Tidal via Airplay vs On-board generic Streamer/DAC

I’ll try to make my question in a simpler and clear way.
I have Tidal HiFi account and a generic Streamer/DAC (in theory) that supports both Airplay and Tidal onboard.

Due to ability of Tidal to play only 16/44 tracks, if I stream it via Airplay (that supports max 16/44 Flac, Alac, ecc…) or play tracks directly from within Streamer/DAC, **

do the quality will be the same???


I known that If I had Qobuz that stream HiRes tracks… Airplay (1st version… not the 2nd) supports only 16/44 … so to have the maximum quality of sound I need to play Qobuz from inside the Streamer/DAC device.

What do you think about?

Thank you

According to a quick internet search, the answer is yes. tidal @ 16/44 = airplay @ 16/44

What streamer/DAC are you using? Are you thinking of upgrading it, or not?
Do you use Tidal from its iPhone app?

At this time I haven’t any DAC… it’s a theory question about Airplay protocols and streaming in general.
Yes, I’m using Tidal with its iPhone app.

You could even do this using the AE built in DAC just to check that it works over your network, but of course, the sound quality will be relatively poor. Using the optical out into a DAC should sound quite a lot better, but having tried this a number if times, I was never that impressed with the sound quality compared to a dedicated streamer. It’s a useful way of streaming from iOS devices though, and once you have a decent DAC, you could at least run it until you decide when and if it’s worth investing in a better digital transport.

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Here (link) I found more info about pure AirPlay sound quality.
My original assumption is to stream over AirPlay (or direct with embedded Tidal) to one Streamer/DAC (for example: Bluesound Node 2).

So, if we have a BN2 and we use Tidal Hifi 16/44 we (in theory) obtain the same sound quality if we use Airplay (from native Tidal iOS app) or if we use the Tidal HiFI account directly on the BS2.

Do you agree with this or not?? :smiley:

In theory, yes, but in practice, probably not. It boils down to the implementation within the streamer. Eg I can use roon to stream to my ndx2 via roon raat or airplay or chrome cast. Are they the same if using 16/44 material? No.
You can read a conversation along similar subject here Roon (RAAT) versus UPnP media transfer

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I can’t comment on Tidal through a Bluesound Node, but I would say that different Tidal implementations seem to sound different in other devices despite the files being identical. For example, Tidal played through a Naim streamer certainly doesn’t sound the same via native integration as it does through Roon or BubbleUPnP server.

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