Tidal Connect - Muso 2nd Generation

Good evening,

The problem - I want to stream HiRes audio and listen to it on my Muso 2nd Gen.

I have searched the forum (and Naim streamers specifications - Muso/Unity Atom) for an answer but to no avail. Indeed Naims literature is perhaps intentionally vague on this topic. I wonder if your collective knowledge can help. I can’t be the only one scratching my head.

My setup is a Muso 2nd Gen Wood Edition on its own (not including the TV. No other Naim products)

  1. Can a Muso/Unity Atom etc play Tidal Connect at higher resolution than 44khz/16 bit?

  2. If I play Tidal HiFi/Masters through an iPhone connected to an ifi HipDac then by 3.5mm to the Muso, will I be listening to actual HiRes/MQA music?

  3. For a neat and tidy solution without external DAC’s involved, would the Muso, streaming Quobuz, play at higher resolution than 44khz/16bit?

Here is how I arrived at these musings…

I have a Muso 2nd Gen Wood Edition - a lovely one box solution - and I want to listen to Hi-Res music on it.

I have a Tidal HiFi Plus subscription and an Apple Music subscription.

I know that streaming via Apple Music to the Muso is using Airplay 2 which will limit the quality to CD 44khz/16bit resolution. When I do this, music sounds…OK.

Because of this mediocracy I went ahead and got a Tidal subscription because of the Naim support for Tidal Connect that as I understood would allow me to play ‘HiRes’ music on the Muso.

Naim certainly led me to believe this as they explain in their Connect Magazine release “ TIDAL Connect allows you to explore all the rich features of the TIDAL App, and stream your choices in superb quality direct to your Naim player or system.”

Alas, unless I am mistaken, that is not the case.

Tidal Connect through a Naim streamer is limited to 44khz/16bit or so the Naim App indicates when playing Tidal Connect tracks.

This being the same quality as Apple Music via Airplay2, although Tidal Connect sounds WAY better than Apple Music Airplay2! Go figure.

Tidal HiFi and Masters sound fabulous through my iPhone->ifi HipDac->Shure SE535’s so I decided to run this setup but swap the SE535’s for the Muso, connected by 3.5mm jack. Unless my ears deceive me, this sounds another increment better than Tidal Connect, so I would assume I am hearing audio at resolutions above 44khz/16bit by doing it this way as the DAC is doing the decoding. Yes? No?

That is however, somewhat of a clunky workaround to listen to true HiRes audio through my Muso 2.

So what’s the solution? Stay Clunky? Or get Quobuz? Or something else?

I hope my ramblings may help others with such 1st world problems :slight_smile:

Your help is greatly appreciated,

Cheers!

Yes, but only from a HiRes non MQA source such as Qobuz. Naim don’t support MQA and are unlikely to do so in the future. There are pages and pages on this forum about MQA if you do a search.

Yes.

MQA is uses lossy (some of the music has been removed) compression unlike say a Qobuz 24/96 FLAC release which is lossless.

Hi, you can agonise endlessly about how to get Apple Music to give you a lossless stream, or maybe get a half baked Hi-Res stream from Tidal using workarounds or external DACs, or just leave it all behind using Qobuz which gives you proper lossless Hi Res fully integrated into a Naim streamer.

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Probably because there is no control over what tidal do. I think since the original implementation of tidal integration with Naim, tidal have gone full mqa and changed the subscription levels. There’s now little point taking the hires tidal subscription if you can’t deploy mqa unfolding via other means. Just use the cd quality subscription.
Or use qobuz. Depends on your musical taste. I consider mine to be somewhat eclectic and find everything I need in qobuz.

Thanks everyone!

Yeah I’ve seen the arguments for and against MQA. Like I say pumping MQA through an external DAC into the Muso sounds pretty good.

But I’ve been having a play with Quobuz this morning, running it through the Naim App and I must say it is excellent. Quobuz also surprisingly cheap!

This could be the way forward…

Thanks everyone

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Even though I knew this somewhere it never connected with me till you said it.

Just downgraded my Tidal sub :smiley:

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I am about to sign up to Qobuz - I have an ipad and a musu qb which I love. I am sorry to ask this simple question but don’t understand the complexity of the above. …… does it make a difference in sound quality if I use the qobuz app on the ipad (and stream to qb via airplay) OR use the naim app and select “qobuz”.
Obviously the naim app qobuz link does not give as good an interface as the actual qobuz app.
As a matter of interest I found the tidal app very buggy and the applemusic app often freezes on me even though I have great fibre broadband.
Thanks for your patience on this!

Hi, Qobuz control from within the Naim app should be your best bet for sound quality. Where Hi-Res streams are available you will get them, which is not the case if you use AirPlay, Chromecast or Bluetooth.
Qobuz do not currently offer the Connect feature that you get with Tidal or Spotify where you control everything from their own app.

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You will get a better result playing Qobuz via the Naim app. That is native integration and is not limited by the implementation of any other protocol.

Thank you for your clear and helpful replies.
As a matter of interest - in the tidal app on an ipad how do you activate the connect feature?

Select it from a button in the now playing screen in the Tidal app.

If you tap on a song that is busy playing you should see a little speaker icon. If you tap on that icon then you should see your Naim device listen as a Tidal Connect device. Selecting this device it should start playing.

Note your tablet needs to be connected to the same network as the MuSo and if you run a VPN on your tablet it may not find the MuSo unless you turn the VPN off.

Got it! Thank you so much. Really helpful.

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Just for my own clarification on this, am I right in thinking that MQA does not play ANY part in the delivery of music to my Atom, either by the direct connection to Tidal from the Naim app, or when using Tidal Connect to play to my Atom?

I have a philosophical aversion to MQA and would not want to contribute in any way to it’s proliferation (this aversion is not the point of my question, quite enough has been argued on this elsewhere!)… but if the regular Tidal HiFi is just straight up CD quality streaming, then in conjunction with the benefits of Tidal Connect, I could be swayed to use Tidal.

Thanks for any clarification!

Mark

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Tidal connect is just another way to instruct the streamer what to play. It still runs native decoding on the Naim device. So no MQA at all.

One way to get the first unfold of MQA is to use Roon but if you are only using your Naim device it won’t be using the MQA source.

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OK, many thanks for clarifying!

I am currently with Qobuz Studio, but remain slightly unconvinced by Hi Res… I can hear a difference, but I am not convinced it is better, and there seems to be a lack of transparency in how the various Hi Res albums are mastered. Also, no “Qobuz Connect” type service at the moment.

Have found a link to a 60 day Tidal HiFi trial, so time for a comparison!

Thanks again :+1:t2:

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Yeah Qobuz should only be played natively if not through something like Roon. You can use Chromecast to send Qobuz to the streamer but somewhere on this forum (don’t have the link now) Steve Harris stated that this is not a great idea. Apparently how the Chromecast stack is implemented, you do get full hi res BUT it eats up almost all the memory in the streamer and that can lead to issues with the highest resolutions.

Enjoy trying out Tidal. I still have a sub to both as Tidal still has just a little more of the music I like than Qobuz. But last week I also downgraded to Tidal Hifi.

Yes, understood… I only use Qobuz via the Naim app for that very reason.

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