Problems with gapless playback using Audirvana/ Bartok

Hi - when I play tracks from Audirvana through my Bartok I can’t get gapless playback - neither from FLACs stored on my attached hard drive nor from the same tracks streamed from Qobuz. The same tracks (PInk Floyd’s DSOTM, for reference) streamed from Qobuz directly through dCS Mosaic are fine. I upgraded the software for both within the last week. I’ve posted on the Audirvana forums and apparently this is a “known problem” with Audirvana … any suggestions, or possibility that this might be rectified on the dCS software end? Thanks

This isn’t a deficiency in the product, it’s just a matter of the level of baseline compatibility with “vanilla” UPnP that we have elected to support. Our products support 3rd-party UPnP control points (like Audirvana) for general compatibility only and one of the areas which in which we made a conscious decision not to provide support was gapless playback. There are technical reasons for this but they are not worth going into here.

Our native playback mechanism supports fetching content from UPnP servers, but at its core it is not UPnP. It’s proprietary. If gapless playback from one’s own library is important then we recommend using Mosaic Control for media browsing / playback or Roon.

If utilizing Audirvana for playback is a requirement then connecting via USB should produce gapless playback. If it doesn’t then there is something wrong with Audirvana.

Andrew - thanks for the explanation. I think I’ve seen elsewhere on this forum that ethernet (which I currently use) is preferable to USB for connection to the Bartok, but I can’t find that thread. Would you mind explaining why that is (or is not) the case?

Hi Andrew - I’ve since noticed that gapless playback is also an issue on Mosaic - for example, having a gap between the 3rd and 4th movements of Beethoven’s 5th is really, really brutal (for reference, I just listened to Carlos Kleiber’s version on MQA). My version of Mosaic is up to date. Thanks, Dave

I’m sorry that I should have mentioned I’m streaming Tidal through Mosaic. Thanks, Dave

There’s a limitation in MQA which requires us to drop the renderer out of the signal path briefly on track changes. This causes a dropout and breaks gapless playback. There’s not much we can do here and this may never change in Mosaic. We’ve looked into a workaround, but the cost in terms of time and risk is excessive.

If gapless is absolutely critical for you then I would suggest using Roon for playback. The way that the Roon core knits tracks together into a continuous stream gets around this issue.

As someone else who appreciates this particular album, might I suggest the non-MQA-compressed 24/94 version on Qobuz for gapless playback via Mosaic.

Agreed. For classical music enthusiasts Qobuz does seem in general to be the preferable option especially for hi-res content which for Tidal/MQA seems limited to recordings from a couple of majors ( who seem mostly interested in working their back catalogue. Most new classical recordings now flow from independent labels of which many are available in hi-res FLAC on Qobuz).

However we do not know where Dave is situated and it may be that Qobuz is not available in his country or that he also likes other genres which Tidal perhaps may serve better.

Thanks all. Not to start a flame war here, but does one miss not having MQA on Qobuz? I’ve listened to the same album on the “CD” version vs “MQA” on Tidal through Mosaic and I do notice that MQA seems better - although it’s obviously apples and oranges when comparing to the hi-res lossless stream available on Qobuz.

I have subscriptions to both TIDAL & Qobuz, so I’m not advocating for one over the other. However, FYI, thus far, I have found that if an MQA version of an album is available on TIDAL then an uncompressed hi-rez version is usually available on Qobuz.

I agree with Mike. if it is on MQA on Tidal it will most likely also be available as a PCM FLAC at <24/192 on Qobuz. Plus, of course, as I mentioned thousands of other hi-res titles from labels that do not support MQA. The choice is just so much larger. Not to mention things like the CD booklet being available ( not via Mosaic but just use the Qobuz desktop app to view these and a lot more). MQA seems to mostly relate only to titles from UMG and Warners ( and the boutique 2L label). Is Sony Music also now MQA encoding?

However, may I suggest the easy way to make up your mind? Just subscribe to Qobuz . You get two week’s free access so just cancel your subscription during this time before they take any funds from your credit card if you do not like it. BTW they have recently dropped prices for the UK if that is where you are situated in order to bring them into line with the USA service. I suggest trying the Studio option for starters as Sublime+ is an annual sub only. There is no gapless problem with Qobuz irrespective of file resolution.

The subject of MQA per se is prone to creating arguments so I too do not want to go there.