Answered Confused about Tidal Masters streaming! Help, please!

O1orin

Active Member
Hi all,

I’ve been a Spotify user for a while and have started a free trial with Tidal to see if their Masters tracks are worth an upgrade to. It seems I’ve descended down another rabbit hole, with regards to actually being able to access the benefits of the full hi-res audio...

I have an iPhone X and have been currently streaming to a Marantz SR7012, in the living room (Sonos round the rest of the house). Admittedly, my Marantz/Dali set up has been all about movies so far, so I haven’t looked into audio too much.

So... do I need to buy a DAC to be able to stream directly from the Tidal App, into my Marantz and hear the full, Masters goodness?! If so, would the £75 AudioQuest DragonFly do the job? If I bought this, or anything similar you guys might recommend, am I good to go to get the highest quality available?

I’m a complete novice with all of this, so would really appreciate someone explaining how it all works!

Thanks very much in advance,

Neil
 

Cebolla

Well-known Member
Hi Neil,

MQA files, as used by TIDAL Masters, provides lossy hi-res up to 24 bit/96kHz sample rate and only by MQA approved software or hardware. Any so called 'further unfolding' to higher sampling rates, by MQA approved hardware only, is just upsampling, so no actual audio content is contained in those higher sample rates.

If you really want your Marantz SR7012 to stream true lossless hi-res up to 24/192kHz, now, without the need to purchase any extra hardware, why not give the Qobuz a go - with its hi-res Studio plan (free 1 month trial)?
Enjoy unlimited streaming of your music with Qobuz - 1 free month.

Unlike TIDAL, which supplies MQA encoded FLAC file tracks for streaming hi-res, Qobuz uses normal FLAC file tracks for hi-res - which your Marantz can of course already stream and play. All you need is a Qobuz supporting UPnP/DLNA controller app on your iPhone, such as mconnect Player (free Lite version available).


BTW, the only way you can get your current Maranatz SR7012 based set up to stream decoded TIDAL Masters MQA tracks, is to:

- either purchase a fully decoding MQA DAC (so not one of the cheaper MQA Renderer only capable DACs like the Audioquest Dragonfly you mentioned) and then use the mconnect Player app (which also supports TIDAL Masters MQA) on the iPhone for control (so not TIDAL's own iOS app, which is not capable of controlling UPnP/DLNA supporting streamers like your Marantz SR7012);

- or, be tied to a computer running TIDAL MQA approved software (eg TIDAL Desktop app) to output to the Marantz SR7012, which will give you MQA decoding up to the MQA Core signal (aka 'first unfold') of up to 24/96kHz.


John
 
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O1orin

Active Member
Hi Neil,

MQA files, as used by TIDAL Masters, provides lossy hi-res up to 24 bit/96kHz sample rate and only by MQA approved software or hardware. Any so called 'further unfolding' to higher sampling rates, by MQA approved hardware only, is just upsampling, so no actual audio content is contained in those higher sample rates.

If you really want your Marantz SR7012 to stream true lossless hi-res up to 24/192kHz, now, without the need to purchase any extra hardware, why not give the Qobuz a go - with its hi-res Studio plan (free 1 month trial)?
Enjoy unlimited streaming of your music with Qobuz - 1 free month.

Unlike TIDAL, which supplies MQA encoded FLAC file tracks for streaming hi-res, Qobuz uses normal FLAC file tracks for hi-res - which your Marantz can of course already stream and play. All you need is a Qobuz supporting UPnP/DLNA controller app on your iPhone, such as mconnect Player (free Lite version available).


BTW, the only way you can get your current Maranatz SR7012 based set up to stream decoded TIDAL Masters MQA tracks, is to:

- either purchase a fully decoding MQA DAC (so not one of the cheaper MQA Renderer only capable DACs like the Audioquest Dragonfly you mentioned) and then use the mconnect Player app (which also supports TIDAL) on the iPhone for control (so not TIDAL's own iOS app, which is not capable of controlling UPnP/DLNA supporting streamers like your Marantz SR7012);

- or, be tied to a computer running TIDAL MQA approved software (eg TIDAL Desktop app) to output to the Marantz SR7012, which will give you MQA decoding up to the MQA Core signal (aka 'first unfold') of up to 24/96kHz.


