Suggestions for a New Setup for Streaming

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
The following is from the link you posted:

Integrated Airplay and Chromecast* – easy streaming from Apple and Android devices
ROON Ready functionality to be added in a future update.
NAA operation in conjunction with Sygnalist’s HQPlayer software
*Chromecast to come in a future update.

That's development

Them there’re are updates.

Development would mean that the machines working interface was incomplete, that there were potential issues with its functioning.

What you have mentioned are add ons.
 

[email protected]

Active Member
The Node certainly doesn't do DLNA/UPnP. That's one of it's primary (dis?)advantages.
Bluesound supports NAS devices and computers, but it does so with Windows file sharing rather than DLNA. There are probably situations where each approach is better, but I think in many situations they are equivalent.
 

Phildick

Active Member
It's a shame then that the Ifi R and D team did not do enough work to identify that Chromecast (Roon to a lesser extent) would be an essential part of the product before release and had to rely on 'Suggestions' from the user base.

@iFi audio you have not answered my question regarding Amazon HD. How does it stream from Amazon?
 

Phildick

Active Member
Them there’re are updates.

Development would mean that the machines working interface was incomplete, that there were potential issues with its functioning.

What you have mentioned are add ons.
So the app is not available yet. Is that an add on too? Or has it not been released cos it's still in development?
 

ItsNotAllSnakeOil

Active Member
Glad to see the ZEN Stream is getting some more airtime.

Agree with most - the DAC in your AVR is to a good standard. SPDIF out from the ZEN Stream will tick the box. That said - it won’t support the highest levels of TIDAL (ie MQA) as the DAC isn’t certified for that. You’d need to get a ZEN combo (Stream + DAC) if you wanted to explore the world of MQA.

Just make sure you set the device up first before changing to TIDAL mode (we did a video on YouTube for this which has helped hundreds of stuck users out now!). Then enjoy the benefits of TIDAL Connect. In other modes you get open source access via NAA, “all in one” mode, Roon etc which are all nice features if the bug does bite.

You’re getting the benefit of being able to expand the system in due course should you device you want to change the sound through the DAC etc whereas an all-in-one streamer leaves you with less options (or duplicated costs).

Give me a shout if we can help at all - we’re iFi dealers and have lots of experience with the ZEN Range :)
I wouldn't worry too much about MQA personally, isn't it all smoke and mirrors? I have found Qobuz FLAC to be of a better standard to my ears. MQA just doesn't sound "right" to me but others may disagree.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
It's a shame then that the Ifi R and D team did not do enough work to identify that Chromecast (Roon to a lesser extent) would be an essential part of the product before release and had to rely on 'Suggestions' from the user base.

@iFi audio you have not answered my question regarding Amazon HD. How does it stream from Amazon?
I take some of your points (app), but while Chromecast may be essential to you. I hadn't even noticed it's absence.
 

Phildick

Active Member
I take some of your points (app), but while Chromecast may be essential to you. I hadn't even noticed it's absence.
It's essential really for Android users if you want a fully featured product.
The streamer doesn't have Bluetooth so if you want to use any of the vast amount of compatible apps such as BBC sounds, YouTube music, pandora, Deezer, TuneIn etc. You need it.

As for Amazon HD. I'm still waiting to hear how it supports it. According to Amazon, HD (lossless) streaming is not supported over Chromecast. So they either have direct native connectivity like Blusound, HEOS, Playfi etc or they are using Alexa cast which will require an Alexa Skill for the streamer.
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
Glad to see the ZEN Stream is getting some more airtime.

Agree with most - the DAC in your AVR is to a good standard. SPDIF out from the ZEN Stream will tick the box. That said - it won’t support the highest levels of TIDAL (ie MQA) as the DAC isn’t certified for that. You’d need to get a ZEN combo (Stream + DAC) if you wanted to explore the world of MQA.

Just make sure you set the device up first before changing to TIDAL mode (we did a video on YouTube for this which has helped hundreds of stuck users out now!). Then enjoy the benefits of TIDAL Connect. In other modes you get open source access via NAA, “all in one” mode, Roon etc which are all nice features if the bug does bite.

You’re getting the benefit of being able to expand the system in due course should you device you want to change the sound through the DAC etc whereas an all-in-one streamer leaves you with less options (or duplicated costs).

