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Review Sony's Hi-Res Mora Qualitas music streaming service after the first week of introduction

It's been a long time since I personally got inspired by a music streaming service, normally I still listen directly from nearly 500GB of music storage on my laptop through Audirvana and Jriver software. Only for finding new songs and trying MQA, I will use music streaming services, TIDAL and Spotify. However, the new Hi-Res music streaming service from Sony Mora Qualitas (exactly Sony Music Entertainment Japan (SMEJ)) made me think twice about buying / downloading music on Mora.jp itself.

Currently the Mora Qualitas service is still in the first free beta testing phase and is only for the Japanese domestic user market. If you want to try the experience, I have written a registration guide already (link). Today I will share about my experience after a week of using the service.

The first thing Mora Qualitas service is not for everyone is the price up to 1980 yen converted into Vietnam dong also more than 450k. To take advantage of the high quality music of Mora Qualitas, you also need a relatively stable device rather than plugging in from laptop to headset. So for those "golden ears" that only need music to be enough, YouTube is pleased to welcome you, or Apple Music and Spotify for 60k is perfectly suitable for the majority of Vietnamese consumers.

1 / User experience:

In general, in the first testing phase, there are many features that are not yet as complete as on other music streaming services. And of course the testing phase will also have a lot of problems that annoy users:

  • Most important to me is the ability to listen to Offline music, Sony promises this feature will be updated in the near future.
  • There is no app on smartphones, currently only supporting software on Windows 10 and MacOS. The software on the phone will be introduced in the near future possible before the official launch date of November 25.
  • In addition, a special feature is that you are streaming a high quality music file full 24bit / 96kHz, so the song load sometimes quite slow (partly because the main server is located in Japan)
  • The feeling of searching and pressing play is still a bit long, slow. The experience in general is still a bit laggy.
  • The music store is still quite small. However it will certainly be updated in the near future.
  • The function to introduce individual playlists is still inaccurate, still far behind Apple Music and Spotify.
  • The license is only limited to three different devices.
  • There are still many small errors, as in many cases I cannot search for songs and singers

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If you can withstand the above, this is a potential music streaming service with many merits:

  • Features like Playlist, artist introduction and album are a good point. However, you need to listen quite a lot for Mora to understand your listening habits exactly. I personally listen to playlists like Blue J-Pop, Hi-Res Piano Collection and 2010s J-Pops.
  • The unique feature of this service is Hi-Res music, so from the first page you can clearly see the high quality songs with the (HR) mark.
  • The main categories on the first page are also divided into many smaller sections, quite convenient for users to learn.
  • Ranking of outstanding songs and albums (Top 150 / Trending 100) helps users to know that the song has been hot in recent years.
  • Introducing Exclusive Mode aka WASAPI / ASIO right from launch. At first the introduction of TIDAL took a long time to have this mode. (A small note, if you encounter an error when using the WASAPI / ASIO audio output, you must install the USB driver of the DAC manufacturer)
  • Of course if you like listening to Japanese music, Mora Qualitas will be updated more. And Japanese music quality is better than other services with many albums introduced in Hi-Res only Mora only has

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2 / Sound quality:

If you can ignore the above errors and really need to listen to high quality music, Mora Qualitas is one of the Hi-Res music streaming services with the best audio quality today. In general, each music streaming service in addition to different music source quality also uses different decode algorithms, so the different sound quality is a completely understandable thing.
For everyone to imagine the sound quality of Mora Qualitas, I will compare with two other Hi-Res music streaming services that I have used, Amazon Music HD and TIDAL (in use):

I personally only use it through Amazon Music HD for a few hours, but the payment method, the lack of audio output modes like WASAPI / ASIO (on Mac called Exclusive Mode) makes me not Salty with this service. In general about using Amazon Music HD even though I tried in Ultra HD modes (24bit / 96kHz and 192kHz), however, compared to Mora Qualitas and TIDAL, there is still a lower level of detail or detail. clarity. In fact, Amazon Music HD, despite being introduced as a Hi-Res music streaming service, in my opinion, is just a little more than Deezer Lossless and still can not compete with TIDAL or Mora.

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Since I'm still using the TIDAL Master, I'll go a little deeper. Note that I only use the Desktop software of TIDAL and Mora Qualitas, but using via Audirvana or Roon to support TIDAL is a bit unfair. And to be fair I use iFi Micro iDSD Black Label to decode completely MQA always.

First I use a high quality song on both services which is Diana Krall's Desperado (MQA Master TIDAL and 24/96 Mora). I feel these two services are very different tones. Mora Qualitas has a strong point that is a sweet voice, smooth, forward a bit very charming and easy to listen to. As for TIDAL, the instruments seemed to stand out, the background was quieter, but there was a problem: Diana Krall's voice, I did not feel as emotional as Mora Qualitas.

In addition, I also tried another Hi-Res song, “ Return To Love '' by Andrea Bocelli & Ellie Goulding also shared the feeling that the Mora Qualitas service seemed a bit stressed about the mid range, sweet, slow. Overall extremely attractive. And for those of you who like to listen to a lot of instruments, TIDAL is a bit better with a clean background, the vocal voice feels a bit sinking between the instruments. And another difference I realized is that the space of Mora Qualitas has a very well expressed depth and TIDAL has a better width but no depth.

I also tried comparing a non-Hi-Res song which is only CD 16 / 44.1 Lossless on both TIDAL and Mora Qualitas as Taro Urashima's “Umino Koe”. A song that combines sweet vocal and gentle, delicate sound. Mora Qualitas clearly shows better in both the voices and the voices are very soulful and sweet, and TIDAL has a bit of a bit harsh in the high-mid and I have to say that it feels a bit like the sound of the piano. knock the metal wire.

In general, the difference between TIDAL and Mora Qualitas almost exactly shows the difference between the US and Japanese music markets. A powerful, energetic, wide soundstage width on TIDAL compared to the sweet, smooth, seductive and full of sentiments, the depth of Mora's wonderful soundstage.

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3 / Summary

Compared to current music streaming services, it is relatively unfair because there are still many features that have not been updated, the experience is quite laggy and importantly, the music store has not been updated much. However, with Mora Qualitas, I think this is one of the music streaming software with the best sound quality today. And really compared to the music files I download directly on Mora.Jp listen on Jriver and Audirvana, Mora Qualitas is only a little less in terms of specifications such as detail, transparency, sound space and feeling. a little bit "colored". This is a point I extremely love and really surprised from the first days of using Mora Qualitas.
I personally am sure the price of 450k / 1 month for me is totally worth it and after 1 week of Free Trial of Mora Qualitas to 90% I will move from TIDAL Master to Mora Qualitas.

a.vu.ac94@gmail.com (abuchino)

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