Streamer or Universal Player recommendations needed.

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by eljr, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. jayjayjayjay

    jayjayjayjay AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Here is Tidal on my Android box application as per earlier explained. Sound is 70-80% of a CD at best.

    IMG_0311.JPG IMG_0306.JPG
     
  2. Johnny 007

    Johnny 007 Active Member

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    If you think there's that much of a difference between what you're hearing from Tidal and what you're hearing from a CD, then I think something is not quite right. Although I haven't done any detailed comparisons between streamed Tidal music and CDs (I also have SACD discs), I'm pretty sure that if you blindfolded me and ran a comparison, I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference, and that's without MQA at all.

    Maybe in a while I'll run a test. I have some SACDs that are also available on Tidal, so I'll see if I can tell the difference.
     
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  3. Johnny 007

    Johnny 007 Active Member

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    OK, I just listened to Norah Jones on Tidal and on SACD through a Marantz SA8005 and then into my Bryston DAC, preamp, and power amp and then to Magnepan 1.7s. The SACD sounds a little bit better, but not by much, and even that might be my imagination. Later, I'll try one of the other systems I have set up, temporarily, with the same music. Tidal on MacBook Air with MQA to Parasound Halo P5 via USB, to an Emotiva XPA 2 Gen 2 to some B&W Nautilus 805s. I played around with that yesterday a bit and it sounded good, but the equipment is different.
     
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  4. jayjayjayjay

    jayjayjayjay AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hi Johnny,
    It is quite a stark difference for me. I have an old Sansui AU-alpha777DG direct out of Japan. It has he sweetest of sounds. It is old school but I am obsessed with the warmth and sound stage. I usually play CD's embarrassingly on a Pioneer DV-667A. I bought it 10 years ago for Blue Ray discs, but it has an astounding SACD reading ability. SACD recordings are rich, deep and you feel like your the conductor! I have tried other CD players but keep coming back to the 667A.

    Now the quality of sound I am getting out of Tidal is good. Don't get me wrong, however, at the moment it is quite clearly:

    100% for SACD
    93-4% for CD's
    70-80% for Tidal. It is very clear, not minor, night and day.

    The other issue is I have to put the volume about 15% higher on the amp for Tidal compared to CD/SACD. I am not sure what that is indicative off?

    I do not know if there TV is trying to convert the digital signal (acting as DAC) and send it via Optical TOSLINK to the amp or not. I would assume that is impossible because the signal should still be digital to go over the Optical TOSKLINK. Well that's what I assume logically, but then weirder things have surprised me. I would hope the internal amp DAC is doing the work, but I do not know how to determine this.
     
  5. Johnny 007

    Johnny 007 Active Member

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    I noticed the volume difference between the Tidal/Lightnng (Auralic app) output and the SACD output, but that just takes a small adjustment when you're making comparisons.

    As for which of your DACs is doing the process? Maybe you could start the thing up with the TV in the mix and then change the cord to go directly into the amp? And of course, I think Toslink has it's limits, compared to what you could achieve via a USB connection. I forget the exact limit of the Toslink, though.
     
  6. KevinCorr

    KevinCorr AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I just returned from Thailand and plan to move there permanently in a few years. I saw a big row of hifi stores in the Fortune Mall in Bangkok. that is near the MRT subway exit Thai Cultural Center. That is the most high end gear I have seen in one area in my life. I would like to get more into digital but have to go offline right now. I have considered the Bluesound Vault2. I have a lot of speakers and amps so it does not seem practical to not loose my shirt on them to get new gear. I hope to keep the best of my 5 hifi systems and add digital. I have thought about Auralic, Naim, Bluesound, meridian etc.
     
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  7. Johnny 007

    Johnny 007 Active Member

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    Anyone planning a move to Thailand should at last give some thought to the electrical system difference between there and the USA. Over there, they use a different voltage, so you'll need equipment that can be switched or a converter. I'm not sure if that usually works out OK. Of course, some of the equipment you might have can be used with no problem. For example, I can charge up my laptop, no problem, and an Apple Airport Express seems to work fine.

    If I go back, I'll probably leave my stereo stuff here, in storage. It's not cheap to ship things halfway around the world, and then you'd still have to deal with Thai customs.
     
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  8. eljr

    eljr Koyaanisqatsi at 80 Subscriber

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    interesting, do you have measurements or is this subjective?
     
  9. jayjayjayjay

    jayjayjayjay AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Subjective of course. I don't need to have equipment to tell me that the quality of sound from one source compare to another on my own system are significantly different. I however do not blame Tidal for this, I know it is in my equipment as I do not have a dedicated DAC or a DAC of this century for that matter.

    Playing CD's direct DSD or SACD is what quality I would like to achieve. I am continuing to work towards that goal. I recently missed out on a MSB Analog DAC second hand that has MQA conversion to suit the Tidal streaming, but I will continue the search. Maybe a Brooklyn from MyTech or another might find it's way to me soon. In the mean time I think I might grab Meridians smaller DAC to kick the process off.
     
  10. eljr

    eljr Koyaanisqatsi at 80 Subscriber

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    not sure why you say of course

    if something is defective I suppose.

    Or if one is a record you could identify the cracks, on tape the hiss... or in your case, maybe you are using a noisy computer's DAC?

    other than that, the comparing of two different digital sources would be extremely hard to distinguish

    I know I can't. Heck, I can't distinguish between SACD and MP3.

    (it's amazing how most no one can)


    Good luck in your search for direct DSD or SACD, to you, quality from Tidal streaming, I am sure the Dac you settle on will.:beerchug:

    thanks for the reply
     
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  11. SoNic67

    SoNic67 Well-Known Member

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    I didn't have time to read the whole thread. For what is worth, Tidal Premium ($9.99/mo) is not looseless, and with good equipment and training you can surely tell the difference between lossy 320kbps and CD.
    Tidal HiFi ($19.99/mo) is looseless, and the FLAC files should sound the same as the CD's, unless they are modifying them somehow before streaming (processing).
     
  12. eljr

    eljr Koyaanisqatsi at 80 Subscriber

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  13. 2broke4this

    2broke4this AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Okay, I just finished reading through this thread... and a couple things came to mind.

    The first is that unless I'm just not looking hard enough on my FireStick, there's no Tidal app (I looked last night). It's a great gadget (I've got two, a first gen and a second gen) that's wonderfully portable (really nice to take along on trips and use at the hotel). There's a Spotify app, and maybe you could sideload Tidal, but it's not on the Amazon app store. I'd be ecstatic if someone has contrary info, because I'd love to add Tidal to both of the sticks!

    For those of you that mentioned trying out one of the Bluesound gizmos, I'm listening to an MQA stream off Tidal through my first generation Bluesound Node, and it sounds pretty wonderful to me. I won't lie to you and tell you that I've done extensive A/B testing or that I could tell you if the stream is MQA or not without looking at the app, but I'm still darn happy. I was content with the sound I was getting before they added the "Masters" section, and this is just a fun bonus. I don't have an extensive CD collection (I've got way more records than I have CDs) to make real comparisons, but if you stumble across a good deal on any model of the Bluesound gear, I'd say it's worth a whirl!

    I have a computer in the guest room upstairs hooked up over HDMI into the receiver, and the software-decoded MQA sounds pretty darn decent that way, too. If you have a reasonably recent (definitely doesn't have to be super new, none of mine are) computer lying around, that may be your best bet if you NEED something that covers everything. They also don't HAVE to be ugly boxes, you can get a case that fits in nicely in your A/V rack for not all that much money. I'm frequently asked where the computer is.

    Anyway, that's enough rambling from me for now!
     
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