Hifi Sources: Tidal / Qobuz / Apple / Local Host (MQA, DSD, FLAC and ALAC)

pwrofgrayskull

pwrofgrayskull

Enthusiast
My Sources:
Marantz SR6013 AVR
Panasonic DP-UB820 Disc Player
LG C7 OLED TV
Sony PS4 Pro
Google Chromecast Ultra
iPhone X

Ok, not sure how to ask this question but there seems to be a lack of quality source signal chain guides out there for the modern music lover.

In short, if you want CD quality music (44.1 KHz/16 bit) to your speakers the streaming companies above work fine. If you’re running an apple device you can just connect using Airplay 2 to your gear and your in uncompressed la la land.

Now let’s say your goal is to get 96 kHz/24 bit (or better) MQA or FLAC to make your ears bleed. Maybe you want to play DSD files? Well seems like the only simple answer is go buy SACDs along with a compatible player. Let’s just reject that option for the moment (pick your reason) and focus on delivering non-physical hifi media to your earballs. How? Download files and host on a NAS or server? Sure! But how then to access them Roon ($$$$), Bluesound Node 2i / Cambridge CXN V2 ($$$), jriver (?), twonky ($$), PC (via HDMI or + DAC) ($$$$), your home theater receiver? A lot of these user interfaces are terrible or maybe your just don’t want to download and host locally... enter Tidal / Qobuz, gotta figure out how to get the streamed file to your stereo given Airplay 2 and Bluetooth aren’t up to the task.

What’s your hifi signal chain? Have you actually confirmed your getting the hifi signal to and out of your DAC, how?

Goal: Easy & Robust User Interface (including mobile device control), Readily Available Content, Confirmable Audio Quality Delivery, overall Simplicity
 
L

Leemix

Senior Audioholic
You can probably use the HEOS interface of your marantz. Not sure if that can do DSD though.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
My Sources:
Marantz SR6013 AVR
Panasonic DP-UB820 Disc Player
LG C7 OLED TV
Sony PS4 Pro
Google Chromecast Ultra
iPhone X

What’s your hifi signal chain?

Goal: Easy & Robust User Interface (including mobile device control), Readily Available Content, Confirmable Audio Quality Delivery, overall Simplicity
I am sure there are many quality streaming device that you can use your Apple/Android phones and stream from your own server (PC/laptop etc.). I used my Oppo players including the Sonica DAC. Streaming from external servers such as Amazon is something that I won't do as I think those are only acceptable for pops/rocks etc., that are "amplified" music. Apparently MQA stuff are good, but no thanks I would rather purchase my own files and use devices of my choice.

Recording quality is most important in the audio chain, if the recording is real "hifi" stuff, then CD quality is all you need, though from my experience, the chance of the getting high quality recording seems much better if picked from media source that are encoded in DSD128 or higher, and/or PCM in 24/192 or higher. To be clear, there are bad ones in those so called high resolution source media files, but the odds seem better that they are of higher quality than the average so called CD quality.

Have you actually confirmed your getting the hifi signal to and out of your DAC, how?
My media players, such as Foobar, JRiver, do show the sample rate and bit depth but in terms of "actually confirmed you are getting the hifi signal..............", that's a different story!! Theoretically speaking you would have to analyze the waveforms for distortions, or you simply go by your ears/brains and draw your own subjective conclusions. Person A's "real hifi..." may not be the same as person B's because a) it will be subjective, b) some have better hearing than others, c) whatever reasons others can think of..
 
R

Rob_z

Enthusiast
On my SR7012 via HEOS, I can stream DSD, 24/96 FLAC, pretty much any 2-ch source from my NAS where all my music is. On screen display confirms it. Interface is what it is and is based solely on the organization of your library via folders or the usual Artist, Album method (assuming ID tags are accurate)

Roon’s interface is pretty nice but AVRs only support AirPlay as a transport so Roon transcodes in real time. On my Mac with a USB DAC (SMSL SU-8) attached, it plays everything in its native format to powered monitors. The built in display shows 44, 96, DSD64 which matches the file and varies on Tidal MQA content as it isn’t a hardware MQA decoder.

For me, Airplay from software sources is fine for casual listening but it isn’t too much work for me to browse via HEOS to hear something specific in my library in a hi-res format. AFAIK for streaming Hi-Res you will need one of those network players you mentioned, a compatible software interface of your liking and a big budget.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic General
My Universal Player, an OPPO-205, gets me all the quality that can be delivered from disc, download, or streaming service from its 2 eight channel ESS Sabre DACs. And, here's the bottom-line, I mostly listen to Apple Music from this player these days, since comparison and contrast with AAC downloads I've purchased from Apple Music to the same music downloaded from HDtracks at 24/192 in AIFF, ALAC, or from stereo hybrid SACDs confirms I cannot discern any divergence in the sound quality, in any manner sound quality could be distinguished. Now, having experimented with it all, I no longer buy hi-res stereo downloads. I still occasionally buy multi-channel downloads for the breadth and depth they deliver not found from stereo; but, that's only when I can not get the music on multi-channel SACD. This is because playing multi-channel downloads requires about sixteen actions to get gapless sound from speakers. At any rate, I'm totally satisfied with Apple Music for literally a multitude of reasons: sound quality, music selection, device integration, mobility, low subscription cost, remote control, and so much more. BTW, I can also enjoy Apple Music via Airport Express, which delivers 16/44.1 via optical S/PDIF to my 20 year old Pre-Pro. This means to the music does not quite have the fidelity I perceive I'm getting from my OPPO-205's DAC process.
 
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P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
On my SR7012 via HEOS, I can stream DSD, 24/96 FLAC, pretty much any 2-ch source from my NAS where all my music is. On screen display confirms it. Interface is what it is and is based solely on the organization of your library via folders or the usual Artist, Album method (assuming ID tags are accurate)

Roon’s interface is pretty nice but AVRs only support AirPlay as a transport so Roon transcodes in real time. On my Mac with a USB DAC (SMSL SU-8) attached, it plays everything in its native format to powered monitors. The built in display shows 44, 96, DSD64 which matches the file and varies on Tidal MQA content as it isn’t a hardware MQA decoder.

For me, Airplay from software sources is fine for casual listening but it isn’t too much work for me to browse via HEOS to hear something specific in my library in a hi-res format. AFAIK for streaming Hi-Res you will need one of those network players you mentioned, a compatible software interface of your liking and a big budget.
Yes you do get confirmation of the format/codec, even bit rate/depth as I mentioned, but the OP's question was "Have you actually confirmed your getting the hifi signal to and out of your DAC, how? " I took his question literally, but if he actually meant codec/format/bit rate/depth etc., then yes we have answered the question.
 
S

ssmaudio

Audioholic Intern
Yamaha receivers come with MusicCast which can stream 24/96 and DSD (2-ch). I do this directly from the MusicCast app on my phone. If coexists with iTunes.

works very well for me.
 
C

Cruzin

Audiophyte
Yamaha aren't compatible with MQA-encoded files due to licensing and hardware compatibility issues, however this may change in the future.
 

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