Qobuz on NDX 2 Naim app

The main way of obtaining high quality Qobuz on the NDX2 is via Roon. The Naim control app will only have transport controls and meta data display if using Roon… the main control would be via the Roon client… the experience is not dissimilar to using Spotify, where the main control is via the Spotify client.
Do bear in mind there is a subscription cost to using the Roon software.
One can always cast Qobuz etc from a client directly to the streamer, but there may be a compromise in SQ, and is not an efficient use of Wifi bandwidth.

@Simon-in-Suffolk Using the Qobuz app and Chromecast doesn’t impede quality in any way does it?
I don’t have Roon in my ecosystem and can stream content from Qobuz up to 24/192 from my phone sat on the sofa and it come out the speakers via a ND5 XS 2 and Supernait 2.

My ND5 XS 2 only connects using Wi-Fi (no wired Ethernet) and has no issues with playback up to and including 24/192 content.

I’m not clear how sound quality is compromised or somehow made superior by using Roon with Qobuz, interested to learn how though!

@MartyK Nothing major, the Qobuz app can attenuate the main volume but only up to the maximum set on the amp itself, only the Naim remote or amp or your hand on the volume control can increase the actual
maximum volume thankfully!

Hi, in theory the Chromecast protocol appears quite straightforward, but one is at the mercy of the quality of the sender, it’s software and libraries. I suspect on a like for like comparison PCM via RAAT or UPnP media transfer may sound slightly preferable than Chromecast.
If the sender was on Ethernet, then perhaps the differences would be less. On Wifi, then frames will be arriving at different spacing, and I have discovered elsewhere when the interframe timing varies considerably a sonic footprint is left on the Naim streamer… do doubt through system cross talk/noise coupling.

However your setup and your personal tastes will conform what works best for you.

You’re certainly at the mercy of the network, I think this is what makes streaming/digital for audio so variable vs using a cd player or a turntable!
I’ve got a lot of control over my Wi-Fi network thankfully, Chromecast is handling the setup now using mDNS rather than DIAL which helps a bit but beyond that the receiver capability depends on the implementation, I’d expect Naim have done some customisation in Apache, it’s basically HTML5 and Javascript doing the receiving and setup part then passing it to the DAC for buffering and processing.
I was interested to learn if Roon was somehow pre-processing the streams and then forwarding them locally in a modified format.
I was looking at getting a Innuos Zen as that can be configured as a Roon core and perhaps enable some benefits under the hood.
I need to kick the tyres on Roon properly I think, thankfully it’s the weekend!

You say have control over your Wifi, then the feature you really need to control this is WMM (802.11) and transmit your media frames as ideally real-tine interactive traffic class. This class is optimised for inelastic transfers, ie transfers with more consistent interframe timing.

If you are using Wifi for high quality audio… this is the area you need to focus on in my opinion… alas most consumer (and low end commercial) Wifi access points just don’t support this sort of key functionality… and treat everything the same… you really need the right tools for the job…
In the absence of that I would leave Wifi to control tasks, and use Ethernet for your media

@Simon-in-Suffolk Agreed on your points, I use Ruckus Wi-Fi radios and controller hardware.

The kit I have is 802.11ax (Wi-fi 6) capable with many advanced features like MU-MIMO and Easymesh (MAP) you just don’t get in retail hardware, It also uses OFDMA which improves the Framing and throughput (airtime) issues seen in older generations of Wi-Fi.

It’s expensive kit however and not typically used in a residential environment, you’re more likely to see it installed in a stadium or train station.

It’s hard to say if a wired equivalent would give any further benefits, I figure the new ND products have much better radios in them and as such it seems, so far, to work well. The original ND5 I had which ended up wired was always somewhat lacking on Wi-Fi in comparison.

Keen to see how Roon may fit in overall, the cost put my off mostly but it seems it ticks a lot of boxes and a lifetime licence over the course of a few years means it begins to pay for itself assuming they keep improving and updating it.

Hi Mr M, yes OFDMA and 802.11ax are really addressing effectively different things. The former about effective bandwidth spectrum channel utilisation with multiple client hosts and the latter of course is a the next generation Wifi link layer built up from 802.11ac.
The use of frame prioritisation and timing (WMM/802.11e) kind of sits along side this and is more about the CSMA/CA back off timing algorithms dependent on the frames differential service markings… ie differentiating media data say from control data.
I suspect as time goes by we will see consumer stuff supporting 802.11ax, and it has a catchy marketing title WiFi6.
However the use 802.11e does require your other network and host equipment to support differential service markings, and so I suspect we will not see much support of this in consumer land … although would be ideal for Hi-Fi audio…

BTW Roon doesn’t process or modify the PCM unless you tell it to, just like UPnP DLNA servers, but unlike UPnP DLNA, Roon will only work (I believe) in LPCM or PCM framing, which of course is ideal for Naim as many prefer the sound of LPCM on their Naim, and transcode other lossless codecs to WAV LPCM on their media server. Roon does this automatically, and is great for a Tidal and Qobuz as FLAC is transcoded to LPCM.

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Appreciate the insight, clearly worth me exploring Roon more seriously. You’re absolutely right on the Wi-Fi parts, the clients need to support the benefits, the radios in the new streamers are stock parts with some tweaks at the driver layer but probably not much more than that, would be nice if some parameters were exposed to the user.
I’ve been generally happy with Qobuz so far overall.

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Hi simon, does Roon transcode DSD to pcm automatically or are there settings that need to be adjusted? How about MQA from tidal? Again is it automatic or are settings required?

It’s down to choice. I tell Roon not to anything with DSD. As far as MQA, again configurable, you can tell Roon to do the first level decode or leave alone… depending on the capabilities of your DAC.

A decent Roon setup certainly sounds better than Qobuz over Chromecast to my ears. The Roon apps are in my opinion also very much better than the Naim app in terms of user experience.

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Yes, I prefer the Roon experience but on my less than perfect network the Naim app sounds a wee bit better.

Now that I have had more time to compare, I am still uncertain as to Naim app or Roon.

The Naim app has letters down the side to make selection easier, can adjust the volume of my SN2, allows direct play of files on my SSD (no streaming involved)and only needs an iPad or similar.

Roon shows the file type/quality, shows all album versions together (SSD/tidal/quobuz), on balance imo the better interface.

My quobuz trial is also nearly up and I doubt if I will continue as I like tidal and don’t want to pay for both. Quobuz appeals because with sublime you can buy albums cheaper.

Trial now complete and I am sticking with Tidal.


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