John
Thanks so much for taking the time to reply John. I’m listening to Qobuz now, as you suggested and it sounds fantastic.

Just out of interest, in ref to your final option and using the Tidal desktop app, would I have to hardwire my computer to the Marantz or could Airplay etc deal with the necessary streaming for hi def?

Thanks again.
 

Cebolla

Well-known Member
No worries.

It's actually the first time I've not sat on the fence and actively advised someone to try the alternative of online streaming already available 'proper' hi-res audio file tracks (assuming bog standard broadband connection speeds & above), given the nonsense spouted by the MQA Limited for justifying the existance of lossy MQA!


Just out of interest, in ref to your final option and using the Tidal desktop app, would I have to hardwire my computer to the Marantz or could Airplay etc deal with the necessary streaming for hi def?
Yes, unfortunately, you are limited to hardwiring your computer to the Marantz - if you are using the TIDAL Desktop app. AirPlay is limited to network streaming audio at a fixed standard CD resolution of 16bit/44.1kHz, so any hi-res will get downsampled by the Mac (I'm assuming you have a Mac, rather than a Windows computer, given you mentioned AirPlay).

Hence the reason why I mentioned industry standard UPnP/DLNA in my last post, which does allow hi-res audio file network streaming.

Having said that, you could try using the only desktop UPnP/DLNA supporting software that provides TIDAL and can decode MQA file tracks (to the MQA Core signal/'first unfold'), Audirvana Plus - it comes with a free 2 week trial period:
Audirvana + : The Reference Audiophile Player for Mac and PC
It also supports Qobuz, so would be an ideal way to compare the two online hi-res music streaming services using your Marantz.
 
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bruny

Active Member
No worries.

It's actually the first time I've not sat on the fence and actively advised someone to try the alternative of online streaming already available 'proper' hi-res audio file tracks (assuming bog standard broadband connection speeds & above), given the nonsense spouted by the MQA Limited for justifying the existance of lossy MQA!
Well said Cebolla. I totally agree that MQA is an unnecessary lossy format that we don’t need. To me it is just a cash grab, trying to force the public to buy music they already have. Buy unnecessary hardware. When the hardware we have is quite capable of playing all the formats available. Also the possibility of inflicting DRM on users in the future. They say it saves bandwidth because of file size but I’m not convinced that is a consideration today given the internet speeds most households have.
 

O1orin

Active Member
Thanks again, John and bruny. Again, your time is very much appreciated.

This is proving very insightful and exactly why I was only dipping my toe in to the water with a free trial. I guess then the decision is down to my ears, the quality of my set up and, of course, the cost and the most cost effective way of going the hi-res route, if that is indeed the way I decide to go.

Setup etc aside I’m guessing you guys are advocates of hi-res (vs Spotify or equiv) but not necessarily of the way Tidal/MQA are doing things?!

Being a photographer by trade, you’re right that I am currently using a few Apple products as they work pretty seamlessly (for a number of reasons) for the way I currently run my business. I appreciate they may not be as flexible as PCs/Android in some regards but it’s good to know there are workarounds, should I need them.

Thanks again.
 

invisiblekid

Distinguished Member
Need to try and find Ed's podcast/thread about Qobuz. More pricey though and I think you need to pay for it via your country rather than any one that you choose. I have Tidal via the US which is cheaper than the UK.
 

bruny

Active Member
Qobuz isn’t really that much more expensive if you can afford the £249.99 one off payment for the year it works out at £20.83p. Which is good for the studio hi-Rez. And better quality than tidal.
 

invisiblekid

Distinguished Member
Qobuz isn’t really that much more expensive if you can afford the £249.99 one off payment for the year it works out at £20.83p. Which is good for the studio hi-Rez. And better quality than tidal.
True and it looks like a reasonable amount off purchases too. Deffo give Qobuz a go I think.
 

