Only way to get full res from Spotify, Tidal, and Qobuz - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 38 Old 06-07-2019, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Only way to get full res from Spotify, Tidal, and Qobuz

I just got off the phone with Cambridge Audio and they kinda confirmed what I was thinking about stream quality.

1. I subscribe to all three premium services.
2. I can connect to my Cambridge CXN v2 via: Spotify = Spotify Connect | Tidal = chromecast | Qobuz = chromecast

Chromecast downgrades the signal so you're never going to get full resolution from Tidal HIFI or Qobuz subline (or whatever tier give you high res).

So, it seems to me that these are total wastes of money UNLESS you connect directly to a computer via USB (a good quality one).

So, am I correct to say that, if you're not going to connect to a computer, you're going to get the same quality as Spotify? No better from Tidal or Qobuz?

It's so hard to do an a/b comparison and those are subjective anyway and normally tainted by confirmation bias.

Am I right here though? Thoughts?
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post #2 of 38 Old 06-07-2019, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtximages View Post
I just got off the phone with Cambridge Audio and they kinda confirmed what I was thinking about stream quality.

1. I subscribe to all three premium services.
2. I can connect to my Cambridge CXN v2 via: Spotify = Spotify Connect | Tidal = chromecast | Qobuz = chromecast

Chromecast downgrades the signal so you're never going to get full resolution from Tidal HIFI or Qobuz subline (or whatever tier give you high res).

So, it seems to me that these are total wastes of money UNLESS you connect directly to a computer via USB (a good quality one).

So, am I correct to say that, if you're not going to connect to a computer, you're going to get the same quality as Spotify? No better from Tidal or Qobuz?

It's so hard to do an a/b comparison and those are subjective anyway and normally tainted by confirmation bias.

Am I right here though? Thoughts?
At least for Tidal I can say that you are restricted to HiFi on receivers. I think the proper HiRes is being reserved for their app. It seems that Tidal is limiting licensing of full audio quality on receivers...???
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post #3 of 38 Old 06-07-2019, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
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At least for Tidal I can say that you are restricted to HiFi on receivers. I think the proper HiRes is being reserved for their app. It seems that Tidal is limiting licensing of full audio quality on receivers...???
Perhaps but I thought you could stream Tidal HIFI from a computer, through USB, to your DAC and get HIFI that way.

The point is, it seems like you cannot get the high res benefit from any of these services without a hardwired USB connection.

You CAN get Spotify's highest quality (less than the other two albeit) via Spotify Connect though.

If I am correct (aka if yall confirm my suspicions) then I'll be ditching Tidal and Qobuz hardcore until I get a computer hooked up to my Cambridge.
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post #4 of 38 Old 06-07-2019, 07:02 PM
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From my understanding the LINN streamers will do Tidal Hi-Rez. Expensive for sure...


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post #5 of 38 Old 06-07-2019, 11:29 PM
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Sony's forthcoming "360 Reality Audio" technology supposedly will provide four services--Deezer, nugs.net, Qobuz, and TIDAL--with improved quality audio . . . maybe?!


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post #6 of 38 Old 06-10-2019, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Sony's forthcoming "360 Reality Audio" technology supposedly will provide four services--Deezer, nugs.net, Qobuz, and TIDAL--with improved quality audio . . . maybe?!


_
Perhaps so. I just find it annoying that I have found TONS of debates on what's better Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz and people arguing over the issue, BUT they're all streaming over the air which is totally limiting quality.
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post #7 of 38 Old 06-10-2019, 02:22 PM
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I think with the Anthem Playfi system, it's full res high res?
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post #8 of 38 Old 06-10-2019, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtximages View Post
I just got off the phone with Cambridge Audio and they kinda confirmed what I was thinking about stream quality.

1. I subscribe to all three premium services.
2. I can connect to my Cambridge CXN v2 via: Spotify = Spotify Connect | Tidal = chromecast | Qobuz = chromecast

Chromecast downgrades the signal so you're never going to get full resolution from Tidal HIFI or Qobuz subline (or whatever tier give you high res).

So, it seems to me that these are total wastes of money UNLESS you connect directly to a computer via USB (a good quality one).

So, am I correct to say that, if you're not going to connect to a computer, you're going to get the same quality as Spotify? No better from Tidal or Qobuz?

It's so hard to do an a/b comparison and those are subjective anyway and normally tainted by confirmation bias.

Am I right here though? Thoughts?
I did tidal via the HEOS ap and I get thier "HiFi" - 44.1, although I am currently using "premium" at whatever BW that supports...

