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rplace

DAC/Streamers, Streaming, Networked Music Systems

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2 minutes ago, Tarheel said:

Do you think I am losing anything with the wireless connection to the Node from the lap top?

 

Not sonically. You lose a reliable network connection and could possibly inject lag or disconnects during playback - it would manifest like a CD skipping in a portable player.

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36 minutes ago, rplace said:

 

I agree with @pbphoto above. To make the comparison you need to have everything the same except where the digital files are coming from.

 

I'm confused as to why you have the CDP going to the Maverick DAC, unless you find the DAC in the Maverick better than the Jolida. Please don't take offence but trying to make sure we are on the same page. A CD does nothing more than provide a format for getting digital information to the DAC. CD Spins, laser reads it and the info goes to the DAC on the CDP. You could just run CDP to Prima Luna which I' sure you already know. So I can only guess you think/know that Maverick does something better and you like that over the Jolida. Please confirm.

 

As for a more direct comparison I'd take the CD(s) you are trying to compare to Tidal and rip them to FLAC and store them on your computer. Then you can have.....

FLAC on computer>>Node2>>Prima Luna

and

Tidal via computer>>Node2>>Prima Luna

 

If one is better I'd suspect version/mastering of the digital source (Tidal has a different version than your CD). If they are the same then your previous differences lie in the Node DAC vs the CDP/Maverick combo...which they almost 100% have to be different. Bottom line you want everything the same except the digital files (Tidal vs your version) or you want the music files identical and change one component, the DAC.

 

Make sure the volume between the various comparisons are identical or you will most likely prefer the louder one.

Thanks.  Yes I'm keeping source material the same and volume the same.  My Tidal account is set to play the highest quality MQA.  Just playing some Billie Holiday in MQA last night.   The Node has a DAC as does the Maverick and I have no idea which is the better.  Maybe some 6' cables could answer that.  Remember I"m old replace and have never ripped anything to FLAC...wouldn't even know how to😔

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31 minutes ago, Tarheel said:

Thanks.  Yes I'm keeping source material the same and volume the same.  My Tidal account is set to play the highest quality MQA.  Just playing some Billie Holiday in MQA last night.   The Node has a DAC as does the Maverick and I have no idea which is the better.  Maybe some 6' cables could answer that.  Remember I"m old replace and have never ripped anything to FLAC...wouldn't even know how to😔

 

Just my $0.02 but if you are doing MQA from Tidal and comparing it to a 44.1/16 CD I would not expect them to sound the same.

 

If you are trying to figure out what you like better MQA version vs CD version that is fine. If you are trying to figure out if streamed music is the same/different/better/worse than the CD version you need to have the same source music and same equipment.

 

Maybe I misread your original post. What are you trying to accomplish/answer?

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Good advice above.  You are not losing anything sonically because of WIFI itself, but I don't know anything about Bluesound or what it's driver is doing on your laptop, or what app you are using to stream etc.  Lots of things could be changing the sound between the Tidal source and your DAC, with WIFI not being one of them (unless your wifi really sucks but then as thaddeus said, it would be noticeable drop-outs).

 

I got rid of Tidal about 18 months ago after they starting shoving MQA down everyone's throat.  A flac file and an MQA file could have different sounds - even if they are from the same source.  Some people like, some don't.

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4 hours ago, Tarheel said:

The Node has a DAC as does the Maverick and I have no idea which is the better. 

They can decode MQA???

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55 minutes ago, CECAA850 said:

They can decode MQA???

The Node 2i can and is as I type.  That's what I use for streaming.  Now I guess I could try hooking the Node up to the Maverick bypassing the Node DAC and see it it still works.  I'll have to get longer cables for that.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Tarheel said:

The Node 2i can and is as I type.  That's what I use for streaming.  Now I guess I could try hooking the Node up to the Maverick bypassing the Node DAC and see it it still works.  I'll have to get longer cables for that.

 

 

 

Are you sold on MQA and need it no matter what, or are you just kicking the tires? If you are sold on it as better sounding I'd like to know what you are hearing?

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MQA is interesting for streaming service providers because MQA promises a higher resolution than Hi-Res, but requires a much smaller amount of data, i.e. the "traffic costs in the www" are much lower.

