• To directly access the forum, ensure your bookmark url includes /forum.

Tidal HiFi vs ripped CDs

simon g

Senior Wammer
Wammer Plus
Sep 11, 2006
2,484
1,253
193
Lincolnshire Coast
AKA
Simon
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
None of my DACs are MQA. I am comparing like for like. 
Careful here. If you're using Lightning app then Auralic does do a version of MQA unfold, essentially to the first unfold. You may well be selecting an MQA album without realising it at 24/96.
 

The issue of not knowing which mastering version of the album Tidal is using is problematic, as there's no way of telling.

Using the internal SSD and Lightning server does not produce as good  a result as using UPNP on an external server, IME.

Per my other response in your amp thread; perhaps consider an Aries G1, with external server and separate DAC?

 

DomT

Food and coffee and rock n roll
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
7,502
5,220
183
Nottingham
AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Careful here. If you're using Lightning app then Auralic does do a version of MQA unfold, essentially to the first unfold. You may well be selecting an MQA album without realising it at 24/96.
 

The issue of not knowing which mastering version of the album Tidal is using is problematic, as there's no way of telling.

Using the internal SSD and Lightning server does not produce as good  a result as using UPNP on an external server, IME.

Per my other response in your amp thread; perhaps consider an Aries G1, with external server and separate DAC?
Simon perhaps I am miss understanding something. Are you saying that MQA albums do not have the M symbol and therefore any album without an M could well be MQA?

 

simon g

Senior Wammer
Wammer Plus
Sep 11, 2006
2,484
1,253
193
Lincolnshire Coast
AKA
Simon
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I'm not sure if all MQA albums are tagged correctly or not. I'm also not sure about the 'M' bit. In the Auralic app (on my iPad) MQA have a MQA tag in a blue rectangle with each album

I was merely clarifying that even though you don't have an MAQ DAC then don't assume that you're not listening to MQA, as Auralic has a kind of MQA unfold in their app. I use an Aries G1 in to an Accuphase DAC50. When playing an MQA album the sampling rate changes to 96kHz (this is visible in display). The DAC50 is not an MQA DAC.

On your wider point; I've found taking time to optimise my streaming/network playing front end has led to very noticeable improvements to SQ (using same DAC), especially so viz a viz Tidal. It's now much closer to locally stored files (UPNP to my Naim Uniti Core). Local files still just about have the edge, but it's now at a point where the differences are marginal and not really relevant. Comparisons were made on local copies where mix and mastering were the same as the Tidal version, so far as I can tell. But Tidal don't tell you which version they're using so impossible to be absolutely sure. Tidal tends to use the most recent remix, etc., version

Also, if you weren't already aware, the streaming card in the Aries is the G2, rather than the G1 in the Altair. The G2 has more flexibility and performance and is demonstrably a 'better' streaming 'card' to the G1. 

Given the care you took over amp choice, I would strongly recommend looking at your source. I was frankly amazed about how much difference it made in my system (my speakers are very revealing, but not bright and are capable of producing astonishing results).

 

DomT

Food and coffee and rock n roll
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
7,502
5,220
183
Nottingham
AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I'm not sure if all MQA albums are tagged correctly or not. I'm also not sure about the 'M' bit. In the Auralic app (on my iPad) MQA have a MQA tag in a blue rectangle with each album

I was merely clarifying that even though you don't have an MAQ DAC then don't assume that you're not listening to MQA, as Auralic has a kind of MQA unfold in their app. I use an Aries G1 in to an Accuphase DAC50. When playing an MQA album the sampling rate changes to 96kHz (this is visible in display). The DAC50 is not an MQA DAC.

On your wider point; I've found taking time to optimise my streaming/network playing front end has led to very noticeable improvements to SQ (using same DAC), especially so viz a viz Tidal. It's now much closer to locally stored files (UPNP to my Naim Uniti Core). Local files still just about have the edge, but it's now at a point where the differences are marginal and not really relevant. Comparisons were made on local copies where mix and mastering were the same as the Tidal version, so far as I can tell. But Tidal don't tell you which version they're using so impossible to be absolutely sure. Tidal tends to use the most recent remix, etc., version

Also, if you weren't already aware, the streaming card in the Aries is the G2, rather than the G1 in the Altair. The G2 has more flexibility and performance and is demonstrably a 'better' streaming 'card' to the G1. 

