Best setup for Tidal on Cambridge Audio CXN V2

roastdinner

Novice Member
Hi everybody.

I've been doing some research on Tidal's Master Quality (MQA) music playback, and the Cambridge Audio CXN V2. I've got a speaker system (Cambridge Audio CXA60) I just use for Record player, and this is my first foray into digital. So I apologise for anything really stupid in what's to follow...

I've ordered the Cambridge Audio CXN, as it seems like the right thing for my price range to stream to my speakers via the CXA60. Also, I already have a Tidal Masters subscription that I currently use with my headphones, and I'm pretty happy with Tidal. So, I'd like to try and use that with my speakers.

From my understanding, the Cambridge Audio CXN doesn't support MQA playback natively. So I wouldn't be able to listen to 'masters' quality via the CXN natively.

In the article linked to above, they recommend connecting the CXN to a PC via USB for MQA playback. So my plan was to connect my CXN to my PC via USB, and select it as the playback device in Tidal. But I'm wondering...

1) Is this the best setup?
2) Is there any other hardware or software I should be adding to my setup, to ensure the best playback quality?

Something I'm trying to get my head around is unfolding. Hence my second question. There are a few different bits of software I've encountered along my way to understanding it. E.g. Roon. I'm a bit unclear on what Roon does. And whether I should be using it for my Tidal music playback on my PC then outputting to the CXN. Or if Tidal is sufficient for the unfolding.

I found this post from Cebolla but I'm not entirely sure what to make of it, and how it relates to my setup.
 
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mseve1

Active Member
Do you really need Tidal? You could save yourself an awful lot of hassle by subscribing to Qobuz instead. This would give you the 'best playback quality' without resorting to any additional hardware or software solutions which would be necessary to fully decode Tidal's MQA streams.
 

roastdinner

Novice Member
Do you really need Tidal? You could save yourself an awful lot of hassle by subscribing to Qobuz instead. This would give you the 'best playback quality' without resorting to any additional hardware or software solutions which would be necessary to fully decode Tidal's MQA streams.
Again, sorry for my lack of knowledge here. But how would Qobuz make things easier? Could I play music directly on the CXN, for example?
 

Mindhead1

Standard Member
Again, sorry for my lack of knowledge here. But how would Qobuz make things easier? Could I play music directly on the CXN, for example?
Ditch Tidal and forget MQA. Qobuz is the best option for hi-res audio. IMO. And yes you’ll get everything you paying for with Qobuz and CXN V2.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Tidal MQA requires software and hardware which can fully decode the MQA files to begin with.

Bluesound has streamers which support Tidal MQA.
Nad also supports Tidal MQA.

So you could add the Node2i as an example. Still I guess this is meaningless since the Cambridge is an amplifier/streaming unit.

From my understanding the Cambridge streamer does not support MQA.

If you want to stream lossless you can try Qobuz. Or even Spotify when they start to stream lossless, which they claim is going to happen this year.
 

roastdinner

Novice Member
I got my CXN today, and I noticed that playing wirelessly I only get 96khz from Qobuz (according to the CXN display). Whereas plugging it in via USB and playing Qobuz on my PC I get up to 192khz. Is that right? Or is there some setting I’ve not found to get 192khz wirelessly.
 

mseve1

Active Member
I'm assuming that you are trying to access the exact same Qobuz streams using both methods. Now I'm not familiar with the CXN or its control software but I would say that you would be very lucky to get 192kHz streams to work reliably using WiFi at the best of times. It may be that the CXN is limiting the max sample rate possible using WiFi and you could compare behaviour using a wired ethernet connection to see if this improves matters.
I wouldn't get too hung up about this though - it's debatable whether even 96kHz streams offer any sonic improvement over CD quality 44.1/16 and the pursuit of 192kHz+ streams is totally pointless IMHO.
 

stevoknevo

Active Member
I'm assuming that you are trying to access the exact same Qobuz streams using both methods. Now I'm not familiar with the CXN or its control software but I would say that you would be very lucky to get 192kHz streams to work reliably using WiFi at the best of times. It may be that the CXN is limiting the max sample rate possible using WiFi and you could compare behaviour using a wired ethernet connection to see if this improves matters.
I wouldn't get too hung up about this though - it's debatable whether even 96kHz streams offer any sonic improvement over CD quality 44.1/16 and the pursuit of 192kHz+ streams is totally pointless IMHO.
I've got no issues playing 24/192 streams on Qobuz over WiFi - that's on a Raspberry Pi 4 in a case, a pairing not well regarded for having the best WiFi reception but works perfectly nonetheless. A quick glance at the specs of the CXN V2 states it only does upto 24/96 over Chromecast so that'll be the limitation as it plays 24/192 over USB from PC - OP, if you have an Android phone then you can use an app called Bubble UPnP to operate Qobuz and output to the CXN, that should hopefully provide 24/192?
 

sgtiger

Novice Member
I have this same setup, and stream 24/192khz to my CXN over wifi without issue from my phone.

1) I subscribe to Qobuz;
2) I use the Cambridge StreamMagic iphone app and log into Qobuz through that;
3) I make sure the CXN is on the same wifi network and is setup in the app as well (mine is called RDAC in screenshots);
4) I click on Qobuz in StreamMagic, go to search (try "192khz" and select one of the Qobuz playlists for an assortment), select the song, and play it through the StreamMagic app.

If I play it through the Qobuz app, I won't get 24/192. It has to be through StreamMagic.

See attached images.
 

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gava

Active Member
MQA is a contentious topic. My take at the moment is that most sensible commentators think there may be something to the technology, but we can't really tell because of the predatory business model, and we don't need to pay their taxes because Hi-Res music is available from other sources without the MQA tax. After initially jumping on the bandwagon some manufacturers are now starting to sell non-MQA versions of their hardware without MQA support at a lower cost because if the customers aren't interested in MQA they can pass on their savings.

Hi-Res is also a somewhat contentious topic. Using high bit rates and sampling rates in music production is clearly a good thing. For playback it's much less clear. For myself I have stopped using Hi-Res files even from Qobuz after spending some time using Adobe Composer and looking at some of the crap that makes its way into the final releases. 16/44 is fine for playback, possibly 24/48 might be optimal, 96, 192 and higher are a crapshoot IMO, at least as likely to make things worse than better, but 99.9% placebo regardless. As long as you are getting CD quality for playback you are almost certainly fine. When Spotify release their CD quality streams (this year??) the other streaming services are going to struggle to survive at all.
 

GrazzaB

Distinguished Member
When Spotify release their CD quality streams (this year??) the other streaming services are going to struggle to survive at all.

I think Apple Music will be fine as price wise the Apple One plan is really good, but I agree in that otherwise Spotify will be very much the go-to service
 

ItsNotAllSnakeOil

Active Member
Ditch Tidal for Qobuz. To my ears MQA sounds worse anyway with muddy bass. It is also a PITA to get additional hardware to do the final unfolding.
 

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