Tidal and MQA (oh no, not again)

Thanks for this detective work!

It’s very interesting to note that they deliver a Red Book version of an album that can only be added to your library as a Master. In honesty, this was my reading of the Tidal policy (that Red Book was available, though Master is more prominent / promoted).

What sort of analysis tool do you have access to for checking the streamed data, if I may ask?

Regards alan

Hi @alan33

OK, so I’ve pulled Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, Dreams from Tidal. This is the 16/44.1 variant when selecting the ‘Masters’ album.

As reference have pulled the Qobuz dedicated 16/44.1 track.


  • No MQA encoding in the LSB’s.
  • The two versions of Qobuz vs Tidal are quite different. I can’t comment on who is closer to the intended original.

Below is a comparison of Qobuz (top) vs Tidal (bottom):

note how the Tidal one has a different frequency response compared to the Qobuz one.

Best regards



That’s really interesting, the Qobuz variant is louder and actually seems to be clipping at one or two points.

It’s difficult to judge from only graphs, but on first glance the Tidal variant looks a bit more healthy to me…

[edit] this illustrates why it’s so difficult to compare streaming services. Many people who hear the above two tracks would perhaps say “Qobuz sounds better”, simply because it is a bit louder. That doesn’t mean the quality is actually objectively better.


CD ripping on a Core and local streaming is looking quite attractive right now. In fact, I have just got Anette Askvik’s CDs today and local steaming certainty beats the Tidal stream. Quite delicious really.


Very interesting this…

I just did an A B listening comparison between Qobus and Tidal with the same track. In the apps labelled Hi-Res and Master respectively (had no other choice).

They’re close but indeed different. I don’t hear a clear difference in volume. Tidal sounds better to me though. A touch smoother and more natural. A bit more detail too, specifically in the drums. The brass from the cymbals/hi hat(right word?) sounds more ‘splashy’ from Qobus (as in less less good). Imaging seems very close, no clear winner there. All on my fairly modest setup of course.

Not sure if this is the post mentioned earlier, bit more detail on Qobuz support on legacy Naim streamers

If I had a few mins I’d do the $ diff between the two versions :wink:

Roon may show up any clipping on the Qobuz version.

The differences could be down to the supplier and not that Qobuz are re-mastering anything.


Two versions of Tango in the Night. The MQA rate is different but the ‘flac rate’ is the same. Will they sound any different? (Roon/ Uniti Nova/My ears :slight_smile: )

Totally agree with you,
From my experience all of my CD library has been transferred to the CORE and sounds better than streaming them at Tidal.

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As you already know, the old streamer will have 4.8 update and it will come with Tidal Connect. I am very curious to know if Tidal sound through my Nds will be notably enhanced, or not.
Maybe @Naim.Marketing can have an idea on it. Mme Claire ?

TIDAL Connect support is not in Firmware 4.8 - don’t know where you got that idea!

We’ll be sending out all the details on Firmware 4.8 next week; this week we’re concentrating on Firmware 3.7 for current products,



If you want a (temporary) fix right now, until firmware 4.8 is out — and reading between the lines it will include Tidal Connect —, you could try to install Audirvana on a computer or laptop, or MConnectHD on an iPhone or iPad, or BubbleUPnP on an Android phone, and stream Tidal through those apps to your 272.

I thought it was true. So sorry. As no one corrected this post above…

Sorry not to be on every thread all the time :wink:


And I thought the Naim staff were superhuman!



Firmware 3.7 details can be read here:

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Yes, thanks Richard. It was too good news to be true, unfortunately. ( Tidal connect for old platform).

Worth noting, however, that while legacy products are unable to stream TIDAL Connect directly, they can enjoy a TIDAL Connect stream via multiroom, where a current Naim product is the master.


Just for curiosity, why you already closed this new thread on Tidal Connect and 3.7 update? People will want to share now the 3.7 update.

It’s good to keep the pinned announcement separate and clean so it’s easy and clear to read. If members wish discuss then there’s already a Tidal Connect thread running.

Ah ok, i understand now.