Does the Controller affect sound quality? Maybe an idiot question

This may be an idiot question but if it is, my apologies
When using the Nain app or Bubble on my phone or tablet, does the soundcard in the phone/tablet make any difference to SQ? ie might the sound be better if I use the phone rather than the tablet
And by extension, if I were to use VLC on my PC would that sound different
Simple explanations for a simple mind please!!


The music doesnt go through your phone.

Its purely a control device.

The answer will partly depend on how you play music. AirPlay routes the audio via the phone and will be a limiting factor, but in most other cases the data travels directly to the streamer.

Phones emit RFI, so having one in the room has the potential to influence the sound, albeit subtly,

I thought the thread was about the Financial Controller, and was fascinated to hear the effect on sound quality… How disappointing! :grin:


Are you playing music on your device and want to route the sound to your speakers via your streamer over Bluetooth? It isn’t clear whether this is your circumstance or not.

Different implementations of Bluetooth may affect sound quality between one device to another. If you have a choice of computer, tablet and phone your best bet is to do a comparison listening test and, if there are differences, decide which sounds best to you.

Different music players are more likely to affect sound quality. VLC on Windows has a good reputation and is my player of choice. Again, if you need to, do a listening test and compare features to pick your favourite. I would do a shortlist of apps by reading online reviews.

As @Neilb1906 says, the Naim app merely controls the Naim hardware and neither it or the sound card/chip in your device influences sound quality in this situation.

First, thanks to everyone for answers even I can understand
Yes, I’m currently playing from my NAS through the Naim app or Bubble to my Qute. My question was simply a curiosity as I couldn’t perceive a difference in the way I think I can between the Naim and the Bubble (but I haven’t done a double blind so?)
But we’re moving to a smaller house so late at night I’m looking to route to different speakers in a different room via Bluetooth. I realize of course that the different speakers will make a great greater difference than anything but wanted to know whether the way I bluetoothed would make a difference. From the helpful answers I think I shall use VLC from the laptop. Once again, many thanks

If you mean the Naim app or Bubble app to control a UPnP stream, then the answer is no. It’s nothing but a remote control to select the music on the UPnP server and send it to a UPnP renderer (the Naim streamer).

IIRC the MConnectHD app does route the audio files directly through the iPad, so does affect SQ.

Received wisdom is that for UPnP streaming the control app on whatever device is just a remote control. To suggest that it can in any way influence the sound is akin to saying that a CD player sounds different according to who is holding the remote control.

However - there have been reports of people noticing a sound quality difference between different apps. At first this may seem crazy and counter-intuitive. But hang on - is it? The app clearly controls what data is being fed across the network. Is it not conceivable therefore that different apps may result in slight differences in the data stream with regard to timing etc`?

No, the Naim app and most other apps just instruct the audio file as a whole to be send from a server to the playback device.

Granted that that’s the widely held view. But if we accept that different apps can sound different, and I’m not saying they do as I haven’t compared, then we need to postulate reasons for this if we want to explain it.

At the end of the day I don’t have the technical insight into all the ins and outs of networks and what can have an effect to discuss this meaningfully. But I do know that sh*t happens!

Imagine one person pressing buttons on the remote once every three minutes and another person pressing buttons on the remote every nano second.

Some apps communicate with the streamer more frequently than other apps. I’ve seen it suggested that high frequency communication can negatively effect sound quality.

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Intriguing. This is the sort of thing I was thinking of - that different apps may do subtly different things - enough to affect the sound. What may at first seem very simple and straightforward is often more complex than that - especially on the digital side of things.

I haven’t made any comparisons between apps myself, but I use the Melco app and I’ve read that the Linn app, which can also be used with the Melco, sounds faster albeit tonally thinner. If I 'm very bored one day I might do the comparison.

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Speculative nonsense. Shows a complete lack of understanding of how UPnP works.


I agree. It is in fact very simple and straightforward. What a ridiculous thread this is!

Don’t take any notice of these blinkered individuals.

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Just a dopey question: the app communicates with the upnp server in the nas, and tells the upnp what to send to the streamer. The app can show the elapsed time of the track, so does that mean the app and the upnp are in constant communication?

The app and the streamer are in constant communication, but the upnp server isn’t in constant communication with the app. In fact as you know, you can if you like select an album with the app and then turn the phone off so it’s not in communication with anything. The music will play on unaffected.

I had an MRI scan on my head this morning, so maybe it’s addled my brain. Of course, you are right. The app tells the upnp what to play. The streamer then tells the app how things are going. Which seems to imply that the app can’t affect the sound, as one might expect.

It seems to me the app wouldn’t communicate with the server at all. Surely it’s only the streamer communicating with the server, telling the app what is present on the server; the app tells the streamer what to ask for from the server, and then lets the streamer get on with it. It has to be the streamer which keeps tabs on the queue, where it is within each music track, etc otherwise it would fail the moment you turned your phone/tablet off. The remote control couldn’t function in any other way either, since it only talks to the streamer, not to your app.