this thread and especially this video has me testing Qobuz now for the first time. So far, Yggi, Mr. Clear and me like what we’re hearing. And all of my favourite bands and albums are there, ‘check’

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Update: after years of usage, i’ve canceled my TIDAL subscription today. TIDAL not streaming true Hi-Res without MQA was the dealbreaker. Before that, i have tested Qobuz on PC, on iPhone and also as a plugin on piCorePlayer. Since everything works and sounds perfecty well, and all my current favourite albums are there, i’ve completely migrated to Qobuz. I’ve already uninstalled the TIDAL Apps für Windows an iOS. To make it absolutely clear: Yes, MQA has ruined TIDAL for me! Yes, TIDAL has lost me as a customer for incorporating a service with doubtful integrity and for disadvantaging customers, that are not willing to believe its dubious benefits or even pay money for devices with stupid lights on them, that don’t tell you anything. What a shitshow. I even wrote “MQA” in the questionnaire when asked for the reason i quit.

I feel much better now.


I dropped Tidal because I didn’t want to spend extra money on hardware to support MQA, yes I know the software will unwrap it but to me if is not done locally then I don’t trust it (yeah I know trust issues), Amazon HD I like it (nice collection of music) but the one problem I have is that it doesn’t support true bit playback (doesn’t switch depending of the bit file is playing), I do like Qobuz (currently is what I use the most, usually through Audirvana), I like that Qobuz offers a digital booklet format for some of the albums, and also they offer some extra info about the Album, artist and song (Amazon doesn’t offer that), and is a true bit player (my dac switches bit rate depending of the bit rate of the file), also not sure how much truth is on this but I read Qobuz pays a little more to the artist when their music is played so I like that too. I keep Amazon just for those Albums that I can’t find on Qobuz (which is not that many).


I don’t think it makes a difference if you use Tidal or Qubozz with Audirvana.
Otherwise, yes, without Audirvana or Roon, there can be significant differences between the providers.

Nevertheless, the quality of the app under Windows is more than crappy with each provider when you look at it from a sound perspective.
Depending on the provider, the menu navigation is even more crappy.

Since you pay for Audirvana as well as Roon, I would go with the cheapest provider, the rest is done better by one of the two programmes anyway, so why pay more when the performance is the same with the streaming providers?

Mqa is just marketing anyway, maybe even more of a gimmick to pull money out of people’s pockets.
And to make them believe in bathing.

If it’s part of it okay but that’s why I don’t pay any more voluntarily anyway, if I had to I would feel forced to cancel.

At the end of the day, there’s so much on the net about streaming providers, how good and how bad they are.
There are some things that are really bad but also good.
It’s a shame that most providers refuse to help with software.
Even though the app is crap.
And that’s only because of the greed for profit.

Even if they cost money, they would easily make it back when you hear that something has been done. A lot more people would switch to digital and probably promote the audio industry a bit better and buy less of the typical throwaway products.
Logically everyone would think hey I have a streaming subscription so I want to enjoy this on a stereo hifi or headphones.
But unfortunately they don’t think that way, neither Spotify, nor Amazon.
It’s all about who has the most channels and the monopoly.

The problem with Tidal is the vast majority of their music is now swapped to the MQA format (it’s the same releases as PCM but it’s gone through the MQA conversion). So even if you’re not using an MQA DAC, you’re still listening to an MQA bastardized PCM file.

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Yeah I noticed that recently. A lot of albums that aren’t available in Hi-Res anywhere else, are all of the sudden available on Tidal as MQA. Dubious to say the least. It’s a shame because Tidal does have the best implemented local client for Windows it has a flawless implementation of WASAPI exclusive mode as it’s the only client that fives up exclusivity when it no longer has priority. Something Amazon would absolutely not do, and Qobuz struggles with as well. It’s also just a much more intuitive an interface.

I’ll probably wind up Moving over to Qobuz despite it all. MQA is just getting in its own now.

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I use Audirvana on my Mac (when using headphones)/Windows (when using speakers) client, on my iPad I use Qobuz with my external dac, it depends on the headphone I am using and if I just want the convenience of small setup depending of the day, time and mood.

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I watched this before seeing this thread bumped. Ive seen many doing similar tests and getting the same result. The hardest part is finding something to compare apples to apples tidal fucks with all that. Even the hifi flac is screwed with.

I havent looked into it myself as i just dont have the ability but a lot points to it just being some phase inversion

A lot of talk but in the end this is mostly theoretical. In practice Most audiophiles wouldn’t be able to reliably one over the other if they sat down to listen blind on the same gear/chain. There are way more issues that can be introduced locally than the splitting hairs over MQA 24/96 compared to Qobuz Hi-Res 2/4/96.

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I had no issue hearing the difference. I wasn’t even aware of or looking for any. Auditioned Tidal several months ago and it sounded really weird/alien to me. You can read my comment from 18 days ago above in this thread. Switched to Qobuz and everything with the world was right again.

It was strange because I didn’t understand how one hi-res stream could sound so different to what I thought was an identical hi-res stream. And I couldn’t understand why nobody else was hearing what I was hearing. After watching the video it all makes sense.


That’s the thing, they’re not identical. I’ve done comparisons and the most difficult thing in comparing is finding the exact file that’s been left unadulterated. A lot of times there’s no way to actually compare an apples to apples. Based on my week or so listening to Qobuz, it is my preference, just that as an interface and local client, it leaves quite some on the table to Tidal.

When I’ve done comparisons it’s always been of just 16/44 versions.

Tidal’s 16/44 versions have been through the MQA process though. That’s the crux of the matter - you can’t simply choose to not listen to MQA on Tidal.

Some commentary as it happens from Hans (dry toast) Beekhuyzen on the topic. We’re rarely left comparing apples to apples.

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Here’s what Benchmark thinks of it (from 2016). With technical explanations in the article.


Its not an apples to apples comparison because tidal is taking a pear, wrapping it up, then selling it to you saying its 100% an apple dont look further.

Things like this are why i am ok keeping my physical / digital library.

Finally got around to watching this. I’ve never listened to MQA on my equipment because I’ve never purchased an MQA DAC, but dayum! I’m kind of glad I’ve never chase MQA.

Anyway, I’d moved to Qobuz simply because I liked the access to hi-res without the MQA but the fact that this demonstrably shows that MQA 24/88 files add nothing and introduce noise to 16/44 FLAC is damming and of it self it suspect enough to question the entirety of the “service”.

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And why pay the MQA license tax?
(ducks for cover :face_with_raised_eyebrow:)

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Also switched over to amazon music couple weeks ago. tbh, tidal hifi (non mqa) still sounds a tad better to me with better punch/impact. but amazon has significantly more of my music. the only thing i dont like about amazon music is the exclusive mode, as it doesnt change your dacs bitrate with the song, kinda weird. lets hope they’ll fix it in the near future

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if you can really hear these differences, i’d like to know your opinion about Qobouz…