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I Must Say...Tidal’s Blowin’ My Mind!

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Khorn, May 24, 2020.

  1. elvisizer

    elvisizer Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Jose
    that depends on the software you're using to access tidal- I use roon, tidal is integrated into a single library with your own content there. It does a really nice job.
     
    guitarguy and Jaap74 like this.
  2. Stereosound

    Stereosound Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Couldn’t tell you as I don’t care for MQA playback. But that thread does highlight how confused most people are about MQA as to what it is and how to/what is needed to properly use it. People already own non-MQA dacs that can playback regular true lossless high resolution files. Why should they spend more money to get MQA equipped dacs in order to playback a lossy high resolution file?
     
    wgriel, quicksrt, chaz and 2 others like this.
  3. vinylshadow

    vinylshadow Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    I don't know............. But when I read how so many people are listening to streaming(mostly TIDAL MQA/Masters) that they hear can come close to rivaling vinyl sonics, I am titillated. Not that I want a replacement for vinyl, but when I feel like no muss no fuss, just playing some streaming that sounds the best I am interested.

    TIDAL HiFi on Chromecast into an audiophile system is hard to beat for easy peezy very good streaming sound. I am very happy with that...But, is there easy peazy better streaming sound in the same audiophile system? Maybe not for me as I run everything through a Classe SSP-800. But I'm curious....
     
  4. vinylshadow

    vinylshadow Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    Anyone know if the Chromecast Audio dongle plays higher quality sound such as TIDAL Master/MQA than Chromecast dongle? You'll have to buy them on EBay but I've read posts that say C.A. is a step above Chromecast in sonics but can't confirm. Different hookup of C.A. vs Chromecast in that you can use an optical cable to hook up Chromecast Audio to your DAC or your processors DAC. If you can hook up your phone with the 3.5 headphone jack into the C.A. dongle, bam, you'll have TIDAL Master/MQA. Correct?
     
  5. motionoftheocean

    motionoftheocean Forum Resident

    Location:
    Margaritaville
    Shawn likes this.
  6. Khorn

    Khorn Senior Member Thread Starter

    Because I think in some way they futz with the mastering. In many cases the result sounds more like what it should have in the first place and many people like it. I know in a lot of cases I do. Well I’m probably wrong but just a thought.
     
  7. Stereosound

    Stereosound Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I don’t know where you’re reading but I certainly haven’t seen anyone post how it’s as good as vinyl. Apples to oranges anyways as one is analog and the other digital.
     
  8. Stereosound

    Stereosound Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Unless you were there in the studio you don’t know what it sounded like originally or is supposed to sound like. It’s only your interpretation of what you think it is supposed to sound like.
    The thing is they WILL NOT TELL YOU about the mastering so you don’t know if it is a MQA remaster specifically or if it’s any previous version mastering and they just slapped the MQA processing on whatever was lying around. While they have remastered a few titles specifically for MQA they are not going to spend the money to specifically remaster every title again just for MQA especially when MQA is not ubiquitous. So you have no idea what mastering you are getting it’s just got the MQA sheen on it and it is missing information kind of like an mp3 as MQA has been shown to be a lossy format. A company with bad business practices from what I have seen.
     
    bever70 likes this.
  9. vinylshadow

    vinylshadow Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    MQA is Vaporware
    No. No one ever said it was as good as vinyl. One poster said it was close. But that forum you referenced, they're having none of MQA.
     
  10. Tim 2

    Tim 2 MORE MUSIC PLEASE

    Location:
    Alberta Canada
    I love Tidal, had it for two years now, best audio/music money I've spent. MQA really puts it above the others.
     
    olson likes this.
  11. Tim 2

    Tim 2 MORE MUSIC PLEASE

    Location:
    Alberta Canada
    The fact that MQA is far superior came up on another thread but it was agreed that the hardware has a lot to do with it.
     
  12. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    USB Audio Player Pro will route the audio signal around the Android audio stack and if your phone's DAC supports high res audio, it will play the stream from the DAC output (otherwise Android audio is going to resample down the high res files you're trying to stream even if your phone's hardware is capable of higher resolution).

    UAPP also will do a bit perfect transfer over USB to your DAC. But it doesn't do a full MQA unfold. If you make the in-app purchase of the MQA software, it will do the first unfold to 88.2/96 kHz but you will still need an MQA DAC to do the second unfold.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
    Billy Infinity and vinylshadow like this.
  13. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    If you think vinyl sounds better than digital, you're not going to like streaming or hi-res digital any more than you like CD. If you think vinyl is a flawed, limited and problematic way to play back music that sometimes can sound remarkably good despite its enormous problems and limitations and that digital can sound fabulous without the mechanical playback noise or pitch eccentricity or groove echo, etc., you'll be fine with streaming, but you're also probably fine with CD and lossless downloads.

