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