Tidal Firmware Update?

Arun Mehan posted:

I've never been that great at articulating what I hear in words but somehow the Tidal streaming doesn't sound as good to me as local streaming. Maybe it's the content and honestly I just setup Tidal yesterday so not much listening via the NDS. But local streaming sounds better to my ears. There's a missing ambience to the Tidal sound. It's smaller and shut-in compared to the music coming from my NAS.

I actually prefer Europaradio (1,000 Kbps Lossless Uncompressed FLAC) on vTuner over Tidal. I have no issues with dropouts with either.

I didn't buy an NDS for Tidal or any other streaming service because I've never expected much from them. In my car with a Mark Levinson stereo, I find satellite radio unlistenable.

This is sort of like upsampling to me. How can you take something and make it look or sound better than the original by "filling in" the gaps? This is artificial and I don't particularly like it. I think Naim is trying to satisfy the demand and be competitive since other companies are offering it but I think it's great that Naim will only release an update once they are satisfied with the sq - it's one of the reasons I stay with Naim.

Arun

Arun, can you explain how you set up the Europaradio 1000 on vTuner?

AndyL posted:
charlesphoto posted:

Or you get a Sonore microRendu with a decent power supply, use the Lumin or Kazoo app for Tidal, and blow away the NDX in sound quality for a 1/7th of the price. Plenty of options out there....

another option being Tidal via Audirvana+ on a Mac Mini

with Damien working to improve your sound quality for free 

Which sounds excellent and damned close to local files although I'm sure it will on Naim gear at some point too 

I think we need to be clear about what we are expecting from the FW update and what issues we are having with Tidal, which I would suggest fall into 2 categories: Dropouts and SQ.

I no longer suffer with dropouts but would also welcome improved SQ as I listen to Tidal quite a bit these days. The immediate problem must however be the dropout issues that some still appear to be suffering with. So the question is, does the new FW update address the dropout issue or SQ or both? A secondary question is, if the answer is both, then is one fix delaying the issue of the FW update?

I know the beta testing team might not be able to answer, but Trevor, can you tell us what the situation is? It's been a very, very long time coming.

Who knows, we may all be back to spinning silver (or even black) discs by the time the new FW update is launched! 

Richard Morris posted:
Arun Mehan posted:

I've never been that great at articulating what I hear in words but somehow the Tidal streaming doesn't sound as good to me as local streaming. Maybe it's the content and honestly I just setup Tidal yesterday so not much listening via the NDS. But local streaming sounds better to my ears. There's a missing ambience to the Tidal sound. It's smaller and shut-in compared to the music coming from my NAS.

I actually prefer Europaradio (1,000 Kbps Lossless Uncompressed FLAC) on vTuner over Tidal. I have no issues with dropouts with either.

I didn't buy an NDS for Tidal or any other streaming service because I've never expected much from them. In my car with a Mark Levinson stereo, I find satellite radio unlistenable.

This is sort of like upsampling to me. How can you take something and make it look or sound better than the original by "filling in" the gaps? This is artificial and I don't particularly like it. I think Naim is trying to satisfy the demand and be competitive since other companies are offering it but I think it's great that Naim will only release an update once they are satisfied with the sq - it's one of the reasons I stay with Naim.

Arun

Arun, can you explain how you set up the Europaradio 1000 on vTuner?

Hello Richard,

I believe it's been posted before on the forum but if you email me (see my profile), I can provide you instructions.

Arun

Arun send me the instructions, which are as detailed here once you have logged in.

The stream for Europajazz 1000 is http://www.europaradiojazz.org/stream.flac.m3u

As Arun advised I set the media type to Windows Media.

However the station (and others I have added) is not showing up on the naim iPhone app. I can Airplay from the website to a Mu-so, of course.

Once added the screen then says:

'Your added station EJ will appear on your Naim Uniti after it is next updated. You may update your Naim Uniti immediately by following the Manual Update instructions that came with your Naim Uniti.'

I wonder if this message is out of date (the website is rudimentary) or this only works with a Uniti? 

