High Res from Mac Confusion

Hi All

Question that is quite possibly a stupid one - so I’m happily listening to Lindsey Buckingham over my hard wired ND5 XS2 via Tidal / Naim App on my iPad and it sounds epic

However, I have read that High Res (I have the subscription) is only available via desktop on my mac not iOS

I opened Tidal via my Mac and sure enough I have access to the ‘Master’ versions but my mac is connected only via Airplay

If this is the case how do I get High Res?

Does that make sense? At least as a question!!

Hi, the ‘hi-res’ you are talking about is the MQA version, which is somewhat controversial if you take the time to read about it on this forum or elsewhere. Personally I have yet to hear anything that I would get excited about, but if you want to try it, there are various options. Naim streamers don’t support it, but if your Mac has an optical output, you can use that to play it into the streamer’s digital input. Or you can use Roon.

You could try Roon or Audivana. You have a Roon Ready endpoint with the streamer you have. It will work well with Roon. Audivana will send a hi res file via Upnp. There are free trials of each available and they will each run on your Mac. Both integrate with Tidal and will do the first MQA unfold which is discussed at length elsewhere on this forum.

But apparently all is not perfect, because apparently some sources won’t play gapless vial UPnP due to a compatabikity issue some people have suggested is common to Naim streamers - and for some music gapless is critical. But you can try before you buy with both Audirvana and Roon.

Good point. I am old platform and so the gapless issue doesn’t arise but I can imagine the irritation.
Optical out from the Mac if possible?

Not sure what you mean by that?

You can certainly use Audirvana on the Mac and feed a rendered output to the ND5s digital input, instead of using UPnP, in which case gapless is no problem. However, whilst Audirvana excels in that mode as a renderer, using the Mac’s optical output and thus the Mac drivers apparently limits the performance compared to using a dedicated USB port. The latter would require a converter to get to the ND5 (I used to use an inexpensive Gustard U12 for a similar purpose, to great effect) - though whether or not the differences between that and just using the Mac’s optical would be audible to you through the ND5 and your system is another, and you could easily try to see if it is better than UPnP.

I mean, I have an NDX and have no gap less issue using Audirvana with upnp. For Roon I have a second system with a Mytek Brooklyn plus and tried that to my 282 but never use it that was as I am not sold on the sound quality of MQA. Hi res from Qobuz via Upnp from Audirvana seems so much more natural to me. The only reason to suggest using the Mac optical out is that it is a relatively cheap way to try MQA.

Thanks all - relatively new to this streaming lark so only dealt with CD and vinyl up to a few weeks back!

So is Audirvana a type of media player that will integrate Tidal (or any other service) Then the suggestion is optical into the ND5?

Have I understood that correctly?

IIn a nutshell, yes it is a type of media player (audio only) - however it does not integrate iTunes. At one time it used to let you use iTunes for control, but I’m not sure that is still the case (it was facilitated to aid people hooked on iTunes, but said to have a negative effect on sound quality). It claims to be able to play all audio file formats, and can access Tidal, Qobuz and HighResAudio online streaming services (only those at present), including first MQA unfold. It can also act as a UPnP source on a local network, though apparently that way an incompatibility in the most recent generation of Naim players apparently prevents gapless play (not an issue on the direct output).

On, say, a Mac Mini, with just Audirvana playing, fully optimised following Audirvana’s instructions so that as much as possible of the Apple’s standard audio drivers etc are by-passed, and with unnecessary things like monitor and keyboard disabled (e.g. running headless) it’s direct output is capable of very high quality sound. But as with any computer, the electrical output will contain RF noise, which can have a negative effect on sound quality unless the DAC used blocks it, so with some DACs an isolator is required. It can use the Mac’s optical output, that being one way of blocking RF, though then it is using the Mac’s drivers and optical circuitry, and is said to have a negative effect on ultimate sound quality - whether any individual would find it audible in their system/room/ears I don’t know.

Perfect! Understood!

Thanks for the response

BTW, Roon about which some people rave, can do much the same,although some people have said its direct output mode is not quite as good in terms of sound quality as Audirvana. (That may of course be due to the latter’s ability to hone the Mac when using USB output, in which case maybe no difference optical, but thus is just conjecture.) Roon is one of those programs that seems to ‘click’ with some people, seeing it as the best thing that happened to music play, while others are unimpressed and don’t think it offers anything to justify its price, or simply don’t like it. (I’ve tried it and am in the latter camp.) But both offer a free trial so you can try fir yourself, both to see what suits as an interface and to assess if you hear any difference.

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