Tidal or Competitor Without a Computer (like Spotify)

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#1
I like the idea that I can direct the output of Spotify into a line input on my line stage preamp and have universal music searching with one application and one device.

Is there something that operates like Spotify but which outputs much higher audio quality?
 
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Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
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UK
#2
I like the idea that I can direct the output of Spotify into a line input on my line stage preamp and have universal music searching with one application and one device.

Is there something that operates like Spotify but which outputs much higher audio quality?
Tidal with the full subscription
 

asiufy

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Jul 8, 2011
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#4
There is absolutely no reason to stick with Spotify, when Tidal and Qobuz have pretty much the same catalog, with much better quality.
Both have decent apps for phones and computers, and will output high-res directly off the phone or tablet as well.
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
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#5
Hi Ron

While I use Aurenders which have Tidal connectivity, An option for you could be Astel & Kern portable media players. They have options including balanced connectivity to your pre and you can stream Tidal and/or Qobuzz. Take it off the optional dock and you can use it in your cars or on trips abroad. The higher models have very decent internal DACs especially when compared to mass market devices.. They do err in the direction of smoothness/sweetness but do not have the body and punch of DACs with robust output stages but will do away of a lot of the grunge you'd get from an iOS or most Android devices.

Just wanted to throw that in there as an almost all in one option other than computers, tablets and phones.

Jack
 
Apr 24, 2016
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#6
Definitely take a look at Qobuz.
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#7
Qobuz looks very interesting! So you download the Qobuz app on an iPhone, connect to wi-fi, connect the iPhone headphone jack to a line-level pre-amp input, and, with the Qobuz hi-res subscription, out comes true 24/192 into the stereo?
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#8
Qobuz looks very interesting! So you download the Qobuz app on an iPhone, connect to wi-fi, connect the iPhone headphone jack to a line-level pre-amp input, and, with the Qobuz hi-res subscription, out comes true 24/192 into the stereo?
streaming 101.

it's digital streaming, not analog. which means it is delivered as a digital stream of information and requires some sort of computer to input it into a dac by some sort of method.

your phone can be that computer, and that dac, and even the amplifier, just add headphones.

or........your phone, or other mobile device, could feed a preamp and play through speakers.

or.......you could input it into a laptop, which would feed a dac, which would feed a preamp, and then an amp and speakers.

some home theater receivers or processors, or even blue ray disc players, are end points for streaming services and have dacs and can be used to power amps and speakers.

but however you cut it, you need to have an end point (processor) for the digital stream to then input into a dac to start the process.
 
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Ron Resnick

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#9
Thank you, Mike!

So how would I get the digital signal into an MSB DAC?

If I have the Qobuz app on a laptop (instead of an iPhone) how do I output a digital signal from the laptop to the MSB DAC? Will the Qobuz app direct a digital signal to a USB port? And then I plug a USB cable into a digital input on an MSB DAC?

And the analog output of the MSB DAC then goes into a line-level input on the line-stage preamp, I assume?
 
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Folsom

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Oct 26, 2015
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#10
You need a computer-ish-thing and then a tablet. You can use phone... tablet is nicer. There’s no shortage of different devices to do all of this...

You’ve just opened another momumental can of worms/maze to navigate!

Personally I would avoid server type stuff that claims huge SQ differences. It’s more work to get the sound you want, but it’s impossible to land at perfection starting with a highly bastersized start. IMO the numbers, objective stats, are a good way to go until you get to the DAC. Once you get there, make it what you want with all the parts you enjoy. Maybe you’ll want a NOS DAC, ladder DAC, PCM to DSD/DSD... so many options.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#11
Thank you, Mike!

So how would I get the digital signal into an MSB DAC?
the digital stream needs a processor/computer/server/laptop of some sort to receive the stream and then send it to the MSB DAC. for Roon it's called a 'Roon Core' which needs to reside somewhere as the end point for the stream, which is then sent to the dac by USB or possibly Ethernet. in my situation i have it set up to be able to choose both USB or Ethernet and compare how they sound, i even have another method where i can control my music on my NAS, feed the dac directly, and bypass my server and Roon.

and these are just the choices i know about, and i'm no expert.

If I have the Qobuz app on a laptop (instead of an iPhone) how do I output a digital signal from the laptop to the MSB DAC? Will the Qobuz app direct a digital signal to a USB port? And then I plug a USB cable into a digital input on an MSB DAC?
you got it. you choose which interface you prefer to send the converted dac ready digital to the dac. there are a number of them all of which are good, some better 'depending'.