O1orin

Active Member
Going to give it a good go with this free trial and then make a decision. Shame they don't seem to do a family account, as my wife uses our Spotify family account a lot and it would start to get rather expensive to run both together...

Final newbie question - if I wanted to listen to highest res possible via my iPhone X and headphones, would I need some hardware to do that? I have an older, wired pair of Sennheiser Momentums and a wireless pair of SM in ears. The older wired ones have to be used with the lightning to jack dongle for my particular iPhone, so is that the weak link in the chain? Guessing iPhone bluetooth isn't up to hi-res for the wireless headphones?
 

dollag

Well-known Member
Final newbie question - if I wanted to listen to highest res possible via my iPhone X and headphones, would I need some hardware to do that? I have an older, wired pair of Sennheiser Momentums and a wireless pair of SM in ears. The older wired ones have to be used with the lightning to jack dongle for my particular iPhone, so is that the weak link in the chain? Guessing iPhone bluetooth isn't up to hi-res for the wireless headphones?

Neil

one thing i will say as i do not think its been mentioned, tidal and qobuz stream lossless audio quality at 16/44.1 where as spotify is 320kbps. forget hi res, even standard lossless with either of those is a lot better than spotify. using tidal without an mqa dac still sounded a lot better than spotify.i have a spotify sub but only really use it to find music and artists more so than using it for proper listening.

iphones dongle is actually very good and is a lot better than a lot of aftermarket solutions; however a good portable dac/amp combo like the above mentioned dragonfly can yield benefits. you would need the usb adapter for it though.

their b/t is still a bit behind as they do not support aptX or v5.
 

Conejo23

Novice Member
Man, I am SOOO glad I found this thread. The OP took many words right out of my mouth. We just upgraded our home theater speaker system and now I want to listen to music there. Had been on Spotify Premium which I thought sounded pretty good. Signed up for a free month of Tidal and thought it sounded a little better. After reading this thread, just now signed up for Qobuz, imported my Tidal playlists over there and just tried a few comparisons, streaming to our system via Apple TV. Qobuz DEFINITELY sounds better. No question. I didn't tell my wife which was which, just played Steely Dan's "Hey 19", Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" in each app and my wife just laughed, said it wasn't even close. Qobuz in a landslide.

So, will mconnect work for me? I can use Apple TV but would love for this to sound as good as possible. We have an Onkyo TX-NR737. looks like folks are having issues with the mconnect lite version after their recent update. I'm absolutely willing to buy the regular version if it works and gives me a better sound quality than streaming through Apple TV.

If it makes any difference, here are the speakers we're running it through:

Elac UB5s for the fronts
Elac UC5 for the center
SVS PB-1000 for the sub
We have some Pioneer/A. Jones bookshelfs for the rears along with the Elac upfiring Atmos speakers on top of the fronts.

Our Onkyo receiver can stream spotify directly but not Tidal or Qobuz. Hoping mconnect will do the trick.

Thanks to the OP for initiating this discussion and for all the great comments on it!
 

invisiblekid

Distinguished Member
Going to give it a good go with this free trial and then make a decision. Shame they don't seem to do a family account, as my wife uses our Spotify family account a lot and it would start to get rather expensive to run both together...

Final newbie question - if I wanted to listen to highest res possible via my iPhone X and headphones, would I need some hardware to do that? I have an older, wired pair of Sennheiser Momentums and a wireless pair of SM in ears. The older wired ones have to be used with the lightning to jack dongle for my particular iPhone, so is that the weak link in the chain? Guessing iPhone bluetooth isn't up to hi-res for the wireless headphones?
one thing i will say as i do not think its been mentioned, tidal and qobuz stream lossless audio quality at 16/44.1 where as spotify is 320kbps. forget hi res, even standard lossless with either of those is a lot better than spotify. using tidal without an mqa dac still sounded a lot better than spotify.i have a spotify sub but only really use it to find music and artists more so than using it for proper listening.

iphones dongle is actually very good and is a lot better than a lot of aftermarket solutions; however a good portable dac/amp combo like the above mentioned dragonfly can yield benefits. you would need the usb adapter for it though.

their b/t is still a bit behind as they do not support aptX or v5.
Not sure if this is the case for all DAC's but my Chord Mojo requires you to have the Lightning-USB camera adaptor. This way it bypasses the iPhones DAC and give you a direct line out....I think. For Androids you need a ‘on the go’ cable ( OTG ).
 

