If music be the food of love, wouldn’t you want to taste the very best gourmet cuisine you could? You wouldn’t put up with a fillet steak dented where the waiter held it to the plate with his thumb, so why settle for anything less than high-resolution music from Qobuz? The world’s finest music subscription, Qobuz Sublime, complete with an exclusive discount for What Hi-Fi readers, offers a huge range to stream and/or download (just enter the code QOBUZHIRES and you're good to go).
Hi-Res music has traditionally been something of a grey-area where definitions are concerned – which led to confusion among consumers and providers about whether their downloads were actually high-resolution or not.
That confusion ended a year ago, when The Digital Entertainment Group, Consumer Electronics Association, The Recording Academy and the major record labels came to an official consensus to define high-resolution audio as “Lossless audio that is capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better than CD quality music sources”.
Lossy compression is the method used to get the version of a track or album from mastering suite into a small enough format for everyday enjoyment on a computer or portable device. In order to shrink the file down to a workable size, some data gets lost, resulting in a less than perfect sound.
As it was meant to be heard
Lossless audio, high-resolution or high-definition music replicates the standard of the studio version – so you hear it at its absolute peak, exactly as the artist and sound engineer heard it in the studio. More often than not, Hi-Res audio files range from 24-Bit/44.1kHz up to 192kHz, although some can go even higher.
Audiophiles will hear that extra quality as previously hidden depth and contrast in the vocals as well as clarity in the instruments unlike any other. Think additional strings in Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise or a truer version of the Grand Prix theme tune climax of The Chain by Fleetwood Mac.
It’s now a standard, with the associated logo, and Qobuz is fully certified. Not only that, the company is entrenched with labels and artists to ensure that albums are encoded and mixed to that standard from the start – so the final download is exactly what the pros heard in the reference mix.
With Qobuz’s Sublime subscription you can download from a massive selection of Hi-Res music – there are 35,000 Hi-Res albums in total, with up to 100 new ones added every month. This effectively constitutes the largest library of 24-Bit Hi-Res albums currently available online, and the vast majority of these fall under the Sublime offer. It’s all at the same price as MP3 downloads, too (a 30 to 60 per cent reduction on the full price). You also get unlimited streaming of True CD Quality music from their catalogue of more than 28 million tracks. And unlike with other subscription services, there’s an experiential dimension to discovering that new album or artist.
Curated content – and lots of extras
Qobuz’s music specialists create exclusive content for subscribers, offering recommendations and playlists of albums, singers and composers. Browse the catalogues and have a leisurely flick through the digital version of the album artwork and accompanying booklet. Sit on your bedroom floor and do it on your tablet, and it’s almost like being back in your youth, surrounded by vinyl. Just without the mess.
Sign up to enjoy your subscription on up to three of your mobile devices, access your tracks wherever you are in the world, listen to all your music in offline mode and through wireless audio systems like AirPlay or Bluesound.
And if you’d like to try the Hi-Fi streaming service before you commit to a Sublime subscription, you can take a 15-day no-strings free trial.
Your ears will thank you.