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Tidal reportedly enabling bit-perfect playback to USB DAC on Android

Beershaun

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According to this article there appears to be a new version of the Tidal app that enables bit-perfect playback to a USB DAC just like UAPP. I have not yet been able to confirm this using on my Pixel 3 with my Dragonfly Red and Dragontail USB dongle. I am running version 2.43.0 downloaded from the Android store in the US. If anyone else has seen this work for them please post up your device, app version number and USB DAC model.
https://darko.audio/2021/07/tidal-is-quietly-rolling-out-a-bit-perfect-android-app/

Edit: don't know why you get a 403 forbidden from this link. Copy and paste into your browser seems to work.

Aug-20th-2021 update based on app version 2.43.0: This functionality seems to depend on the dongle DAC you have. There are two main issues people are seeing depending on their DACs. 1)It seems like there is an issue where some combinations of DACs and phones pops up the notification but then the app crashes. So this doesn't work. 2) There is no notification pop up and so it doesn't enable bit-perfect playback and people are seeing the usual 48khz output. So that isn't working.

Update: august 26th 2021, the new app version 2.45 seems to enable more combinations so if you are on 2.43 try updating the app and see if you get different results.

Known combinations that report “Allow Tidal to access <USB DAC name>?” and work properly:
Tidal App version: 2.43.0
USB DACs: Meizu HiFi DAC, E1DA 9038D,Meizu Hifi pro, Zorloo Ztella, dragonfly black, Hibi FC3
Phone: OnePlus 7Pro, pixel 5, Pixel 3, Sony,FiiO M15, Xperia 5 II, Pixel 4a, LGV50
Cable: Ugreen OTG connector

Known conflict preventing Tidal from taking control of USB DAC:
If you have USB Audio Player Pro installed and have given it control to always control the USB port when an external DAC is plugged in Tidal will not be able to take control of your external DAC. You need to uninstall USB Audio Player Pro or make sure it is not automatically taking control when a USB DAC is plugged in.


Not working: (consistently 48khz)
OnePlus9+dragontail+dragonfly black.

not working: (get popup but Tidal crashes when you press play)
Motorola Edge +ZenDAC V1 and ZenDAC Signature
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro+ZenDAC V1 and ZenDAC Signature
Samsung S9+ with Monolith DAC.
 
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AdamG247

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According to this article there appears to be a new version of the Tidal app that enables bit-perfect playback to a USB DAC just like UAPP. I have not yet been able to confirm this using on my Pixel 3 with my Dragonfly Red and Dragontail USB dongle. I am running version 2.43.0 downloaded from the Android store in the US. If anyone else has seen this work for them please post up your device, app version number and USB DAC model.
https://darko.audio/2021/07/tidal-is-quietly-rolling-out-a-bit-perfect-android-app/
Link is Forbidden from IPad. Guess it’s Android only.
 

sweetchaos

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Link is Forbidden from IPad. Guess it’s Android only.
Very strange. It fails to load for me too on iOS safari...but when I press and hold on the link, I can open it with no issues.

Here's the text:

Android smartphone users seeking to board the hi-res audio train via Tidal, Qobuz or Apple Music must mind the gap: Android OS resamples digital audio heading out of its USB port to 48kHz. A 192kHz stream will be downsampled to 48kHz. So too will a 96kHz stream. A 48kHz stream isn’t passed through untouched but (instead) resampled to 48kHz. Android’s resampling even does over CD-quality (44.1kHz) streams, upsampling them to 48kHz. In digital audiophile parlance, this means Android OS is not ‘bit-perfect’ with USB DACs.

One common workaround is the third-party music player app USB Audio Player Pro (UAPP) that loads in its own USB driver to talk directly to the connected USB DAC, thus avoiding the OS’s resampling engine. UAPP integrates Tidal and Qobuz but unlike Qobuz and Tidal’s native apps, it doesn’t accommodate offline content. Blame the record labels for that call.

Seeing this problem and (finally) tackling it head-on is Tidal. The Norwegian-based streaming service has begun rolling out an update to its Android app that allows it to communicate bit-perfectly with any connected USB DAC, thus sidestepping the host OS’s resampling code.

