Mosaic 2.0 . The next thing?

Mosaic is functional and behind the curve. I understand that one can’t expect the dev power of Roon with revenue from a dedicated subscription model. However, a drastic improvement in the experience is possible with a relatively small team… an UX impresario, a software engineer who develops use cases, a sound database architect and some developers. The know how for all the communication stuff is in house. And some roles don’t even have to be on payroll and can work project related.

dCS is in digital music reproduction. Let me interact with my sources and collection in a productive fashion. If done right it is a differentiator that can broaden and secure the customer base. ‘Use Roon’ doesn’t cut it for those who prefer no RAAT. Plus that reliance looks like a strategic mistake as it reduces the gear to hardware / SQ only.

To go a step further - if I had a choice between Mosaic as is for free and a subscription for something really nice? The latter without question.

A comment from dCS staff would be very welcome.

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From my point of view, I only use Roon, which is a truly amazing product. And I don’t see how dCS could ever come close to that level.
But there is no guarantee Roon will be around forever, so maybe it makes sense to enhance Mosaic.

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I agree, a better Mosaic would be a huge benefit. My biggest disappointment with my Vivaldi system is it doesn’t remember settings for each input. This shortcoming could easily be handled by the app - I’d select NETWORK on the app and it would change the input on the upsampler, plus make any filter changes I wanted. This way I could have different settings for TV, Streaming, CD, etc. by only touching one “button” on the app. I use ROON for music, but everyday I use Mosaic for selecting inputs and changing settings.

Focus groups help figuring out who uses what for what and wants which capabilities. Plus ironing out current deficiencies.

Kindly reread my post how I said it could be greatly improved upon. No mention of matching Roon. There are things that are more expensive and others less so in software development. E.g. replicating the content in Roon is likely expensive. Building a proper database so I can browse and filter my collection in a smart way is less expensive. To give an example - besting the nifty Roon Focus feature is definitely within reach.

That’s an additional reason, yes. Long term risk management. Yet another is building a moat around the enterprise. Aside from making some customers happy.

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Yes, I agree. There are a number of valid use cases for Mosaic where it falls short. Part of the process would be identifying, collecting and prioritizing them.

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I just ordered Rossini Dac and Rossini transport.

One important feature I would like to see in Mossaic is - Mossaic should be able to fetch the metadata from free music databases like Music Brainz.

My music server is Naim Uniti Core where all CDs ripped in WAV format. For all CDs I rip, I create metadata for them (wherever not available) in Music Brainz . And Uniti Core can fetch all those metadata from Music Brainz. Roon can also do the same.

But Mossaic cannot. This would be one of big reasons I am not going to use my Mossaic much for browsing my music server. I need to stick to Roon.

Regards,
Sourav

The sound quality from my dCS Network Bridge is very good.

Before buying it I also demoed Innuos Zen mk3 and some Auralic equipment
Sound quality was not as good but the control apps were superior to Mosaic.

Of course, sound quality wins every time for me but Mosaic does need development!

If Mosaic could sort favourites in alphabetical order, that would be an immediate improvement in my opinion!

the new Innuos Pulse streamer are looking promising!

Some very good points here and yet again no comment from dCS. Your guys seem to only comment when you have positive news. It’s almost as if you are not fond of criticism no matter how constructive.

An update to a dCS product, including Mosaic. can be across the Mosaic Control app, the network board firmware and the FPGA / control board firmware. It can sometimes span all 3 (as is the case with Bartók 2.0), which means updates can represent significant development time for seemingly trivial features.

We do have a UX specialist, an app team, and we are constantly looing at new features and functions to bring to Mosaic. In the last 3 months we have added TIDAL Connect functionality and Transport Controls. We also recently surveyed users from the dCS community to better understand how they listen to and manage music and what they want from their dCS system and Mosaic.

I am very keen to better understand what features you’d like added to Mosaic, and these suggestions will absolutely be fed into product management and if they are desirable and viable they will make it onto the product roadmap.

We have indeed been working to collect, prioritise and work through suggested improvements to Mosaic. However, if there is anything particularly standout to you which would improve your experience with it, I’d be glad to hear it.

For streaming services we are reliant on the streaming service providers for the data that is returned from searches. They also specify how the content is to be displayed - also, not all functionality provided by the services own app is available to third party companies using their streaming API.

In the case of Qobuz for example, the content is not received in alphabetical order so the returned information is displayed in the format that it is received.

I will of course feed back that alphabetical sorting for all sources would be ideal!

