Qobuz announce US Beta Launch at CES

Alpha and Omega.

Those are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, on which our modern one is based.

Alpha is followed by beta, then gamma, then delta, epsilon… finally finishing with omega, but you get the point.

Modern tech lexicon loves to see the Greek’s second letter beta used as a measurement of progression on software towards a final build and a full rollout of an application.

So it is that French high-resolution streaming and download service Qobuz used this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) as a launch pad to announce that their US version is now in beta and “available for registration to US customers…”

This means you can sign up to be on a waitlist for the Qobuz beta. HERE.

 According to the company it “has already secured a two million-plus track Hi-Res catalog, and will be launching to the public at large following the beta testing. It will be available on all Mac/iOS/Android/Windows operating systems.”

Once any hiccups are ironed out of the beta version (I’ve been using it for almost a week now without any noticeable difference to the European version I had access to previously other than the bump in available titles at 24-bit/192kHz), Qobuz will be offering US audiophile-centric streaming junkies a number of pricing/resolution tiers to subscribe to:

  • Sublime+: $299.99 USD/year for full Hi-Res streaming and substantial (40-60 per cent) discounts on purchases from the Qobuz Hi-Res (up to 24-bit/192 khz) download store.
  • Studio: $24.99 USD/month for unlimited Hi-Res (24-bit/up to 192 khz) streaming ($249.99 USD annually).
  • Hi-Fi: $19.99 USD/month for streaming including 16-bit CD quality streaming ($199.99 USD annually).
  • Premium: $9.99 USD/month for 320 kbps MP3 quality streaming ($99.99 USD annually).

I have to admit to being a bandwidth hog of late with access to 24/192 files and have noticed some SQ difference between the higher-res tracks/albums over the same choices via TIDAL’s offering at 16-bit/44kHz, but things even up when comparing Qobuz HR content to TIDAL Masters (MQA) where it becomes less about resolution and more about personal mastering preferences. As with all individual’s ears and systems, YMMV.  

I’m glad that Qobuz being at the beta stage for US rollout means that it is getting close indeed to becoming a full-fledged download/streaming entity here in North America as there have been a number of delays in the full application rollout Stateside over the past several months. If I had to hang on for the app to get to omega, I’d be getting really antsy about the wait.

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sg60's picture

I've been hearing about the US rollout for a long while now but is there any indication as to whether they will be offering the service in Canada as well?

keithsonic's picture

Will Qobuz now that it is available in the USA stop calling 24/44 downloads Hires given that this does not meet the RIAA definition of more than 16 bit AND more than 44 khz?

Everclear's picture

'French Connection' .... stirred, but not shaken :-) ..........