Musiclife audio output

In musiclife I see my SA30 in the section UPNP RENDERERS and in Google Cast devices.
Is there any option that is preferable to use ? any differences and if yes which one ?

Thank you

There are multiple ways: Apple Airplay, Google Cast, UNPN. It all depends on your preferences/needs.

Apple Airplay

According to Wikipedia: “AirPlay is a proprietary protocol stack/suite developed by Apple Inc. that allows wireless streaming between devices of audio, video, device screens, and photos, together with related metadata.”.

As outlined here playing hires audio through Airplay has some limitation.

Google Cast / Chromecast

According to Wikipedia: “Google Cast, branded for consumer devices as Chromecast built-in,[1] is a proprietary protocol developed by Google for initiating and controlling playback of Internet-streamed audio/video content on a compatible device.”

According to this Google Chromecast help article support for hi res audio is limited to 96KHz/24-bit.

If you’re concerned about what Google knows about your play history, tracks and albums then I would not recommend to use this option. If you do not care then you can use it. Please note some configuration is required. If you do not reconfigure Google Cast after an firmware upgrade then you won’t be able to cast to the SA30 through Google Cast. Refer to the next article how to reconfigure Google Cast.

UNPN

I prefer this option because it supports hires audio and does not expose any meta data.

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UPNP is not perfect, but the best way to stream now. It’s no limiting frequency in hi res files, and it’s only way to use MQA (if someone is using it).
There’s also Roon, but:

  1. It’s very expensive
  2. SA30 is not yet certified, so it will not work, unless one was granted developer status back in September, when it was still possible.

What is your opining on MQA? According to this source it uses lossy compression. Why would someone use lossy compression whilst lossless is also available? Maybe less bandwidth is used? A typical SA30 is connected to the internet, I assume in this case there are no bandwidth constraints? Next there are licensing requirements. Flac supports lossless compression and is free to use. What problem does MQA solve? Or what is the advantage of a MQA track compared with a lossless flac one?

MQA is controversial to say the least.
If don’t have clear opinion.
Let me put it this way: for me MQA on tidal sounds a bit better than non-mqa on tidal. In a way for me it’s the only way of “hi-res” streaming, as Qobuz and Amazon Music HD are not available in Poland. And I’m not willing to look for workarounds to get them. If they don’t want my money, they will not get it.
So that’s the main reason MQA is kind of important for me.
Is it lossy? Partially. Part of it is lossless flac, and part is lossy (additional data above, I think, 24 bit 44khz, but I’m might be wrong here). I think it’s biggest advantage is, that for mqa they are using different masters, than for regular CD quality files. At least this is what they say :wink:
But it do sound a bit better, although it’s not might and day difference for me.
But having that said - if you can have Qobuz (putting the price difference aside) or Amazon HD, forget Tidal and MQA :slight_smile:

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Arguably MQA solves a problem that no longer exists or is likely not to exist frequently, I.e. the desire for “hi res” with limited bandwidth. It is a lossy codec, so technically in comparison an uncompressed FLAC or WAV of the same source recording that has not otherwise been messed with will retain all of the original elements of the recording and leave your amp to present it in all its glory.

It feels to me that MQA is kind of like alchemy, lots will attest to it being great but how it’s exactly achieves what it claims is difficult to prove. There is the added complication that whilst many devices can play MQA only certified devices can wave their wand and magically release the full benefits (that the talk about first and second unfolds as I understand it, but nothing short of an actual magic wand can reinsert data that has been purposeful removed in the encoding)

I’ve listened to a range of hi res samples on my SA30 including DSD as high as I can go from a UPNP Server. The latter and SACD from my CDS50 are the only things imho that sound better than Tidal MQA to me (assuming the higher res materials and not just plain old CD quality). I’ve listened to FLAC taken from Quobuz stream which should be from the same recordings and the MQA presentation on the SA30 for me seems a little brighter, the vocals more forward, bass a bit punchier…but it’s not night and day differences.

I feel the arguments round it are similar to the discussion on how an amp measures. I can see the numbers in front of me as well as anyone else, and I know full well MQA is lossy, but it means nothing if I can’t hear the differences. If free Spotify sounded good to my ears I’d probably stick with that, and so no reason to diss anyone else that might chose that.

So The only thing I can say is “what sounds best to you, in your room with your equipment?”. Then consider what is convenient and you can afford. IMHO the balance of those things, that is the best listening option, format, resolution or whatever other variables are in the mix for you, no one else will hear exactly what your ears hear and it’s up to the individual as to what they spend their money on.

There is absolutely nothing gained from me trying to justify my choices to anyone else. I’m open to hear opinions and rethink my own, but anyone who kind of puts themselves out there with an “I’m right and you’re wrong” stance on any forum I am very likely to block!

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Thank you for your very extensive reaction, I really appreciate it. I haven’t tried MQA yet, so I’m very new to this this technology. A while ago I read an article which states ‘mqa is just another thing’ and ‘If you don’t like MQA, that’s cool. Not every audio technology will please every audio enthusiast.’ I left it alone until mqa poped up again on this forum. I just wanted to know what forum users think about it. At first I though mqa is invented by the music industry in order to gain some more money from music enthusiasts.

Some time ago I bought a non-mqa hi res version of an CD album I already owned. I could clearly hear the difference between both versions. In my opinion the difference in sound experience has also to do with how the recording engineer produced the album, it is not only about bitrate and sample frequency. I thought with mqa is more of the same, if the recording/mastering of the album is different than it is likely both albums sound different.

Maybe the best thing to find out if mqa adds something to my sound experience is to buy a mqa album and listen to it :wink:

Mqa is also about mastering (but so are other hi res sources/formats). Maybe even mostly about it, not so much about hi res as such.
I guess you could sign up for tidal trial to check mqa, instead of buying albums :slight_smile:
I don’t know if there’s any real benefit of hi res as such.
There is a guy on one polish forum, who made a test. He has digitized an analogue recordings from very good quality 8 track tapes into different formats. He did it using rather high quality equipment.
No one could hear a difference between the formats, so seemingly red book is enough, granted it’s done using high quality source.
When comparing downloaded hi res files with I.e. CD, you never know if source was the same. And in most cases it probably isn’t, hence the difference you hear.
But that’s just my opinion…

Yeah mastering is key otherwise it’s “garbage in, garbage out”…doesn’t really matter how you dress it up

I’m kind of in a position now that whilst I have lots of CDs and may well still add more, my main source is vinyl as I just get so much pleasure from the collection and the artwork as much as the analogue vibe and sound, the tactile nature of it, but I have one or two new recordings that are truly awful and some old ones that sound fantastic even compared to remastered CD and iTunes etc. So actually Tidal HiFi plus vinyl when I like to invest in a particular band or artist and want a physical copy is mainly where I am at

Also look up “the loudness wars”…there is a site that reports in dynamic range of recordings and it’s worth taking note of tbh

PS. I think tidal £4 for 4 months is on at the mo…any plan…can’t really beat that imho,give it a go and start a quobuz trial to overlap then you can see what you prefer. I guess it also comes down to which platform has the type of library that interests, there’s less differentiation over time though I think