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Computer Audiophile
  • Some Excellent CA Finds For You

    OK, three topics and four products to discuss today. 

     

     

    Qobuz

     

    qobuz-hi-resolution.pngI tried Qobuz a few years ago from here in the US, but at the time I was less than impressed. I also was somewhat satisfied with Tidal at the time. But, as Bob Dylan said, things have changed. This week I started using Qobuz again mainly because the company is bringing its service to the US in late Summer / early Fall. I need to use every product possible and be familiar with all the services in which the members of the Computer Audiophile community may be interested. I know tough job, but somebody has to do it. 

     

    Based on my very early use of Qobuz on iOs, desktop app on macOS, and integrations with AURALiC and Aurender I am very impressed. Finally in the US we have a lossless and high resolution service that's tailored to people who love good quality sound, love music, and appreciate little things such as desktop offline'ing of albums and a luxury feel to the application. 

     

    It's too early for me to say "game, set, match" between Tidal and Qobuz, but the horizon looks bright for Qobuz as of today. Much more to come on this front. 

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Great New Album

     

    lloyd.jpgOn June 28, 2018 Charles Lloyd & The Marvels released an album featuring Lucinda Williams called Vanished Gardens. Thanks to Qobuz I found the album and have been streaming it in high resolution 24/96 over and over. The entire album contains fantastic music and sounds wonderful. 

     

    I could go on and on about it, but just give it a listen for yourself!

     

    • HDtracks has the download for $17.99 - HERE
    • Qobuz has the lossless 24/96 version - HERE
    • Tidal has the lossy MQA version - HERE

     


    Here's a great video playlist with an interview and some tracks off the album.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    iOS Ethernet Solutions

     

    Huh, Ethernet for an iPhone or iPad? Yes. I know this sounds foolish for many in the community who have great WiFi, but it's actually something of value for a fair number of people. I started looking into this because of a conversation I had with a HiFi manufacturer about customer WiFi issues. Not issues to the audio device, but issue with the iOS control point. What was a customer WiFi issue was reported as a faulty product requiring the manufacturer to visit the customer's house. Situations like this are nothing new for HiFi manufacturers. 

     

    Anyway, I found a couple Lightning to Ethernet adapters to test out here at CA HQ. I wanted an adapter that provided said Ethernet connection, but also supported powering the iOS device. Ideally a user could connect this next to his/her iPad near a listening chair and not have to unplug the adapter just to charge the iPad. Either that or something similar, you get the idea. 

     

    The first adapter I received was from a company named findUWill, model number PC0003C10 (LINK).


    finduwill.jpgThe company claims this adapter works with new iOS devices and iOS 10 & 11. It appears that a 2 amp charger is required as well, but there's no real instructions or requirements documentation. What the company offers are instructions for connecting the adapter to an iOS device in terms of a procedure. This procedure must be followed exactly as stated as I found out. Unfortunately I still ran into issues I couldn't work through.

     

    As a Lightning to Ethernet adapter without powering the iOS device, this product works great. Below you can see my Speedtest results wired versus WiFi on my iPhone 8. I was able to connect and disconnect the adapter from my iPhone with pretty good luck. Meaning, it worked without jumping through hoops. 

     

    As soon as I tried to connect another Lightning cable to the adapter to power my iPhone, things went bad quickly. The bottom line is that I couldn't get it to power the iPhone even after an hour of trying several different approaches. Sometimes just connecting the Lightning cable to the adapter caused the Ethernet device to disappear from the iPhone. This is without even connecting the Lightning cable to a power source on the other end! Flakey indeed. 

     

    Wifi | Wire

    wifi.jpg wired.png

     

     

     


    elecjoy.jpgThe other device I received (thanks to @Em2016 for letting me know about it) is by a company named Elecjoy, model number ... come on that would be too helpful for potential customers. There is no model number in sight. At least this adapter shipped with a mini user manual. (Product link here)

     

    The great part about this adapter is that it has Lightning input for power, Ethernet output of course, and also a USB connection. This is a great feature set for those of us with USB DACs looking to create an audio endpoint that's wired rather than wireless. 