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post #9 of 38 Old 06-10-2019, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by smithsabom View Post
I did tidal via the HEOS ap and I get thier "HiFi" - 44.1, although I am currently using "premium" at whatever BW that supports...
How do you know you were getting HIFI? The app says HIFI no matter what if it's a HIFI track, but that doesn't mean your quality was squashed by whatever medium you used to get to your receiver/preamp/dac....

When I play Tidal and Qobuz over bluetooth, it still tells me Hi Res or HIFI etc. BUt I know that signal is getting clobbered by sending it to Chromecast or whatever.

Perhaps HEOS is a lossless medium but I'm not sure how you can know for sure that you're actually streaming that rate to your speakers.
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post #10 of 38 Old 06-10-2019, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by dtximages View Post
How do you know you were getting HIFI? The app says HIFI no matter what if it's a HIFI track, but that doesn't mean your quality was squashed by whatever medium you used to get to your receiver/preamp/dac....

When I play Tidal and Qobuz over bluetooth, it still tells me Hi Res or HIFI etc. BUt I know that signal is getting clobbered by sending it to Chromecast or whatever.

Perhaps HEOS is a lossless medium but I'm not sure how you can know for sure that you're actually streaming that rate to your speakers.
HEOS is native to the current Denon /Marantz recievers. the stream is to the receiver not through the phone. The HEOS ap controls the stream, but is not "in the stream". I know this because, when the display is on, HEOS/Tidal indicates what bit rate is being sent. I rarely use the Tidal ap for the phone... I like Tidal over HEOS better.

Chromecast should work the same insofar as the stream should be to the chromecast device, and the app is controlling what the device is streaming. I will have to test it out...

update: I tested chromecast audio and chrome cast neither indicate bit rate...

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Last edited by smithsabom; 06-10-2019 at 07:41 PM.
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post #11 of 38 Old 06-11-2019, 06:44 AM - Thread Starter
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HEOS is native to the current Denon /Marantz recievers. the stream is to the receiver not through the phone. The HEOS ap controls the stream, but is not "in the stream". I know this because, when the display is on, HEOS/Tidal indicates what bit rate is being sent. I rarely use the Tidal ap for the phone... I like Tidal over HEOS better.

Chromecast should work the same insofar as the stream should be to the chromecast device, and the app is controlling what the device is streaming. I will have to test it out...

update: I tested chromecast audio and chrome cast neither indicate bit rate...
Very interesting on the HEOS! I love that it actually shows you the bitrate you're streaming. I have not found anything else that CONFIRMS your stream quality.

Chromecast is great but its streaming limitations are under/less than the Tidal HIFI or Qobuz Hi-Res, so if you're streaming these through Chromecast, you're wasting your money - if my understanding is correct.
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post #12 of 38 Old 06-12-2019, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by smithsabom View Post
HEOS is native to the current Denon /Marantz recievers. the stream is to the receiver not through the phone. The HEOS ap controls the stream, but is not "in the stream". I know this because, when the display is on, HEOS/Tidal indicates what bit rate is being sent. I rarely use the Tidal ap for the phone... I like Tidal over HEOS better.

Chromecast should work the same insofar as the stream should be to the chromecast device, and the app is controlling what the device is streaming. I will have to test it out...

update: I tested chromecast audio and chrome cast neither indicate bit rate...
So are you getting hi-Rez from Tidal thru Denon/HEOS or just cd quality?
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post #13 of 38 Old 06-12-2019, 05:20 AM
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I have not found anything else that CONFIRMS your stream quality.
Can't you hear the difference?

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The Bluesound Node 2i will stream MQA Audio from Tidal, I think it’s the cheapest standalone streaming device that can.

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So are you getting hi-Rez from Tidal thru Denon/HEOS or just cd quality?
44.1 / CD quality. I haven't tried Qobuz...and I can't recall seenig anything better than CD quality on tidal

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post #16 of 38 Old 06-12-2019, 10:29 AM
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Late but none the less going thru roon/tidal /cca to Marantz sr8002 display showed 96hz .Is this the bitrate you guys are referring to.

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post #17 of 38 Old 06-12-2019, 10:31 AM
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Going through a computer or HT receiver will also compromise your sound quality. The best way is to get a streamer/end-point like Microrendu or SOTM SMS-200. Auralic and Lumin make great stuff as well if you are looking a bit more up-market.
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post #18 of 38 Old 06-12-2019, 10:40 AM
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Going through a computer or HT receiver will also compromise your sound quality. The best way is to get a streamer/end-point like Microrendu or SOTM SMS-200. Auralic and Lumin make great stuff as well if you are looking a bit more up-market.


USB out to a capable DAC from a computer will not limit your sound quality. This is the most ideal connection.

