After a whole lot of buzz and a good amount of time in beta testing, the new (to us in the Colonies) high-resolution streaming/download service Qobuz has officially launched in the US. This come hot on the heels of integration with Roon, as well as CarPlay.
More details directly from Qobuz:
Qobuz, the world's first and only certified Hi-Res (24-bit/up to 192 kHz) streaming service, publicly launches today in the US. A hybrid streaming service and download store, Qobuz boasts approximately forty million CD-quality (16-bit) and millions of Hi-Res (24-bit/192 kHz) tracks, the largest available selection of Hi-Res streaming tracks anywhere.
Since its launch in 2007 in Europe, where it is the streaming and download service of choice for true music connoisseurs looking for the highest possible quality, US audiophiles have been eagerly awaiting Qobuz's arrival stateside.
Qobuz is poised to capitalize on the modern developments making high quality audio available to a fast-widening audience looking for a higher-level listening experience. Improvements in bandwidth speed and Internet infrastructure and the introduction of affordable speakers and audio equipment represent an accessibility tipping point in the growing high-end audio market.
Qobuz is on all app stores, and a summary of its features is below.
Streaming in up to 24-bit/192 kHz true Hi-Res FLAC (about 29x the audio quality of MP3) with compatible gear.
The option to stream and offline download an unlimited amount of music on all devices-including both mobile and desktop.
A parallel Hi-Res download store with files for purchase allowing for options that flow substantial revenues back to creators- premium pricing for Hi-Res masters is a growth area for record labels.
Exclusive, curated, and in-depth editorial content. Deep metadata, complete digital booklets, interactive articles, reviews, and playlists in-app on every platform.
Library spans all genres, including specialist areas like jazz and classical
Unique dynamic interface allows user-selected genre focus. Qobuz' experts highlight music of interest based on user choices.
Full Roon version 1.6 integration available.
Here's what the audiophiles are saying:
The LA Times called it "the greatest record store that has ever existed."
Sound & Vision said that Qobuz's subscription fee is "a small price to pay for a high-quality aural buzz you'll crave time and time again."
Audiophile site Darko Audio said "The big story this year is the arrival of Qobuz to American shores."
Stereophile said "When I compare Qobuz' 44.1 sound to [lower-res] ... I feel certain I will carry weapons and fight on the front lines to make sure Hi-Res streaming is here to stay."
Audiophile Review raved, "If musical availability and streamed quality mattered most ... I would choose Qobuz."
Owner and chairmain of Qobuz, Denis Thébaud, said "I am very proud of our United States launch. Our teams have been working brilliantly for over a year with our recording and publishing partners to get to this point. I am convinced that what we have to offer, on both the streaming and download markets, will be a success amongst American music lovers." Dan Mackta, Managing Director of Qobuz USA, added "I'm thrilled to be introducing Qobuz to the US, and I look forward to working with the music community to spread the word about streaming without sacrifice. It's all about the quality!"
Pricing plans are below:
Sublime+: $299.99/year for full Hi-Res streaming and substantial (40-60%) discounts on purchases from the Qobuz Hi-Res (up to 24-bit / 192 kHz) download store.
Studio: $24.99/month for unlimited Hi-Res (24-bit /up to 192 kHz) streaming ($249.99 annually).
Hi-Fi: $19.99/month for streaming including 16-bit CD quality streaming ($199.99 annually).
Premium: $9.99/month for 320 kbps MP3 quality streaming ($99.99 annually).