Apologies for not getting back to you in 13 hours, it has been a busy day with the Bartók 2.0 release.
We love customer feedback, both positive and negative, as it helps us do better.

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James,

Here are two very quick and, I hope, straightforward suggestions. Having used several controller graphic user interfaces on several platforms, I would like to see the following functionalities I have experienced on other manufacturers’ interfaces:

  1. For iPad users, it would be nice to see album titles on Tidal and Qobuz displayed in a grid format. It’s visually pleasing and is much easier to survey large numbers of titles. I can point the team to two competitors whose apps allow their users to see the information displayed this way.

  2. On other apps, I am able to easily see the release date for each album. This is very handy if one is unfamiliar with an artist’s catalog and wants to know what the latest versus oldest albums are.

If any of these features are currently available and I have overlooked them, my apologies in advance.

“ Apologies for not getting back to you in 13 hours, it has been a busy day with the Bartók 2.0 release.”

This has a rather unnecessary sarcastic tone to it I think. My point was that on a day when many people would be looking forward to downloading a great update it’s not unreasonable to expect:

  1. Clear instructions on how to do it and what to expect in terms of screen messages and the need to reboot the machine
    And
  2. To receive speedy and timely responses to customers who were stuck and having trouble downloading and installing the update.

Second the call for a grid layout and would also like to see genre displayed in the playing now window.

In terms of Mosaic functionality I would really appreciate it if Mosaic could hide tracks on new albums that are not yet released and thus not playable.
Also can it be organised such that in Qobuz album view latest releases are displayed first and tracks on the numerous compilation albums that exist are pushed to the bottom.
And is it possible to display year of release in for instance album view without having to click on info?

I’m happy this topic is gathering interest and reactions from both fellow forum members and dCS. Thank you all, thank you James!

This is not a direct answer but more a canvas that ideally makes its way onto management’s desk. Considering what’s on the market and what is possible when done right I don’t believe Mosaic is at a continuous development stage. It’s time to take out the drawing board and rethink from first principles.

Actually, one of the first questions is ‘What business am I in?’. And it is not the DAC business. To answer that question it’s necessary to look at the customer problem. For dCS I see two: ‘Live with music’ and ‘Have an enjoyable audio journey’. Then there are solutions to the problems. ‘Live with music’ solutions come live, as devices, instruments, services or physical recordings: concerts, making music, portables (including smartphones) with headphones, multiroom systems, boom boxes, car stereos, TVs, hifi systems, Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, Roon, CDs, LPs… Seen this way the field is vast. Plus ‘Live with music’ is in competition for consumer time with all other leisure offerings. That’s the strategic landscape. Solutions change dynamically, the customer problem remains constant for a rather long time. The work of Aloys Gälweiler is world class in this field of corporate strategy. Unfortunately his books are hard to get and are only published in German.

The second customer problem ‘Have an enjoyable audio journey’ is where dCS excels. It delivers a splendid sound quality and music presentation from digital sources. And the devices are a joy to behold. Alternative solutions are all the offerings we know from little USB Dongle DACs to expensive cables.

So there is customer problem, available solutions and the own solutions. dCS’s solutions are Bartók, Rossini, Vivaldi and LINA. An integral part of those solutions is Mosaic. The question is how much of a competitive advantage can Mosaic provide. And is the prize worth the investment. The state of Mosaic suggests management believes the value is that of a solid remote. I’m not in the audio business. So I can’t say. My gut tells me there’s a sweet spot for Mosaic positioned against direct competitors and Roon that not only delights customers but also widens the moat around dCS’s business. Do I want to compete on sound quality and looks / build and leave the interface experience to Roon? Or do I compete on the whole experience of living with recorded music? By that I don’t necessarily mean expanding the product portfolio but enhancing the experience on screen. Hifi is not computers. But the analogy of Apple vs. Samsung in smartphones or Apple vs. Dell in computers comes to mind. In one case the competing software is by Google in the other by Microsoft. Hardware commodification enabled by a universal software layer on top squeezes hardware margins. And it looks much like Roon follows a similar strategic intent to Microsoft on PCs.

In terms of feasibility I believe meaningful progress is achievable on a reasonable budget as evidenced by Innuos.