Given the care you took over amp choice, I would strongly recommend looking at your source. I was frankly amazed about how much difference it made in my system (my speakers are very revealing, but not bright and are capable of producing astonishing results).
Thanks for the comprehensive answer. Just to be clear about the differences that you heard between ripped CDs and Tidal. Are you saying that the ripped CDs or Tidal had more detail? Was a ripped CD or Tidal smoother. This may vary from album to album but there should be a general theme.

I bought the Altair G1 as my first step into streaming. A key reason was because it had an internal hard drive for ripped CDs or LPs. If there is something that I don’t like about musical reproduction using the internal SSD then if I were to make any change in the future this is a very big consideration given that most streamers do not have a built in hard drive.

 

DomT

Food and coffee and rock n roll
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
7,502
5,220
183
Nottingham
AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
And I have done a quick test and the albums are being played back at 44.1 not 96. 

 

simon g

Senior Wammer
Wammer Plus
Sep 11, 2006
2,484
1,253
193
Lincolnshire Coast
AKA
Simon
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Describing sound is always problematic! 'Detail' is often conflated with 'high end emphasis'. I like to consider the intelligibility of the musical presentation. How easy is it to differentiate the individual components and how well are these integrated in to the whole. Can I hear and fully appreciate the differences in tone, decay and 'detail'? Detail being often the small things in the mix that are often unheard in many systems, but which contribute greatly to the overall involvement in the performance.. Instrument placement and separation are also important, particularly when there's a lot going  in fairly energetic music (see The Stix by Jaga Jazzist, as merely one example); in these circumstances many systems just conflate all the sounds in to a bit of a mess, rather than allowing all the components to remain being heard as individual contributions, but all adding up to a homogeneous whole.

But back toy our question. Local files tend to offer greater 'intelligibility' than Tidal, but the difference is now very small. Before concentrating on my streaming/playing front end, local files were easily preferred over Tidal. Now not so much. The improvement to Tidal streaming was the main impact of using an EE8 switch (ooh, controversial!), but that's another story for another day.

 

DomT

Food and coffee and rock n roll
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
7,502
5,220
183
Nottingham
AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Describing sound is always problematic! 'Detail' is often conflated with 'high end emphasis'. I like to consider the intelligibility of the musical presentation. How easy is it to differentiate the individual components and how well are these integrated in to the whole. Can I hear and fully appreciate the differences in tone, decay and 'detail'? Detail being often the small things in the mix that are often unheard in many systems, but which contribute greatly to the overall involvement in the performance.. Instrument placement and separation are also important, particularly when there's a lot going  in fairly energetic music (see The Stix by Jaga Jazzist, as merely one example); in these circumstances many systems just conflate all the sounds in to a bit of a mess, rather than allowing all the components to remain being heard as individual contributions, but all adding up to a homogeneous whole.

But back toy our question. Local files tend to offer greater 'intelligibility' than Tidal, but the difference is now very small. Before concentrating on my streaming/playing front end, local files were easily preferred over Tidal. Now not so much. The improvement to Tidal streaming was the main impact of using an EE8 switch (ooh, controversial!), but that's another story for another day.
Simon I really appreciate the detailed response once again.  My rips are more detailed than Tidal and this is taking things a little over the edge in the current system chain.  What I don't know and maybe no body can tell me if it's because I have just tipped the balance on detail or if there is another reason.  It's useful to benchmark findings with others and I am very grateful to those who have helped.

I will not give up then on ripping CDs and will give some consideration to the front end.  The Altair G1 has clarity but is a little bit lean. An example slap bass in in my system has a real snap to it but tone is not fleshed out compared to vinyl.  Vinyl has the tone and some snap but not as much snap as the Altair G1. I did compare the Altair G1 to an Aries streamer with QuTest day and did a write up on here.  The Aries/Qutest was 'better' but the additional cost was not worth it as someone doing streaming for the first time (and the Aries did have the internal SSD).  I suspect that if I make any change to the main system then I will pu in the Aries Mini/Luxman combo for a month and see how I feel about that before spending any money on the front end.

