May I have an idea of how to play with higher sound quality in between Naim apps, Tidal, airplay, and Chromecast?
Sorry you will have to give us a better idea of your system and exactly what you wish to achieve
Welcome to the forum!!
I had Atom and thinking about the highest streaming quality is HiFi which restricted at Naim apps, Chromecast offers 24/96.
Just wondering any chance to get higher sound quality with other sources, says Tidal Master via Airplay?
There are various discussions on this forum that you could search for (one example given above)
Hope that helps
AirPlay is 44/16 at max; no options here.
Any chance to chromecast towards the Atom?
(Haven’t used that protocol yet.)
You have a few options here, some will depend where you live in the world.
The services with native support within the Naim controller app on iOS or Android are Tidal and Qobuz at CD (16/44.1) or above quality and Spotify which doesn’t even figure in the high quality conversation.
Qobuz will get you all the way up to 24/192 with a suitable subscription using FLAC based streams.
Tidal goes beyond CD quality using the MQA technology which requires the DAC to be enabled (including the associated licencing from MQA) to “unfold” the audio which is streamed at a lower bit rate than a FLAC equivalent and then reconstructed for playback by your DAC at a higher bit depth/sample rate, clever stuff indeed but it’s an approach that has both it’s lovers and haters, the main objection being it locks everyone in to a paid ecosystem to get the “good stuff”, whereas FLAC is fundamentally free to use both to encode and decode audio, even if it uses more bandwidth to achieve the same end result.
Not everyone likes MQA from a listening perspective either, all the paid for services higher quality material isn’t from a common master either so the same recording can and often does sound different streamed from different services.
Another aspect here is that in some cases the higher rate versions aren’t neccessarily the best from a listening perspective.
Just because you see a recording in 24/96 or 24/192, it doesn’t guarentee it will sound “the best”, it’s a mixed bag from my own listening.
You’ll also find that theres quite a large percentage of any library that will be available at 16/44.1 and a lot of your listening will be at that. It’s like the very capable LG OLED TV I have, It can do stunning things with 4K HDR content, but I don’t watch eye popping cinematic vistas in 4K all the time, I use it to watch TV or stream content, most of which is HD or if older content even SD, it still does those things well, so it’s important to find a service that has a library that suits your tastes, and sounds right to your ears in your system.
I’ve got maxed out subscriptions on Qobuz and Tidal, as well as both MQA and Non MQA DAC’s.
I gave it a fair test over many months, often listening to the same thing on different services.
I would say I use Qobuz the most, Tidal a lot less, and everything else occasionally or based on habits, like the family using Spotify on Sonos kit.
I also have Roon in my setup, this helps in a number of respects, not least it will do the first unfold of MQA Tidal Masters taking it beyond the limits of the native support in the Naim only ecosystem up to 24/96, I have it, but rarely use it, prefering to playback the FLAC versions on Qobuz in almost all occasions. It does consolidate sources however and works nicely with all my systems including Linn, Naim and Sonos, something you can trial and see if it suits.
You can also playback from a local library on a NAS or music server. A number of higher quality download services exist like HD Tracks as one example, you also have DSD downloads in the mix which are supported by Naim streamers.
If I had to pick only one I’d probably choose 24/44.1 FLAC.
If you mean Tidal, then you are correct that Hifi (CD quality) is the maximum. This is not a limitation of the Naim app but because Naim does not license MQA, which is the only way you can get higher than CD quality from Tidal. (Details about MQA were mentioned by Mr. M above).
Airplay is limited to 16/44 anyways.
With a Qobuz subscription, if it is available in your country, which streams “real” hi-res as FLAC files, you can play hi-res up to 24/192 with the Naim app. There is no need to use Chromecast in this case. In fact, using the Naim app is recommended over Chromecast for sound quality. If it matters on the Atom is another question, but you can compare yourself by using Chromecast from the Qobuz app vs. using Qobuz in the Naim app. Compare this post by Naim’s Software Director:
However, it is possible to get the first MQA unfold by using Roon as your music interface rather than the Naim app.
Sure, but that’s the less interesting part of MQA anyways. Roon is wonderful though on its own
Is Roon wonderful for SQ?
I use both native Linn, Naim and Sonos control apps as well as Roon, on the same systems, and I can’t distinguish any difference between them.
I can tell a difference between Tidal and Qobuz, my ears tend to prefer the Qobuz source, not a lot in it though, I’m not overly keen on MQA playback personally.
Boy @Mr.M, you’ve hit the nail on the head, IMO, with this entire post.
It streams pure PCM, nothing wrong with that. Using the DSP stuff isn’t mandatory. Though I do like sensible, LUFS-based volume leveling. I haven’t heard an effect on SQ by this either, but granted I haven’t set out to hate it. Anyways it’s great for background music and the off switch is two clicks away for critical listening.
