Lossless via Tidal ... current setup questions (Topping D 30)

Discussion in 'DACs' started by blandis, May 28, 2018.

  1. blandis

    blandis AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I was unsure where to post... mods if this is the wrong forum my apologies. My son subscribes to the "Masters" version on Tidal and set me up an account this morning to use.

    With my current setup am I currently able to take advantage of the increase in quality via tidal? I have been using Spotify with setting on "extreme" to get the best quality download possible with the same setup below.

    Currently setup:

    Spotify via Iphone 6S>Apple Airport Express>Optical Mini to Tosslink ($8 amazon purchase)> Topping D30> Zu Audio Mission RCA> Receiver (2 channel only)

    Ideally I would like to keep the same or similar setup that would allow me to bluetooth from my phone to my airport express to start the process. Any thoughts or advice?
     

     

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  2. RTally

    RTally Speaker addict Subscriber

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    Your setup will be the same. The only difference is that you would be running a different app for your music.

    PS: You are using WiFi, not Bluetooth, to connect to your Airport Express. Regardless, it is transparent. You just select Airport Express as your output device.
     
  3. kray

    kray HE>i Subscriber

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    FYI - Airport express only transmits at 44khz, so any music at higher rate, 48, 88, 96 will be downsampled to 44, this includes any Tidal Masters (MQA) that are at 24/96 or higher.
     
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  4. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

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    True. Apple TV, though, is a 48kHz gizmo (don't know about the latest models, the thick ones) which therefore must reclock CD-resolution data. What you gain on one end you lose on the other. GRRR!
     
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  5. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

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    The AE is the weak link even at 44.1, specifically the optical output is known to be quite jittery and a simple DAC like the D30 may not be able to effectively suppress the jitter to get the best SQ.
     
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  6. GChief

    GChief AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I am sure its me having something set-up wrong but running the Tidal app with iPhone, iPad and Kindle only allows normal, High and HiFi, Master is not a option to select. With the desktop app on my laptop Master is an option.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018

     

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  7. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    Not reclock but lower resolution. Reclocking means to sync data in proper order.


    There is no possibility to do that with Optical since it is a synchronous transfer. There is some new possible versions coming out but then both sides of the optical able would have to be the newer generation.
     
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  8. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

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    Thanks for the correction and explanation. I'm not exactly sure just WHERE or HOW the rate matching takes place. In the iTunes/AppleExpress/AppleTV systems I have running, my remotes are fed from the iTunes server by hardwired Ethernet (no WiFi for me!) and output to their separate receivers for DACing using either optical (AEX) or HDMI (ATV). The receivers report 44.1kHz or 48kHz input from them, respectively. Presumably, the data coming over the network from the music server is identical for either Apple remote target (although I'm not sure of this), so the remotes themselves are likely setting the data rate and performing any rate translation necessary. Do I have this right?
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  9. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    It is done in the source. Because the Airport express can only pass 44/16.
     
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  10. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

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    So the iTunes server, knowing the capabilities of the target device(s) selected, sends different data streams over the Ethernet network which the targets receive, then process according to their preset capability? So when I select BOTH an Apple Express AND an AppleTV to receive the same digital audio simultaneously, the iTunes server sends two different data feeds over the network to the target devices, one with 44.1kHz internal timing, the other with 48kHz. Is that how it works? Thanks again for sharing your knowledge of this particularly murky corner of the audio world.
     
  11. curtpenn

    curtpenn Member

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    Thanks for posting. I'm working through some of the same confusion right now using a very similar path:

    Tidal HiFi> 1) Schiit Bifrost USB Uber via Macbook Air, or 2) > Apple Express > Schiit Bifrost, then > 2-channel preamp > mono amps > speakers. To further muddy the waters, I'm testing Audivarna + software (which does something - not sure exactly what, lol - said to improve the sample/SQ) on the MB Air > Bifrost, etc. Literally played the Tidal/MQA version of the Doobie Brothers' South City Midnight Lady about 30 times last Friday looking for differences in SQ. Result: iPhone to AE sounded really very good - would be happy/satisfied with this. However, same track via MB Air USB to Schiit was subtly a little better - sibilants (pet peeve) were softened a bit and sound was a bit more "full" for lack of a better term. Not a huge difference. Had to really listen for it, but a pleasant improvement. Lastly, Audivarna's processing added a slight incremental improvement in addition. Again, not huge, but definite. All this said, would be happy with most casual listening via iPhone and AE. So hard to know when good enough is enough.
     
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  12. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

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    Plus AirPlay 2 is out today (Tues 5/29/2018) as part of the IOS 11.4 update, shifting the whole foundation of things once again. Digital audio Whac-A-Mole!
     
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  13. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    But Apple isn't developing any more - the hardware, unless it is a PFGA (which are expensive) - not very upgradable - more like bug fixes, etc.
     
  14. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

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    Since when has Apple stopped development of hardware/firmware/software in all areas of digital processing in response to competitive imperatives, market demand, etc.?
     
  15. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

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    The 2nd gen AE is based on the AR9344 SoC and technically should be able to support up to 32bit/96kHz on the SPDIF output, if Apple really wants it to. Likely just a matter of a firmware update. FPGA has nothing to do with it.
     
  16. kray

    kray HE>i Subscriber

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    FYI - When using Audirvana (I use and and like it a lot), if you are using upsampling (i.e. with Izotope/SoX) use power of 2 to upsample to highest rate your DAC uses.... BUT if you do that you're bypassing the upsampling the DAC does. If you want the DAC to do the entire upsampling then choose "None" as upsample in A+.

    A+ can do a awesome job at upsampling and there's a ton of options to tweak it, but if you have a really good DAC, you're kinda defeating the purpose of paying big moola for it. That said A+ is still awesome as being your music app.

    Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 3.08.48 PM.png
     
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  17. blandis

    blandis AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    AE is my weak link.... check. Am I correct in thinking that I could remove the Topping D30 and go back to my mini to rca plug for the AE and hear the same thing I am now in regards to quality?

    Without starting and all out war.... any decent way to utilize Tidal to its fullest for $200 or under and keep my wi-fi streaming from my iphone?
     
  18. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

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    Hard to say but probably not: https://www.computeraudiophile.com/...-and-Second-Generation-Apple-AirPort-Express/
    Just trust your ears which way sounds better.

    To utilize Tidal to its fullest you need to be able to stream MQA/Masters, the only way to do this for $200 or under is to use the desktop app (PC or Mac) on a PC/Mac you own or buy used out to the D30 via USB, but you lose the convenience of using your phone as a remote. So I suppose the answer to your complete question is a 'No'.

    Edit: to really utilize its fullest you also need an MQA-capable DAC, but that's another can of worms.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  19. kray

    kray HE>i Subscriber

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    Audirvana supports Tidal integration and can playback the 1st fold of MQA. It also has a phone/ipad app to control it remotely
     
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  20. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

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    There you go, turns out there's a way.. .
     

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