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USB out to a capable DAC from a computer will not limit your sound quality. This is the most ideal connection.
That's not even close to being true. A consumer computer is not built with audio quality in mind, it's incredibly noisy electronically which produces jitter in digital audio, and without the proper API, the OS and software will also run sound through ****ty software mixers. It's a bad situation all around. I know all the myths regarding the signal being digital so the signal quality doesn't matter, and DAC qualities don't matter. None of that is true in my experience. Of course to be able to tell a difference, you need a resolving system throughout the chain. If you're playing through Alexa speakers or Sonos, by all means, use the computer.
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post #20 of 38 Old 06-12-2019, 11:04 AM
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That's not even close to being true. A consumer computer is not built with audio quality in mind, it's incredibly noisy electronically which produces jitter in digital audio, and without the proper API, the OS and software will also run sound through ****ty software mixers. It's a bad situation all around. I know all the myths regarding the signal being digital so the signal quality doesn't matter, and DAC qualities don't matter. None of that is true in my experience. Of course to be able to tell a difference, you need a resolving system throughout the chain. If you're playing through Alexa speakers or Sonos, by all means, use the computer.

USB out to an external DAC, being fed by something that bypasses software sound processing like Foobar with WASABI is a very high quality source.

There are correct ways to do things, and this is it if using a computer as a source.

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USB out to an external DAC, being fed by something that bypasses software sound processing like Foobar with WASABI is a very high quality source.

There are correct ways to do things, and this is it if using a computer as a source.
Again, nothing on the computer is built for audio performance, everything from power supply to USB port controller chips to the low quality clocks are all horrendous for audio quality. It will do in a pinch and if you really have no other choice, I myself ran it for a period of time before i got my system together. It's far from being the best way, there is no comparison in quality to dedicated hardware and firmware.
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post #22 of 38 Old 06-12-2019, 11:16 AM
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Again, nothing on the computer is built for audio performance, everything from power supply to USB port controller chips to the low quality clocks are all horrendous for audio quality. It will do in a pinch and if you really have no other choice, I myself ran it for a period of time before i got my system together. It's far from being the best way, there is no comparison in quality to dedicated hardware and firmware.

A computer is just seeing 1s and 0s, it doesn’t matter if it’s audio or video or what have you. You are sending a pure untouched signal to an external DAC, letting it handle the conversion, and then amplifying.

You act like a system being fed by a computer just sounds horrendous... when you go to demos of speakers, they are feeding high end speakers with a computer source.

I’m sorry you had a bad experience, but something must have been going on for you to actually hear such drastic differences in sound.

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A computer is just seeing 1s and 0s, it doesn’t matter if it’s audio or video or what have you. You are sending a pure untouched signal to an external DAC, letting it handle the conversion, and then amplifying.

You act like a system being fed by a computer just sounds horrendous... when you go to demos of speakers, they are feeding high end speakers with a computer source.

I’m sorry you had a bad experience, but something must have been going on for you to actually hear such drastic differences in sound.
None of those things are true. A digital audio signals is not just 0s and 1s with no gradation in quality, any person who has experience in hi-fi can tell you that.

Any dealer or manufacturer demoing their speakers using a straight connection from a computer is doing it out of need for simplicity of setup at a show. I won't say all, but vast majority of them are absolutely not doing that in their own homes.

The thing that's going on is that I have a resolving system that allows the differences to come through. Again if you're using HT speakers and a receiver to listen to music, then nothing matters.
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post #24 of 38 Old 06-12-2019, 11:29 AM
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Please provide some information about why it isn’t true aside from just saying so. There is no gradation in digital signal, it’s either right or not.

The audio source can be enhanced by software, and it’s likely that is what you heard, in your case for the worse. But what I am discussing is a way to bypass any software interference and provide your DAC and system with as a clean a signal as is possible.

I’m sure people lugging massive speakers and amps around that cost thousands are going to damn well make sure the source is as good as it can be.

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post #25 of 38 Old 06-12-2019, 12:08 PM
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I do not understand what audio has to do with it. It is data from a disk or a file that is send from a laptop to a dac to a receiver. Isn't data the thing that computer does best?
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post #26 of 38 Old 06-12-2019, 12:11 PM
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Can someone drill down a little deeper on this and help me understand the issue?

Today I send ripped CDs and hirez audio files from a home theater PC over HDMI to an outboard processor using BitStream. That means content from the PC is digital until it hits the processor where it's reclocked and converted to analog for output. My CD player (oppo 203) is connected via HDMI to the outboard processor, too, and it also passes BitStream. I can't tell any difference in audio quality between using a disk in the CD player or sending digital from the PC.

So, have I missed something here? I mean, it sounds great to me but if I'm leaving performance on the table from some oversight it would be useful to know.