     

    Did this adapter work? As a Lightning to Ethernet adapter without power it worked perfect. When I added power to the unit to pass through to my iPhone it also worked perfect. What about the bonus feature of adding a USB DAC? With the AudioQuest DragonFly Red this adapter also worked perfect! I was able to stream 16/44.1, 24/44.1, and 24/96 content via Qobuz on my iPhone 8 and output it to the DragonFly (max supported sample rate of the DAC is 24/96).

     

    I'm really quite surprised that everything worked as advertised. The product most certainly isn't MFi certified from Apple. My only complain about the Elecjoy unit is that it's a bit bulky to have hangin on an iOS device. The adapter cable is only a few inches long and the plastic end of the adapter is awkward with three things connected. 

     

     

    vtek.jpgFortunately we can take this little setup to eleven by using a Lightning extension cable. I recently received a 6.6 feet Lightning extension cable from a company named VTEK, model number V2001002SL (LINK). The cable is really nice. The exterior is braided and the ends have a nice silver metal finish. I placed this extension  between the Elecjoy adapter and my iPhone 8 and it worked perfect without a single issue. With this in place, my iPhone had a single 6.6 feet Lightning cable connected to it for all intents and purposes. The bulky adapter, Ethernet cable, and Lightning power cable were well away from the iPhone and didn't interfere with my use of the phone or my iPad Pro in my listening chair. 


    I highly recommend this adapter and extension cable for anyone who either needs it because of bad WiFi or wants to for a cool wired and powered iOS audio endpoint.


    Note: Qobuz didn't see the Ethernet adapter as a WiFi device so it logically functioned as if connected to a mobile network in that the app used my mobile streaming settings rather than WiFI settings. I changed my mobile settings to equal that of my WiFi settings (up to 24/192 audio) and the app functioned just like it did via WiFi. Fortunately, the Qobuz app used the Ethernet connection even though it functioned in mobile mode. All around great stuff.

      


     



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    Chris, thansk for checking out Qobuz for the rest of us, it's greatly appreciated. Much has been said about the content limitations of Qobuz. Most comments seemed to indicate that their library leans very heavily towards classical, and a lot of European (and possibly other) jazz. My concern was whether Qobuz offered the depth of, rock in all its types, alternative, folk, ambient, and other general music available on Tidal. 

     

    I would love to know if there is a truly viable alternative to Tidal, with comparable music depth in its library,  given Tidal's precarious situation. 

     

    JC

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    56 minutes ago, TubeLover said:

    Chris, thansk for checking out Qobuz for the rest of us, it's greatly appreciated. Much has been said about the content limitations of Qobuz. Most comments seemed to indicate that their library leans very heavily towards classical, and a lot of European (and possibly other) jazz. My concern was whether Qobuz offered the depth of, rock in all its types, alternative, folk, ambient, and other general music available on Tidal. 

     

    I would love to know if there is a truly viable alternative to Tidal, with comparable music depth in its library,  given Tidal's precarious situation. 

     

    JC

    No guarantees Qobuz will stick around either. They basically went bankrupt and were saved at the last minute by new investors. Supposedly the management is better now and they are expanding. 

     

    Whether that means the losses have stopped is another story. I don't think we can be at all sure any of these smaller players will stick around. Spotify may be "too big to fail" at this point. 

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    Chris:

    do you think either of these products could work as a way to use a Dragonfly Red with an iPhone 8+ in a car? 

    I just got a new car last week, and in the new 2018 model, there no longer is a 2.5mm audio in jack (my 2015 model had one). Thus, I am now limited to a single USB in for audio in my new car. 

    In my last car, I was able to use the Apple camera kit with the Audioquest Red and then use a 2.5mm cable from Audioquest into the 2.5mm audio in jack. (Streaming Tidal via my iPhone via the Tidal iOS app). 

    If anyone else has any thoughts how I can now (with a USB in only) use the Audioquest Red with my iPhone in my car, please feel free to chime in!! 

     

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    1 hour ago, agladstone said:

    Chris:

    do you think either of these products could work as a way to use a Dragonfly Red with an iPhone 8+ in a car? 

    I just got a new car last week, and in the new 2018 model, there no longer is a 2.5mm audio in jack (my 2015 model had one). Thus, I am now limited to a single USB in for audio in my new car. 

