Tidal Flac Hi-Res

Here’s a question…

I am using the older (first generation) streamers, a 2012 ND5XS and a 2017 Superuniti both running the latest 4.8 firmware.

Other than listening to some terrific iradio stations I otherwise use them to stream CD quality Tidal as the MQA Hi-Res is not available.

It’s come to my attention that Tidal are now offering Hi-Res FLAC files (for an increased fee) so two questions.

  1. Is this playable on my older units

  2. If so, is it night and day so worth the extra tenner a month?

I’m not interested in messing around with bubble or whatever just if I can play these Flac files through the naim app and my two units.

If not, I have to say I find the CD quality streaming excellent (especially since Tidal have sorted out the recent issues and we are back to ‘normal’)

Cheers all.


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We don’t know yet whether or when Naim might be able to update firmware of old streamers to get Tidal high res FLAC. But there are hardware limitations that might mean they can’t do it at all.

If it’s the same master, probably not; if it’s a different master, maybe. A ‘different’ hi-res master might be better or worse; the probability might depend on genre and (obviously) your preference.


Any word yet on Tidal update for latest streamers. Starting to get close to end of the year and plenty others have released updates already.

There is no word yet.

Well further to my initial question… would a second generation ND5XS2 be able to play the Flac files from Tidal?

The ND5XS2 can obviously play FLAC, but I think you meant to say Hi Res FLAC, meaning 24 bit. It can already do this with Qobuz, and there’s no reason why it couldn’t do so with Tidal once its firmware has been upgraded to allow it.


Thanks Chris, that’s exactly what I meant. So basically if I were to upgrade from a ND5XS to a ND5XS2 other than changing my source material from Tidal to Qbuz it would be a matter of waiting for naim to update the firmware to allow Tidal Hi-Res FLAC files to be streamed?

If so can anyone confirm this is on the naim agenda??

I might just hold on for a bit longer with my old streamer.



This is certainly on Naim’s agenda for 2nd gen streamers. How long it will take, I don’t think Naim are aware themselves yet, as the last I heard was that they were still waiting for progress from Tidal so don’t hold your breath!


Other manufacturers already support this. Lumin (6 weeks ago) et al.

We have a RPI4 here doing Tidal and Tidal Connect on hires.

So I suspect the problem might be naim related. Unless MQA is the issue, as Tidal has a hierarchy of formats one of which naim devices can’t render. But there are other manufacturers who don’t support MQA. Wasn’t Tidal hard coded to serve 16/44.1 to naim, surely an easy server side change to serve non MQA only.

Our £40 SMSL is looking by far our best ever hifi purchase, more so the longer the lack of Max support drags on.

The communication from naim on this issue sucks as well. Given that other manufacturers have released firmware upgrades to support Max one might expect to go to the naim website and see some sort of update……

Is an NDX considered to be a first gen player and therefore unable to play hi-res files from Tidal?

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Yes. If you want to play HiRes from Tidal or Qobuz you will need to use workarounds.

What are the suggested “work arounds”?

Could a work around include using another streamer, such as a Wiim Mini/Pro connected to one of the digital inputs?

Yes, you can bypass the streamer in the NDX altogether by using another streamer into an SPDIF input.
Another option is to use a ‘proxy server’ such as BubbleUPnP or Roon. This buffers an incoming Tidal or Qobuz stream and acts as a server running on your home network to serve music files to the NDX.


Thanks, will give the Wiim a try, don’t fancy yet more apps/downloads etc……


Primare NP5 mk2 into my NDX gave a very good uplift in SQ.

Naim support confirm they are awaiting release of API files to third parties from Tidal. I suggest we press Tidal to move faster - fwiw I have, but am a lone voice I guess.

Naim will need to then update and test any upgrade.

Tidal are perhaps unwise to ignore the cheaper and already working hiRes service from Qobuz. I have both subscriptions but that is getting silly, so want to choose and at the moment that means extensive catalogue at CD quality or more limited catalogue and a fair amount of hiRes material.


API is already available since other manufactures already have released support since many weeks back.


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I can play qobuz hi res files on my 272 via audirvana.


Come on naim and Tidal! We pay a premium to be part of this journey and whilst we don’t mind waiting to ensure a smooth roll-out, we do feel somewhat left behind here.

At least be honest and give us road-map details for this work.