Qobuz Club’s first anniversary proves the original hi-res streaming service will always do things differently to Spotify

 A woman holding a tablet, streaming Qobuz music with Focal Stellia over-ear headphones.
A woman holding a tablet, streaming Qobuz music with Focal Stellia over-ear headphones.

Qobuz, the music streaming service where hi-res audio is available to every subscriber, has been celebrating the anniversary of its online community forum, Qobuz Club – and to celebrate, it's announced a new VIP version. The new Qobuz Club VIP Pass promises insider exclusives, priority customer service and 20% discounts on the products in Qobuz's lifestyle range.

The standard Qobuz Club is free and available to non-subscribers of one of the best music streaming services too. It's an online music community with themed discussion spaces and over 35,000 monthly members enthusing about their favorite music and sharing tips on audio kit. The new VIP pass is a paid add-on that costs $65.40 / €59.99 (roughly £51 / AU$99) a year.

Qobuz does things differently

I'm not sure I'm online enough to want a VIP pass, but the core Qobuz service remains an appealing option for audiophiles. It's one of the preferred streamers of high-end music hardware firms because it delivers much higher quality audio files than the likes of Spotify.

The standard Studio plan offers music in 24-bit FLAC format at bit rates up to 192kHz for online or offline listening. If you also want to own your music rather than rent it, the slightly more expensive Sublime plan gives you a discount of up to 60% on your digital purchases – it too offers FLAC at up to 192kHz.

As we said in our Qobuz review, the service has the "world's biggest hi-res catalog" as well as "excellent extra features such as a magazine, tutorial and reviews," and with prices starting at $12.99 / £12.99 / AU$24.99 a month it's more affordable than you'd expect a hi-res streaming service to be. There are also a range of duo and family plans to share your account with others.

If you're listening to tunes on your laptop or cheap earbuds then there's no need for hi-res audio. But if you've spent good money on the best headphones and are very much the kind of person who adds one of the best DACs to their phone or computer, Qobuz (and its rival Tidal) was pretty much made for you.

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