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Tidal settings indicate MQA is a step up from HiFi (lossless CD).  I'm looking for the best sound I can wring out of my modest system.  That's it....no other horses in this race.

 

I did an A/B comparison with streaming Amos Lee's "Last Days at The Lodge" CD quality with and actual CD of the same recording.  The actual CD sounded more dynamic and robust.  That's what I hear.  As Dave Mallette says "I can't possibly know what you're hearing."

 

At any rate running the Node through the Maverick may spill the beans.

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3 minutes ago, MicroMara said:

that was in 2017 ...

 

Indeed it was. Has it changed?

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I'm not saying MQA is bad/evil. If you pay for it and like it great. We all know people that think bose equipment is great. Anything that gets you to enjoy music is good I'm my mind.

 

I am suggesting that you might think MQA is by default the "best" therefore I need it if I'm streaming. What does best mean? I believe it is the recording that is recorded and mastered optimally. Be it vinyl, CD, sacd, stone and chisel, MoFi reissue, analog production re mastered from original source, etc.

 

Read the entire link here is an excerpt.

https://us.auralic.com/pages/auralic-vs-drm

>>

MQA was developed prior to 2014, at a time when bandwidth limitations could have made streaming a larger high-resolution file across the internet a difficult and unreliable endeavor. As a consequence, MQA compresses and removes portions of the original file to make it easier to stream across the internet for complete delivery. This reveals MQA to be a solution for a problem that no longer exists, or a dated technology, rendered unnecessary, since bandwidth limitations are no longer an issue.

<<

 

yes you should consider the messenger. I'm skeptical by nature. My gut tells me MQA is about making money (nothing wrong with that) not about a better mousetrap

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Edgar said:

 

Indeed it was. Has it changed?

It´s business ..that´s behind ...MQA is interesting for streaming service providers because MQA promises a higher resolution than Hi-Res, but requires a much smaller amount of data, i.e. the "traffic costs in the www" are much lower.

 

Meanwhile, the streaming service providers mentioned here can be attributed a high acoustic quality. Both lossy and lossless compression methods are now so mature and, thanks to the (compared to the past) high Internet speed, can provide sufficient bandwidth that disturbing artifacts and distortions are rarely or never encountered. Of course, problems are more likely to be encountered with high-end hi-fi components than with cheaper speakers or even compact single speakers. For this clientele, the additional financial outlay for file formats and compression methods that have a higher sampling frequency and bit depth may be worthwhile. The inevitable interference with the original sound characteristics, e.g. of algorithms used for volume normalization, should not be discussed away; there is still some upward potential here.

 

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15 hours ago, Tarheel said:

Tidal settings indicate MQA is a step up from HiFi (lossless CD).  I'm looking for the best sound I can wring out of my modest system.

 

So are  you trying to compare MQA to CD and see for yourself which you like better? Or are you trying to get MQA across the board because Tidal tells you it is better? If you are looking for higher resolution for the sake of HiRez, why? And why not high bit rate DSD/DSF files along with flac files beyond 44/96? MQA by its very design is not Loseless from what I understand. To me that seems like a problem right from the start. I know the MQA debate is a can of worms but I'm curious to know more about it.

 

I'm really curious about this since I live in a remote area without the ability to stream things like NetFlix, Amazon, Hulu, Tidal, Qobuz. Thus I have zero experience with MQA beyond what I've read. Seems like there are two camps. 

  • Camp 1 I love it and can't explain why other than it is HiRez 
  • Camp 2 It is the worst thing ever invented by mankind and here are the 10,000 technical reasons why

 

I'd love to hear from some reasonable Klipsch types that don't jump on every bandwagon just because, and have a knack for separating the chaff from the wheat. I'd also like to hear from some MQA early adopters and how it compares to various formats already in their digital libraries.

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16 minutes ago, rplace said:

 

So are  you trying to compare MQA to CD and see for yourself which you like better? Or are you trying to get MQA across the board because Tidal tells you it is better? If you are looking for higher resolution for the sake of HiRez, why? And why not high bit rate DSD/DSF files along with flac files beyond 44/96? MQA by its very design is not Loseless from what I understand. To me that seems like a problem right from the start. I know the MQA debate is a can of worms but I'm curious to know more about it.

