Author Topic: Tidal AAC 48kHz  (Read 478 times)

Offline richidoo

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Tidal AAC 48kHz
« on: April 29, 2018, 05:56:39 PM »
Beware of Tidal's low quality stream, even with HiFi subscription.

The audio path dot next to the song title in Roon turns from glowing blue to a dull yellow. Hovering over the dot says "Signal Path: Low Quality" and the Roon signal path dialog says Tidal is streaming "AAC 48kHz," not "FLAC 44.1kHz." And it sounds like shit. Even the youtube videos of these songs sound better.

examples:
Keith Urban/Hairy Carrie Underweary - "The Fighter"
Gotye - "Somebody That I used to Know"

Sickeningly, when I play the Karaoke versions of these two songs, I do get the FLAC 44.1kHz and it sounds much better.  :duh

So beware of the AAC stream from Tidal HiFi! There is no warning, no explanation for why it sounds so bad. If I didn't have Roon showing the stream resolution I would only have the reduced audio quality to go by. And because Tidal upsampled them from mp3 to AAC 48kHz they think it's OK for HiFi. It has that closed in, clostrophpobic upsampled feeling Dave was warning about couple days ago.

Both of these songs made pretty big splashes in the pop world in the last 5 years. Gotye hit #1 in every US popular genre chart, was #1 for the year 2012, sold 8M, and was a very innovative sound that nobody has been able to copy. The Fighter hit #2 weekly country, and #7 2017 country, sold 1M. So it's kinda sad that Tidal doesn't have them available in CD resolution.

Has anybody else noticed this AAC low quality stream coming from Tidal HiFi? Is this something new that I haven't noticed before? Thanks for any opinions and comments!

Offline richidoo

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Re: Tidal AAC 48kHz
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2018, 06:00:58 PM »
OK the shit sound is only on the singles versions. If I play the Gotye song from the album it has full resolution.

The Fighter is a movie soundtrack and was never released on an album, so there is no full-rez version on Tidal. 

Offline mresseguie

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Re: Tidal AAC 48kHz
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2018, 07:45:12 PM »
I don't use Roon. However, my DAC's display tells me I'm listening to 44.1k (or other) while streaming Tidal.

OT question for you, Rich.

Are you still using your Kairos?

I ask because I have finally found not one but two competent speaker cabinet makers in Taiwan. [It took forever.] I can finally get a kit to take to Taiwan later in the year and one of my choices is the Kairos kit. I can buy the drivers here, so all I need to transport are the crossovers and plans (much lighter and less bulky than finished speakers). There are other kit choices, but the Kairos are high on my list.

Thanks,

Michael
Daedalus Audio Apollos Fritz Loudspeakers LS/5-R
Gustard X20u DAC
dB Audio Labs Tranquility SE DAC w/Jupiter Caps
Don Sachs Model 2
Don Sachs Kootenay 120 KT88; Nuprime ST-10
TWL loom
PI Audio UberBUSS, DigiBUSS, Uber-MiniBUSS
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Offline richidoo

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Re: Tidal AAC 48kHz
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2018, 09:46:27 PM »
I don't use Roon. However, my DAC's display tells me I'm listening to 44.1k (or other) while streaming Tidal.

Thanks for replying Michael. Try streaming Carrie Underwood "The Fighter." That should show 48kHz (and sound like shit)

Quote
Are you still using your Kairos?

I have not been using them, but I still have them, and still love them. I got Legacy Focus SE a few months ago and have been happy with those also. I have the Kairos here in the listening room, I'll probably hookthem up again soon to hear then with my ICE amp. You got one of those too, right?

I still think Kairos is an excellent small speaker, one of the best there is. A friend who owns a pair of Joseph Audio Pulsars said Kairos sounded much better. Easy 7ohm load good for tubes. But because of the small woofer, small box and lots of baffle step correction, it has low overall sensitivity. Somewhere between 81-85dB depending on who you believe. It does best with a little more juice, and SS to control the woofer fighting the resonant port and feed it current so it won't choke up loud. My 60W SS chip amps could clip if I tried to play very loud. My 100W tube amp does OK. 200W+ SS would be ideal to get every last drop out of the Kairos. Or less if you play compressed music at normal 80+ volume.

I love the sound of the papyrus cone and silk dimple dome. But I want full range so 3way is a must. I intend to sell my Kairos and build a 3-way inspired by Kairos. It will use same ferrite silk tweeter 92dB, and the new MR16P-4 mid 92.5dB, and a pair of 8 ohm woofers, maybe the 9" Satoris WO24P-8 which would make 94dB in parallel. I'd probably need to pad down the MT a couple dB with overall target of 90dB. I think that would be killer. I have a wild box design drawn up, no flat planes and no wood. Just need some time to get going on it. The Legacys have me in no rush to get back into DIY. So if I did that design it would be with the intention of producing them commercially.

I'm also still very intrigued by the Plutones. I'd love to give them a try. Maybe in your travels you can stop in Denmark or Netherlands to listen to a pair, or the guy in Toronto? I think they might be even better than Kairos, but they're much more expensive too.

