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Sound quality: Spotify Premium vs Qobuz. Convince Spotify very high quality has good enough sound quality.

Magma

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Spotify Hifi should be released later this year. I don't know its pricing or if it will be available in my country, but it probably will be the best streaming service for me if it's available here. However, I don't have that choice now so I will be choosing between Spotify Premium and Qobuz.

My setup is PC -> Topping E30 -> Topping L30 -> Focal Clear.

I don't have golden ears. I did the NPR test and only got 1 out of 6.

I use Spotify Premium in very high sound quality without volume normalization. As far as I know, Spotify Premium with very high sound quality is 320 kbps OGG Vorbis. Qobuz is either CD 16 bit / 44,1 kHz or Hi-Res (24 bit / up to 192 kHz).

The positives of Spotify Premium:
1. It's way faster. It works smoothly. Qobuz is slow. Starting Qobuz is slow. It takes seconds for songs to start to play while Spotify is instant.
2. Spotify has an excellent music discovery feature. Qobuz is way worse in this regard.
3. Spotify is easy to control with several devices. For example, I can control it with my phone while listening via headphones that are plugged in to a computer.
4. Spotify is cheaper. It is 6,49 euros per month while Qobuz is 19,99 euros. The higher price of Qobuz isn't a dealbreaker, but of course the cheaper the better.
5. Spotify should have adequate sound quality.
6. Spotify playlist has a song limit of 10 000 songs, which is higher than Qobuz's limit of 1 000.

The positives of Qobuz:
1. Higher sound quality. Either CD or Hi-Res. Whether the difference compared to the 320 kbps OGG Vorbis is audible or not is a different question.
2. WASAPI Exclusive. I don't know if this makes a difference or not - I read that Windows 10 should have a good sound system so WASAPI exclusive isn't needed, but I still use it just to be sure.

I want to like Spotify. It's cheaper, faster, has a better music discovery and I can control it with several devices. However, sometimes I feel that Qobuz sounds better. Maybe it's the WASAPI exclusive? Or different mastering? Is it just a placebo? If I go with Qobuz, will I be paying more just to benefit from a placebo? Maybe I just enjoy knowing that I have the highest sound quality even if in practice I can't differentiate it from Spotify Premium very high quality?

If the Spotify Hifi is available here later this year I will probably go with it. But until that it's Spotify Premium vs Qobuz. I want like Spotify, and I do like it, but I have this weird feeling of Qobuz having better sound quality. Is it just expectation bias? I have read a lot of how people find it hard or impossible to differentiate between 320 kbps and lossless, and I believe I won't be able to differentiate them either.
 
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gigi_boeru

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Spotify premium is good enough. Keep in mind that in time this price adds. For instance if an app is 5 (any currency) per month, it will be 60 per annum. 300 for 5 years. 6000 for a century :)

What I would do, basic streaming subscription and buy only the music which matters. Most likely, you won't enjoy any song not every song is made well enough to deserve the extra cost. Guess it depends on genre as well. Also on listening habits. Some may like a select collection of songs, other may want that all day noise on their headphones.
 

Vincent Kars

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Maybe I just enjoy knowing that I have the highest sound quality even if in practice I can't differentiate it from Spotify Premium very high quality?

That is how it works. If something is repeated often enough (hires beats CD) we tend to believe it even if this claims are not backed up by proper testing. Worse, if objective evidence shows there are no or inaudible differences, we still have our doubts.
Personally, paying 13 E a month for a placebo is a bit to much.
 

Jmudrick

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Spotify Hifi should be released later this year. I don't know its pricing or if it will be available in my country, but it probably will be the best streaming service for me if it's available here. However, I don't have that choice now so I will be choosing between Spotify Premium and Qobuz.

My setup is PC -> Topping E30 -> Topping L30 -> Focal Clear.

I don't have golden ears. I did the NPR test and only got 1 out of 6.

I use Spotify Premium in very high sound quality without volume normalization. As far as I know, Spotify Premium with very high sound quality is 320 kbps OGG Vorbis. Qobuz is either CD 16 bit / 44,1 kHz or Hi-Res (24 bit / up to 192 kHz).

The positives of Spotify Premium:
1. It's way faster. It works smoothly. Qobuz is slow. Starting Qobuz is slow. It takes seconds for songs to start to play while Spotify is instant.
2. Spotify has an excellent music discovery feature. Qobuz is way worse in this regard.
3. Spotify is easy to control with several devices. For example, I can control it with my phone while listening via headphones that are plugged in to a computer.
4. Spotify is cheaper. It is 6,49 euros per month while Qobuz is 19,99 euros. The higher price of Qobuz isn't a dealbreaker, but of course the cheaper the better.
5. Spotify should have adequate sound quality.

The positives of Qobuz:
1. Higher sound quality. Either CD or Hi-Res. Whether the difference compared to the 320 kbps OGG Vorbis is audible or not is a different question.
2. WASAPI Exclusive. I don't know if this makes a difference or not - I read that Windows 10 should have a good sound system so WASAPI exclusive isn't needed, but I still use it just to be sure.

I want to like Spotify. It's cheaper, faster, has a better music discovery and I can control it with several devices. However, sometimes I feel that Qobuz sounds better. Maybe it's the WASAPI exclusive? Or different mastering? Is it just a placebo? If I go with Qobuz, will I be paying more just to benefit from a placebo? Maybe I just enjoy knowing that I have the highest sound quality even if in practice I can't differentiate it from Spotify Premium very high quality?