 

Added the station via Naim.vtuner.com (didn't know you could do that!) and found it in the added stations folder in the Naim app.

Unfortunately, despite specifying windows media stream at 1000kbps when adding it and double checking the stream address, it shows up as 320kbps AAC when playing on my 172. So can't make any comparisons with other streaming sources.

Just listening to Tidal HiFi at work and all of a sudden it stopped and started buffering which got me thinking... I wonder how man Tidal issues are related to sub-optimal networks or internet connections?  I use Tidal on my PC at work and do occasionally experience dropouts or buffering issues but do share the network with 19 other people and we do have the odd issue.  Whereas i've never had any issues at home where I stream Tidal Hifi through my NDX.  Maybe the firmware isn't to blame?  

Hi most of the Tidal issues have been down to duplex latency ... That is round trip time between the streamer , Tidal media server and streamer again . This can vary under load from the Tidal (or any server) as well load on the network route. The current firmwares are quite sensitive to this, however the firmwares that are in development for the streamers are more tolerant to latency here... and dropouts will be significantly improved.

This issue is not directly related to network bandwidth other than in extreme scenarios of congestion. RTD (round trip delay) is a normal TCP/IP network characteristic, and in short the clients need to be able to tolerate it over the typical operating environment with the supported applications. Typically you can mitigate RTD by having larger TCP window segmentation memory and/or well as having larger amounts of application buffer memory and/or improving the speed and efficiency of the client TCP/IP state machine responsiveness of the client.. I believe Naim ate focussing on the latter. The two former options tend to increase application delay and latency.

Simon

Dave***t posted:

Added the station via Naim.vtuner.com (didn't know you could do that!) and found it in the added stations folder in the Naim app.

Unfortunately, despite specifying windows media stream at 1000kbps when adding it and double checking the stream address, it shows up as 320kbps AAC when playing on my 172. So can't make any comparisons with other streaming sources.

Thanks to Richard for posting the instructions.

That's interesting  Is there a limitation in the 172 compared to the dedicated streamers? How does it sound to you?

I do hope Naim can improve the sq with Tidal (and other streaming services) but I have enough music to keep me occupied. Radio Paradise at 320 is enough to introduce me to new music let alone my friends who keep introducing me to new stuff all the time.

Arun

To those that say the firmware update is about nice to have add ons, I beg to differ. I have most of my hi-res stuff ripped to ALAC and as the last FW update was nearly a year ago I've effectively been living with a faulty SuperUniti for all that time, as I get the irritating loud snap/click between most tracks. I'm amazed its taking so long to rectify this.

Nice work Naim on the new gear - no doubt good for the business and for new customers.  

However, not convinced that blurb about  'much better internal buffer and memory' resulting in 'far fewer dropouts' bodes well for existing Tidal subscribers with constant dropouts using existing kit.  I think it's time to ask to be a Beta tester in the hope the firmware might fix the dropouts, or give up on Tidal altogether.

I have not suffered too much in recent months with drop outs but this afternoon Tidal was unlistenable. I realise that this is probably due to an overloaded or stressed out Tidal server somewhere in the world and not necessarily the sort of thing that the long-awaited firmware update can sort.

However, now the New Uniti range had been launched, any chance of an update on what is happening (if anything) with the firmware update? Trevor? I listen a lot to Tidal so this matters to me, especially if the update reduces drop outs and enhances SQ.

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Hi most of the Tidal issues have been down to duplex latency ... That is round trip time between the streamer , Tidal media server and streamer again . This can vary under load from the Tidal (or any server) as well load on the network route. The current firmwares are quite sensitive to this, however the firmwares that are in development for the streamers are more tolerant to latency here... and dropouts will be significantly improved.

This issue is not directly related to network bandwidth other than in extreme scenarios of congestion. RTD (round trip delay) is a normal TCP/IP network characteristic, and in short the clients need to be able to tolerate it over the typical operating environment with the supported applications. Typically you can mitigate RTD by having larger TCP window segmentation memory and/or well as having larger amounts of application buffer memory and/or improving the speed and efficiency of the client TCP/IP state machine responsiveness of the client.. I believe Naim ate focussing on the latter. The two former options tend to increase application delay and latency.

