Bit Perfect Streaming Recommendations, Please! – Streamers – Audirvana

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If you love great audio, a dedicated music streamer is essential. it may be worth hunting down a Google Chromecast Audio or an Amazon. Does audirvana supports streaming to chromecast audio on full but Plex offers almost the same functionality as Audirvana but for free. I have both a Chromecast Audio and a Chromecast Ultra. And there are features of both roon and Audirvana that make MM5 even less useful.


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Tidal Connect — a similar concept to Spotify Connect — also allows for easy streaming to compatible products from within the native Tidal app, and it’s able to cast Tidal Masters too.

Now for the hi-res small print: playing Tidal Masters through the Tidal desktop app on a computer, via its 3. The only way to entirely unpackage an MQA file for playback and therefore give you the best representation of the file data is by pairing your computer or Apple or Android device with an MQA-compatible DAC, taking the decoding process away from the software Tidal app.

Tidal also offers a growing catalogue of immersive audio tracks via its support of Dolby Atmos Music and Sony Reality Audio. Tidal HiFi subscribers need to connect their Atmos-enabled device to a compatible streamer running the most recently updated Tidal app. Whichever way you approach it, Amazon has gone super aggressive on pricing.

You can access Amazon Music HD through three different avenues: a web browser, the desktop app, or through the Android and iOS mobile apps. We need another hi-res terminology discussion, though. Amazon has decided to refer to and label hi-res music as ‘Ultra HD’.

Presumably it feels that this labelling will prove clearer for a mass audience. And perhaps it’s right. Anyway, the files you’ll get are actually FLACs. Qobuz is the first streaming giant to have dropped MP3 streaming entirely, going all-in on CD-quality and hi-res streaming. In truth, taking a stand is nothing new to Qobuz, a company that tends to do things differently from most of its rivals in the music streaming world.

The French service has been around since the same amount of time as Spotify but it left its home borders only in , when it became the first CD-quality streaming service to hit the UK. Tidal joined the ranks a couple of years later. Qobuz was also the first to offer hi-res streams. Qobuz is now available on lots of devices. There’s a web player as well as desktop Mac and PC and mobile iOS and Android apps, plus integration into a wide range of hi-fi products.

Google Chromecast is a big deal here, as it means adding Qobuz to an existing ‘dumb’ hi-fi is as simple and affordable as adding a Chromecast dongle, and many hi-fi companies are now adding Chromecast support into their streaming components, thereby increasing Qobuz’s availability.

Broadly speaking, most devices that support Tidal also support Qobuz and vice versa, and both services are available only in CD-quality via some streamers.

A major feather in Qobuz’s cap, however, is that it is the first service to make bit hi-res streaming available on Sonos products. Given how long we’ve waited for our favourite multi-room family to adopt hi-res, it’s quite a big deal. Qobuz’s comparatively high price has always been partly justified by its exhaustive library of hi-res music. Recent figures state Qobuz now has over , hi-res quality albums, while Tidal claims ‘only’ more than 1m tracks.

Numbers rarely tell the whole story, but we regularly find hi-res albums on Qobuz that are available in only CD-quality on Tidal. On the flip side, however, we often find albums on Tidal , Spotify , Apple Music and Deezer that aren’t available on Qobuz at all — which we would argue is a far bigger issue And the best bit?

That puts it on a par with Amazon, and much cheaper than Tidal and Qobuz. At launch, the company claimed that 20 million tracks were accessible in the highest quality Hi-Res Lossless format, with the whole catalogue following by the end of Having heard Apple’s Hi-Res Lossless catalogue, we can tell you that there’s plenty to get excited about — unless you just bought a new pair of AirPods. None of them. We don’t blame you. Check out our guide for how to listen to hi-res audio on an iPhone.

Like Amazon and Tidal, Apple Music also now has immersive audio tracks — this time through Apple’s proprietary Dolby Atmos-powered Spatial Audio format, designed to provide “multidimensional sound and clarity”; to deliver surround sound and 3D audio via your headphones. The HomePod also supports Spatial Audio, so you can fill your room with virtual 3D sound from a single device. Another short answer: Deezer, Spotify and YouTube Music are yet to offer or even promise to offer hi-res audio.