Give me a shout if we can help at all - we’re iFi dealers and have lots of experience with the ZEN Range :)
I saw your video guys and it is indeed very helpful.
 

Yorkshire AV

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
I’ve just done some testing (having purchased an Amazon Hd subscription for this) and I cannot see the device available in chromecast - nor can I discover it.

I can connect via AirPlay (an on an IOS device).

Not sure if this has distracted from the OP’s thread now however.
 

Phildick

Active Member
I’ve just done some testing (having purchased an Amazon Hd subscription for this) and I cannot see the device available in chromecast - nor can I discover it.

I can connect via AirPlay (an on an IOS device).

Not sure if this has distracted from the OP’s thread now however.
Someone over on pinkfish media has said that the upgrade for Chromecast is two or three months away. It still won't do Amazon HD (lossless) though. See last post:
 

Phildick

Active Member
Which Android devices support Amazon Music HD?
Most Android devices running Android Lollipop, released in 2014, or later support HD/Ultra HD playback. However, Android devices vary widely in quality and purpose, so we advise checking manufacturer specifications for HD/Ultra HD support.

At this time Amazon Music HD is not supported on Chromecast.

Ref:
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
We are working on these extra aforementioned features/software and we will be adding them one by one. I will update you once we have more information. Thank you for your patience. I know that you'd like to know it all at once. I am afraid, we cannot disclose more information at this point. Sorry for that. I also wish I could tell you more.


Also, please drop me a private message if you want to be added to the product testing programme. Perhaps, you'll be able to find the answers yourself. :)
 
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pelagic

Member
Not sure if this has distracted from the OP’s thread now however.

It kind of has. Although some this info is also good to now, I was hoping for some specific setup recommendations. It looks like the main rec here is this iFi Zen streamer, which does seem like it will fit what I need. Also recommended was the BlueSound Node, which, unless I misunderstood, could be overkill for me given I have a DAC (the Marantz) already.

However, I am still unclear as to whether this would fix the audio skipping issue I am seeing from time to time on my Tidal streams. I am guessing the use of Tidal Connect using the Zen would help improve the stream quality over my current Airplay connection through my phone (which connects to the Marantz in a separate room). But I'm still unsure on this...
 

Yorkshire AV

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
It kind of has. Although some this info is also good to now, I was hoping for some specific setup recommendations. It looks like the main rec here is this iFi Zen streamer, which does seem like it will fit what I need. Also recommended was the BlueSound Node, which, unless I misunderstood, could be overkill for me given I have a DAC (the Marantz) already.

However, I am still unclear as to whether this would fix the audio skipping issue I am seeing from time to time on my Tidal streams. I am guessing the use of Tidal Connect using the Zen would help improve the stream quality over my current Airplay connection through my phone (which connects to the Marantz in a separate room). But I'm still unsure on this...
Correct - without having the unit in front of me to test what is the source of the skipping (jitter, poor cabling, signal clock timing etc), it's hard to point the finger with any certainty.

Yes with TIDAL connect, you're removing your device as an endpoint - so you're more reliant on stable connectivity to the ZEN Stream than anything else.

The Node is a fabulous unit but you're duplicating your DAC - now, you could use the analog out (if the DAC in your Marantz is at fault) on a Node but it's another £150 which may/may not get used.

If you were looking to add more multi-room services, then BluOS would get my vote but for a standalone system, the ZEN Stream will work perfectly fine for TIDAL.
 

pelagic

Member
Correct - without having the unit in front of me to test what is the source of the skipping (jitter, poor cabling, signal clock timing etc), it's hard to point the finger with any certainty.

Yes with TIDAL connect, you're removing your device as an endpoint - so you're more reliant on stable connectivity to the ZEN Stream than anything else.

The Node is a fabulous unit but you're duplicating your DAC - now, you could use the analog out (if the DAC in your Marantz is at fault) on a Node but it's another £150 which may/may not get used.

If you were looking to add more multi-room services, then BluOS would get my vote but for a standalone system, the ZEN Stream will work perfectly fine for TIDAL.
This is helpful, thank you.
 

