Using Tidal Native

I have been playing with Tidal native using my laptop over Christmas to test different DACs and I have grown to appreciate the Tidal ‘native’ interface.

Is there a neat/easy way of accessing Tidal via its native interface but retaining the convenience of my iPad control?

My current system relies upon an SU for streaming so I don’t think that chromecast and airplay are accessible to me, but I do have an RME ADI-2 DAC so I could put ‘a box’ in from of that.

Easiest/cheapest would be a Chromecast Audio, but indeed do feed it via optical into a good DAC, don’t use it’s analogue out.

@n-lot please forgive my ignorance, but how would a Chromecast interface with my legacy system? I thought that I might need a PC or Apple Mini like thing.

btw I should have said, I would like to avoid having to use a PC/Apple Mini if at all possible.

I think what n-lot means is you can use the small Google Chromecast Audio device (if you can still find them) plugged into the back of the SU via optical. It will then allow you to send the Tidal stream from your portable device via the Chromecast to the SU. However I’m not sure if this is available on iOS devices or just on the android side.
If you’re using Apple like I am, you could do the same thing with an old Apple Airport express, and using AirPlay to send the Tidal stream.
The only issue is that the audio stream has to go via your device (iPad/Android) and then back to the Chromecast or Airport Express, and if you take your device out of range of WiFi it will drop the audio. So not ideal. But this might not be an issue for you.

Ah, I see, thank you @DomTomLondon that seems like a torturous signal path given that I normally connect via a hardwired ethernet connection.

I can see how I might achieve my goal by buying an Apple mini and operating it headless, I believe that there are apps which allow control of the mini from an iPad, but it all seems like such a faff. I would prefer to avoid having a PC in my HiFi system, maintenance, updates, virus protection etc.

The lure? the Tidal front page with all of the options it presents.

I completely understand. Before the lockdown I had a chance to try out Qobuz for the first time and I really like their native app and the user interface. Unfortunately if we want to use Naim or other streaming Hifi hardware, the native apps won’t be compatible, and so we loose the nice interface. Hence why so many move over to Roon, or stick to Spotify Connect.

However, Tidal has introduced its Connect option, which will be available for Naim at some point this year, but than only to the new streamers. So we, who have the legacy streaming devices are out of luck.

I’ve bought an Innuos Zen Mini last year in order to get some of the new streaming services. Like Qobuz, and Roon. So I’m hoping that maybe Innuos will also update their OS to allow Tidal Connect. And hoping that Qobuz bring out their version of Connect as well.

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The signal path to the Chromecast is direct from the network, not via a computer or phone, so perhaps somewhat simpler than you’re thinking. It has 802.11ac WiFi which seemed robust when I tried it, although there’s also an RJ45 connector available if you want to use it wired.

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Thanks, Chris for your clarification, that is helpful to know.

Hi @ChrisSU, having just trawled a couple of web sites explaining what you can do with a Chromecast, I remain a little puzzled, mainly because all of the applications listed seem to involve HDMI connection to a TV and streaming video sources.

Would you mind trying to explain to me how the Chromecast helps me to stream Tidal to my SU or other DAC for instance, please?

You need a Chromecast Audio, which is discontinued but you can still find them, rather than the regular Chromecast which is for TV. Then you cast to it from the Tidal app on your phone, which then acts as a remote, routing the signal direct from router to CCA.

Connect the CCA via optical. You can use an analogue lead, but then you’re using the CCA built in DAC instead of the SU DAC.

Better way would be stick a streamer in front that supports the new Tidal connect but it’s not going to be cheap. The Bluesound Node2i support it I believe. This would give a better streaming solution than a Chromecast, gapless, MQA first unfold if you want it and you can use Tidal app to control. Plus you get all the other services it supports.

Hi @CrystalGipsy yes I think the bluesound node would do the job, I looked it up earlier and it supports tidal connect which sounds like it would provide my required functionality and is likely to be more straight forward to implement.

I was not sure how a Chromecast would get power as none of my kit has hdmi.

Thanks for your thoughts all. I think I may go with the node 2i and add my RME DAC. It’s a bit of a shame that the RME doesn’t support MQA.

I wonder if I could stick the Cobalt in the back of the Node 2i for MQA experience?

No it has no usb support. It will decode the full mqa if you use it’s internal DAC. But I found the RME which replaced my Node2 to be far superior DAC to whats in the Node.

The CCA is mains powered. There is no HDMI, that’s on the regular Chromecast (video version) only.

While I can recommend the Chromecast Audio* from my own experience, someone on another thread just mentioned the Teufel Connector which, while a bit more expensive (yet a lot cheaper than the node 2i), seems to be very versatile and support a lot of ways of connecting. Including Chromecast. Might be worth looking into.

As ChrisSU mentioned, the Chromecast Audio doesn’t have HDMI, it just has a combined mini jack / optical out socket. It’s powered via USB, so either adaptor or a device with a suitable port. I have it hooked up to my Qb1, the USB port powering it, the output going into the optical input on the Qb. So no external power. Certainly no HDMI involved. The Chromecast Audio is a separate device from the “video” Chromecast. No longer produced, but plenty available via the usual 2nd hand/auction sites.


Cheers, I hadn’t seen Chromecast Audio

If you value gapless playback, avoid Chromecast ias whilst its capable of it, most apps don’t seem to cater for it. Only Roon I know off as being able to do it as well as the now defunct Google Play Music. So don’t expect to get it via Tidal App.

Cheers all, I have settled on a Bluesound node 2i it has digital outputs to feed a choice of DACs. It has BluOS and allows for Tidal connect plus a range of other services. WiFi seems to get reasonable press and the inbuilt DAC can unravel MQA, I’m not sure if this will get much use but it’s there.

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