Just one more upgrade and things will be perfect.
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post #27 of 38 Old 06-12-2019, 02:54 PM
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I am not the person to explain ... and this probably doesn’t help a bit ... I still play more vinyl than anything, hanging on to all my physical media, and really not too far yet into the streaming or physical-media-free world but accept its inevitability.
And been online enough years (wayyy back to the days of RAO newsgroup) to say you can find plenty of articles and arguments about this from both points of view (and other assorted objectivist/subjectivist debates).

FWIW, I do subscribe to the adage “Not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that can be measured matters.”

And for me, two things ...
1. I am happy when I don’t hear an improvement others hear from an upgrade, and can just spend $ on music
2. I am happy when I do hear an improvement from an upgrade, and enjoy it, but somewhat wish I didn’t so I can spend more $ on music

Stephen Stills got it almost right, should be “If you can’t be with the system you love, love the one you’re with.”
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post #28 of 38 Old 06-13-2019, 05:36 AM
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I am not the person to explain ... and this probably doesn’t help a bit ... I still play more vinyl than anything, hanging on to all my physical media, and really not too far yet into the streaming or physical-media-free world but accept its inevitability.
And been online enough years (wayyy back to the days of RAO newsgroup) to say you can find plenty of articles and arguments about this from both points of view (and other assorted objectivist/subjectivist debates).

FWIW, I do subscribe to the adage “Not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that can be measured matters.”

And for me, two things ...
1. I am happy when I don’t hear an improvement others hear from an upgrade, and can just spend $ on music
2. I am happy when I do hear an improvement from an upgrade, and enjoy it, but somewhat wish I didn’t so I can spend more $ on music

Stephen Stills got it almost right, should be “If you can’t be with the system you love, love the one you’re with.”
I abandoned vinyl for digital a long time ago -- a decision I have mixed feelings about now. Ugh. Hindsight.

While streaming is likely inevitable, it's no panacea. Like vinyl, not all digital recordings are created equal. The Dynamic Range Database tells part of this story where different release dates for CDs sound different. I recently replaced about 20% of my CD collection with better quality recordings c/o that database and Discogs. Back to digital recordings, even hi rez files are subject to this. I had a couple dozen different hi rez albums from a well known site that actually sound worse than the original CD release. Hi rez has the potential for better sound but it doesn't ensure high quality sound, it seems. The same appears to be the case with music streaming services. I just did a trial on Qobuz and found it comparable to those hi rez download sites. The current issue of Sound & Vision has a review by Tom Norton of an NAD processor where he calls out that "While the best Tidal selections sounded very good, they were bettered by the same music on CD..." (Tom -- Thanks for standing up and saying this!) This is also a problem with streamed movies where accompanying audio is lo rez while the released blu ray or 4k disk has a lossless audio track that sounds sensational. So, like you, I continue to collect physical media -- not because I want to, but because it sounds better. Meanwhile, I continue to wait for the day when streaming services demonstrate that they actually care about sound quality instead of just using "hi rez" as part of their ads to sell their subscription services.

Re: your adage, mine isn't too different: "Measurements don't always tell the whole story." While I think they can potentially tell a heck of a lot, there are things that perhaps aren't quantified yet or were poorly measured.

Just one more upgrade and things will be perfect.
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post #29 of 38 Old 06-13-2019, 06:58 AM
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Interesting discussion... I once read an article, on line, from an east coast audio society ( Boston audio society?) anyway, the main point of the article was that Hi rez encoding didn't matter. the human ear can't do better than 44.1 khz... leads me to recall back in the day when CD first came out, and all the "purists" were poo-pooing this new digital stuff... all points to be argued ad infinitum... These days is it mostly just confirming you are getting the claimed value for our equipment and service purchases?

As for streaming, and stream/audio quality notwithstanding, that for ~the cost of 1 CD/month, you can access more music than you could ever store in physical media.

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post #30 of 38 Old 06-13-2019, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smithsabom View Post
Interesting discussion... I once read an article, on line, from an east coast audio society ( Boston audio society?) anyway, the main point of the article was that Hi rez encoding didn't matter. the human ear can't do better than 44.1 khz... leads me to recall back in the day when CD first came out, and all the "purists" were poo-pooing this new digital stuff... all points to be argued ad infinitum... These days is it mostly just confirming you are getting the claimed value for our equipment and service purchases?

As for streaming, and stream/audio quality notwithstanding, that for ~the cost of 1 CD/month, you can access more music than you could ever store in physical media.
That is just rent, when you stop renting all of that will be gone. You could buy 12 CDs a year from that. In a lifetime, like 50 years/600 CDs, that is probably more than half of your music collection....which you would own for the rest of your life. AFAIK renting music or movies is a waste of money.
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