Cebolla

Well-known Member
So, will mconnect work for me? I can use Apple TV but would love for this to sound as good as possible. We have an Onkyo TX-NR737. looks like folks are having issues with the mconnect lite version after their recent update. I'm absolutely willing to buy the regular version if it works and gives me a better sound quality than streaming through Apple TV.
The Onkyo TX-NR737's spec says it supports DLNA 1.5 & can network stream hi-res audio files, including FLAC, so I don't see why it wouldn't work.

I'm surprised you actually needed to ask and didn't try the mconnect Player (ie, emphasised so as not to confuse it with the similarly named mconnect Control) Lite app for yourself, given that it's free!

BTW, exactly what are those "issues with the mconnect lite version after their recent update"? A link to the info would be useful.

An alternative Qobuz supprting UPnP/DLNA controller, if you have an Android device, is the BubbleUPnP app (unlicensed version is free).
 
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bruny

Active Member
Going to give it a good go with this free trial and then make a decision. Shame they don't seem to do a family account, as my wife uses our Spotify family account a lot and it would start to get rather expensive to run both together...
The streaming subscription offers

If you scroll down this page it says they are going to implement a family package. No dates as of yet. But sounds like it’s definitely in the pipeline.
 

Conejo23

Novice Member
hey folks, I just couldn't wait, ended up splurging and plunking down the entire $5.99 for the mconnect app, fired it up, and voila, it immediately saw my receiver. I connected my Qobuz account, instantly had access to my playlists and a few seconds later I'm listening to the beautiful guitar sounds from the opening of "Into The Mystic". My wife and I both listened, we both heard features in the song we hadn't heard from either Tidal or Qobuz through the Apple TV. This is awesome!

I didn't get the free Lite version because in the reviews at the app store a bunch of people were saying it broke their ability to stream lossless music. If the mconnect app was $60 instead of $6 I would've given the Lite version a try, but for $6 I'm in place.

And I just tested Qobuz vs Tidal in my car. I have a relatively (depending on your definition) expensive custom sound system there, all told probably about a $3500 system and it's where I do most of my listening, streaming from my iPhone to my Pioneer head unit. I played a dozen different tracks on both Qobuz and Tidal. Both sound really good, much better than Spotify, but the edge belongs to Qobuz, for sure. Vocals seem warmer, bass seems tighter, highs are not as shrill.

Ok, off to cancel my longstanding Spotify Premium and newly opened Tidal subscriptions!
 

invisiblekid

Distinguished Member
And I just tested Qobuz vs Tidal in my car. I have a relatively (depending on your definition) expensive custom sound system there, all told probably about a $3500 system
Mr Tusk, Mr Gates, Mr Zuckerberg and Mr Jim Ratcliffe (Mr Bezos is having financial issues ATM) have all contacted me to tell you, they think think $3500 for I.C.E is expensive.
 

Hoku

Active Member
There’s another factor to take into account beyond the debatable benefits of MQA and that’s comparing the digital inputs of your Marantz to the analogue ones.

Your AVR packs a very high feature set and I’m conscious that all but the very best AVR’s can look to save money with the execution of their analogue inputs.

So even if you used an MQA friendly (or just full-fat hi-res) source and DAC, you may find in practice that it just doesn’t sound as good as using 16/44 through your AVR’s digital inputs. Certainly my old mid-range Pioneer AVR’s analogue inputs were mediocre, so despite my CD player having a perceived superior DAC, I found the results to be better when I used the CD purely as a transport and used the AVR’s internal DAC.