 

Bokke

Well-Known Wammer
Wammer
Aug 18, 2018
1,392
890
148
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Using my laptop into Hegel 360 and also using benchmark Dac 3 into active speakers I found the ripped CDs sound better to me against Tidal. This was some years ago and I can't say for sure if the difference I perceive was in my head.

Either way both were good.

 

zee9

Audio Junkie
Wammer
Oct 16, 2018
1,298
680
148
New Jersey, USA
AKA
Zorawar
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Hello Zee good to hear from you. You very kindly did a telephone call with me several months ago to help me with this. The rips are fine.
Do you notice any difference between your ripped files and Tidal? Is one smoother or more detailed that the other?
Thanks
Of course. Looks like I’m getting old or forgetting handle names on the forum. I don’t use Tidal. I did try against QoBuz and found the CDs a tad bit cleaner to my liking


mdsm/3 >> Akurate 4200/3200/3200 >> Aktiv Akurate 242 (mark 1) Silvers/K400
 
  • Like
Reactions: DomT

Ron Hilditch

Well-Known Wammer
Wammer
Aug 11, 2017
2,170
897
0
Suffolk
AKA
Ron Hilditch
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I tried Tidal and CD tracks ( not rips ), from my esoteric as dac and CD player. And I couldn't make out an iota of difference even sighted. But yes, many of my fav tracks on Tidal are poor master rips. But if the Tidal master copy is as good as the CD copy I have, then Iam pretty convinced that they will sound the same.

In fact, I will be selling my CD player these vacations, before the lens or the mechanism gives up the ghost and makes it a very expensive door stop .
Doing the same, my CD Player is boxed and ready for sale.  Ripped all of my CDs on to my Apple MacBook Pro.  Play them back using Media Centre 19, using the DOP format.  Considering upgrading to the latest version of Media Centre.  Does anyone have any info on the latest version? My DAC can handle inputs of up to 11.2 MHz.  Both the CD Player and the RIPS sound great.  One advantage of using the MacBook Pro, is its ability to sort out playlists.  Listen to many tracks I'd forgotten about and enjoy once again.  So maybe as much about convenience as anything else. 

 
  • Like
Reactions: newlash09

newlash09

newlash09
Wammer
Aug 10, 2018
2,891
2,492
148
India
AKA
Y.Manohar
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Doing the same, my CD Player is boxed and ready for sale.  Ripped all of my CDs on to my Apple MacBook Pro.  Play them back using Media Centre 19, using the DOP format.  Considering upgrading to the latest version of Media Centre.  Does anyone have any info on the latest version? My DAC can handle inputs of up to 11.2 MHz.  Both the CD Player and the RIPS sound great.  One advantage of using the MacBook Pro, is its ability to sort out playlists.  Listen to many tracks I'd forgotten about and enjoy once again.  So maybe as much about convenience as anything else. 
A lot of my friends running mac streaming setups, swear by audirvana. To their ears it sounds better than the Jriver or roon. And the cost of life time subscription is very reasonable. Plus we get a remote for the phones and tabs to control payback from ripped files and Tidal is also fully integrated. So please give it a spin and see sir  ..I think they offer a free trail of 2 weeks if Iam not wrong 

 

DomT

Food and coffee and rock n roll
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
7,502
5,220
183
Nottingham
AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
A lot of my friends running mac streaming setups, swear by audirvana. To their ears it sounds better than the Jriver or roon. And the cost of life time subscription is very reasonable. Plus we get a remote for the phones and tabs to control payback from ripped files and Tidal is also fully integrated. So please give it a spin and see sir  ..I think they offer a free trail of 2 weeks if Iam not wrong 
Agree about Audirvana.  I paid €100. Sounds great and better than just using a Mac.