Phildick

Active Member
If you're using Airplay your phone acts as a middleman for the data stream. So it is really important to have a good WiFi signal on the phone.
Make sure you have a 5 GHz connection. 2.5 GHz is too prone to interference from other nearby WiFi networks.

If your router is not transmitting the two above bands separately go into the settings and rename the 5 GHz WiFi to something new and connect exclusively to that.

I have had very similar issues with Play Fi.
 
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pelagic

Member
If you're using Airplay your phone acts as a middleman for the data stream. So it is really important to have a good WiFi signal on the phone.
Make sure you have a 5 GHz connection. 2.5 GHz is too prone to interference from other nearby WiFi networks.

If your router is not transmitting the two above bands separately go into the settings and rename the 5 GHz WiFi to something new and connect exclusively to that.

I have had very similar issues with play if.
Thank you for this suggestion. I will try testing on 5GHz and see if that improves things.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Thank you for this suggestion. I will try testing on 5GHz and see if that improves things.

I didn’t have 5g when I was using my iPhone as the Tidal sender and it did have issues. I stopped using the iPhone because it was such a pain.

Then I stopped using Tidal.
 

Cebolla

Member
If you're using Airplay your phone acts as a middleman for the data stream. So it is really important to have a good WiFi signal on the phone.
Thank you for this suggestion. I will try testing on 5GHz and see if that improves things.
There should be no need for you to use AirPlay on the iPhone (& therefore use the phone as the middleman) for Spotify. The AV7706 supports Spotify Connect, which streams directly from Spotify's online server. So, you'd be better off selecting the AV7706 as a Spotify Connect device to play to, rather than as an AirPlay device, from the Spotify app on your phone.


Similarly, you should also be to get the AV7706 to stream TIDAL's tracks directly from TIDAL's online server by avoiding AirPlay, but this time (as the AV7706 doesn't support TIDAL Connect) you need to use an app other than the music streaming service's own app, eg, the HEOS app (or since the AV7706 doubles up as a UPnP/DLNA streamer, a third party TIDAL supporting UPnP/DLNA controller app such as the mconnect Player app - free Lite version available for testing).
 
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pelagic

Member
Similarly, you should also be to get the AV7706 to stream TIDAL's tracks directly from TIDAL's online server by avoiding AirPlay, but this time (as the AV7706 doesn't support TIDAL Connect) you need to use an app other than the music streaming service's own app, eg, the HEOS app
This worked! So I think I can safely assume airplay streaming was the culprit for the skipping issue.

I've been streaming from the HEOS app without any signal issues or skipping, which is great. However, this solution relegates me to using the Heos app, which is clunky, in place of the Tidal app. Is there a better solution that may allow me to use the Tidal app directly while pulling direct from their servers and not having to use airplay? Is that solution basically the previously mentioned iFit Zen streamer?
 

ItsNotAllSnakeOil

Active Member
This worked! So I think I can safely assume airplay streaming was the culprit for the skipping issue.

I've been streaming from the HEOS app without any signal issues or skipping, which is great. However, this solution relegates me to using the Heos app, which is clunky, in place of the Tidal app. Is there a better solution that may allow me to use the Tidal app directly while pulling direct from their servers and not having to use airplay? Is that solution basically the previously mentioned iFit Zen streamer?
Basically you need a streamer that supports Tidal Connect, which I’m pretty certain the iFi Zen does.
 

Cebolla

Member
Yes it's as @ItsNotAllSnakeOil says, that can only come from a TIDAL Connect supporting streamer such as the iFi Zen Stream mentioned (or if you are ok a with a bit of DIY, a Raspberry Pi based streamer running the TIDAL Connect supporting Volumio distro all for about a 1/4 of the price of the £400 Zen Stream).

BTW, have you tried the free mconnect Player Lite app as a direct TIDAL providing alternative to the HEOS app?
 
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pelagic

Member
BTW, have you tried the free mconnect Player Lite app as a direct TIDAL providing alternative to the HEOS app?
I have not. I'm trying to keep my players to the native apps that have all of my playlists, listening history, etc. So basically trying to stick with Spotify and Tidal without adding too much to that. I will trial Roon and see if I think it's worth it for me but that's about as complex as I want to get. I'll look into Mconnect and how it integrates with those players, but I like to keep things as simple as I can.
 

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