    In my last car, I was able to use the Apple camera kit with the Audioquest Red and then use a 2.5mm cable from Audioquest into the 2.5mm audio in jack. (Streaming Tidal via my iPhone via the Tidal iOS app). 

    If anyone else has any thoughts how I can now (with a USB in only) use the Audioquest Red with my iPhone in my car, please feel free to chime in!! 

     

    Hmmm. I think you’re out of luck. With digital input only (via USB) there isn’t anything you can do. 

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    18 hours ago, firedog said:

    Whether that means the losses have stopped is another story. 

     

    https://www.rtbf.be/culture/pop-up/detail_qobuz-prepare-son-arrivee-aux-etats-unis?id=9772232

     

    "Qobuz has a turnover of 9.1 million euros for 2016-2017 and a negative gross operating result of 4.8 million euros.

    He expects to achieve profitability in 2020-2021 with a turnover target of 108 million euros."

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    2 hours ago, Em2016 said:

     

    https://www.rtbf.be/culture/pop-up/detail_qobuz-prepare-son-arrivee-aux-etats-unis?id=9772232

     

    "Qobuz has a turnover of 9.1 million euros for 2016-2017 and a negative gross operating result of 4.8 million euros.

    He expects to achieve profitability in 2020-2021 with a turnover target of 108 million euros."

    Expects, love that, it's almost trying to say guarantee, without sounding like a snake oil salesman. For now every euro they earn, half of it is lost. This business doesn't correspond to a cyclic change like agriculture where rains determine the cycle. It's just steady losses on a flawed model. For now it works, make the most of it, I suppose.

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    3 hours ago, Em2016 said:

     

    https://www.rtbf.be/culture/pop-up/detail_qobuz-prepare-son-arrivee-aux-etats-unis?id=9772232

     

    "Qobuz has a turnover of 9.1 million euros for 2016-2017 and a negative gross operating result of 4.8 million euros.

    He expects to achieve profitability in 2020-2021 with a turnover target of 108 million euros."

    Expects is the key word. And what does Qobuz expect if their foray into the American market is a failure? 

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    8 minutes ago, firedog said:

    Expects is the key word. And what does Qobuz expect if their foray into the American market is a failure? 

     

    Expects means they have a plan (whether good or not) and means are happy to accept losses for the next ~ 3 years.

     

    Mind you, with a new boss, their plans that were linked around the time of that forecast may have been turned upside down since then. It's a dynamic world. 

     

    The best advice is just to listen to as much as you can, as quickly as practicably possible 😁

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    7 hours ago, agladstone said:

    Chris:

    do you think either of these products could work as a way to use a Dragonfly Red with an iPhone 8+ in a car? 

    I just got a new car last week, and in the new 2018 model, there no longer is a 2.5mm audio in jack (my 2015 model had one). Thus, I am now limited to a single USB in for audio in my new car. 

    In my last car, I was able to use the Apple camera kit with the Audioquest Red and then use a 2.5mm cable from Audioquest into the 2.5mm audio in jack. (Streaming Tidal via my iPhone via the Tidal iOS app). 

    If anyone else has any thoughts how I can now (with a USB in only) use the Audioquest Red with my iPhone in my car, please feel free to chime in!! 

     

     

    AQ has Dragon Tail USB connector

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    7 hours ago, AnotherSpin said:

     

    AQ has Dragon Tail USB connector

    This is only an extension cable between the music playing device and the DAC. If connected to the car there wouldn’t be any music from the phone. 

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    14 hours ago, agladstone said:

    Chris:

    do you think either of these products could work as a way to use a Dragonfly Red with an iPhone 8+ in a car? 

    I just got a new car last week, and in the new 2018 model, there no longer is a 2.5mm audio in jack (my 2015 model had one). Thus, I am now limited to a single USB in for audio in my new car. 

    In my last car, I was able to use the Apple camera kit with the Audioquest Red and then use a 2.5mm cable from Audioquest into the 2.5mm audio in jack. (Streaming Tidal via my iPhone via the Tidal iOS app). 

    If anyone else has any thoughts how I can now (with a USB in only) use the Audioquest Red with my iPhone in my car, please feel free to chime in!! 

