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Question Cambridge Audio CXN V2 - Chromecast vs in-built Tidal

BarKohba

Active Member
Hello

This question is rather for any streamer out there with chromecast capability.

Is there any sound quality difference between using the chromecast function to stream Tidal and the in-built Tidal functionality within the respective network player's native app? (like Yamaha's Musiccast, NAD's bluOS, Cambridge Connect, etc) ?

Is there any reason to use the streamer's native app vs chromecast, given how Tidal's app interface is aeons better than the (mostly crappy) network streamer native apps ?
 

Cebolla

Member
Before answering your question, you appear to have based it on the (in most cases false) assumption that the streamer's app has an impact on sound quality & therefore the app has seemingly something to do with the audio being streamed from TIDAL.

The vast majority of TIDAL supporting streamers use a network streaming technology which enables them to stream and play the audio file tracks directly from TIDAL's online server with absolutely no involvement of the provided controller app (other than the app being just the controller user interface). This is certainly the case with the current devices from the manufacturers you mentioned, so Yamaha streamers using the proprietary Yamaha MusicCast streaming technology, NAD streamers with the proprietary bluOS firmware, Cambridge Audio streamers controlled by the Cambridge Connect app and even streamers using Chromecast controlled by the official TIDAL Android & iOS apps.

A notable exception, so where the app is itself actually streaming & playing the tracks from TIDAL and then passing the resulting audio output to the streamer, is the controller app for streamers using the DTS Play-Fi network streaming technology.
BTW, using Apple's AirPlay similarly gets the app itself to play the audio with the output being sent to the AirPlay supporting streamer, including using AirPlay on the official TIDAL iOS app.


So, to answer your actual question and if you haven't already guessed it, given that using Chromecast on the official TIDAL app and the devices you mentioned all get the streamer to play the audio file tracks directly from TIDAL's online server, there shouldn't be any sound quality difference.

However, this assumes that the same audio file tracks are being provided by TIDAL's online server and that the output audio chain, ie, the hardware connection to the DAC, the DAC itself, etc, is the same.
Bear in mind, Chromecast does not currently support MQA and therefore has no ability to decode it. TIDAL have decided to get its online server to provide 'doctored' 16bit/44.1kHz audio CD resolution versions of MQA tracks instead, which have been bit depth reduced & (in some cases) downsampled, when using Chromecast with the official TIDAL apps if you've selected MQA tracks for playback.
 
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huntajc

Standard Member
My understanding - though stand to be corrected - is that Chromecast does not support gapless playback, whereas the native streaming may (e.g. Teufel).

So less a case of the app being used to control, more about the server side delivery.
 

larkone

Member
Gapless can be achieved with a Chromecast by using HiFI Cast app, but it does require something to run the app on and that needs to stay in range.
 

GeeBeeBox

Novice Member
On an Cambridge Audio CXN, Tidal sounds great, native and via the app. Where as Amazon Music HD via AirPlay truely sounds awful. I was amazed how bad it is.
 

GeeBeeBox

Novice Member
Just a note on Cambridge Audio CNN. Amazon Music HD is coming natively later this year 2020...response from Cambridge Audio ....

Thank you for contacting Cambridge Audio.

Amazon Music HD will be fully integrated into the CXN v2 later this year, which will allow native streaming.
In the meantime however, it is restricted to AirPlay, which will throttle audio to 16 bit, 44.1 kHz.
 

Khazul

Well-known Member
The vast majority of TIDAL supporting streamers use a network streaming technology which enables them to stream and play the audio file tracks directly from TIDAL's online server with absolutely no involvement of the provided controller app (other than the app being just the controller user interface). This is certainly the case with the current devices from the manufacturers you mentioned, so Yamaha streamers using the proprietary Yamaha MusicCast streaming technology, NAD streamers with the proprietary bluOS firmware, Cambridge Audio streamers controlled by the Cambridge Connect app and even streamers using Chromecast controlled by the official TIDAL Android & iOS apps.
Does automatic levelling come into play with this? Ive been using Roon for so long now I cant even remember how other streamers deal with this.

It occurs to me this could account for a possible difference in what you hear between streamer implementations.
 

Cebolla

Member
In a Roon system the true streamer aka network audio file player, ie, the device that actually receives the audio file tracks directly from the music service's online server, is the Roon Core server itself and definitely not any of the RAAT supporting end points that the Roon Core server sends its music file played audio output to.

So the question of dealing with any real or imaginary "automatic levelling" issues would come into play equally for the Roon Core server as it would for those "other streamers".
 
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Khazul

Well-known Member
I guess when you don't know what something is, you don't simply state you don't know and ask and instead get obnoxious.