We know that Spotify is set to launch its long-awaited and seemingly delayed ‘HiFi’ tier which was promised by the end of but never materialised at some point, but it remains to be seen whether hi-res will be on the menu at launch or whether it will stick to CD quality — and if it will try to undercut the competition. So will Deezer which offers CD-quality or YouTube Music which maxes out at kbps within its paid-for tier ever go hi-res? Alexander Holland, chief content and strategy officer at Deezer, offered some choice words on this last year: “Our goal is to make sure that Deezer brings value to both artists and music fans.

We would never want to stand in the way of that. Ultimately, the delicate balance of budget and device compatibility within your home will determine which service you opt for. Tidal is our current Award winner: it sounds that little bit better than the competition, the user experience is spot on, the catalogue extensive, and the accessibility of hi-res Masters streams on MQA-supporting devices is only growing.

That said, it has yet to react to the latest price war on hi-res streams, bar setting up a free, ad-supported and lesser-quality tier in the US.

Qobuz is now a good shout for Sonos users looking to bring hi-res audio to their homes and it does have the biggest hi-res catalogue. Admirably, it offers users the chance to purchase and download music at a discount for Studio Sublime members , although we’d note the significant holes in its standard CD-quality album offering.

Amazon Music HD has recently positioned itself as one of the cheapest hi-res options, and could well be the service of choice for non-Apple users who want the best sound for the least pound.

The downside is that even if you’re heavily ensconced in Apple’s ecosystem, you’ll still need to invest in third-party products to enjoy lossless and hi-res at their fullest. Got the service? Now read how to choose the right speakers and get the best sound.

Still waiting for Spotify HiFi? Sorry, but Spotify’s CEO doesn’t know when its hi-res streaming tier will launch. Further reading and if you’re struggling to hear the difference the problem with hi-res audio is how you might be listening to it. Becky has been a full-time staff writer at What Hi-Fi? Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in , she freelanced as an arts critic alongside a year career as a professional dancer and aerialist — any love of dance is of course tethered to a love of music.

When not writing, she dances, spins in the air, drinks coffee, watches football or surfs in Cornwall with her other half — a football writer whose talent knows no bounds. Music streaming services are now the main medium through which many of us listen to music. Spotify is set to join that crop later this year with its Spotify HiFi tier, too.

But what about hi-res audio by which we mean above CD quality? The first service to offer hi-res streaming was Qobuz, followed by Tidal and, more recently, Amazon. Our favourite music streaming service , Tidal launched its now-established Tidal Masters hi-res library four years ago, and it uses MQA technology to make it possible. So what is MQA audio? How has it helped hi-res streaming become a reality?

And what other music listening experiences is it behind? MQA claims its tracks use a similar bandwidth to that required for CD-quality streams. You will need compatible hardware, such as a music streamer or portable music player, or software such as the Tidal desktop app, to decode the MQA files. And this is no pie-in-the-sky promise; the hardware is available.

And, now we’re some years into its existence, there’s plenty of it. As for hi-fi kit, MQA compatibility is only going one way — up. If you don’t have any of the above hardware, then you can still play Tidal’s “millions” of Masters tracks through the Tidal desktop, Android and iOS apps, which can decode and play them through your, say, phone or Macbook. However, the only way to entirely unpackage an MQA file for playback, and therefore give you a more accurate representation of the file, is by pairing the app with a MQA-compatible product as listed above that takes the decoding process away from the software the Tidal app.

With major music labels such as Universal , Warner Bros and Sony Music offering music in MQA, we wouldn’t be surprised if more music streaming services got in on the action too. Deezer announced a partnership with MQA back in September , but all has gone quiet on that front since. And if you’re looking to play such purchased files through a PC or laptop, dedicated desktop music player software, such as Audirvana and Roon , also support MQA.

In , MQA channelled this experience into a new format — The Masters Sessions — through a partnership with one of its hardware partners, Bluesound. These sophisticated audio soirees comprise live concerts, streamed in MQA studio quality, to over esteemed audio dealerships around the world, played through each dealer’s Bluesound MQA-enabled audio players. The initiative is still young — only a few sessions have been hosted so far — but there are more to come!

YouTube channel using MQA tech. Rumours have long since suggested Apple is planning to deliver hi-res audio through Apple Music , but we aren’t holding our breath. Instead, we’ve established an effective if not particularly elegant workaround on how to play hi-res music on your iPhone.


Audirvana chromecast audio free.MQA audio: What is it? How can you get it?

Does audirvana supports streaming to chromecast audio on full but Plex offers almost the same functionality as Audirvana but for free. › chromecast-audio-dropouts.

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