If the Spotify Hifi is available here later this year I will probably go with it. But until that it's Spotify Premium vs Qobuz. I want like Spotify, and I do like it, but I have this weird feeling of Qobuz having better sound quality. Is it just expectation bias? I have read a lot of how people find it hard or impossible to differentiate between 320 kbps and lossless, and I believe I won't be able to differentiate them either.

Spotify also provides gapless playback to my Chromecast and DLNA devices which Qobuz doesn't (absent intermediate use of Roon or Audirvana). Pretty good odds I'll be dumping Qobuz when Spotify goes lossless.
 

AdamG247

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IMHO, select the streaming service that has the best selection of music that suits your taste. Secondary factors would be service interface and functionality and in last place would be streaming bit rate. But I’m old and can’t really hear the difference. In the end chose what makes you the happiest and increases your time enjoying the Music!
 
OP
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Magma

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you don't need me to convince you, convince yourself! http://abx.digitalfeed.net/spotify-hq.html
I had seen this test before a couple of times, but it seemed like too much work. I decided to do it this time. I didn't pay too much attention sometimes, but that's how I typically listen to music. I also focused on the first couple of seconds in each sample. I don't know why the result says I can hear the difference when the correct percentages imply that I can't. Probably error there.

tr.png
 
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abdo123

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I had seen this test before a couple of times, but it seemed like too much work. I decided to do it this time. I didn't pay too much attention sometimes, but that's how I typically listen to music. I also focused on the first couple of seconds in each sample. I don't know why the result says I can hear the difference when the correct percentages imply that I can't. Probably error there.

View attachment 134103

how many trials did you do? you should do the 10 trials or 20 trials option.
 

eriksson

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I have never used Spotify before. Today I signed up for free 3 months trial on premium account and have spent last two hours comparing the sound quality to Deezer (lossless if I understand correctly).

It took several songs I am familiar with for me to start noticing any difference. When I stooped paying attention to voices and instruments and paid attention to the soundstage, placement of instruments etc I did notice some difference in some songs. Deezer provided better soundstage and tad more clarity. Sorry difficult for me to describe this and it could be all in my head, so don't shoot me. Overall the difference is hardly noticeable to me.

Seems to me it will be easy to like Spotify and perhaps I will drop my Deezer account and save $10 per month or so if I like the service and music discovery etc.

However I think it's worth it to support the underdog in this case in order to promote competition. I personally hate how the web has become playground for few mega corporations and I do my best to avoid them. In same fashion I will probably stick with Deezer instead of jumping on the Spotify bandwagon. Already with third of the streaming market; https://www.statista.com/statistics/653926/music-streaming-service-subscriber-share/

Tidal only suggested rap music for me in it's music discovery thingy, and Deezer won me over by never suggesting anything of the sort and has done fine job of finding me something I like. Qobuz isn't avalible in my country.
 
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Magma

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Qobuz has one thing that Spotify lacks: a light theme. I don't like the dark theme that Spotify has.

I decided to go with Spotify with the assumption that Spotify hifi will be available here and that it won't be too expensive.
 

Joe Smith

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I think that's a good choice. I am a Spotify Premium customer, waiting for the HD pricing to get released. Currently using a 3-month free Amazon HD, which i have to admit, sounds very good and their "you'll like this too" algorithm is basically as good as Spotfiy. I am hoping the competition keeps Spotify from jacking up the family plan rate too much for the HD addition...
 
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Magma

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I think that's a good choice. I am a Spotify Premium customer, waiting for the HD pricing to get released. Currently using a 3-month free Amazon HD, which i have to admit, sounds very good and their "you'll like this too" algorithm is basically as good as Spotfiy. I am hoping the competition keeps Spotify from jacking up the family plan rate too much for the HD addition...
I completely forgot Amazon HD. I can try it for free for 3 months. Maybe I try it before Spotify hifi comes.
 

Slayer

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I completely forgot Amazon HD. I can try it for free for 3 months. Maybe I try it before Spotify hifi comes.
Yes don't forget Amazon HD. While I have been a premium member of spotify for a few years now. I went back to try Amazon again because now i get it for $7.99, cheaper than Spotify. I must say, they have improved their UI and music recommendations to be as good as Spotify if not better.
So to me it was an easy choice dumping Spotify, cheaper, great quality, plus Amazon doesn't use a bunch of resources on my computer.
 

StevenEleven

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My thoughts/experiences : https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...eaving-roon-qobuz-and-tidal.24014/post-809081

Tl;Dr
The interface /compatibility with set up /features/library/price matters far more than SQ, especially now lossless is becoming the norm.

Agreed!!

My ideal service would be Qobuz-like metadata (session musicians, composers, recording and mastering engineers, CD booklets, etc., for many tracks), Apple or Amazon-like lyrics, Spotify-quality music discovery algorithms, and a separately designed section for classical along the lines of Primephonic or IDAGIO.

I’m not holding my breath, but just in case anyone from industry is watching this thread. . .
 

Taddpole

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Spotify also provides gapless playback to my Chromecast and DLNA devices which Qobuz doesn't (absent intermediate use of Roon or Audirvana). Pretty good odds I'll be dumping Qobuz when Spotify goes lossless.

Isn’t Spotify likely to lose gapless playback once it goes to lossless and presumably to FLAC?
 

danadam

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I don't know why the result says I can hear the difference when the correct percentages imply that I can't. Probably error there.
20 trials 5 samples.
20 trials per sample? So 100 trials in total? With that many trials 38% doesn't look that random to me. The only weird thing is that you seem to be choosing the opposite :)
Isn’t Spotify likely to lose gapless playback once it goes to lossless and presumably to FLAC?
Why would lossless/FLAC make a difference with regard to gapless playback?
 
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