Confused about options to replace Kodi / Tidal

mossywell

Standard Member
Hi I’m hoping you can help me – my head is almost exploding with the options (and incessant dithering) and I can not see the wood for the trees.

Current kit:
  • TV: LG 55SM8600PLA
  • Amp: Pioneer SC-LX57-K
  • Media Server: Kodi on Raspberry Pi4 (Raspbian) with a USB drive attached containing some obscure movies and albums
  • Streaming Service: Tidal HiFi (via Kodi plugin)
I like this setup because it is a) simple (no separate “server” and “client”) b) works (worked) well c) I can control it with my LG TV remote (using CEC). Then, a few weeks ago, the Tidal plug in stopped working because I think, Tidal made a change that stopped non-approved devices logging in, so it looks like it’ll never be fixed. Time to move on.

What I want is:
  • Not a proliferation of “boxes” and I don’t need multiroom
  • Tidal MQA (Please: no conversation about the pros and cons of MQA – that is for another thread. Also, yes, it must be Tidal: Amazon and Qobuz don’t have the very obscure music I listen to but Tidal does.)
  • Continue to be able to control it via the LG remote
  • Continue to be able to play the movies and albums on the USB drive
Cost? Tricky one bearing in mind that this is really to fix what was a perfectly reasonable system (albeit it without full MQA). For example, I could “just” buy a NUC, a separate DAC a subscription to new service like Roon etc and a few other bits and bobs but when I add up all the new bits I’ll need, it’s well into 4 figures. Or maybe not? I really don’t know. Gah!

As a bodge I just installed Tidal on the LG. The interface is truly awful and no MQA but it does at least work. I did also try Plex Media Server on the raspberry Pi. Unfortunately, I had to run the Plex client on the LG TV which seemed a bit backwards though the interface was better than the native Tidal app on the TV). The good news: no additional cost. I also tried Android on the raspberry Pi 4 and then the Tidal app – worked but hideous interface and I had many issues with the USB drive and it was pretty slow.

My disorganised thinking: I’d like to drop in a MQA DAC into the mix to get the full MQA experience. I like Plex but no MQA; I really like Kodi but no Tidal and more; I may like Roon but it’s audio-only. Am I missing a simple option or is it a case of spending lots of money and separating out the audio from the video?

TIA

EDIT:
Having just re-read my own post, it comes across as muddled and incoherent. To clarify: what would be my ideal? That Tidal fully support Kodi and I drop a MQA DAC between the Pi 4 and the amp. That way I get to keep simplicity, I get to keep my movie and music sources in one place (logically) and I keep using my LG remote. Hope that clarifies! (Apologies if not.)
 
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ShanePJ

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
It seems as though Tidal have disabled all login tokens which is what enables you to login to your account via this app. It seems the person (Arneson) who developed the app is trying to find a fix. This was last month. So, even though you are without it, it might come back to life if they are successful.

As for an alternative, I cannot help you there with Pi 4 as its not something I've used. But at least you know why you have lost the connection
 

mossywell

Standard Member
It seems as though Tidal have disabled all login tokens which is what enables you to login to your account via this app. It seems the person (Arneson) who developed the app is trying to find a fix. This was last month. So, even though you are without it, it might come back to life if they are successful.

As for an alternative, I cannot help you there with Pi 4 as its not something I've used. But at least you know why you have lost the connection

Thanks for the reply - yes, that makes sense. Nice to hear that Arneson is trying to fix it, but, well, even if he does, it'll end up a game of cat and mouse and I suspect therefore any fixes will be temporary.

It seems that combined video / audio media centres are just not the thing these days which is a shame. I'll keep trying different configurations anyway.
 

Bryn1

Active Member
Have you looked at PLEX? it supports Tidal natively (not 100% sure on MQA so you would need to confirm that) you can also run the server on a PI4 same as you are now with Kodi
 

mossywell

Standard Member
Thanks for the reply. That's the problem with me asking long rambling questions (totally my bad) - the information gets lost in the question, somewhere around paragraph 6. ;-)

Yes, I did. Plex almost cuts it (I like the interface), except that:
1. It doesn't support MQA. Given their official explanation of why not ("Tidal don't license MQA to third parties" which is evidently untrue), I doubt it'll ever have MQA. That makes it a show-stopper for me.
2. I found Plex Media Server to be a bit temperamental when flipping between local albums and streamed albums. Might just be the fact that it's on a Pi 4 - dunno. Didn't bother to check given that I already hit a show stopper anyway.
 

Cebolla

Well-known Member
Plex almost cuts it (I like the interface), except that:
1. It doesn't support MQA. Given their official explanation of why not ("Tidal don't license MQA to third parties" which is evidently untrue).

Yes, that explanation is inaccurate. They should instead have said that TIDAL don't provide their Masters quality connection option to third parties that are not official MQA Limited partners.

Hence Plex is limited to TIDAL's HiFi quality (16bit/44.1kHz audio resolution only) connection.

Incidentally, TIDAL's HiFi quality connection does not actually block any MQA tracks you happen to select for streaming and swap them for non-MQA/original audio CD sourced versions. Instead, TIDAL's online server engages a transcoder to mangle the selected MQA tracks to 16bit/44.1kHz on the fly as necessary, so they'll no longer be hi-res if they were originally. This does of course mean that any selected MQA-CD tracks (which are already at 16bit/44.1kHz) will be streamed unhindered.
 
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Cebolla

Well-known Member
It seems as though Tidal have disabled all login tokens which is what enables you to login to your account via this app. It seems the person (Arneson) who developed the app is trying to find a fix. This was last month. So, even though you are without it, it might come back to life if they are successful.
Given that TIDAL have moved their login secure access completely over to OAuth2 and its tokens, which is what the developer was struggling to bypass using the old login method and its last remaining working leaked token (originally belonged to an official TIDAL developer), that would be some feat!


The reality is that there is no current solution for the OP's particular set of requirements if unbridled MQA from TIDAL is a must.
 
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mossywell

Standard Member
The reality is that there is no current solution for the OP's particular set of requirements if unbridled MQA from TIDAL is a must.
Yup - that was my conclusion as well. My current plan:
Install a separate Windows 10 box (I can use an old laptop to test) to run Audirvana. Attach it to a MQA DAC (e.g. SMSL SU9 - not a Tidal supported device but it's MQA which is the main thing) and plug that into the amp. (I keep the video running on Kodi as it does now.)

Cons:
1. No longer a unified video / audio system.
2. No remote control via CEC (as I don't believe Audirvana supports it.) Will have to use the remote app instead. Probably.
3. 2 more "boxes" to support and gather dust. (My wife will not thank me!)

I gain (or retain):
1. Ability to play MQA from Tidal
2. Ability to play streamed and local content from a single "box".

I think... ;-)
 

Patricia P

Active Member
I dont have Bluesound Node 2i to confirm this, but their website says they "do" MQA.

Its small, designed to be operated by a phone app, it has an optical input for your TV sound, and you can use the DAC that is built-in or upgrade by optical out to a better DAC.

Other network players in same price range like Yamaha WXC50 don't have MQA.
 

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