Offline mresseguie

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Re: Tidal AAC 48kHz
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2018, 12:41:27 AM »
I got so excited by the initial listening impressions (from reliable and experienced posters) that in addition to the original SE, I added a Standard amp for my home in Taiwan. I chose Standard based on Mike's telling everyone that it was quite a bit lighter. It turned out that there wasn't that much difference in weight.  :roll: Doesn't matter.

Once I have the Standard in my hot little hands, I'll have too many amps. I refuse to sell my D Sachs amp. It just sounds so good. The SE will be used during the summer, I think.

Interestingly, I discovered the 1200as Takachi case amp and the Nuprime ST-10 sound pretty similar at approximately 65 - 70dB listening levels. That's based on listening to just two songs, so I haven't posted this anywhere else. I need to try to find time for a good long comparison before drawing any conclusions. The Takachi will be returned to Mike once we return to Oregon.

I'll get a quote tomorrow for Kairos cabinets made from solid Walnut. The cabinet maker nearest me is an 'artist' and eschews using MDF or Baltic Birch. Hopefully, it'll be a reasonable amount. [Two years ago, a wood worker quoted me approximately $1300 USD for two monitors about the size of the Plutones. I struggled not to laugh or swear at him.] I'll lug a bunch of NoRez back next November.

I'm not familiar Carrie's or Keith Urban's voices, so I can't compare. My DAC still insisted it's 44.1k.

Gotta get my dental implant stitches removed. Joy of joys!
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 12:44:38 AM by mresseguie »
Daedalus Audio Apollos Fritz Loudspeakers LS/5-R
Gustard X20u DAC
dB Audio Labs Tranquility SE DAC w/Jupiter Caps
Don Sachs Model 2
Don Sachs Kootenay 120 KT88; Nuprime ST-10
TWL loom
PI Audio UberBUSS, DigiBUSS, Uber-MiniBUSS
PI Audio USB cable
Mac Mini

Offline dBe

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Re: Tidal AAC 48kHz
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2018, 10:41:07 AM »
I don't use Roon. However, my DAC's display tells me I'm listening to 44.1k (or other) while streaming Tidal.

OT question for you, Rich.

Are you still using your Kairos?

I ask because I have finally found not one but two competent speaker cabinet makers in Taiwan. [It took forever.] I can finally get a kit to take to Taiwan later in the year and one of my choices is the Kairos kit. I can buy the drivers here, so all I need to transport are the crossovers and plans (much lighter and less bulky than finished speakers). There are other kit choices, but the Kairos are high on my list.

Thanks,

Michael
Jeff Bagby is one of the fine speaker designers active in this hobby.  I don't think you could possibly go wrong with ANYTHING he has designed.   :thumb:

Offline mresseguie

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Re: Tidal AAC 48kHz
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2018, 09:03:14 AM »
Well, I got the quote to build a pair of Kairos cabinets using walnut. Full assembly and finishing of the wood (shellac? polyurethane?, stain, donít know yet), but not wiring or mounting of drivers and crossovers would be $16,800 NTD. Thatís approximately $579 USD.

Thatís just too much for me. I can buy veneered MDF cabinets for less and bring them over in a box for less.

Made to order speaker cabinets in Taiwan are either dirt cheap (and look it) or very expensive.

 
Daedalus Audio Apollos Fritz Loudspeakers LS/5-R
Gustard X20u DAC
dB Audio Labs Tranquility SE DAC w/Jupiter Caps
Don Sachs Model 2
Don Sachs Kootenay 120 KT88; Nuprime ST-10
TWL loom
PI Audio UberBUSS, DigiBUSS, Uber-MiniBUSS
PI Audio USB cable
Mac Mini

Offline richidoo

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Re: Tidal AAC 48kHz
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2018, 11:39:27 AM »
I'll sell you mine, Michael. 😁
I wont be using them again as 2 ways and it'll be a while before I try a Satori 3way.
They are bare plywood now but I bought some finishing materials, could maybe finish them to your taste. 
PM

Offline mresseguie

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Re: Tidal AAC 48kHz
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2018, 02:16:31 AM »
Thatís tempting - especially knowing what went into the crossovers.

I used the Kairos kit as a reference for how much relatively simple cabinets would cost. My real goal is to have three-way cabinets built. I know the Kairos can be made into three-ways. Anyway, I donít need them immediately.

I may take you up on your offer, but it would be months from now.

Michael
Daedalus Audio Apollos Fritz Loudspeakers LS/5-R
Gustard X20u DAC
dB Audio Labs Tranquility SE DAC w/Jupiter Caps
Don Sachs Model 2
Don Sachs Kootenay 120 KT88; Nuprime ST-10
TWL loom
PI Audio UberBUSS, DigiBUSS, Uber-MiniBUSS
PI Audio USB cable
Mac Mini

Offline richidoo

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Re: Tidal AAC 48kHz
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2018, 06:30:31 AM »
Sounds good. Now that I've broached the idea of selling (surprising myself) I may want to list them sooner. But I'll PM you before.