Tidal has enabled High Res FLAC playback in Tidal Connect. An update.
This background story is the follow-up to a previous article about the introduction of high-resolution (High Res) FLAC files by Tidal. This morning, the Volumio Rivo indicated that a software update was available (version 3.569) and one of the items in the update is the correct display of high-resolution FLAC using Tidal Connect.
High-resolution FLAC playback via Tidal Connect
We searched for Glen Hansard’s new release in the Tidal app, which is offered on Qobuz as 24 bit, 96 kHz. Chances are the same resolution is offered in Tidal. The first thing you notice in the ‘Now playing’ window of the Tidal app is an indicator that displays ‘FLAC’. If you touch it, it changes to ‘MAX’. This solves one complaint: you can now see the format of the music file.
If we connect to the Volumio Rivo using the web interface, while playing through Tidal Connect from the app, Volumio indicates that we are indeed playing a 24-bit, 96 kHz FLAC file.
To check what happens with an MQA file, we choose a track by Rufus Wainwright.
The indicator in the Tidal app shows that it is an MQA file and the Volumio software shows that MQA is played in 16 bit, 44.1 kHz.
We can conclude that after the latest update, playing high-resolution FLAC files in their native resolution is now enabled using Tidal Connect on the Volumio platform.
Colleague Jaap tested on a BlueSound Node to see if the same update for Tidal Connect is also available on BluOS, but this is not yet true. The same Glen Hansard track is played in CD quality. The supplier of the software used by the streamer needs to release an update for Tidal Connect to allow playback of high-resolution FLAC using Tidal Connect.
What about the integration of Tidal in the Volumio software?
Besides Tidal Connect, many streaming platforms feature integration of Tidal in their software platform. Volumio offers this as well, so we test to see if high-resolution playback is offered with native integration.
As you can see, the support is not there yet. In our previous article, we were led astray. A closer look revealed that MQA up to 24 bit and 48 kHz does playback, but anything above 48 kHz is offered at CD quality when the DAC does not have MQA support. This makes playback of high-resolution material on Tidal even more transparant …
The ability to play high-resolution music with Tidal remains confusing. The average consumer will not care because music is playing, but we still do not rate it as very consumer-friendly.