 

I'm really curious about this since I live in a remote area without the ability to stream things like NetFlix, Amazon, Hulu, Tidal, Qobuz. Thus I have zero experience with MQA beyond what I've read. Seems like there are two camps. 

  • Camp 1 I love it and can't explain why other than it is HiRez 
  • Camp 2 It is the worst thing ever invented by mankind and here are the 10,000 technical reasons why

 

I'd love to hear from some reasonable Klipsch types that don't jump on every bandwagon just because, and have a knack for separating the chaff from the wheat. I'd also like to hear from some MQA early adopters and how it compares to various formats already in their digital libraries.

Go back to my original post.  MQA was never mentioned and was not the subject of my inquiry.  I was discussing why actual CDs played on a tubed Jolida JD100 sound more sonically pleasing (to me) than streamed CD quality Tidal (or Spotify) offerings.  Each is going through a separate DAC which may explain some of the difference though I doubt that is the only reason. One source is wireless though other posters have said that is not likely the problem.  Again, both play through the same speakers and integrated amp.

 

As to your 2 camps I guess I fit better in camp 1 but certainly have an open mind if someone can convince me that I'm wasting money choosing Tidal Premium and their MQA offerings.  But streaming is just one way I listen to music. I listen to vinyl and CDs for more critical listening and even admit to liking CD compilations recorded on my R2R! 

Old ears you know.😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps someone with experience doing that will contribute. 

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16 hours ago, Edgar said:

 

Indeed it was. Has it changed?

Yes, it's gotten worse.

 

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36 minutes ago, Tarheel said:

Go back to my original post.  MQA was never mentioned and was not the subject of my inquiry. 

 

Right I thought we had two things going on here. #1 You heard a difference between CDP/Mavrick and Tidal. #2 You were under the impression that MQA was a "step up". I was curious as to if you were taking them at your word or if you found that to be the case.

 

I think we all agree #1 is the much different signal path and possibly different source material for the music...though I don't know if you have original CDs and remastered Tidal versions.

 

My understanding is that on Tidal you should currently have access to multiple versions of albums. Have your tried different versions of an album on the same Tidal/PC/Node or just picking the default they give you? If you just want the music to tap your toes I get that too....its the whole point, right? I think we often get derailed by getting the best version of an album or the best sound from our system and forget get what it is all about; the music. I know I am often guilty of that. I'm also guilty of the hunt sometimes better than the kill.

 

I've also seen a lot of bitching over at the Roon forums that Tidal is now making a lot of albums MQA only. That seems the really piss off the people in camp #2. To me that seems like an ulterior motive $$$ (but what do I know). If you have licensed from the artist, say, 5 version of Bob Marley's Legend. Why would you pull 4 of them away from users and do MQA only? For those that can't do MQA or don't want to they have to default back to a PCM conversion from MQA. Which I think can be argued is worse than just streaming the CD quality version. I don't know Tidal's business strategy but they were to go MQA only there would have to be a reason...and to me that seems like what I posed in the link above about DRM, licensing and ultimately money. Tidal should not care (my opinion not fact) about the bandwidth. They are on the giving end not the receiving end...and most people that don't live in the 3rd world like me have a huge data coming into their house. Now they might choose to pinch that pipe by using WiFi but that is on them. Seems like most of us are fine snaking wires through our walls for the ultimate 7.2 home theater. I'd think the same about a couple of Cat-5 cables.

 

Hope I don't come off as an MQA hater, I've never heard it so don't have an opinion. Trying to see what others think that I typically find to be reasonable abut these types of things (klipsch people are pretty quick to toss the BS flag). To me it just seems like a solution to a problem that does not exist. Just my opinion from what I have read but to me it seems like all the MQA lovers (camp 1 above) are young, actually discovering quality music for the first time and all the MQA haters (camp 2) are old farts. On the digital side all the old farts seem to hate audio file grade switches, fancy ethernet cables, fancy USB cables, etc. The fan boys seem to want to have their money taken from them via snake oil (poking fun a bit) then defend it to their death. "If you can't hear the difference with MQA, $500 ethernet cables,  expensive switches, etc. its because your system is not revealing enough".

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I have played tidal mqa files and side by side cd quality files and I can’t hear the difference.  Therefore I didn’t require an mqa enabled DAC when I was DAC shopping.

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