Simon

I have heard already quite long that the new firmware is coming, however it takes too long now. I hope the mentioned improvements will be soon rolled out. While I understand that a good testing processs is needed, it's not what we should expect in the world of software updates.

Dozey posted:

Personally I would prefer to have poor tidal sound quality with no dropouts than super sound quality for 5 seconds followed by a 20 second dropout, which is what I get at present.

Surely it is not too much to ask in this day and age to have both the best sound quality available and no (or very few) drop-outs. Actually I am reasonably satisfied with the SQ of full fat Tidal. It is just that there was more than a hint (from Naim and the Beta team) that the firmware update came with enhanced SQ.

Although I am happy to wait until Naim get the sound they want from the FW update, some communication would be nice. Not a running commentary, but some update. The silence is deafening.

audio1946 posted:

the quality of tidal is very good, it seems at busy time at the end of the day an occasional drop , so what  . 

Because there is the prospect of even better SQ and fewer dropouts with the long-awaited firmware update FREE! Can't turn your nose up at that!

I don't know if anyone's heard of this new project Tidal is working on regarding MQA file format. MQA is something Bob Stuart from Meridian has invented and Tidal, as well as a large portion of the industry, is thinking to embrace. Is Naim going to embrace the format as well? If anyone's interested to learn more about this there's a very informative video on YouTube from Rocky Mountain  Audio Fest 2015 called Streaming Audio: Preserving the past, protecting the future.

vinylrocks posted:

I don't know if anyone's heard of this new project Tidal is working on regarding MQA file format. MQA is something Bob Stuart from Meridian has invented and Tidal, as well as a large portion of the industry, is thinking to embrace. Is Naim going to embrace the format as well? If anyone's interested to learn more about this there's a very informative video on YouTube from Rocky Mountain  Audio Fest 2015 called Streaming Audio: Preserving the past, protecting the future.

Great question and one I would certainly like answered. But I am afraid we will not get a definitive answer from Naim as it has been stated many times on other threads that Naim do not comment on current or future developments prior to a formal launch.

Ooh, I hope I am proved wrong here.

Bananahead posted:

I'm not sure why Naim would be willing to pay a license fee for a lossy format that seems to have almost no industry support. 

As I understand it isn't lossy at all! You can have a go at their website to see the current status of industry support which includes pioneer, onkyo, NAD as well as Warner music, 2L  etc...also please have a look at the video I mention before you comment. 

Bananahead posted:

I'm not sure why Naim would be willing to pay a license fee for a lossy format that seems to have almost no industry support. 

That's my general thinking too. Not that I am bothered either way. 

MQA has been in gestation for longer than I can remember. Maybe one day. Or not.

vinylrocks posted:
Bananahead posted:

I'm not sure why Naim would be willing to pay a license fee for a lossy format that seems to have almost no industry support. 

As I understand it isn't lossy at all! You can have a go at their website to see the current status of industry support which includes pioneer, onkyo, NAD as well as Warner music, 2L  etc...also please have a look at the video I mention before you comment. 

It is lossy at least in a mathematical sense in that there is no reverse algorithm to restore the compressed data exactly to the original.

its like taking the sum "2+2+2+2+2+2". Lossily it can be stored as 10. Losslessly it can be stored as 5x2 (if you define the lossless algorithm as storing multiple addition algorithms as multiplication so you know how to restore it).

Eloise posted:
vinylrocks posted:
Bananahead posted:

I'm not sure why Naim would be willing to pay a license fee for a lossy format that seems to have almost no industry support. 

As I understand it isn't lossy at all! You can have a go at their website to see the current status of industry support which includes pioneer, onkyo, NAD as well as Warner music, 2L  etc...also please have a look at the video I mention before you comment. 

