Stream directly from Tidal

Hi All,
I’m new to the streaming world.
Can you please tell me if there is a difference in sound quality if I stream directly from the Tidal app running on my phone to my arcamsa30 versus using the Arcam Music life app to stream Tidal to my amp?


Yes, there is a difference.
At the moment only way to stream directly to SA30 i using Chromecast, which does not support MQA.
Streaming using MusicLife (or other UPNP apps) has no such limitation, hence you’re getting full quality.
We’re hoping, that one day Arcam will implement Tidal Connect, which will allow us to overcome this limitation and stream directly with full quality.


Same for Qobuz by the way


Does airplay 2 streaming support MQA?

Airplay does not send mqa, it transcodes what it is given to AAC and then sends to the receiving device. It’s locked in at 16 bit 48khz AFAIK, so anything pretty much above CD quality is also downsampled

So you can Airplay anything from the Tidal app, you just have to bear that in mind.

Thanks Felix, I started using MconnectLite and it’s working better for me than the Musiclife app did. Amp now showed MQA when I press ‘info’ on the Arcam remote. Sounds good too/

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The web client through the browser will also give you full high resolution of what is available.


Yes, but Qobuz is not using MQA, and Chromecast (if that’s what you’re using) is capable of 24 bit 96 kHz, so you’re not missing THAT much (don’t know how many 192 kHz tracks are there in Qobuz - not available in my country). In case of Tidal you’re missing a lot, as without MQA it’s just CD quality (or even a bit worse, if to believe what some people are saying about this format).

Yes technically MQA is not lossless despite what Tidal say and despite the bit depth and sample rate. Some artists even have decided to come off the platform as they don’t like the fact the consumer is not getting the sound they intended to be heard.

This in part has played into me switching to Qobuz, but I don’t get wound up about it as some do, and can’t be bothered in argumentative sorts that seem to troll about it!

Bottom line for me is each should try and make their own decision, trust their ears and also consider their pocket, what’s right for one is not necessarily right for another. I’m happy to live and let live :slightly_smiling_face:

FWIW I thought the higher than CD quality stuff on Tidal sounded great on my SA30

Well, there’s too much emotions around MQA, so to be honest it’s hard to say whom to believe here. There are those, who hate it (some just because they don’t want to pay for licensing), and those who love it. And truth is probably as usual - somewhere in the middle.
Haven’t been trying to dig deeper myself, as i see no point in that. Don’t really care if it’s lossless or not if it sounds good to me.

I’ve heard of one (can’t remember now who it was), but it was more about mastering, not the technical part of the format as such. MQA stands for Master Quality Authenticated. He was pissed of, that his MQA albums on Tidal sound different, than what he recorded/mastered on his own, so he would never “authenticate” it.

Well, issue is, that not everyone can try. Seems that Qobuz doesn’t want/need my money, as they are not present in my country and haven’t heard about any plans for now. I’m not willing to try finding some workarounds with payment methods, so they will not see my money anytime soon. But also i cannot test them, so i’m stuck with Tidal for now.

I also think it sounds good/great, so now question is, if Qobuz would be so much better to justify almost double the price…

Ahhh. I think that must be country differences again. I’m in the UK. Qobuz Studio is £12.99 p/m versus the Tidal equivalent with the much debated MQA at £19.99. Qobuz can also be cheaper if you are willing to pay for it for the whole year in one go,

I tried out some higher than CD quality stuff on both platforms and initially settled on Tidal, personally for me whilst there wasn’t anything wrong with it per say, I got increasingly frustrated about seeing something was MQA but it “only” turning out to be equivalent of CD quality (or arguably less if you consider it’s a lossy codec with whatever magic dust is otherwise sprinkled on it!). So this is when I started looking more into Qobuz. The more I read about the technicalities of MQA the more I realised why people argue over it and the less confident I was of what I was getting for the extra £7.