We know this because “Allow Tidal to access HELM MQA?” pop-up on this commentator’s LG V40 (RIP) when I connect the HELM Bolt. Clicking OK and punching in an MQA stream has the HELM Bolt DAC’s LED turn purple (where previously it remained blue) for visual confirmation that the 48kHz (or 44.1kHz) stream has travelled from Tidal app to Bolt without the Android OS running interference so that the DAC can unfold at will. Hi-res ahoy*!

Tidal’s bit-perfect playback also works with the LG V40 and the THX Onyx but – oddly – not the AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt. Tidal doesn’t even pop-up to ask if we want to allow it access to the Cobalt. Perhaps the interceding DragonTail USB-C to USB-A adapter causes the Tidal app not to properly identify the Cobalt?

Or perhaps this wrinkle is specific to the LG V40 because cutting over to an Essential PH-1 smartphone (RIP), we do get asked if we want to allow Tidal access to the DragonFly DAC and we do see its LED glow purple when we punch in a track from Tidal’s Masters. Go figure.
Of course, today’s story isn’t only about hi-res audio. Tidal’s bit-perfect app also means that CD-quality audio leaves the Android phone’s USB socket at 44.1kHz. Au revoir, resampling. Whether this fare-thee-well makes an obvious audible difference to CD-quality audio remains debatable but sweating the small stuff is all part of the hifi game for many enthusiasts. Isn’t this exactly why some are so determined to make hi-res audio work in their system?

There is no word yet on how far this Tidal app update has travelled, to which devices or how long users can expect to wait to get their fill. Nor do we know when (or if) Qobuz or Apple Music will follow suit. (When they do, we’ll cover it). Neither do we know if Tidal plans to introduce bit-perfect playback to Android TV OS. This post is merely a heads-up that Tidal’s bit-perfect game is afoot.
Further information: Tidal
 

SRKRAM

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This is encouraging, but unless it supports PEQ I'll stick with UAPP.
It's good that the windows Tidal app already supports excusive mode, but if they would add support for VST plugins I would be very happy. I used to use Audirvana for that, but the new version is a disaster.
 
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Berwhale

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The link didn't work on my PC either (MS Edge) until I removed the trailing slash in the URL.

Also, how can a lossy format like MQA ever be 'bit-perfect' :)
 

DimitryZ

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I think this has been available for at least some time. I have been using One+ 8 with IFI Hip DAC and I get recognition of the three letter format, which name we must not say :)
 
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Beershaun

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I think this has been available for at least some time. I have been using One+ 8 with IFI Hip DAC and I get recognition of the three letter format, which name we must not say :)
What app version? Also can you confirm if you are receiving something other than 48khz to your ifi Hip DAC?
 
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Beershaun

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Apple doing God’s work by blocking Darko’s content :)
While his subjective reviews of how things sound are not useful to this forum, his objective reviews of how to integrate streaming audio components together, and sorting out options for creating your own audio chain for a given budget, with details on what it can and can't do are spot on and valuable information.
 

DimitryZ

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What app version? Also can you confirm if you are receiving something other than 48khz to your ifi Hip DAC?
2.42.2.1038.2797

The three letter format is finicky...it either works or it doesn't.

I will check - this is my travel system and I haven't traveled. But as if a year ago I was convinced it all worked fine.
 
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Beershaun

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2.42.2.1038.2797

The three letter format is finicky...it either works or it doesn't.

I will check - this is my travel system and I haven't traveled. But as if a year ago I was convinced it all worked fine.

hmm. I believe this is a relatively new development. So far I cannot get anything except 16/48 out of my Pixel3 via USB unless using the Android Audio Player Pro App and the required On-The-GO (OTG) cable to plug into a USB DAC.
 

DimitryZ

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hmm. I believe this is a relatively new development. So far I cannot get anything except 16/48 out of my Pixel3 via USB unless using the Android Audio Player Pro App and the required On-The-GO (OTG) cable to plug into a USB DAC.
Maybe it's an Android OS version thing? My phone is Android version 11.
 
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Beershaun

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Dunno. As a Pixel3 user I'm on the latest version too. Android 11 with the June 5th security update. Maybe it's a One+ thing?
 

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After much disgust at the failure rate of Apple OTG dongles (something I have since solved) and the mistaken belief that Android devices where open and gave their users’ greater freedom in areas such as audio, I purchased a reasonable Android phone that claimed it had HiRes capabilities.

