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qobuz music streaming

Qobuz origins 

Qobuz is a veteran of the online hi-res music business, and since launch back in 2007, the French outfit has proudly worn its audiophile credentials on its Parisienne sleeve. Qobuz says it was the first music service to offer CD-quality, 16-bit/44.1kHz files for download. It also states that it was the first online service to liaise with both major and independent labels to ensure the provision of 24-bit hi-res files. Today, Qobuz hosts a digital download store and offers streaming subscription plans monthly and annually. You do not have to be a subscriber to purchase music from the download store.

Co, not Q

The company name comes from the Kobyz, an ancient, sacred two-stringed instrument. When pronouncing Qobuz, skip the Q, as it were, and go for ‘kohbuz’.

Streaming Plans

At the time of writing, Qobuz offers two (UK) streaming plans, Studio and Sublime. Both memberships are available in what Qobuz terms Solo, Duo, and Family forms – Solo is a single account on one subscription, Duo means two accounts on one subscription, and Family lets family members in the same home share up to six accounts under one subscription. Both plans carry Qobuz’s ‘studio quality streaming’, meaning FLAC 24-bit up to 192 kHz, access to over 100 million tracks, editorial content, and offline listening. Sublime adds discounts (up to 60%) on hi-res download purchases, so it should appeal to those who like to own, not just rent their music. The cheapest way to subscribe to Studio and Sublime is via the annual payment route. 

File format

The Qobuz streaming service uses Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) to encode its files. FLAC is an open format – so royalty-free – and offers lossless compression of digital audio, reducing audio files by up to 50 – 70% of their original size (similar to how a ZIP file operates). Qobuz’s highest streaming rate is FLAC 24-bit up to 192 kHz, and all music is at least ‘CD quality’; in other words, 16-bit, 44.1 kHz. The Qobuz download store sells a variety of qualities ranging from 128kbps to 24-bit up to 192 kHz and a choice of formats, including AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, MP3, and WMA. Qobuz guarantees that all its files are Digital Rights Management-free (DRM).

Device friendly 

Qobuz offers a desktop app for Mac and PC, a mobile app for Android and iOS, plus web browser access via its WebPlayer. The music streaming service also works directly with Samsung TVs, Google Cast, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Several hi-fi products and music software applications – including Audirvana and Roon – integrate Qobuz into their platforms, enabling seamless access to your Qobuz music library.  

Record store style

Qobuz says over one hundred thousand tracks are released every Friday on digital music platforms for streaming and downloading. Consequently, discovering new music can be, shall we say, quite challenging – which is where Qobuz’s My Weekly Q feature steps in to help us find our next favourite music. (Without listening to a hundred thousand tracks a week.) You’ll see your My Weekly Q playlist when you open Qobuz, and the list updates every Friday. Qobuz promises recommendations based on more than algorithms. Its teams of genre-specific in-house specialists make decisions based on deep-dive musical knowledge instead of just ones and zeros – this methodology is part of the French company’s stated aim to be ‘a digital version of a record store’. 

Sound Advice on Qobuz

All of the reviewers are big fans of Qobuz, choice of music, quality ease of use, all tick pretty large boxes. we've even got out own playlist, you can access it here to see just what kind of weirdness the reviewers get up to in their own homes.

The aim is to keep it lively so we will change some of the tracks each month

Tell us if you like, or if you don't we like the variety of views!