At times I can certainly hear a difference between the two platforms, but as to which is better I think that to some extent subjective, but I didn’t hear enough of a difference on top of my other thoughts to warrant the extra money. As much if this could have been about quality and differences in the original recording as it might have been about the format.

I am just saying that has been my experience and my choice, I don’t have an axe to grind like some people do, if Tidal were to offer something better pricing wise I might consider it again, but I doubt it. I think Spotify are going to shake things up a bit, so I guess I’ll wait and see :slightly_smiling_face:

Would certainly be nice for the SA30,to support the different platforms “connect” options with their apps, but there are enough choices already for me for now that SA30 offers, unsure what happened to Amazon music support, I do think it would be wise to add it and Spotify connect tbh.

I still prefer vinyl though :rofl:

Yeah, seems there are big price differences :slight_smile:
Cannot say anything about Qobuz price in my country (Poland), as it’s not available, so it’s based on prices from other countries. Ok, maybe “twice the price” is a bit too much (seems Qobuz prices dropped a bit), but still in Poland Tidal is 40 PLN per month, which is roughly £7.5.
But if in UK Qobuz is that much cheaper than Tidal, it probably should be a clear choice.

Well, seems they haven’t played it really well from marketing point of view. Too much talking hi-res and voo-doo, and not enough details.
In a way MQA is not a real competitor for real hi-res from technical point of view. Question is, how much of that hi-res we can really hear?
At some point they finally started saying, that it’s mostly about mastering and doing some tricks to the sound, which make MQA sound more appealing. And that you can actually hear, which in case of hi-res is not that obvious.
Should they say it from the beginning, instead of emphasizing questionable “hi-res” of MQA, that would be fair. All in all it’s all about enjoying the music. I’m not really purist, don’t really care if it’s “what creator intended”, as long as i enjoy what i hear. And i do enjoy MQA.

Seems there is more than just a quality when making a choice :slight_smile:
Prices vary a lot from country to country, and considering that Tidal might be a better choice in some countries, and Qobuz in others. Granted sound quality differences are not big :slight_smile:
Agree that Spotify might change a lot, but there’s also Apple Music (which i will not subscribe to, as… just don’t like Apple too much :slight_smile: ) and Deezer, so plenty of choice now. Some content in AM is even hi-res.

I actually think Spotify Connect is not needed, if you can use Chromecast. Spotify will not be hi-res, so you’re not loosing on quality, and it works more or less same way as with Spotify Connect.
But Tidal Connect would be nice, as it supports MQA (which Chromecast doesn’t).
Amazon Music case is really interesting. Why is it not working?

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No idea about Amazon Music. I mean clearly you can still airplay or chromecast this, but it was on MusicLife at one stage as an airable source and has recently been removed. It still shows up for config on the SA30 web client (last time I checked) but it basically tells you to use the app. I queried it with Arcam support some time ago (at least 18 months back), but they didn’t appear to understand the question at first and implied it would get sorted at some future point in time. It left me feeling like it was a “nice to have” development artefact that got forgotten about :man_shrugging:t2:

PS Spotify as far as anyone knows right now will only be CD quality when they first start that “hi res” service, so Airplay or chromecast can cope with that no problem,

I tried mconect, and musiclife. Both on arcam’s display shows 44,1 khz. But on mconect app shows flac/16bit/44,1 khz, and on musiclife only mqa.

What firmware are you on? It shouldn’t happen on 1206, but on older ones yes, as Tidal MQA streaming protocol has changed in the meantime and old firmwares do not work with it correctly.

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I don’t know, must check. When was 1206 released?

I checked. Version v1. 62. Net version v1027.

So that’s why you do not get MQA.
Upgrade to latest available version and you will be good.


My system update, but display shows:
Version – v1.72
Network – v1206
ARC – must be V1.7 I see V0.0
ARC Rx – must be V1.0.0 I see V0.0.0
Maybe you know why, and Is this a problem?
Thanks in advance.