Tidal Flac Hi-Res

I did have Qobuz, but their Android Auto integration isn’t as good as Tidal IMO.

Consumer choice is always good, but that sometimes only applies when consumers are forced down a certain path as you correctly pointed out.

I’ve stuck with Tidal because of the replies from Naim - knowing it is coming eventually. I just hope they don’t go back on their word.


The replies from naim, “waiting on API”, can hold no water when other vendors have released firmware updates to support Tidal Max. The updated software is clearly available, and has been for some time.

It might have more to do with naim not supporting MQA and the need for server side Use Agent hacks.

We use an SMSL PO100 with SuperUniti and I’d say about 40% of “hi res” tracks are sending down MQA which would be problematic for naim devices.

1 Like

Actually, no, that is not the case. If MQA is is not supported by the renderer, for 16 bit content, a decimated approx 13 bit 44.1 kHz pcm audio stream is played out with three LSB of noise (18dB additional noise compared to CD) , which is notably less than CD quality, which is 16 bit audio samples.



Correct -if presented a 16 bit MQA file it appears a 44.1/16 bit file - but it only contains 13 bits of actual sample data. The Naim application can’t distinguish what is noise and what is signal data in a PCM sample, but you should be able to

I believe @Stevesky confirmed some time ago that Tidal maintained proper 16/44.1 versions on their servers to be accessed by non-MQA licensed renderers, so it is Tidal, not MQA, who are providing this compatibility. Perhaps that’s where any confusion lies.

(Whether Tidal have continued to store these regular 16/44.1 files, or whether they have found a sneaky way to pad out a 13 bit file with extra zeros I wouldn’t know.)

1 Like

Well that is different to playing a MQA file through 44.1/16 DAC.
Tidal has always offered 44.1/16 FLAC files as far as I am aware.
I know through my distributor when I last released content, 11 months ago, you provided the PCM masters in your optimum lossless resolution and definition, you then select amongst other things the outlets, which are the streaming companies, YouTube, download companies etc… and they do the transcoding if your native master is not suitable … one of the options was also to create a MQA copy from your PCM master… I never bothered with that…

I always wondered whether Tidal, Qobuz etc. stored files in multiple versions, or just one version which could be transcoded on demand. There would be a great deal more capacity needed to store 24/192, 24/96, 16/44.1 and a couple of lossy versions rather than just storing the highest res version available and transcoding ‘on the fly’ when requested by a subscriber.
If the highest res version happened to be MQA, I can see the temptation might be there for Tidal to use it to provide a butchered 16/44.1 file when requested by a subscriber, but I have no concept of how all this actually works.

Almost certainly different files… on Qobuz there are files of different definitions for an album.


If you want to discuss MQA, please make sure you know how MQA actually works.

I picked up the box of matches sized SMSL box yesterday. Takes USB from my smartphone and digital coxial out the other side into my 1st gen but upgraded 24/192 UQ for Tidal Hi Res. Very happy with the result.

We’ve compared the quality of the SMSL to the NDX2 as a transport into nDAC (both SPDIF).

NDX2 wins, but there’s not a £6K SQ difference.

The SMSL, especially with hires, is absolutely fantastic.


Hi which software are you using with Rasberry pi 4 to get tidal connect MAX

Google will be your friend here.

Hello All, I wander if there is any update on this topic, is it now possible to play hi-res flacs on ND5XS2 ?


Not with the Naim app but yes with a combination of bubble upnp server and bubble player. Bubble player tells me it is playing hi-res flac and I have no reason to not believe it

Roon also officially released their Tidal Max update this week.

After testing Tidal, I’m finding too many MQA only tracks for older releases. And these are those weird 16/44 MQA albums. Once those are all removed I might switch over from Qobuz. Tidal does a few albums that are missing from Qobuz but I’d rather not deal with any MQA once I switch.


There are many long term loyal Tidal subscribers, like myself, who invested in MQA hardware and have enjoysd Hi-Res MQA for many years.
Tidal need to ensure that as they transition to Hi-Res FLAC that these loyal subscribers are adequately provided for.
It will be interesting to see how long that transition away from MQA will last if Tidal decide to drop MQA completely.
There is a lot of MQA albums and tracks that would need to be replaced with Hi-Res FLAC, its going to take sometime to do all of that.

1 Like

With the lastest roon update, if there is a hires album, they have removed roon’s exposure to the MQA album. So before the update someone could listen to Neil Diamond in 24/96 MQA but now roon only shows 3 versions available, 2 copies of in 24/96 and one in 16/44, all in standard flac. Saw another album that now has 12 version all in standard flac with no MQA left. I’m finding some of my older catalog still in MQA only but those are the 16/44 MQA and imagine they’ll be replaced too. Even on the Tidal app, if there is a hires album, you can’t access the old MQA version.

As far as new releases go, maybe less than 1 in 20 are in MQA, like Bruce Springsteen album. But that’s in 16/44 MQA only. Not seeing higher level MQA at all for most part. So they are not releasing albums in both hires and MQA. Rest of new releases in CD and maybe 1/4 in hires.

The good news is your equipment should play 24/192 hires files just fine. And most of the MQA that was above 16/44 has already been replaced.

1 Like

Ok so I just did a deep dive on what’s left in MQA. .

Over 1300 in MQA out of over 6700 Tidal albums in my collection.
1250 in 44k
104 in 48k
2 in 88k
9 in 96k
3 in 192k

So for the most part, the hires conversion is done. Look like they may be in the process of converting 48k and haven’t started on the 44k ones yet.

The 44k MQA are the most confusing because I don’t even understand while they were converted in the first place. And when compared to standard 16/44 albums, they sounds slightly worse. Soundstage is a little less precise. Probably couldn’t tell difference in blind test though.

Here’s stats on number of hires albums in my Tidal collection. Can see pretty good amount in 96k and 192k.

120 48k
50 in 88k
645 in 96k
7 in 172k
325 in 192k

Last thing to add. Just compared my Qobuz collection:

390 48k
138 88k
1245 96k
7 172k
480 192k

Almost twice as many 96k hires albums. So for now I’m sticking with Qobuz.

1 Like