    Streaming can sound great. Qobuz, which is capable of streaming in lossless high resolution -- no MQA -- (though high res versions of titles are far from ubiquitous on the platform), is probably the best sounding streaming option -- with UAPP support, a desktop app that will function on Win10 in exclusive mode, etc.

    It doesn't have the deepest library out there. But the services with the deepest libraries are either not streaming above high bit rate lossy (Spotify, Apple) or are have other library problems (Amazon HD). Qobuz's library at this point though is different from but not worse than Tidal's (Tidal also doesn't have the deepest library). It also doesn't have the best software (again, Spotify I think really leads the pack there). And its desktop search functionality is the pits (but all the streaming services have crummy search). But if you just care about the best sounding streaming platform it's probably the first place to turn.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
    Bevok and vinylshadow like this.
  14. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    You be going through the phone's operating system audio stack, which, if it's Android, will likely not playback everything at high resolution, you'll be using the Tidal playback software, which will do the first MQA unfold but, depending on the phone, may resample the resolution back down for playback, AND you'll be going through the onboard headphone amp electronics. So, that signal chain is not going to give you the best resolution, not by a long shot.

    You'd be better off, you're going to be using the phone as a source, using Tidal through UAPP then via OTG USB output going straight into a DAC, and, if you want fully unfolded MQA files, an MQA capable DAC. If you don't have an MQA capable DAC, you can buy a plug in in-app for UAPP that will do the first MQA unfold.

    If you want to stream high res from a phone without MQA, try a Qobuz subscription, buy UAPP, and follow a similar signal chain -- Qobuz through UAPP via OTG USB to a DAC.
     
    bever70 and vinylshadow like this.
  15. manxman

    manxman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Isle of Man
    I remain somewhat baffled by MQA: what is the problem it is trying to solve? I understand what it does, but why? My internet connection isn't the fastest – the Isle of Man is way behind the curve on internet technology, with 75% of homes still relying on copper wire DSL – and my router is pretty old, but I have no difficulty streaming 192/24 via Qobuz. Is the sole purpose of MQA to reduce file size for easier streaming and download, or does it have some other intention?
     
    Jaap74 and Shawn like this.
  16. Khorn

    Khorn Senior Member Thread Starter

    I got involved with streaming only a few months ago. Prior to that I never really paid much attention to it. If you would have asked me what a Qobuz was I would have envisioned a huge insect/drone hybrid. As far as Tidal it wasn’t on my radar.
    I became involved in streaming through physical necessity and set up two different streaming systems.

    I’ve been using Apple Music for a few years but now that I had some “serious” DAC/Streamers Tidal seemed to be my best choice.

    Now to MQA:

    I had vaguely heard about MQA before. I maybe read a bit about it in Stereophile but none of it registered as I wasn’t interested in streaming at the time. I first got the node 2i for my TV bedroom system and was going to put another of the same in my main system but one was DOA and this proved to be a godsend.

    Some very respected acquaintances suggested I try the Gold Note DS-10 which I had never heard of before. They kept talking the fact that it did MQA ??but that part didn’t mean much to me. When I got the DS/10 in my main system I subscribed to Tidal to use on both.

    When I started building my library there were choices available in the same title and some were MQA. I listened to the same tracks on each and chose the one that sounded best to me. In more cases than not the MQA ones sounded best to me and sometimes the differences weren’t subtle.

    Now I approached streaming with no pre conceived bias to MQA. I find that I like MQA more often than not.
    Point is I like the MQA sound and don’t really care how it’s achieved.

    Hey, what do I really know. I’m just the end user/listener guy.
     
    Bevok, RandyHat and manxman like this.
  17. RandyHat

    RandyHat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denton, Texas
    I remain pretty much neutral in the MQA debate. IMO it seems to be more of an academic debate than one based solely upon listening comparisons and preferences. I agree that in the majority of the cases I prefer the MQA version over the no MQA. Some differences are subtle while some are striking. In many instances though I cannot tell a difference. The debate seems to center around what MQA is rather than how it sounds.
     