It is lossy at least in a mathematical sense in that there is no reverse algorithm to restore the compressed data exactly to the original.

its like taking the sum "2+2+2+2+2+2". Lossily it can be stored as 10. Losslessly it can be stored as 5x2 (if you define the lossless algorithm as storing multiple addition algorithms as multiplication so you know how to restore it).

I count myself as being somewhat mathematically challenged, but surely you mean 2+2+2+2+2 

vinylrocks posted:

That's very interesting! I'm not very familiar to the subject myself but all the research I've done shows otherwise. 

Take a look in this very detailed presentation https://youtu.be/T5o6XHVK2HA

if you don't want to be bothered just keep the part from 14.23-17.50 where he explains the lossless uncompression of the files.

Hi, yes MQA is lossy, here is a wiki https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik...uality_Authenticated with some references.

However just because it's lossy, don't discount it... the interesting thing with MQA is the calibrated construction and reconstruction filtering at both ends of the ADC and DAC chain. If you study DSP and digital encoding you know that theoretically both should be matched for optimum conversion and reconstruction... and is an Achilles heel of current and ubiquitous digital audio processing in the audio industry and I suspect limits conventional hidef. Unfortunately this beneficial area of the MQA description seems to be full of flowery slightly obviscating language (IMO)

However my concern is how it handles high speed timing info as opposed to frequencies.. research shows (as documented by various papers at the AES) that for many true hidef is down to inter timing information  as opposed to extended frequency information in the analogue domain. True hidef is described by some as being indistinguishable from reality... as opposed to technical parameters.

Also looking at the MQA implementation discussions, I can't see how  MQA could work effectively with the current Naim streamer architectures.

Simon

Simon I get it there is a lossy part of the compression process that only affects information over 48K which almost always is nothing but noise. We have to make some distinctions though between audio sampling and frequency response. Normal PCM digital files may be 44.1k but carry information that goes up to 21-22K. MQA promises lossless 0-48K frequency response and lossy 48-192 in one file that could replace red book format and could be transmitted near today's cd quality streaming bit rates. On top this technology carrys a digital fingerprint inside the file so when the file is corrupted or parts are missing it can let you know you are playing a non perfect file.

As we know I doubt it if there is a microphone used in recording studios today that captures more than 40K frequency response. So do we need 24/192? The answer is yes but for recording purposes where multichannel recordings with various effects take space without being compressed. 

Anyway, maybe I'm wrong but I was intrigued with the thought...

vinylrocks posted:

Simon I get it there is a lossy part of the compression process that only affects information over 48K which almost always is nothing but noise. We have to make some distinctions though between audio sampling and frequency response. Normal PCM digital files may be 44.1k but carry information that goes up to 21-22K. MQA promises lossless 0-48K frequency response and lossy 48-192 in one file that could replace red book format and could be transmitted near today's cd quality streaming bit rates. On top this technology carrys a digital fingerprint inside the file so when the file is corrupted or parts are missing it can let you know you are playing a non perfect file.

As we know I doubt it if there is a microphone used in recording studios today that captures more than 40K frequency response. So do we need 24/192? The answer is yes but for recording purposes where multichannel recordings with various effects take space without being compressed. 

Anyway, maybe I'm wrong but I was intrigued with the thought...

Just a minor correction, since the bandwidth of frequencies is as a rule of a thumb half of the frequency rate (hence 44.1 leads to 22,05) the upper frequency we get with 192 is 96K. So as I understand it is the 48-96K frequency bandwidth which is lossyly compressed. 

Yes, and don't be constrained in thinking the Nyquist sample frequency only relates to acoustic frequency pitch. They key consideration with Human hearing is also the  inter sound timing.. and as we get older this is only marginally affected where as pitch detection more distinctly deteriorates. Of course the Nyquist sampling theory doesn't differentiate between these two which is why we can see a preference for higher sample rates with a significantly lower pass reconstruction filter. It is this timing info I am uncertain how it is constrained by MQA, and perhaps its limited to the 'base band lossless ' sample rate element of the MQA encoding

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