Hi-res FLAC streaming on Tidal

Hi, just saw the news. Is it coming to Naim streamers too?

I’ve just read on “What Hi-Fi” that Tidal’s prices are going up for Hi-res. I’ll stick with Qobuz at the moment I think.

So installed Tidal Beta with FLAC 24bit - and whenever i connect via Tidal connect, im not getting the quality through my Unti Nova ? Does Naim not support 24bit flac ?

I doubt it will work without a firmware update, but you might want to ask Naim to confirm.

How did you get the beta? Is there a separate app?

1 Like

It’s only supported via playback on the iOS app currently and only in the early access programme, not via Tidal connect or any other means. All OEMs will need to update their api when it’s out for real to access the streams. I am sure that is in progress, but saying that the software lead at Lumin mentioned they had not heard much from Tidal about it yet. Considering it’s launch is August doesn’t bode well for 3rd parties to get it at launch.


I am on the Android beta, and though not official I am finding some MQA versions appearing in my download queue as stuck, a quick check of the track showed the MQA version was no more and only the HIFI version, no idea if that meant FLAC or not, i assume not.

Bottom line is FLAC is coming i heard 1st August.

I read a review yesterday and the author said that when you sign up for High Res you get a mixed bag of FLAC and MQA. There is no way to force it to only serve up FLAC. I’m thinking that what would happen on your NAIM streamer is that when you lucked out and got a FLAC all would be well but it would mysteriously refuse to play if you got MQA instead. Hopefully the beta feedback will encourage TIDAL to provide a pure FLAC stream.

Do we know if their HiRes Flac is just a converted MQA, or is it an original 24-bit Flac that you could buy from say Qobuz.

Naim kit will play MQA if it comes across it, but it doesn’t do the unfolds so it’s a lossy file (not massively lossy, just unnecessarily so).

But the point really may be that since Tidal won’t deliver MQA to Naim streamers under the old regime, and defaults to CD quality whatever the subscription, likely the Tidal system will continue to default to CD quality for Naim streamers until there’s enough high res there to make Naim and Tidal change that arrangement. I suspect it’s best not to pay for high res streaming from Tidal until Naim tell us otherwise.

I have found with my NDX, when I signed up to the top tier (back when I was earnest and enthusiastic) that it would just say “Stopped” when I got an MQA file. That was some time ago though.
It would be nice to know if the FLACs will play though. This is just supposition on our part.

That’s odd, because what should happen is that Tidal automatically selects a 16/44.1 version whan it detects a streamer that doesn’t support MQA. It’s been a while since I used it, but I certainly never had a track fail to play like that on Tidal.

Yes, I switched quite a while ago so I can’t vouch for present behaviour. If they sort this out and guarantee access to genuine hi res flac files I may be tempted to switch tiers again and we will see what happens.

We’ve been wondering about this upgrade.

If there’s a Tidal change (to send hi res content to naim devices), or a naim firmware upgrade required, then if we upgrade subscription tier we might be in the perverse position of getting hires to SuperUniti (via non naim Tidal Connect solution) whilst in the lounge we’re limited to CD quality!

I have my doubts about 1st gen streamers getting any updates that will allow Hi-res Tidal as the streaming board is not good enough for internet streams over CD quality.

It took Naim (and Tidal) an awful lot of fiddling about behind the scenes to get regular 16/44.1 streams to work reliably with 1st gen streamers. There’s no way they will reliably support HiRes streams. If they were capable of doing so I dare say Naim would have given them Qobuz support, but they won’t handle it.

Yes but my point is we have two systems.

System two (office) uses a non naim solution for Tidal Connect, with the output via SPDIF to SuperUniti. We’ve already moved beyond naim here as gen1 devices can’t do Connect. This hardware will support hires from Tidal straight away with no problems as far as I can tell (the endpoint isn’t the naim device).

System one (lounge) uses an NDX2 and it sounds like this might need a firmware upgrade to support hires, or Tidal changes to send hires FLAC to naim devices.

I guess we will have to see what happens when hires becomes generally available. Hopefully the very expensive system isn’t a poor cousin to the very cheap system! Sure it would be a very short term situation if it happens.

Both devices are driven by an iPad which will get any Tidal app updates to support new tier/capability straight away.

That’s local streaming, with Bubble server providing buffer/cache.

Internet streams direct to naim device - the gen1 buffer isn’t big enough to deal with latency at higher bitrates (above 16/44.1).

naim have confirmed this in posts:

Sure, if you bypass the streamer in your SU and use something with a buffer that can handle it you’re going to be fine.