Spotify Connect quality = to Airplay? Quobuz on Mcintosh MX122 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-15-2019, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Spotify Connect quality = to Airplay? Quobuz on Mcintosh MX122

I have a Mcintosh MX122 that has Spotify Connect.  I am/was under the impression that means my Spotify signal is NOT being compressed like Airplay or bluetooth.  Basically, the unit is streaming directly from Spotify so I'm getting the highest quality possible that Spotify offers.

I was just told that was not correct by McIntosh Tech Support.  They said that Spotify Connect is a fancy term for Airplay basically and that the signal is being compressed in my MX122.  

How the crap am I supposed to know when I'm getting a crappy compressed signal vs the highest quality the service offers?  Don't say by listening haha.Also,

I downloaded Qobuz and Tidal in search of higher quality streams only to find out my MX122 will not natively stream them.  So is it worthless to use those since I can only stream over Airplay or bluetooth?  Doesn't that totally defeat the purpose of Hi Res, FLAC, or MQA?Maybe I should take my CXN v2 off Craigslist and use it again idk!
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post #2 of 5 Old 05-15-2019, 06:39 PM
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Keep in mind all of Spotify's music is compressed. They do not offer lossless audio. Spotify Connect is NOT the same thing as Airplay. Whether an additional step of audio degradation is done with Spotify Connect, I'm not sure. If you were really concerned about getting the best quality audio, then I would get a network transport device that supports Roon, and use it in conjunction with Qobuz or Tidal. That being said, there's a good chance you could go through all that trouble and then not notice an audible difference.
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-16-2019, 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post
If you were really concerned about getting the best quality audio, then I would get a network transport device that supports Roon, and use it in conjunction with Qobuz or Tidal. That being said, there's a good chance you could go through all that trouble and then not notice an audible difference.
The proprietary Roon Advanced Audio Transport (RAAT) audio network streaming mechanism most certainly has not got the monopoly on bit perfect network streaming of hi-res audio from the likes of Qobuz & TIDAL for 'best quality audio'. You can achieve the same far cheaper than buying into Roon, if not for free, with industry standard UPnP/DLNA streaming - even Google Cast streaming supports hi-res up to 24bit/96kHz.


All you need to do is make sure your streamer/network audio file player is capable of playing hi-res audio contained in lossless audio formats such as bog standard FLAC (used by both Qobuz and TIDAL) and if you really must have TIDAL's lossy MQA hi-res, make sure your streamer is also either capable of decoding MQA or that you can attach a full MQA decoding DAC to the streamer.


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Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post
Keep in mind all of Spotify's music is compressed. They do not offer lossless audio
BTW, be careful not to imply compressed equals lossy/not lossless - eg, the FLAC audio format is compressed but is still lossless.

Also, in contrast to TIDAL, Qobuz does not use lossy MQA for its hi-res FLAC tracks and as a consecqence its hi-res is truely lossless.

Last edited by Cebolla; 05-16-2019 at 04:08 AM.
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-16-2019, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by dtximages View Post
I have a Mcintosh MX122 that has Spotify Connect. I am/was under the impression that means my Spotify signal is NOT being compressed like Airplay or bluetooth.
Not sure where you got the idea that Spotify don't use compressed audio.


BTW, don't confuse compressed audio with lossy audio. You can get both compressed lossless audio formats, such as the Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) or the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC), as well as compressed lossy audio formats which I believe you were actually thinking of, eg: MP3, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, etc.

Spotify uses its highest quality but still compressed lossy Ogg Vorbis audio format at 320kbps for Spotify Connect.

AirPlay actually uses compressed lossless ALAC for its audio streaming, fixed at the CD quality resolution of 16bits/44.1kHz. If you've experienced poor quality audio when using AirPlay, then its highly likely that the app supplying the audio is at fault - the phrases "Crap in, crap out" and "Don't blame the messenger" definitely apply.

Bluetooth can use several compressed lossy audio formats of varying audio quality, ranging from the lower quality SDC, to the 'near CD' quality aptX and even the up to 990kbps hi-res supporting (but still lossy) LDAC.




Quote:
Originally Posted by dtximages View Post
I downloaded Qobuz and Tidal in search of higher quality streams only to find out my MX122 will not natively stream them. So is it worthless to use those since I can only stream over Airplay or bluetooth? Doesn't that totally defeat the purpose of Hi Res, FLAC, or MQA?Maybe I should take my CXN v2 off Craigslist and use it again idk!
Your MX122's AirPlay support should by ok for Qobuz & TIDAL's lossless CD quality tracks, but will downsample hi-res (to CD quality).


Question is - do you trust the official Qobuz & TIDAL iOS apps to actually supply the lossless CD quality tracks for AirPlay in the first place? A better choice might be to use a reputable third party Qobuz & TIDAL supporting app, such as mconnect Player (free Lite version available).

Last edited by Cebolla; 05-16-2019 at 04:00 AM.
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-16-2019, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Cebolla View Post
The proprietary Roon Advanced Audio Transport (RAAT) audio network streaming mechanism most certainly has not got the monopoly on bit perfect network streaming of hi-res audio from the likes of Qobuz & TIDAL for 'best quality audio'. You can achieve the same far cheaper than buying into Roon, if not for free, with industry standard UPnP/DLNA streaming - even Google Cast streaming supports hi-res up to 24bit/96kHz.


All you need to do is make sure your streamer/network audio file player is capable of playing hi-res audio contained in lossless audio formats such as bog standard FLAC (used by both Qobuz and TIDAL) and if you really must have TIDAL's lossy MQA hi-res, make sure your streamer is also either capable of decoding MQA or that you can attach a full MQA decoding DAC to the streamer.


BTW, be careful not to imply compressed equals lossy/not lossless - eg, the FLAC audio format is compressed but is still lossless.

Also, in contrast to TIDAL, Qobuz does not use lossy MQA for its hi-res FLAC tracks and as a consecqence its hi-res is truely lossless.
Yes, I should have clarified that compressed does not necessarily mean lossy. Also didn't mean to imply that Roon was the only option, just the one I would take if I were very concerned about the pathway of the audio stream to my speakers. One thing I really liked about Roon is that it explicitly tells you every step of the audio conversion process and whether any additional processing or compression is happening.
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