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Mainstream classical downloads at Qobuz.com

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Posted on July 16, 2012 at 02:23:49
maxim
Audiophile

Posts: 254
Joined: May 22, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
September 24, 2013
I am amazed by the breadth and depth of their offering. Particularly mainstream recordings from Universal, Sony, and to an extent EMI, all of which I thought were unavailable as 16/44.1 downloads.

Although they are pricey, I feel tempted to buy a fair amount of stuff from Qobuz to build up my digital library.

So here are several questions for those in the know:

1. Is it safe to assume that the quality of the downloads is good, i.e. on par with the original CDs? (What I heard so far (several Decca and DG albums from the 60s and 70s) was quite good.)

2. Do any other online shops sell the same stuff at better prices?

3. Is it likely that in the next few years large chunks of the mainstream classical catalogs will become available as hi-rez downloads? (I have heard about Linn, but don't know if their project will have substantial scale ..)

(I have no relation to Qobuz other than being a customer.)

 

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RE: Mainstream classical downloads at Qobuz.com, posted on July 16, 2012 at 12:47:17
Russell
Audiophile

Posts: 2484
Location: San Francisco, California
Joined: February 24, 2001
I've been a very satisfied customer of Qobuz for some time now. I agree that their selection is huge, particularly of lossless (standard-res) stuff from the mainstream classical labels. Most of it, however, is off-limits to those of us in the USA, as the labels have imposed territorial rights on their material, which Qobuz (a French site) adheres to. For example, I cannot download anything from Universal (DG, Decca, Philips), RCA, Sony, or EMI via Qobuz, which is a real bummer. On the other hand, downloading stuff from Harmonia Mundi and most other smaller, boutique labels is no problem. Also, much of the DG and Decca/Philips catalog is available as lossless (standard res) downloads via the labels' own sites.

As far as whether Qobuz's standard-res downloads are the equivalent of the corresponding CDs, I cannot say for sure, but the few I've tried sound really good to me--certainly better than any lossy file I've heard. I'd like to think that your assumption is valid.

I'm also hoping that there will be more hi-res downloads available from the major labels. Some have started to appear from EMI on HDtracks--part of their recent project of remastering their older recordings for SACD release (though several of the EMI hi-res downloads on HDtracks have no SACD equivalents yet, at least outside of Japan). HDtracks also recently made available a small handful of hi-res albums from Decca (already available on Qobuz), which I'm really grateful for.

Russell

 

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