 

MartinC

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 29, 2005
8,797
4,989
158
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Agree about Audirvana.  I paid €100. Sounds great and better than just using a Mac.
I think this gives you a route to some EQ options? Have you experimented with this at all if it does?

 

Ron Hilditch

Well-Known Wammer
Wammer
Aug 11, 2017
2,170
897
0
Suffolk
AKA
Ron Hilditch
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
A lot of my friends running mac streaming setups, swear by audirvana. To their ears it sounds better than the Jriver or roon. And the cost of life time subscription is very reasonable. Plus we get a remote for the phones and tabs to control payback from ripped files and Tidal is also fully integrated. So please give it a spin and see sir  ..I think they offer a free trail of 2 weeks if Iam not wrong 
Thanks for the advice.  Will have a look at Audirvana.  Had Media Centre on my old PC and the interface using a PC was much better that on the Mac.  With the PC had the option of having genre playlists, don't on the Mac.  Like all types of music, but Schubert can sound a little left field after listening to a Hendrix track.  

 
  • Like
Reactions: newlash09

DomT

Food and coffee and rock n roll
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
7,502
5,220
183
Nottingham
AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I think this gives you a route to some EQ options? Have you experimented with this at all if it does?
Audirvana is on the laptop and phone and I really only use it to stream to my Roberts radio in the kitchen.  In the lounge I use Auralic that has some room settings but I am no expert at this and so have not experimented yet but thanks for the reminder.  It never occurred to me to try to use Audirvana with the Auralic in the lounge; will investigate that as well. Thanks

 
  • Like
Reactions: MartinC

Ron Hilditch

Well-Known Wammer
Wammer
Aug 11, 2017
2,170
897
0
Suffolk
AKA
Ron Hilditch
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Just read a review on Audirvana and the reviewer was uding a Denon DCD-2500NE.  THE CD player now boxed and going on sale.  So a pertinent comparison and review.

 
  • Upvote
  • Like
Reactions: DomT and newlash09

Heckyman

Wammer
Wammer
Oct 15, 2011
384
137
73
West Yorks
AKA
Andrew
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
A review here questions the internal SSD:
https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/reviews/review-auralic-altair-g1-digital-audio-streamer-r897/
Based on my conversations with the Auralic team, I also suggest using a low powered spinning 2.5 inch HDD as the internal drive. On the surface it may seem like solid state drives are best because there are no moving parts, but the added electrical noise generated by SSDs due to their advanced features and increasing commoditization may hurt performance when placed inside a delicate audio component such as the Altair G1. 

 
  • Like
Reactions: DomT

Ron Hilditch

Well-Known Wammer
Wammer
Aug 11, 2017
2,170
897
0
Suffolk
AKA
Ron Hilditch
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
A review here questions the internal SSD:
https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/reviews/review-auralic-altair-g1-digital-audio-streamer-r897/
Based on my conversations with the Auralic team, I also suggest using a low powered spinning 2.5 inch HDD as the internal drive. On the surface it may seem like solid state drives are best because there are no moving parts, but the added electrical noise generated by SSDs due to their advanced features and increasing commoditization may hurt performance when placed inside a delicate audio component such as the Altair G1. 
Thanks once again.  My MAC has a HDD rather than an SSD.  Soshould work pretty well.  Went onto the Audirvana website and can get a month's free trial from the App Store.

 

DomT

Food and coffee and rock n roll
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
7,502
5,220
183
Nottingham
AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
A review here questions the internal SSD:
https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/reviews/review-auralic-altair-g1-digital-audio-streamer-r897/
Based on my conversations with the Auralic team, I also suggest using a low powered spinning 2.5 inch HDD as the internal drive. On the surface it may seem like solid state drives are best because there are no moving parts, but the added electrical noise generated by SSDs due to their advanced features and increasing commoditization may hurt performance when placed inside a delicate audio component such as the Altair G1. 
Thanks that’s interesting. Good to know that I was not imagining things!

 

Forum statistics

Threads
107,988
Messages
2,286,321
Members
69,134
Latest member
bj10au