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In Reply to: RE: MQA streaming? posted by PAR on May 10, 2017 at 10:28:21
Thanks Par. So just for the record how does the average Joe Public play these MQA files from Tidal? It seems a selling point that is only available to the audiophile clever or patient enough to figure it all out.
Yes computer audio does tend to be somewhat complex if you want it to work properly and to exploit its capabilities. However I doubt that Joe Public knows or cares about MQA.
I have been thinking about a solution for you. You appear to have the room downstairs for a network streamer. Why not use that space for a small pc laptop, say 13 or even 10 inch? They are very small and thin these days and basic spec ones (all you need) are relativley cheap. You can load Tidal desktop on this and connect it directly to your amp's DAC via a USB/SPdif converter. Not only would you then have Tidal Masters but it could also be the hub of a music storage system with a media player such as Jriver MC installed with a small external drive if you want to go this way. There is one matter to settle though and that is the data processing capabilities of your amp's DAC. Aside from the fact that it is based around a 24 bit Wolfson chip I can find out no more. The digital connectivity specs of the amp could mean that it is limited. I would suggest that you try to find out if it will support 24/192 minimum as if not you will need to consider an outboard DAC if you want to follow a true hi-rez route.
However please remember that MQA is very much a novelty and may well not survive the market. It was announced 3 years ago and has since lost its major harware partner ( Pioneer) and the support of its major download partner (Highresaudio). It is currently effectively limited to Tidal and to recordings from Warner (though there is a deal with UMG as yet to produce anything). Other support is limited to a handful of obscure music producers and a limited supply of hardware from mainly boutique manufacturers.
As far as Tidal is concerned your desire to get the Master tracks relates currently to only 700 albums available of which many will probably hold no interest for you. At present about 60 are added each month.
I have written on these boards recently (hi-rez forum I think) that the roll out of MQA does not show the impetus I expect from a succesful medium and that it may just fade away (like 3D TV). I will be at the huge audio trade fair/show in Munich next week and will look out for any news relating to MQA.
Let me know how you go forward.
as far as MQA dying I can only hope you are correct.
Seem to me a weak and over clever attempt at kick-starting starting another Cash Cow like the Holy Red Book (which besides the oodles and ooldes of $$$ was damn near totally disposable to boot! ... ignoring all the plastic and electronics waste, bien entendu )
Well I don't think many believe there will be another have them re-purchase their entire collections again to be played back on disposable junk bonanza, but realistically as long people pay for the new thing all will be fine.
I suspect the MQA crowd did dare believe, and were pushing their solution as the vehicle with the promise be that next big thing/steal.
Remember the software decoding in Tidal will only give up to 24/96. So if the dac does 24/96 you are good To get 24/192 you need a dac with built in MQA decoding
Thanks all particularly Par for your dedication to my cause. T0 answer your question Par here are the specs for digital connectivity with the CA CXA60. There is 1 usb which I use for the BT100
TOSLINK optical: 16-24 bit, 32-192kHz (using high quality TOSLINK optical cable) S/PDIF coaxial: Linear PCM 16-24 bit, 32-192kHz
BT100 Bluetooth receiver: A2DP plus aptX
The URL is a link to CXA60 tech spec pdf file.
Thanks for the lowdown on the MQA. So my question is what is the best way for me to play the finest quality music from Tidal Masters or Qobuz etc. without buying records; which by the way is my next imminent purchase! I have an old laptop I can use and I'll try that sing the 15-day free Tidal trial. Thanks again
Do try the Qobuz free trial too. Aside from not having MQA it strikes me as more sophisticated than Tidal which I find seems to be primarily aimed at 16 - 24 year olds somehow. Nothing wrong in that but not for me. The Qobuz desktop player offers amazing sound and is Japan Audio Society certified.
I'm just using an old Macbook as the streaming device. Since the computer is connected to the system using a Dragonfly dac, I needed to find a way to remote control it, and I use VNC on my iPad to give me remote desktop capability. So basically desktop Tidal is running on the macbook, out via USB to the dragonfly and out via a headphone to RCA cable to my system. The wireless part is all over high-capacity wifi, no bluetooth. That would be the internet streaming connection and the remote desktop. Unfortunately my macbook goes to sleep when I shut it, so I have to keep it open. I'll have to see how to set this up so I don't have the screen within view.
With the desktop app, I let Tidal do the first unfold to 24/96, which goes out to the dragonfly. Audioquest is promising a firmware upgrade to the DAC to allow it to do MQA directly. Some say it will still only do the first unfold, which I get from the desktop anyway, and my iPhone is not capable of streaming MQA so I can't use it there either.
Zac,can you set the screen to go to sleep while the rest of the Macbook is on?
With my laptop, I set the screen to go to sleep in 1 minute, and the PC to never.
That's an interesting setup. However the OP has a mac computer in one part of his house which he is unable to connect with a wire to his audio system situated elsewhere. Although he could indeed control his mac via his tablet using VNC he will still have his connectivity problem.
Incidentally I tried controlling my PC playing Qobuz via a VNC installation on my Android tablet. A complete shambles as the VNC control interface for an Android touch screen requires the use of a VNC cursor which is pulled on to the screen by swiping down from the top. Unfortunately that is the identical action as Android uses to display messages...you can imagine the result. Also if you wanted to use the cursor to play e.g. a track at the bottom of the screen then as it is dragged there it passes over all the other tracks and tries to open them too.
Yes the Dragonfly MQA update will only service the first fold. In fact the Dragonfly could handle nothing more as the DAC has a maximum data processing capability of 24/96.
This now seems to be the Network player for Qobuz
with Acram Solo being the other; I'm opting for the former unless advised against it. Hopefully I can make my purchase unless the Yamaha WXC-50 is not the best idea? The option for multi room also seems appealing.
The Arcam and the Yamaha are different types of product. The Yamaha is a streamer box only and connects to your existing amp. The Arcam is a full streamer/amplifier and would replace your existing Cambridge amp. The difference is reflected in price too, approx 300 v. 1000 gbp.
I can't vouch for the performance of either having experienced neither.
Alas I have my decision. One last thing how does the Yamaha compare to the Oppo Sonics in it's duties and capabilities? I'll be very shortly badgering audiophiles in the phono and vinyl section. I think this year's holiday will be on a tight budget but I'm trying not to go too silly with hi-fi but what pleasure it is listening to the finished product; sound.
The Oppo Sonica is another type of product again. It is a DAC with network playing attributes. It does not offer support for Qobuz, Tidal or other streaming services which therefore have to be acquired through another device connected to it ( hard wire or wifi, Apple airplay or Bluetooth although for hi-rez we have already discussed the limitation of the latter).
As you already have a well specified DAC in your amplifier you might consider what Sonica offers to be redundant in your system aside from its multi-room aspect ( though I am unsure if this is only available via the matching powered speaker) . However the Oppo also offers DSD capability which may or may not interest you. Purchased downloads only for this format of which the choice is comparatively limited especially if you disregard upsamples from lower resolution sources.
As The Oppo is an outboard DAC with its own power supply this is reflected in the cost of around 2.5 times that of the Yamaha.
You could well meet me again on Vinyl depending whether I can contribute to your query! Sorry :-)
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