Answered Confused about Tidal Masters streaming! Help, please!

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.
 

hosstifa

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.
 

Lrehcsa

Active Member
I've been using TIDAL for years but this Qobuz sounds worth a try, can anyone kindly tell me how you import a TIDAL playlist into Qobuz? That would save me hours of searching for each track and building new playlists, do you have to use MConnect too as the interface? I have a an Arcam Bluetooth link into my AVR850 and use the DAC in that and I also have NAIM MUSO dotted around the house.

I like TIDAL as they have an App in Apple car play now so I can navigate on my car screen whilst in driving, guessing i'd lose that feature with Qobuz and when I stream with Bluetooth the music quality is awful compared to plugging the phone into the car
 
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Lrehcsa

Active Member
Qobuz now seems to be £32.99 a month for the studio quality version btw

I'm guessing the most important question for me is am I going to actually be able to take advantage of the improved quality of Qobuz over TIDAL when streaming to my Arcam rBlink into my AVR850 from my iPhone X as that's how I listen to most music at home.
 
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bruny

Active Member
Qobuz now seems to be £32.99 a month for the studio quality version btw.
Was just on the website, still saying £24.99 for studio hi-Rez where did you get that price.
 
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Lrehcsa

Active Member
Was just on the website still saying £24.99 for studio hi-Rez where did you get that price.

From the pricing options on the App, I think you may need to pay a year in advance to get the £24.99 a month price
 

bruny

Active Member
I don’t think so because it says £24.99 per month OR £249 per year. Unless website hasn’t been updated yet. I do remember hearing if you do it through Apple they charge more. Not sure if this is the case here.
 

bruny

Active Member
Mmm strange. Wonder how the website is different. Think I’d be questioning that with them.
 

Cebolla

Well-known Member
Mmm, the latest Andoid version of the Qobuz app has the same price as mentioned in Qobuz's website:
upload_2019-4-3_14-18-7.png

Is the hgher price restricted to the Apple car play version of the Qobuz app or does the Apple's 'normal' iOS version of the app have it too - could someone confirm?
 

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Lrehcsa

Active Member
I don't think there is a car play version as such, it's just that car play supports some apps, the app itself should be no different because it works with car play.
 

invisiblekid

Distinguished Member
Here you go

They'll charge more via a purchase on iOS as Apple will take it's cut. That why Netflix has stopped offering subs via the phone.
 

Conejo23

Novice Member
quick update on my end, just tested out Audirvana running Qobuz, tested against Tidal (without MQA decoding) on both my laptop powered bookshelf speakers (JBL 305s) and our home theater, then tested Qobuz on Audirvana vs mconnect on the home theater. Definitely prefer Qobuz over Tidal, and while Audirvana didn't make a "holy crap that's amazing" difference over the native app or mconnect, it was an improvement. Bass seemed tighter, mids and highs warmer, soundstage just seemed a little more expansive. Could be confirmation bias as I was running the test myself, though I was kinda hoping it would make no difference so I could save myself the $80 for Audirvana. Also tried Roon but quickly discovered they have no dlna support and I have zero interest in buying a $500 box to do what I can already do without one.
 

barrywi

Active Member
Or you could just put a cd in a decent cd player? Why make things so complicated?
 

Cebolla

Well-known Member
Don't confuse using a system with setting it up for the first time - the sheer convenience of selecting audio file tracks in a playlist for streaming playback blows the physical action of "just putting a CD in a decent CD player" into the weeds.
 

Conejo23

Novice Member
First, what Cebolla said.

Second, I'm now accessing music at better than CD quality. That's one reason.

Third, now I don't need to buy the CD to listen to the music, I now have access to like a million CDs. I can experiment with listening to different artists and genres I'd never try if I had to plunk down $15 just to listen.

Fourth, I now have those millions of CDs with me EVERYWHERE I go.

"just listen to a CD" is the 2019 musical version of "you kids, get off my lawn!"
 

Torero

Novice Member
Not sure anyone still looks here... by chance saw my LG TV showing in the list of available devices to connect to from mconnect, optical cable from there to AVR and the results are rather awesome. Really happy with how both Qobuz & Tidal sound, definitely details in favor of Qobuz but both in great shape. I'll stick to the first one because... I can ;)
 

wass1985

Banned
First, what Cebolla said.

Second, I'm now accessing music at better than CD quality. That's one reason.

Third, now I don't need to buy the CD to listen to the music, I now have access to like a million CDs. I can experiment with listening to different artists and genres I'd never try if I had to plunk down $15 just to listen.

Fourth, I now have those millions of CDs with me EVERYWHERE I go.

"just listen to a CD" is the 2019 musical version of "you kids, get off my lawn!"
That's my way of thinking, now streaming can match and beat CD quality you might as well save your money on a player and get a better streamer, amp or speakers.
 

Phildick

Active Member
Yes and better. They offer HD which is CD quality and UHD which is 24 bit and up to 192 sampling rate.

No MQA though. I wouldn't want that anyway.
 

maghouse

Active Member
Yes and better. They offer HD which is CD quality and UHD which is 24 bit and up to 192 sampling rate.

No MQA though. I wouldn't want that anyway.
They do offer 44.1 (CD quality) but the 192 stuff just isn't there … I only found a few playlists and obscure artists … depends what you like I guess !

I gave up my subscription because of the lack of content and sticking with TIDAL 😎

But if you only want one and have Amazon already then probably worth the extra for the 44.1 stuff of which there is loads as you would expect ...
 

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