I had Spotify for a few years and moved to Tidal very soon after it was released in the UK. Initially Tidal’s interface and personalisation features were lacking, but it’s steadily improved over the years and IMO it’s now as good to use as Spotify was.

And comparing like-for-like albums, there just seems more air and space around the instruments. It may only be 10% difference, but it’s that extra 10% that turns musical ‘meh’ into musical ‘wow’. So for me the benefits are sufficient for the extra tenner a month regardless of MQA.

If someone showed me what Tidal can do 30 years ago, my jaw would have hit the floor with some degree of force. For me it’s the complete package of interface, quality and catalogue.
 

O1orin

Active Member
There’s another factor to take into account beyond the debatable benefits of MQA and that’s comparing the digital inputs of your Marantz to the analogue ones.

Your AVR packs a very high feature set and I’m conscious that all but the very best AVR’s can look to save money with the execution of their analogue inputs.

So even if you used an MQA friendly (or just full-fat hi-res) source and DAC, you may find in practice that it just doesn’t sound as good as using 16/44 through your AVR’s digital inputs. Certainly my old mid-range Pioneer AVR’s analogue inputs were mediocre, so despite my CD player having a perceived superior DAC, I found the results to be better when I used the CD purely as a transport and used the AVR’s internal DAC.

I had Spotify for a few years and moved to Tidal very soon after it was released in the UK. Initially Tidal’s interface and personalisation features were lacking, but it’s steadily improved over the years and IMO it’s now as good to use as Spotify was.

And comparing like-for-like albums, there just seems more air and space around the instruments. It may only be 10% difference, but it’s that extra 10% that turns musical ‘meh’ into musical ‘wow’. So for me the benefits are sufficient for the extra tenner a month regardless of MQA.

If someone showed me what Tidal can do 30 years ago, my jaw would have hit the floor with some degree of force. For me it’s the complete package of interface, quality and catalogue.
Thanks again all, this is all really useful.

Hoku, I did see when I bought the SR 7012 that it was capable of hi-res audio, via it's front USB port (and streaming via the methods outlined to me above). I'm so happy with the receiver - to be honest I bought it as it was one of the least expensive options, capable of running a 5.1.4 Atmos home theatre setup - the fact it also had excellent audio performance swung the decision for me and I'm really pleased I went for it. To be honest, through Spotify and when listening to a well mixed track, it sounds fantastic already, to my ears.

To my understanding, are you suggesting plugging directly into the receiver? I'm guessing this would work with a laptop but if I was wanting to continue using the convenience of my iPhone, even via the front USB, would I have to use a DAC in between the iPhone and receiver, as my iPhone can't output hi res audio? Is this right, or am I confused again?!
 

welshy

Active Member
The compression rate of MQA files does have its benefits if for example, like me, you stream Tidal Masters whilst on the go. I have a 4G dongle in my car with a Data Sim only card and so being able to stream MQA files without eating into all my data is handy.

Also I download many MQA files directly to my mobile phones SD card which takes up less room than other lossless formats. I've read that an equivalent file quality of MQA is about half the size of FLAC. So for me, listening on the go, Tidal Masters works great.
 

bruny

Active Member
Yeh I can see the benefits of MQA for portable applications. But not so much in a home environment where storage and bandwidth are very affordable. If MQA takes a foothold in the music industry it will cost everyone long term. They have stated that they would like it to be the only format available in the future. Not a good thing in my mind.
 

Cebolla

Well-known Member
The compression rate of MQA files does have its benefits if for example, like me, you stream Tidal Masters whilst on the go. I have a 4G dongle in my car with a Data Sim only card and so being able to stream MQA files without eating into all my data is handy.
Can you really tell the difference between CD-res TIDAL tracks and TIDAL MQA Masters ones streamed & played in your car (especially when driving)? Otherwise, you could save yourself at least 1/3 of your data!

Also I download many MQA files directly to my mobile phones SD card which takes up less room than other lossless formats.
MQA is lossy, not lossless.