     

    For a car, I would recommend Bluetooth. Your 2018 car should have that, possibly Apple’s own integration as well. If your car supports AAC Bluetooth you should be fine quality-wise. If it doesn’t but does have an Audio In jack, I would recommend getting an AAC Bluetooth Receiver. The best setup is possibly one where you have an iPhone holder with wireless charging and you connect over Bluetooth to your car’s audio system.

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    Roon is talking to Qobuz about integration similar to what they have with Tidal. No guarantee that they will come to an agreement but it sure would be great for us.

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    12 hours ago, bobflood said:

    Roon is talking to Qobuz about integration similar to what they have with Tidal. No guarantee that they will come to an agreement but it sure would be great for us.

    Would be great for Roon as well. And bad for MQA Ltd.

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    On 7/7/2018 at 9:07 PM, lasker98 said:

    That's an amazing new album from Lucinda Williams and Charles Lloyd. I hadn't heard of him before hearing this. I thought it was a pretty groundbreaking collaboration. There was a track ("Unsuffer Me", probably my current favourite track off the cd so far) posted in the Song of the Day thread last week. Here's a link with some more info in case anyone's interested:

     

    https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2018/06/jazz-icon-charles-lloyd-leads-lucinda-williams-int.html

    I also enjoy this new album from Lucinda Williams and Charles Lloyd. Music performed by "real" musicians  and also a great sounding production for my hi-fi system.

    Her are another album that are much in the same landscape. Great playing and also with a reference production and extremely open nice sound .

    https://listen.tidal.com/album/85034891

    http://www.adammiller.com.au

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    3 hours ago, atletico said:

    I also enjoy this new album from Lucinda Williams and Charles Lloyd. Music performed by "real" musicians  and also a great sounding production for my hi-fi system.

    Her are another album that are much in the same landscape. Great playing and also with a reference production and extremely open nice sound .

    https://listen.tidal.com/album/85034891

    http://www.adammiller.com.au

     

    Great recommendation, love it.  Thanks

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    7 hours ago, barrows said:

    Chris, thanks for the heads up on the Lloyd/Williams album, I'll pick this up immediately.  Huge fan of Charles' work here.

    Hi Barrows - If I’m not mistaken you aren’t a fan of WiFi correct? The wired iOS solution could be perfect for you :~)

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    Thanks to Darko Audio, I found out that the Chromecast Audio now works as a Roon endpoint with a reasonable sound quality for the $35 it costs. Another post on Darko outlines how the SQ can be improved with a high res setting for the Chromecast, an IFi 5v power supply and a connection cable that has an internet cable connection as well. The outcome is pretty good so for $100 you get a good Roon endpoint with some flexibility as well for future applications. Thanks Darko !!!

     

    darko.audio

     

    The adaptor comes from UGreen, Ethernet adaptor for Chromecast with power supply, available on Amazon for about $18

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    5 hours ago, diw said:

    Thanks to Darko Audio, I found out that the Chromecast Audio now works as a Roon endpoint with a reasonable sound quality for the $35 it costs. Another post on Darko outlines how the SQ can be improved with a high res setting for the Chromecast, an IFi 5v power supply and a connection cable that has an internet cable connection as well. The outcome is pretty good so for $100 you get a good Roon endpoint with some flexibility as well for future applications. Thanks Darko !!!

     

    darko.audio

     

    The adaptor comes from UGreen, Ethernet adaptor for Chromecast with power supply, available on Amazon for about $18

    Perhaps you miss our article about $7.99 Roon Ready endpoints a while back. No sample rate limitations like the Chromecast. 

     

     

     

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    On 7/10/2018 at 6:02 PM, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Perhaps you miss our article about $7.99 Roon Ready endpoints a while back. No sample rate limitations like the Chromecast. 

    NO, I remember that article but it also said that the Nano was a geek challenge....accordingly to the Darko post the Chromecast now passes 24/96 so maybe there is a new version....it also gives you some options...at its simplest it passes an analog output from wifi, at its best rate it passes 24/96 via Toslink from an ethernet connection....and sometimes life is too short to geek about saving $20 in favour of plug'n'play. Still , lots of choices!!

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    On 7/10/2018 at 6:02 PM, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Perhaps you miss our article about $7.99 Roon Ready endpoints a while back. No sample rate limitations like the Chromecast. 

     

     

     

     

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