TIDAL and Sprout

TIDAL went live in the U.S. this week offering 44-16 lossless streaming. I’m wondering about the resolution of bluetooth streaming from an iPhone/iPad to Sprout. Will it support lossless streaming like this?

In principle it should work perfectly. If you stream over the USB Audio input to Sprout it will easily manage 44.1/16 PCM streams. Your computer must be configured not to mess with the data stream coming from the streaming source but I don’t think that’s a tall order either. Keep in mind, however, that if you opt to stream over Bluetooth, it would probably be mostly pointless to pay the premium for TIDAL unless you assured that your computer supports the AptX codec. Even then it would be iffy (IMO). Note that neither the iPad nor the iPhone supports AptX. In fact, the iPhone / iPad devices support the A2DP standard SBC codecs as well as AAC (like AptX, an optional codec). Since Sprout (as far as I can tell) supports SBC (it has to) as well as AptX, the default will be the (generally poorly regarded) SBC codec with i-Devices. Apple OSX supports AptX.

Short answer:

  1. Yup should probably work fine.
  2. Unless you are prepared to stream over USB Audio I wouldn't spend the money (20/month) for TIDAL if your primary listening environment was the Sprout.

What about Tidal and the DirectStream? PS Audio are mentioned as Integration partners on the Tidal website, I’m wondering if there are plans to have DS connect to the Tidal service via the network bridge.

oops, never mind, I found it mentioned in the general discussion forum. Looks like the answer is perhaps, but later rather than sooner.

Since the Tidal service is dependent on online streaming I would guess the integration with the DS has to be done on the Bridge II side.

Well, here’s a zombie thread to resurrect! But the issue is still relevant: I searched for it! Right? :man_shrugging:
The Original Post (OP) was asking about using their iPhone/iPad to bluetooth to a Sprout so they can listen to Tidal through the Sprout on their system.
I agree: paying for Tidal HIFI then sending that into Bluetooth would be a waste; provided that was the only way you were using it. It might be the OP would also listen to the HIFI tracks on their iPhone, or elsewhere. The Bluetooth > Sprout might be some percentage of the time.
I don’t agree that pairing a $6000 DirectStream DAC with the $700 Sprout would be a good use of money.
From what I can tell, you need a way to get the tunes into Sprout. That could use the Sprout DAC, or you can use an external DAC and use unbalanced RCA to the Sprout. I would suggest a network streamer. Several come to mind:

  • $3000 PS Audio Stellar Strata integrated supports Tidal casting
  • $30 HiFi Berry DAC link, plus a RaspberryPI (around $30 wifi capable)
  • $250 USB Signature Player from Allo link
  • $65 BOSS DAC from Allo link, plus a RaspberryPi and probably a case $14 link <–this is the option I ended up with in my system.
  • $50 Xiaomi Mi Box S. Do a little research here, but it’s got an AV out, that I think can go to RCA. And from this Darko review (and “more thoughts”, he said the HDMI actually needs to be plugged into something for the AV output to work, so he used a 10in LED screen. Hmmmm)
  • Google Chromecast Audio $50 or so. They were discontinued in 2019 but are still around. A simple headphone > RCA cable, and you’re off to the races.
  • NAD C338, $600 mfg site whathifi review 3/5 stars
  • Pro-ject Stream Box S2 $900 here

These guys at audiosciencereview are chatting about it on this thread.

I still haven’t spent any time with my own system at home getting Tidal to cast to it. But - I have high hopes. Volumio is running on the RaspberryPi, and if you pay $30/year, apparently you get Tidal casting.

Interested to hear about what other people think, and anyone else who stumbles across this. thanks!

For the sprout, i think the Chromecast Audio dongle is the best/cheapest/easiest option. Plus, you can go optical and use the Sprout’s DAC instead of the Chromecast’s DAC.

I bought a crap ton of these before they were discontinued. I love them. I’ve helped friends set up whole-house systems with them. They are so easy to network and can set up in about a minute.

Rasp Pi is sweet, too, though. I have one and love it.

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that is super helpful, thank you! How does the Chromecast Audio play with iPhone?

The chromecast(s) will show up in your device list… this is from Tidal:

If you use Roon, they will show up as roon endpoints.

There’s a Google Home app for the iPhone, and you will set everything up there.

It’s pretty slick.

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Hi, would an ELAC DS S101 G (with the Roon Essentials license) could be a good option?

Roon has been really good about getting loads of hardware to be Roon-certified. I’ve noticed less of that with Tidal Connect, which is what I like to use. Double check with Tidal and/or Roon to make sure the device in question is supported.

Dkerlee’s advice is sound — check compatibility.

Some other thoughts… that ELAC costs more than the Sprout100. I would check the Bluesound Node which is not cheap at $550 but it is popular.

I am curious as to what you find. I had the same question and decided to buy the Stellar Strata and really liking it.