I saw this Qobuz ad on Facebook this morning. It has some issues.

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 11.12.10.png

  1. By all means test it for yourself. Your magical bat ears may hear the difference, but unless it’s a blind test, the placebo effect will distort the result. They could easily build a blind test, but they don’t. You should wonder why that is.
  2. Qobuz is not the only music service to stay true to the music. What does that even mean? There are other lossless/hi-res stores. I like the Hyperion one.
  3. No recording sounds exactly like the music that was played, but to the extent that any recording does, any two digital copies of a given bit depth and sample rate will be identical, regardless of where you bought them.
  4. These pictures do not show the difference between the formats named below them. The bar graphs show different sample rates, which aren’t mentioned at all. This is really misleading.
  5. MP3 covers a wide range of encoding qualities, and bunching them all together allows for really unfair comparisons. At its upper end, lossy compression is getting very good indeed.
  6. “Second to none” means “nothing is better” not “better than anything else”. You could say the same thing for the CDs they sell at Poundland.* This is not a great endorsement.

Bullshit with nice pictures and a semicolon is still bullshit. There might be good reasons to prefer Qobuz as a source of music, but this advert isn’t offering any of them.

Factcheck this advert, and what true statements are you left with? That they have “30 millions tracks”?


* Don’t like classical crossover? Get your daily fix of schadenfreude by seeing who ends up in Poundland’s classical selection.



One Comment

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  1. bgporter #
    August 11, 2016

    “At its upper end, lossy compression is getting very good indeed.” — It’s been really good for a long time. In the 90s I worked for a company that made pro codec hardware for the broadcast and pro audio industries (the Frank Sinatra ‘Duets’ album was recorded using our gear to track him remotely). There was a paper presented at one of the AES conventions of the era that used double-blind and ABX tests to show that MPEG Layer 2 (the quality level above MP3) at 384kb/sec was perceptually identical to 16-bit linear digital audio.

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