I've read that an equivalent file quality of MQA is about half the size of FLAC. So for me, listening on the go, Tidal Masters works great.
Even if you could compare a lossy format with a lossless one, that statement doesn't even hold up. Some of the bits per sample of the audio signal are used for MQA encoding/info and contain no playable audio data - so decoding a 24 bit/44.1kHz MQA source/distribution file (as supplied by TIDAL's online server) to the MQA Core signal (aka 'first unfold') at 24 bit/88.2kHz is actually roughly equivalent to a normal lossless 17 bit/88.2kHz audio signal. If you FLAC compress a 17 bit/88.2kHz file compared to FLAC compressing a 24 bit/44.1kHz file you'll get roughly the same size, so no saving at all!

Not sure if you've misunderstood what you've read or if what you've read is itself misinformation - a link would be most useful.
 

Conejo23

Novice Member
I can definitely hear a difference in my car while driving between Qobuz and Tidal on the same tracks, but have not tried differentiating between Tidal's various levels of quality.

But then, I do have a car audio system Bill Gates finds indulgent, so take that into consideration as well.

FYI, listened to Qobuz on the drive in this morning. Damn, I literally didn't know streaming could sound this good. And I'm on T-Mobile, unlimited data. Bring on the bandwidth!
 

invisiblekid

Distinguished Member
Can you really tell the difference between CD-res TIDAL tracks and TIDAL MQA Masters ones streamed & played in your car (especially when driving)? Otherwise, you could save yourself at least 1/3 of your data!

MQA is lossy, not lossless.

Even if you could compare a lossy format with a lossless one, that statement doesn't even hold up. Some of the bits per sample of the audio signal are used for MQA encoding/info and contain no playable audio data - so decoding a 24 bit/44.1kHz MQA source/distribution file (as supplied by TIDAL's online server) to the MQA Core signal (aka 'first unfold') at 24 bit/88.2kHz is actually roughly equivalent to a normal lossless 17 bit/88.2kHz audio signal. If you FLAC compress a 17 bit/88.2kHz file compared to FLAC compressing a 24 bit/44.1kHz file you'll get roughly the same size, so no saving at all!

Not sure if you've misunderstood what you've read or if what you've read is itself misinformation - a link would be most useful.
I can definitely hear a difference in my car while driving between Qobuz and Tidal on the same tracks, but have not tried differentiating between Tidal's various levels of quality.

But then, I do have a car audio system Bill Gates finds indulgent, so take that into consideration as well.

FYI, listened to Qobuz on the drive in this morning. Damn, I literally didn't know streaming could sound this good. And I'm on T-Mobile, unlimited data. Bring on the bandwidth!
Although not a great shocker, just with my stock speakers in my car, Spotify VS Tidal is not even close on most tracks.

As for Tidal Vs Tidal Masters I have yet to try. However, there are examples of them sounding COMPLETELY different. Wish I made note of it, but when Masters was first released and discussed on here, someone pointed out a certain album that sounded like it was a completely different recording.

With the right system, listening to music in the car can be just as revealing as a home system. It might sound "better" but it doesn't mean you cannot compare different sound quality and not be able to tell, especially if you have say a RR Phantom which is damn near silent inside while driving.
 

Cebolla

Well-known Member
As for Tidal Vs Tidal Masters I have yet to try. However, there are examples of them sounding COMPLETELY different. Wish I made note of it, but when Masters was first released and discussed on here, someone pointed out a certain album that sounded like it was a completely different recording.
You have to be careful here. A different remastered source would explain why they sound so different (often accompanied by the tell tale sign of a different track length) - a cynical view might be that it's deliberate, to provide the MQA version with a better remastered source than the CD version.

So rather than actually manually selecting the CD version and comparing that with the MQA version, it might be best to keep the same MQA track in the playlist for the comparison, but just change the online connection quality. Selecting a CD quality connection for a TIDAL HiFi account currently causes the TIDAL online server to provide a downsampled 16bit/44.1kHz version of the same MQA tracks (so, CD resolution but not CD version) in the playlist, ie, the TIDAL online server does not itself swap MQA tracks in the playlist for the actual CD versions!
 
