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Looking for a simple solution to play Tidal (or Apple Music) hires 2 channel & Atmos tracks in a home theatre?

sa73917

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I've recently decided to upgrade my 7.1 setup to 7.1.4 and with those new Atmos channels, figured it would be fun to try out some spatial audio tracks. This started me looking at Apple and Tidal's spatial audio options and in turn down the rabbit hole of playing their hires audio tracks. (I understand I can get higher quality spatial audio on blu-ray - which I will try out - but streaming has its place too!). I've spent the last week googling and I'm no closer to an answer so I figured I'd ask the ASR crew as surely someone here has solved the puzzle..

In terms of existing equipment:
  • my current receiver is an old (pre-Atmos) one, so will be being replaced with something new - once I decide what that something new is :). Open to suggestions if it will help solve this puzzle although I'm limited to something around a Denon AVR-X3800h / Yamaha RX-A6A pricepoint.
  • I also have a 3 channel amp running my LCR channels - which has RCA and XLR inputs.
My (very) basic understanding of what I need is:
  • 2 channel tracks - "streaming device with quality DAC" (or "streaming device -> USB -> quality DAC") -> XLR (or RCA) -> Amp -> speakers..
  • Atmos tracks - "streaming device" -> HDMI - Atmos Receiver -> speakers
Hopefully I've at least got that right :)

I'm hoping there's a "one device can do it all" answer, but if there is they need a new specialist to help their google rank!.. Assuming there isn't a one device can do all answer, my current vague thought for 2 channel is to buy a Topping DX5 as it got a good review here, has XLR outputs that I could run to the amp (and has a headphone port that my daughter could use with her new Focal headphones) - but that then leaves me wondering what the "streaming device" is I'd stick in front of it (and would that device be capable of sending Atmos stuff via HDMI and regular audio via USB?)..

The other requirement is I want to be able to drive this from the couch - so some sort of remote, or RDP to a PC or something is a must..

As an aside, I did look at the Apple TV 4k as that would get me the spatial tracks, but it's 2 channel output appears capped (and would have to go via hdmi where it would get further processing by the AVR) so that killed that as an option. I might be willing to pony up for a mac mini and a DAC, if it can split the spatial vs hires up happily - and there's a decent "running it from the couch" option..? That said - Apple Music's interface is awful so I'm leaning more towards Tidal at the moment.. Perhaps a Roon option or something (although they haven't entered into the world of Atmos from what I can see)?

Anyway - hopefully I've explained the dilemma well enough - open to any and all ideas (although sadly $'s aren't unlimited :))

Thanks in advance,
Steve.
 
Last edited:
Hello.
Yes you can use use Mac for Spatial then change the setting like this https://support.apple.com/guide/music/listen-to-spatial-audio-mus877f146ac/mac

But then you may need other device to stream Atmos (depends on the streaming service you use).

In my own experience; I'm using similar setup as yours. AVR + Integrated Stereo Amp with HT Bypass for the Front L/R. I use Apple TV4K for streaming, play Apple Music (Spatial and Stereo).

I once had added an iPad Pro connected to DAC to be able to play bit perfect Apple Music in stereo "loseless", then connected the DAC to the integrated stereo amplifier. But then the battery life of the iPad become troublesome (since the lightning port have to be connected to DAC, it couldn't be used simultaneously with a charger). I guess practicality is more important for listening enjoyment.

So now I just use Apple TV 4K for Apple Music and whatever streaming.

As for stereo music source ripped from CDs collection I use the DAC with an old laptop running JRiver Media Center connected to the stereo.

Hope this helped.
 
Hello.
Yes you can use use Mac for Spatial then change the setting like this https://support.apple.com/guide/music/listen-to-spatial-audio-mus877f146ac/mac

But then you may need other device to stream Atmos (depends on the streaming service you use).

In my own experience; I'm using similar setup as yours. AVR + Integrated Stereo Amp with HT Bypass for the Front L/R. I use Apple TV4K for streaming, play Apple Music (Spatial and Stereo).

I once had added an iPad Pro connected to DAC to be able to play bit perfect Apple Music in stereo "loseless", then connected the DAC to the integrated stereo amplifier. But then the battery life of the iPad become troublesome (since the lightning port have to be connected to DAC, it couldn't be used simultaneously with a charger). I guess practicality is more important for listening enjoyment.

So now I just use Apple TV 4K for Apple Music and whatever streaming.

As for stereo music source ripped from CDs collection I use the DAC with an old laptop running JRiver Media Center connected to the stereo.

Hope this helped.
Thanks for the reply!

It really does seem like there simply isn't an answer to this question which puzzles me to say the least..

I've been back and forth with Tidal support - offering to build them a tidal connect endpoint (which I'd hope to install on my nvidia shield pro).. that would have the capability of pushing 2 channel out the USB, and Atmos out the HDMI.. but I'm getting no traction at all from them sadly..

Ah well.. the search continues I guess..
 
I hope you f
Thanks for the reply!

It really does seem like there simply isn't an answer to this question which puzzles me to say the least..

I've been back and forth with Tidal support - offering to build them a tidal connect endpoint (which I'd hope to install on my nvidia shield pro).. that would have the capability of pushing 2 channel out the USB, and Atmos out the HDMI.. but I'm getting no traction at all from them sadly..

Ah well.. the search continues I guess..
I hope you found the solution you search
And please consider to share once you found it. It might help others in similar situation.
Enjoy.
 
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