There is nothing 'imaginary' about it. It is a well documented standard loudness mechanism (EBU R 128). Some streamers use provided or calculated values for a track, or an album to automatically adjust the playback level between tracks/albums so as to yield a consistent listening level. Most of the time when listening to a single service (for eg Tidal, qobuz, Apple etc), then I believe it is taken care of by normalization in the streaming service, for eg, Tidal and some others normalize to -14 LUFS (whether by re-levelling the audio stream, or by providing metadata I do not know - I would guess re-levelling when they originally import the master). Mastered CDs can vary hugely. Different services do not all use -14. Apple for eg I think use -16.

Some streamers try to match the level by using this data. Which use it and which don't - I don't know (outside of Roon which can do this - it is a user option). I thought perhaps you might know, but it seems not. It is easy to admit when you don't know something. No need to be obnoxious.
 
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Moviola

Standard Member
Just a note on Cambridge Audio CNN. Amazon Music HD is coming natively later this year 2020...response from Cambridge Audio ....

Thank you for contacting Cambridge Audio.

Amazon Music HD will be fully integrated into the CXN v2 later this year, which will allow native streaming.
In the meantime however, it is restricted to AirPlay, which will throttle audio to 16 bit, 44.1 kHz.
Hi.
Just wondering if that is a recent message from Cambridge Audio. I have a CXNv2 (Fantastic!) and asked a salesperson from Richer if Amazon HD was being added. They said they would check with Cambridge who replied that it wasn't but if you heard that news recently it would be great. I've got Amazon Prime so had a free trial with HD and thought it sounded good. Haven't signed up yet as am also trying Qobuz but think Amazon has a larger selection. Thanks for any extra info.
 

Cebolla

Member
I guess when you don't know what something is, you don't simply state you don't know and ask and instead get obnoxious.

There is nothing 'imaginary' about it. It is a well documented standard loudness mechanism (EBU R 128). Some streamers use provided or calculated values for a track, or an album to automatically adjust the playback level between tracks/albums so as to yield a consistent listening level. Most of the time when listening to a single service (for eg Tidal, qobuz, Apple etc), then I believe it is taken care of by normalization in the streaming service, for eg, Tidal and some others normalize to -14 LUFS (whether by re-levelling the audio stream, or by providing metadata I do not know - I would guess re-levelling when they originally import the master). Mastered CDs can vary hugely. Different services do not all use -14. Apple for eg I think use -16.

Some streamers try to match the level by using this data. Which use it and which don't - I don't know (outside of Roon which can do this - it is a user option). I thought perhaps you might know, but it seems not. It is easy to admit when you don't know something. No need to be obnoxious.
Can't quite remember exactly what riled me enough to get me out of my Friday night lockdown sloshed stupor in reading your post, but my reply was more a bit rude than full blown obnoxious, surely?:)

I think it may have had something to do with you quoting that precise paragraph in my reply to the OP and I got it into my head that you were questioning my response to the OP regarding controller apps not handling the audio being played by the streamers and further that the controller apps may even be automatically applying volume leveling to the audio being streamed.

Had you instead quoted the last two paragraphs of that post, I think I would have twigged at what you were getting at and would (hopefully) have had something positive to say.

I know that something has automatically happened to TIDAL's hi-res MQA file tracks before they are sent to streamers that don't support MQA. They certainly have been converted to CD-res and I suppose there is scope for normalisation to have been included in that process. It also wouldn't affect the MQA supporting streamers that do have the ability to normalise TIDAL's tracks (such as the Roon Core server you mentioned & I believe Bluesound streamers do too).
However, there's no sense in TIDAL doing the same for any of the other tracks (those supplied via the API on a TIDAL HI-Fi account, at least) as that would prevent the volume leveling capable streamers from applying the correct normalisation.

BTW, I don't think the leveling data is in the streamed track itself, as part of the metadata. My go-to software UPnP streamer for testing, the (volume leveling capable) foobar2000 player with the foo_upnp plugin, reports some tags contained in TIDAL's FLAC tracks, including MQA associated ones in the MQA tracks (eg MQAENCODER & ORIGINALSAMPLERATE) - but defintely no R128/RGv2 tags. Interestingly, Qobuz don't appear to have any metadata in their FLAC file tracks, even the track title tag is missing.

So the Roon Core server likely instead obtains the track leveling data from the TIDAL API - though it apparently originally obtained it from the (extra) catalogue data that Roon periodically receives from TIDAL & Qobuz, under the special deals they've brokered with those services:
Tidal and Volume Leveling [Resolved]
Tidal and intermittent working volume levelling

Looks like the Qobuz track leveling data still comes from that 'special' Qobuz catalogue source & not its API:
Qobuz Volume Leveling [Implementation Underway]
Official Qobuz Issues Thread
 
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