How does all this translate into Mosaic? Let’s take the customer problem ‘Live with music’. Make it easy, enjoyable, exciting, satisfying, a journey worth taking. dCS has the sound quality aspect of that down in spades. What’s happening on the screen can do the same. Breaking that down to a use case: if the customer has a collection with e.g. more than 500 albums his experience greatly improves when he can interact with his collection in a meaningful way. One use case is ‘finding an album perfect for the moment’. Another ‘re-discovering the own collection’. With LPs that experience was limited. Sorting was either alphabetical or alphabetical by genre. One can’t re-sort the physical records every evening after all. Not so with digital. Software can dice and splice the collection any way the meta-data permits. And it can search. It’s important to not start thinking in features from the beginning but in use cases. The two I mentioned above lead to questions like ‘perfect for the moment’ - what does that entail? how do I model that? where do I get the data from? And in the use case ‘re-discover’ - how do I do that with 5,000 albums in an exciting way over and over again? Yes, there will be a filter and a view in the end. But not in the beginning. It’s approaching the issue from the user’s perspective not from what software can do. Done well there’s a good chance to position against Roon. They can’t scratch their investment easily. So they can’t just copy Mosaic 2.0 tomorrow. And looking at the Roon interface as good as it is, especially when it comes to collections they are too much driven by what software can do and less by what the user wants to do with the thing.

I have no insight into dCS so this might be superfluous and is by all means meant in a benevolent way. I’m intuiting from being a computer scientist and having worked for a systems integrator. dCS’s DNA is built on ADC, DAC and clocking. Software for end users is a different development and engineering challenge. For Mosaic it might be beneficial to bring in a systems integrator to help implement a robust end-to-end software development process. From scope to design to development. Where scope got to be informed by business strategy, cost constraints and customers. Actually, Mosaic is a product in itself. It’s only useful for dCS customers, but it’s a product. There are all the considerations of software product management starting with positioning.

Let’s take Roon as a reference to understand how Mosaic could be positioned against it. Roon’s ‘magazine around your music’ is probably hard to replicate and even harder to implement better. There, a second best or third best would have to do. Roon Radio? Algorithms are good. Humans are better. One could partner with Gramophone, Uncut, Mojo, NME, and the like to get human curated content and discovery into the app. This would be enabled by revenue from a Mosaic subscription model. Roon Focus? Here Mosaic could shine as its interface can leapfrog with excellent UX engineering. In this area hard thinking trumps budget.

If Mosaic 2.0 maintains an internal database replicating the streaming service or UPnP content you can sort and filter any way you like. By doing so you create a processing and syncing issue. Light processing can be done on device. More intensive processing can be done in the cloud only moving light data back and forth. The cloud database engine saves you the physical “Roon Core”. Or you build a LINA core. That would be more than lovely. A full system including offline music. :star_struck:

As a short term implemented feature? Yes, Baby! Would be also my personal greatest bang for the buck.

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As a newcomer to dCS products, I must say that I find Mosaic quite disappointing. The way it can control the settings on my source (Rossini Aoex) is good, it is the control of music services I find poor.

I use Qobuz. Mosaic cannot sort my offline Qobuz albums/artists/playlists into alphabetical order. This is a fundamental shortcoming. Can this be fixed please?

dCS is not legally obliged answering questions on this forum. There is no service level agreement other than the legal warranty of the product you buy.

So, it is when too much people react like you did that manufacturers close their forum, hopefully you are the only one, I do hope you remain the only one because it is very enjoyable reading the manufacturer comments or interactions with their customers…

Enjoy their British sense of humour :laughing:

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I continue to use the Aurender Conductor app as I find navigating it far much easier and user friendly. It also has an option to search for “similar artists” when listening to a particular artist. In addition, while streaming direct (from Tidal) via my Bartok using Mosaic, I have experienced interruptions due to perhaps network lag. I do not experience this problem using the Aurender and not sure if it is due to the buffering feature offered by the Aurender unit. I have a 1gb network and typically get ~800mb when tested. The problem could also be in the way the Tidal servers are managed. Btw, I am located in Singapore.
In summary, the excellent user interface and stable streaming performance from the Aurender (+Conductor app) steers me away from using the Bartok for streaming. The Bartok plays the role as a superb DAC linked to the Aurender via usb. I wait the day I can drop the Aurender :slight_smile:

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I feel Tidal connect has been an amazing addition to Mosaic, and now mostly use that instead of Roon.

As I use Qobuz exclusively for streaming now as I find the sound quality, especially on hi-Rez, is just so good and it has most of the music I want to listen to. So I don’t have as many issues with Mosaic that others have. However, I do tend to have the Qobuz app open as well to display information that Mosaic does not provide. A bit clunky, but I can live with it.

One thing that might be useful is the ability for users to edit or parameterise the interface depending on their preferences. For instance, I don’t personally find the Playlist facility useful. It would be nice to hide it and be able to use the album listing directly for ‘play from here’ functionality, for example.

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