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Hoku

Active Member
Thanks again all, this is all really useful.

Hoku, I did see when I bought the SR 7012 that it was capable of hi-res audio, via it's front USB port (and streaming via the methods outlined to me above). I'm so happy with the receiver - to be honest I bought it as it was one of the least expensive options, capable of running a 5.1.4 Atmos home theatre setup - the fact it also had excellent audio performance swung the decision for me and I'm really pleased I went for it. To be honest, through Spotify and when listening to a well mixed track, it sounds fantastic already, to my ears.

To my understanding, are you suggesting plugging directly into the receiver? I'm guessing this would work with a laptop but if I was wanting to continue using the convenience of my iPhone, even via the front USB, would I have to use a DAC in between the iPhone and receiver, as my iPhone can't output hi res audio? Is this right, or am I confused again?!
There are a potentially a few ways to stream Tidal to your Marantz digitally.

Does it not have Heos streaming built-in? If so, I thought Tidal was one of the services it supported. If so, that’s probably your easiest route, although may not support MQA.

Alternatively, so as I did. My Anthem doesn’t have any streaming on-board, so I just stream Tidal using the Chromecast feature. FWIW, you could use Chromecast to stream Qobuz too.

To maximise the quality and prevent any compression, I use the ethernet cable directly plugged into my router (rather than wireless) and the optical output into my Anthem. The other side benefit of this is that the iPhone or iPad is purely used as a remote control rather than a source, so if your wifi has a hiccup, the music keeps playing. This is one reason in my set-up that I found the Chromecast to be a lot more reliable than Airplay.
 

invisiblekid

Distinguished Member
You have to be careful here. A different remastered source would explain why they sound so different (often accompanied by the tell tale sign of a different track length) - a cynical view might be that it's deliberate, to provide the MQA version with a better remastered source than the CD version.

So rather than actually manually selecting the CD version and comparing that with the MQA version, it might be best to keep the same MQA track in the playlist for the comparison, but just change the online connection quality. Selecting a CD quality connection for a TIDAL HiFi account currently causes the TIDAL online server to provide a downsampled 16bit/44.1kHz version of the same MQA tracks (so, CD resolution but not CD version) in the playlist, ie, the TIDAL online server does not itself swap MQA tracks in the playlist for the actual CD versions!
Oh dont get me wrong I know what they are doing. In fact all the doubters of Hi-Res audio I say this. I'm not fussed about what I am capable of hearing or not, IF the Hi-Res version (regardless of what is audible or not) means we get a better version be it greater dynamics etc then call me happy.

Now if say a "CD" version is better from one service than another, thats a different thing. And by all accounts, leaving Tidal to do the decoding of MQA is not the best way to listen to them anyway? In which case unless it truly is a different version (as I said in my last post) how good is all this MQA really? Add to that, I got the general thought of MQA being very good quality but compressed, rather than outright uber sound quality. Anyway


Just signed up to Qobuz for their free trial. See how it goes, but with 40m songs I doubt I'll be missing anything.

Spotify is so ubiquitous its hard to let go, but will try QB's playlist import thingy-ma-jig. But with easy Hi-Res and plenty of Tidal's off the beaten path artists on here as well it could be an easy choice between this and Tidal. I just resigned with Tidal too lol.
 

rosscouk

Active Member
I am a Roon subscriber and have been using Tidal with this service for the last two years. I have tried Qobuz in Feb and after a month trial I have switched from Tidal to Qobuz. I did a fair amount of listening and I generally preferred the Qobuz service. I did pause for a while because it is more expensive and the catalogue is smaller but I hope that it will grow. I might try the yearly sub but couldn't bring myself to do it, so currently on monthly subscription.

I listened to lots of MQA stuff, and on dedicated equipment (a Mytek Liberty DAC in my instance) that would unfold MQA fully, and I generally found the Qobuz lossless equivalent more to my liking. I do think that it really does depend on how the music was mastered more than whether something is hi-rez or not but that probably goes without saying.
 

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