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In Reply to: RE: Just received notice that Classics Online will discontinue 2/1/17 posted by Loan Arranger on January 20, 2017 at 18:08:12
Qobuz has most of the major and minor labels and streams in uncompressed Redbook format.
You must be in Europe to subscribe, but you can overcome that by subscribing via a proxy server such as Tunnel Bear. Web pages will be displayed in the language of the country you subscribe from, so choose UK if you want English.
(Premium subscribers can stream in hi-res only those albums they've purchased as hi-res downloads. Premium subscribers stream other albums in Redbook. I mention this because it's not stated clearly.)
Thanks for the suggestion about Qubuz. I did spend a couple of hours exploring the service and my impression is that it is much to complicated and not a good value. I did manage to sign up despite not being in Europe and finally without a vpn. It had the annoying issue of constantly shifting back from English to French.
It is similar to all the other services that are pop focused in that classical is a poor stepchild. So for $15/ mo you get to download 24 bit hi-rez for the price of a RBCD. Clearly, the service is primarily set up for phone/ear bud listening not a serious hi- rez layout. The advantage to me of a real pure streaming service is you get to listen and explore lots of new music, some you will never listen to again, and some you will enjoy over and over again, all for a reasonable monthly fee.
If you are interested in the future Chandos service, email and ask to be put on the beta testing program in the USA.
I must correct some of the things that you say about Qobuz:
1. It is not at all complicated, no more so than nay other streaming serice I have tried. However there is a new desktop player in Beta developement which is even easier to use. I am now running this as my usual player.
2. It is not in French. If you subscribe to the UK service you get a player and information that is in English. NB: when you download it will be in French but as soon as you login it transforms into English. Customer service is also in English.
3. There are 2 different players for phone and desktop. The desktop version cannot be confused as one for phone use. On the other hand the phone player has far simpler screens suitable for this kind of use. No, it is not perfect as there are deficiencies in certain metadata aspects (mainly with albums featuring more than one classical composer). I agree with you here in regard to pop music having the whip hand on metadata formats. However it is no worse than other streaming services and computer audio players in general.
4. SQ is excellent and classical tracks in 16/44.1 are broadly indistinguishable from the same on CD played via my ( very good) transport (both via the same DAC). Other users with other types of gear have remarked to me on the improved sound quality of Qobuz recently.
I can't comment on value as that can be very subjective. But it costs the same as Tidal. I use it with great success for exactly what you say - finding new music, some of which I won't want to hear again, or not for a long time. Other discoveries I want to replay immediately. I can do the latter with Qobuz as each streamed track is also then held in a cache to be heard offline. These are not, however, permanent free copies. It also means that for phone use I can load up the cache and hear the tracks when outside of a wi-fi environment and where streaming gets too expensive via 4G.
The service provides true audiophile quality through my main audio rig and I know of at least one subscriber for whom the SQ obtainable from 16/44.1 files played vis Qobuz was revelatory. For my part I think it is the best audio item that I have spent money on in the last year.
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