NDX and Tidal Master Quality Files

Hello,
I own an NDX and I have a Tidal HiFi subscription that provides access to master quality files.
I do see multiple versions of the same album (it is normal with ECM label productions) but the higher quality files do not seem to be flagged by the Tidal NDX interface. I do see the difference when I use the Tidal app on my iOS or Android devices, but I cannot (or do not know how to activate) the NDX from there. I would appreciate your help.

Regards

Giuseppe

Naim to not support MQA masters from Tidal as there gear does not support MQA decoding. MQA is a very touchy subject amongst some Hifi enthusiasts and manufactures.

Why is it a touchy subject?

Many detest it without even listening to it and thinks it’s the work of the devil because it’s a proprietary format that needs licensing and hardware to maximise it and there is just no need for it. Some dismiss it outright because its not truely lossless, some seem to think it’s a form of DRM, some just dont like the sound of it and think it’s too processd, others think it’s the bees knees and the best thing since sliced bread. Like most things in this silly hobby really it’s divided.

Most threads on it on forums melt down into chaos. To me I don’t give a hoots about it either way, I have 4 DACs that support it and cost no more for it they all added support for it as a free firmware upgrade.

When it’s mastered right it sounds as good to my ears as standard hires. Some do sound bad, but then so do there regular counterpart. Some sounded dreadfull as mqa and better as regular hires and had the other way to.

The main issue is you do need to have a full MQA compatible chain to get the best out of it and this gets people annoyed. But you can’t play SACD or DSD either either without the correct hardware.

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Thanks.
I was not quite aware that master quality was a specific format.
What are the best sources where to purchase high resolution digital music files?
I normally use Highresaudio but most of their stuff, including ECM Recordings, is in FLAC format.
Best

Tidal adopted MQA encoding for providing highres which is in a normal flac container at 44.1/24 or 48/24 and decodes to higher resolutions, so it reduces bandwidth over heads.

Most on hear purchase downloads from Qobuz which offers also studio Res files to buy and stream , not as MQA but as regular PCM flac. As you have an old Naim streamer it cannot access the streaming service though like Tidal, only the new systems can. You can obviously purchase and have on local storage and play them back.

I know my NDX became obsolete after over € 5,000 were spent and two years had gone by. I huge disappointment. Is the difference between the two players that substantial?

The streaming tech sideof things is way better apparently for internet seroved. Can’t say though never had one.

Hi @Pepiva, your NDX isn’t obsolete, it still streams music in great quality just like it did when you bought it.
You can still access Tidal and Spotify as well as your locally stored library, as well as use USB input, iRadio, etc etc, nothing has changed has it?
The NDX2 also does not support playback of MQA, same as your NDX, there are lots of threads on this forum about it if you are interested to know the reasons.

The NDX, like my NDS, uses the old streaming platform, whereas the newer Naim streamers use a newer streaming platform with additional features and functionality, that’s progress.
Enjoy what you have, you have a great streamer which (in my opinion) is not obsolete.

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And if you want Qobuz, setup a BubbleUpnp server running on a RaspberryPi, NAS, or laptop on your network. It will allow Qobuz hires streaming to your NDX optionally transcoded to WAV on the fly (Tidal transcoding too). Your device is viable for awhile yet.

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Flac 24 bit are hirez. I have an nds and stream locally hirez stored on my Melco. I hear no differences between flac 24/92 or wav 24/92.
You can buy hires from Qobuz, Hirezaudio, Hdtracks , and your Ndx will play them greatly.
But if you want to stream online, hirez files, you can do it using Qobuz, with additional software or installing bubleupnp on a Nas.

I start a new treat

Hi @Pepiva,

When I bought the NDX I couldn’t believe myself that I couldn’t play high res from Tidal or likes of Qobuz directly from Naim App. I think Naim hasn’t seriously thought about what the customer wants, more so what they dictate goes. If your buying a product like this then it is what it is, Naim customers have gone ‘black and blue’ asking, why not implement all flavours and let the customer decide. There are other manufactures who give it all, but hey their name isn’t Naim.

How can you get high res? One way around this is stream from a laptop into SPDIF-

Laptop (running Hires Tidal / Qobuz etc)–> USB socket Audiophilleo2 MK2 + Purepower --> Naim DC1 cable to Naim SPDIF digital input. (Make sure your NDX supports 192/24 bit)

Anyone know of a better way?

I’m not sure about how the Naim DAC handles the clock signal coming in, does it re-clock? Or does it sync the Naim DAC clock to the signal. How does that effect jitter (maybe a new thread is on the cards)?

Hope this helps.

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Yes, it’s extraordinary that when Naim designed the NDX they didn’t put provision for MQA in the hardware. They should have known that 4 years after they released the product that a new format would come along.

The NDX was released in 2010, MQA came out in 2014, QoBuz didn’t reach these shores until 2013.

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@trickydickie,

I bought my NDX just before bad boy NDX2 showed face. I should have waited for NDX2 and onboard MQA decoding, oh man I missed the boat :man_facepalming:

FIFY :grin:

The NDX2 doesn’t have MQA decoding.

A good decision by Naim.

@jmtennapel,

Thanks for this, much appreciated.

I’ve configured everything as you have described.

Up and running now, I’m a bit confused to what the quality level of music is coming out of the NDX.

So if I login to Tidal through Linn Kazoo and stream a master quality track, the following is shown underneath the art work- “FLAC 0 kHz/0 bit 1.4 Mbps” . When I look under the Media Renders tab in BubbleUPnPServer, (see below)-

The highest quality in the drop down is shown as “FLAC 16 bits / 44.1 kHz”, the other option available in the drop down is “AAC 320 kbps”. Should I be selecting the latter to get the highest quality? If not how do I get “FLAC 24 bits / up to 192 kHz” like Qobuz? Is there any way to tell what bit rate and sample rate NDX is playing?

The maximum you will get with Tidal is 16/44.1.

Tidal masters use MQA which is not supported. Don’t get too hung up on this though as MQA is a lossy format

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Regarding tidal and the Naim App. From what I’ve read here, there’s no way to get Tidal to play hi-res files thru the Naim App.

I have all the Apps set to HiFi or Masters, but I believe that when I select a track on the Naim App, it will only play in 44.1 CD quality.

Is this correct? This seems very strange to me, when we’re paying Tidal for hi-res quality, and Naim doesn’t allow it. Especially since Naim is all about the best sound possible.

Dave