My opinion on SQ is currently very unreliable because my all-new system is more or less in place (a few things to finalize) and I am in awe every day. On the streaming side, the combination of Roon, 8switch, NDX2, 555DR, and BJC Cat6a are amazing (into 252, 300). I can’t single out one part. Certainly Roon does not do anything bad. I have not done long critical listening yet (it’s not even fully through burn-in) but on first glance Roon SQ is surely not worse than Asset UPnP or Qobuz in Naim app.
The main thing about Roon for me is that it basically puts a stop to the incorrect metadata situation (at least for non-classical). It’s not perfect but way beyond anything else that is available. Finally re-releases of albums can be sorted by original release date. The integrated bio stuff is also very convenient. Plus, it works much, much better than the Naim app on my Android tablet.
I would say, forgetting AirPlay and Chromecast as these are not for high quality sound.
Audivarna and Roon both can help you with the hires streaming such as Tidal, Qobuz, and your local libraries on a NAS or on your PC.
On the basis of similar statements I trialled Roon hoping it would resolve my metadata issues, but it didn’t, even with non classical, failing to recognise more albums than my current software. I guess it depends on the albums and what is wrong with the metadata. As Roon is expensive and offered no benefit to me I went back to Audirvana.
I have nothing against the Naim app. I used it for quite a while until I switched to Roon, and enjoyed it.
However, the Roon control app is better (albeit at a price and a bit of effort). Bear in mind that in addition to providing the benefit of combining your local library with one of the two supported streaming services (Qobuz or Tidal) Roon will give you the following benefits amongst others:
It will allow you to stream seamlessly to more or less any streaming device (including Chromecast) in your home set-up by recognizing the resolution limit supported by each streaming devices and automatically transcoding the music stream on the fly to the highest resolution PCM stream supported by that device.
Roon will provide the first MQA unfold if you subscribe to Tidal and choose to listen to Tidal’s ‘higher resolution’ MQA Masters. As you will no doubt be aware, MQA is quite a controversial topic. Many of those who oppose MQA do so from a perspective that focuses on issues other than sound quality. Unless you fall into this category, and if you do decide to go with Roon, then my recommendation is you should compare the sound of CD quality albums on Tidal with MQA encoded equivalents (using Roon’s first unfold) and make your mind up accordingly.
I run 3 systems (4 if you include my kitchen based Muso Qb), and I do not have to worry about the resolution of music I stream to any of these devices. Roon automatically provides them with the highest quality PCM stream that each device can support. I subscribe to Tidal and I do normally choose (on a sound quality basis with my particular systems) to listen to MQA encoded content where it is available. One of my systems has an MQA capable DAC (Mytek Brooklyn DAC+), but the others do not, and for them (Linn Klimax DS/1, Chromecats Audio/Marantz NA7004) and Naim Muso Qb) I choose to set Roon to carry out the first MQA unfold.
If you do decide to give Roon a try, and of course it requires a bit of effort and money to get it up and running, then simply trust your ears when it comes to choice of streaming services or file formats, and investigate the catalogues of each of your potential service options.
Oh, and when I initially brought Roon on board I thought that the sound quality was perhaps subtly better than pre Roon. I wouldn’t claim that any more. But I would claim that on my systems, sound quality via Roon is at least as good as that using any other app - I had used the Naim app, Linn Kazoo and mConnect prior to deciding to subscribe to Roon.
Following usage of Deezer, Spotify, Tidal and Qobuz, IMHO Qobuz “CD Quality” via my ND5XS2 has been the highest quality performance I’ve experienced.
Chromecasting is rubbish, in the audio quality sense (as if any other consideration is relevant for HiFi).
Qobuz “CD Quality” is also superior to their “HiFi Quality” top-tier service, to my ears. It just replaces musicality with etching, with no more detail that I noticed.
I daresay a NDX2 would improve things, if you have the dosh.
When things stabilise if you get the chance to test the bare NDX2 vs NDX2/555DR I would be very interested in the results.
Can I just clarify a few things please?
I am currently trialling Tidal (Highest tier) and use the Tidal app on a recent I-pad. I therefore have access to Tidal Master - so it says anway😉
However, is there anyway of knowing what rate the stream is actually at? Using a lightning cable to USB type A into the I-product input on my DAC (Arcam D33) to stream Masters content, I have only had the 44.1 indicator light on so far. I don’t honestly know if the D33 supports MQA (doubt it) and it sounds better than Tidal streamed through the Tibo - Arcam via the Tibo app (no Masters indication is displayed when using this) but is there something else I should be doing or do I need something else, like a Node of some sort, to stream actual MQA into the Arcam? TBF I am happy with the sound quality I get but was just wondering really.