And the analog output of the MSB DAC then goes into a line-level input on the line-stage preamp, I assume?
exactly.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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#12
Folsom, if I can’t keep this simple, I am not interested. I am open to attaching to the big stereo a high sound quality version of Spotify. Qobuz seems to be exactly that.

Thank you, Mike. I think I understand. If I wanted to keep it simple I could connect a USB or ethernet cable from a laptop to the MSB DAC, and achieve hi-res streaming. I appreciate that one can outboard every component and step in the chain for a higher sound quality result.

I think it would be nice to have some digital streaming capability — for convenience for me and for flexibility for visitors.
 
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Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#13
Can I avoid the laptop? Can a processor be the “control center” somehow to receive directly the Qobuz digital stream, I connect the processor directly to the MSB DAC to feed the digital signal to the MSB DAC, and will the processor also accept track selection and steaming control from an iPad (which I guess is connected to the processor over wi-fi)?
 

Folsom

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Oct 26, 2015
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#14
An easy solution for you might be a Mac Mini with an upgraded power supply, and an iPad. Mike and others know a lot more about different servers. And yes the control can be done over Wi-fi, but I would stream from a standard network cable (which have been proven to have virtually no noise/jitter themselves, despite all the fancy ones being sold claiming otherwise).

Personally every time I've used the Tidal interface I prefer it. It has good search functions and it's easy to see things you've played, and playlists. I do not like the PSaudio interface, but their new servers are suppose to work with other stuff.
 
Jan 29, 2012
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#15
There is absolutely no reason to stick with Spotify, when Tidal and Qobuz have pretty much the same catalog, with much better quality.
Both have decent apps for phones and computers, and will output high-res directly off the phone or tablet as well.
I have an old PS Audio DAC Digital Link III. Can I just run a USB from my iPhone to this unit? I've just been out of the digital game so long.....
 

asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
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#16
Can I avoid the laptop? Can a processor be the “control center” somehow to receive directly the Qobuz digital stream, I connect the processor directly to the MSB DAC to feed the digital signal to the MSB DAC, and will the processor also accept track selection and steaming control from an iPad (which I guess is connected to the processor over wi-fi)?
Yes, Ron. This "processor", that replaces a laptop, is a music server! Our choice is the Innuos line, but there are many others out there. That's how Keith uses his MSB, but he uses Tidal (+ local hi-res files).
The server is hooked up to the Internet, and thus receives the Qobuz data (via Roon, that's built into the server), and outputs to the MSB DAC, via network as well, or via USB (the Innuos can output both).
The iPad will control Roon (that's installed in the music server), and instruct what gets sent to the DAC.
Since you're in that stage of things, I highly recommend you run Ethernet cabling to the general vicinity of your rack (where the source equipment will be).
This sounds much complicated than it really is. If the Ethernet cabling is ready, this will take all of 15 minutes to set up. Easier than setting up a new cartridge :p
 

Number9

Active Member
Oct 15, 2018
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#17
Ron, certainly if you are planning on getting any new model MSB DAC, even if it somehow magically falls out of the sky and onto your lap, you owe it to everyone on this forum to get a decent Server. Spend a couple of grand and plug in the little cables that come included in the box and press play on your ipad. Oh, don’t forget to change the input on your preamp.
 
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Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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#18
Thank you, Alex.

I definitely do not want Roon. The information on Qobuz will be plenty for me.

Does the MSB Renderer module allow one to feed Qobuz directly to the MSB DAC without using a laptop or a music server?

Out with Spotify and in with Qobuz (for the big stereo). I am totally done on Qobuz — it seems great!
 

asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
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#19
Ron,

Here's just a sampling of what's available, one of your favorite pieces... 150 performances in Qobuz, 232 in Tidal!

Screen Shot 2019-03-12 at 10.33.05 PM.jpg
 

sfoclt

New Member
Mar 13, 2018
11
3
3
#20
Folsom, if I can’t keep this simple, I am not interested.
Here is the simplest way to try it out (for about $50 total):

1. Buy a Chromecast Audio (CCA). They're discontinued but available at certain places:
https://www.mobilefun.com/google-chromecast-audio-black-70476

2. Buy an optical out cable for the CCA. The CCA has a port that delivers both an analog out and an optical out. You'll skip using the analog out in favor of getting the digital out via the optical cable. Unfortunately the CCA only does optical out so useless for you if you don't have optical in on your DAC or a converter. You can always use the analog out but a good separate DAC will obviously be much better.
https://store.google.com/us/product/optical_cable_chromecast_audio?hl=en-US

3. Open up Qobuz (or Tidal) on your iPhone and cast to the CCA.
 
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