Playback quality via AirPlay vs the Naim app - which is best?

When playing HiRes audio from Qobuz (192Khz / 24 bit) via the Naim app it sounds marginally better than playing from the Quobuz app itself over Apple AirPlay. Is that my mind playing tricks on me, or is AirPlay reducing the quality?

By the way, I searched the forums but failed to find an answer.

Thanks community!

AirPlay of audio stream is limited to 44.1kHz and 16 bit (CD quality).

Dictated by Apple, not a naim limitation.


Welcome to the forum. Yes, Airplay won’t play hi-res. You can either use Qobuz within the Naim app, or use the Qobuz app and select the ND5 XS2 as the output through Chromecast, which is shown as an output in the app.

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Thanks @Mike_S - It’s nice to use the app for browsing, so I’ll try the chromecast route.

It’s strange that Naim doesn’t add some advice to their manual or website. Such as “For the best playback quality do X…”


Chromecast is technically capable of playing 24 bit, but it’s not really designed with hi-res audio in mind, so you’ll probably get the best performance by using the Naim app for Qobuz.
You may prefer Qobuz app for browsing, but it’s easy enough to save what you’ve found then pick it up in the Naim app if you do find it to sound better.


A problem with Chromecast in the Qobuz app is that it doesn’t support gapless playback, annoying with certain genres.

Airplay 2 can theoretically do hi-res and Naim firmware will already support this I believe, if an when Apple allow it and throw the switch. It’s bizarre that they don’t now that Apple Music supports better than CD quality.

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I listen primarily to classical (including opera), so gapless playback is a requirement. As I’ve mentioned before, you can get Chromecast to play gapless when using LMS as your server (and LMS has a Qobuz plug-in). I don’t know which other servers (if any) offer the same functionality. JRiver does not.

I’m not saying it is preferable, simply that it’s an option. I use LMS with my non-Naim streaming units, all of which are from Google.

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I was going to mention that there are workarounds, but it’s a shame we need to jump through some hoops to achieve gapless.

I tried one of the workarounds a few years ago, but probably didn’t configure things correctly and promptly gave up. Native Qobuz on the new streaming platforms changed the need for Chromecast for me. I must check it’s still working on the Nova.

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