    Bevok, Kristofa and rodentdog like this.
  18. Khorn

    Khorn Senior Member Thread Starter

    I would think that ” how it sounds” is the prime factor here. I don’t think MQA is going to damage your equipment by playing it. I also recognize the fact you need more expensive DAC/Streamers to fully decode MQA might be taken as a “ slap in the face” to those who have other more pressing needs for their finances.
    Personally I like it. Fortunately I can afford it so let’s see where it goes from here.
     
  19. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Yeah, why MQA is a good question. I think when it was launched back in 2015, the case for it was maybe a little stronger. With the rapid adoption of all you can eat cellular data plans, and with the roll out of 5G cellular networks, and with 802.11ac wifi, and increasing home bandwidth (and demand for that seems to be skyrocketing in the COVID-19 era), streaming uncompressed high res music files isn't really an application that seems to really require such compression anymore, and probably ever less so in the future. It's almost dead on arrival tech anyway -- it's never been widely adopted, both music and hardware manufacturers have been loath to tie themselves to the need for MQA licenses. Only Tidal among the streaming platforms -- businesses where the use of MQA might be most appeal -- has adopted MQA, and Tidal barely has any share of the market for streaming. It's a curious question you ask.
     
    manxman likes this.
  20. Stereosound

    Stereosound Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    It is just a money grab. The problem they thought they were trying to solve for was from like 15 years ago. They came out way to late with something definitely not needed in this day and age. It doesn’t even really reduce the file size. It’s a scam product basically to cheat people out of money. True high resolution was already available before MQA became available so there really wasn’t and isn’t any need for MQA and basically no want of it either as it just never took off(thankfully). Even Neil Young and his Pono service declined it!
     
    Jaap74 and manxman like this.
  21. manxman

    manxman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Isle of Man
    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. As I suspected – MQA is of zero interest to me. and I think I made the right choice in opting for Qobuz rather than Tidal. I was just slightly thrown by the high praise from "The Absolute Sound" and "Stereophile", both quoted on Wikipedia.
     
  22. motionoftheocean

    motionoftheocean Forum Resident

    Location:
    Margaritaville
    I have one gripe with Tidal, specifically its desktop app, and I'm curious if anyone else feels the same and/or has a workaround...

    How is they still don't have an AirPlay option? I get why AppleMusic would have that built in, but Spotify does, too, has had it for years and it works perfectly - every single iteration of the Tidal desktop app that comes out doesn't have the capability to play to anything but hardwired speakers. Why?
     
    guitarguy likes this.
  23. ScottRiqui

    ScottRiqui Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas

    I can use Airplay with the dedicated Tidal desktop app on my Mac. I click on the speaker icon in the system tray at the top of the screen, and select an Airplay destination (for me, it's either a Node 2i or one of the various Apple TVs scattered around the house). Then all sound (Tidal or otherwise) from my computer gets routed to the Airplay destination I've chosen. When I click on the "sound output" icon in Tidal (the one at the bottom-left that looks like a bookshelf speaker) it lists "system controlled" as the output, which I guess just means that the Tidal output is being sent wherever the rest of the audio from the computer is going.

    It would be nice to have just the Tidal output go to the Airplay destination, while sending all other audio from the computer (system sounds, YouTube videos, etc) to the computer's speakers, but at least it's a workaround; I can get Tidal to play through my Airplay destinations.

    As another alternative to hardwired speakers, I can connect my Mac to my wireless speakers through Bluetooth and then select the Bluetooth speakers as the sound output device in Tidal. That's inferior to Airplay, though, obviously. But, it allows me to send Tidal music to the Bluetooth speakers while allowing the rest of the computer's audio to go through its internal speakers or another destination.

    TL;DR version - the output from the Tidal desktop app can be sent anywhere that your computer's sound output can be sent - internal speakers, Airplay destinations, Bluetooth, headphone/optical output (if so equipped), etc.
     
  24. vinylshadow

    vinylshadow Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    This MQA discussion is fascinating because a % of the folks see no value to it and a % of the folks who use MQA and have all the devices think the sound is the bees knees compared to TIDAL HiFi.

    I think I'll get around to trying a promo of Qobuz and see if my 60 y.o. rocked out ears can notice the difference to TIDAL HiFi.... Maybe getting UAPP as well for my Moto G Power.
     
  25. Stereosound

    Stereosound Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    The high praise from the magazines is because they were in cahoots with the company. Once the public found out how worthless MQA is there was a huge backlash and the magazines got caught and were forced to backpedal. They have now pretty much shut up about it for good reason.
     
    manxman and audiomixer like this.

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