Question Internet Radio and Internet Music Streaming Services from 1 Box

tokinit

Standard Member
I currently play music of varying qualities, that has been ripped to a hard drive, connected via USB2.0 to an Oppo 205
I then send it digitally to an Anthem AVM50v for processing and on to an Arcam FMJ P7 and so on
The Oppo has, I believe, has 2 DACs and the Anthem has 5 DACS

I'd like to be able to play Internet radio and have access to Internet music streaming services like Tidal masters, Qobuz, etc, In the highest possible quality

Are there any single box solutions that can do this without built in DACs and speaker outputs, that I can connect to either the Oppo or Anthem and use the DACs in them?
Or do I need a box with another DAC to 'Interpret' the Tidal MQA?

I've recently started looking into music streamers but I am finding it a little confusing and most equipment I've been looking at seems to have lots of features I don't really need.

Any comments would be appreciated
 

Cebolla

Well-known Member
Unfortunately, if you really must have lossy MQA hi-res, there's no option for you other than having an appropriate MQA decoding 'box'.

You can get away with not having an MQA DAC, if you limit yourself to just decoding to the MQA Core Signal, aka 'first unfold', as MQA Limited have provided this ability (under licence) to some software applications, eg, TIDAL's own Desktop App, Roon, Audirvana, etc - the 'box' in this case of course being a computer.

Otherwise, there's no current MQA supporting streamer that doesn't also come with a built-in MQA supporting DAC. In theory you could swap out the streamer's DAC for your own, in the hope of the MQA Core signal would be passed to it. However, chances are that MQA decoding is fully handled in the streamer's DAC - the only possible exception I can think of is the Bluesound Node, which I believe can output the MQA Core signal.

Having said all of that, isn't your OPPO UDP-205 supposed to be able to support MQA decoding, anyway (assuming you've kept up with its firmware updates)?
OPPO Digital - Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Players

So, given that the 205 is a UPnP/DLNA supporting streamer in its own right and supposedly has a full MQA decoding DAC, 'all' you should require for MQA from TIDAL is an application with a built-in UPnP/DLNA controller, that not only can provide access to TIDAL, but is also licenced to access TIDAL's hi-res MQA tracks. I can think of a couple: Audirvana (Windows & Mac, not free but has free 30 day trial) and mconnect Player (Android & iOS, free Lite version available for testing).
Note: only Audirvana has the MQA Core signal decoder; mconnect Player just provides the (undecoded) MQA tracks from TIDAL.
 
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tokinit

Standard Member
Thanks for the reply

It looks like I need to go for an Android Box or Windows Mini PC Box hardwired into my system and then test the software. I could also get Internet Radio on there as well. If I went with an Android Box maybe I could use an Android Tablet to control it through my network.

I may not go with Tidal Masters I may go with Qobuz in the end, it's just nice having options and the 205 does indeed deal with MQA.

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, time for some research.
 

Jules Tohpipi

Well-known Member
Thanks for the reply

It looks like I need to go for an Android Box or Windows Mini PC Box hardwired into my system and then test the software. I could also get Internet Radio on there as well. If I went with an Android Box maybe I could use an Android Tablet to control it through my network.

I may not go with Tidal Masters I may go with Qobuz in the end, it's just nice having options and the 205 does indeed deal with MQA.

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, time for some research.
Or you could save yourself a whole world of pain (for no gain) and just spend £35 on a used Chromecast Audio off eBay. It's got an optical digital out and you control it by casting from the mobile app of your choice e.g. Tidal, Qobuz, BBC sounds, radio station apps, etc, etc. As it's casting then the phone is just acting as a remote control and not passing the audio signal. The Chromecast Audio picks up the audio signal direct from the internet.

Benefits: it's cheap, uncluttered with features, has an optical out, sounds great, supports Tidal at CD quality and Qobuz at 24bit, and you get to use their own apps to control everything (rather than some hardware manufacturer's lash-up app).

Against: doesn't do gapless playback, doesn't do Tidal masters, too tiny and cheap for some to take it seriously.

I strongly suggest you give it a try before diving down techhy or expensive rabbit holes.

That being if for any reason you can't get the Oppo to work as Cebolla suggests.
 

tokinit

Standard Member
Thanks, that's interesting.

Thinking about what I actually want now, internet radio and high res music streaming service, i've actually got an Nvidia Shield in my setup, only ever used it for video streaming before now, and I've just purchased an Android Tablet.

I've always been a bit wary about using 'low end electronics' for higher end audio, but I guess it's really just a case of ones and zeros at the end of the day, if you feed the signal into the right devices for playback.

I really need to get up to date with the Android devices I've got and other 'newer to me' devices like chromecast. I never really thought about them before for higher end audio.

Cheers
 

Jules Tohpipi

Well-known Member
Thanks. I've got no direct experience with the Nvidia Shield, but generally speaking, many video devices can default to upsampling 44.1kHz audio up to 48kHz. Some don't offer 44.1kHz at all. Whereas the Chromecast Audio (CCA) has no video capabilities and will remain bit perfect within its supported formats.

I've got high-end stuff too (Krell amplification) and the CCA has the plus points of ease of use, being able to use the content providers' own apps on the phone, meaning the apps are always up to date and have the latest features, compared to a locked-in proprietary app from a manufacturer.

But more than anything, the CCA's direct in approach from the web (phone acts as a remote control only), and its lack of video or other paraphernalia in its box, keeps it uncomplicated without the potential headaches of other digital intrusion. By this I mean re-sampling or the effects of OS volume controls or DSP can sometimes impart on the original stream. I'm not saying this is for everyone - it's no box of tricks - but for my deliberately simple needs it's an astonishing capable device sonically because its role is so simple and focussed.
 
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tokinit

Standard Member
I've just had a look at the CCA, I think it's exactly what I need for my system to intergrate online music streaming services.
 

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