Then I discovered the dumpster fire that is Android‘s audio. What a joke. Seriously without Apps like UAPP and NeutronMP, Android users would be extremely limited in the quality of their audio.

But mostly I was shocked to find Tidal wouldn’t bypass the Android 48k restriction when using USB DACs, especially as Tidal limit third-party Apps such as UAPP to streaming only. So much for all the advertising they have regarding MXX being available on Android. Poor Tidal user on Android, no comforting little blue light for you.

Now with the changes in Apple Music and having found Hiby’s USB-C to Lightning Cable (among similar in AliExpress), along with a couple of the newer USB-C DACs, including the Xduoo XD-05 Basic, I’ve been enjoying music again on my iPhone.

Seriously most Android phones are just a bag of hurt for anyone who wants to play their music without complications.

Now if only Apple would include the full range of Bluetooth codecs and allow third-party Apps or AU plug-ins to provide Equalisation to Apple Music’s audio… well I can dream…
 

TheBrahanSeer

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After much disgust at the failure rate of Apple OTG dongles (something I have since solved) and the mistaken belief that Android devices where open and gave their users’ greater freedom in areas such as audio, I purchased a reasonable Android phone that claimed it had HiRes capabilities.

Then I discovered the dumpster fire that is Android‘s audio. What a joke. Seriously without Apps like UAPP and NeutronMP, Android users would be extremely limited in the quality of their audio.

But mostly I was shocked to find Tidal wouldn’t bypass the Android 48k restriction when using USB DACs, especially as Tidal limit third-party Apps such as UAPP to streaming only. So much for all the advertising they have regarding MXX being available on Android. Poor Tidal user on Android, no comforting little blue light for you.

Now with the changes in Apple Music and having found Hiby’s USB-C to Lightning Cable (among similar in AliExpress), along with a couple of the newer USB-C DACs, including the Xduoo XD-05 Basic, I’ve been enjoying music again on my iPhone.

Seriously most Android phones are just a bag of hurt for anyone who wants to play their music without complications.

Now if only Apple would include the full range of Bluetooth codecs and allow third-party Apps or AU plug-ins to provide Equalisation to Apple Music’s audio… well I can dream…

You highlight Tidal re Android limitations, but not any other streaming services. Strikes me that Tidal is the only service to have actually done something to help solve the issue; an issue of Android's, not Tidal's, making? Dare I say, a good news story! Cheer up. :)
 
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Beershaun

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Yep. Both Android and iOS resample and lock down what comes out of their devices digitally via USB.
Darko has another video that does a good job of walking through the frustrations and limitations that is trying to get bit perfect audio out of the two mobile and streaming media player operating systems.
 

TurbulentCalm

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Yep. Both Android and iOS resample and lock down what comes out of their devices digitally via USB.

Actually you are wrong with regards to iOS restricting USB DACs.

I’ve have never encountered an issue with any iOS music Apps when playing through my USB DACs. This was why I was so surprised when I found this limitation in Android.

I wonder if you are thinking of Apple’s 3.5mm Dongle DAC. That is only capable of a maximum of 48 kHz but that is not a restriction imposed by iOS but rather the internal DAC in the Dongle.

And as for Darko, he is so out of touch with the state of the art of the current availability of compatible DACs for iOS and Lightning OTG adaptors that he is still shilling the over priced and outdated Audio Quest DACs and Apple’s unreliable and overpriced Camera Adaptors.

Darko should be up in all of the following but I doubt he even knows they exist so here are there Dongle DACs that I would suggest people look at for iOS (using the Hiby Lightning to USB-C Adaptor) and Android because they Al use USB-C.
 
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Beershaun

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Anyone able to verify if they have seen this message pop up on their Tidal app on Android when plugging in their USB DAC? "“Allow Tidal to access <USB DAC name>?”
 

Phorize

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While his subjective reviews of how things sound are not useful to this forum, his objective reviews of how to integrate streaming audio components together, and sorting out options for creating your own audio chain for a given budget, with details on what it can and can't do are spot on and valuable information.
True, but then he goes and spoils all by saying something stupid like a Chord Qutest sounds ‘better’ than an RME adi 2:rolleyes:
 
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