Tidal MAX HiRes FLAC

Any idea when we will be able to stream HiRes FLAC from Tidal via Mosaic or Tidal Connect? I am still only getting MQA streams not FLAC.

EDIT: Companies like Lumin are rolling it out to their users.

You can stream Tidal “Max FLAC” tracks to dCS via Tidal Connect right now without any issue. What problem did you encounter?

Via Mosaic on the other hands, Tidal track listings shown are retrieved via airable, and does appear that airable isn’t quite up to date in listing Tidal MAX FLAC versions of albums, so one only sees MQA versions.

Oh you’re right! :smile: I didn’t look at my front-panel this morning and assumed the Tidal Max|FLAC track was playing fine when in fact it switches to the MQA versions when diverted to my dCS stack via Tidal Connect.

This whole Tidal MQA to FLAC migration is definitely a dog’s breakfast. So, glad generally only use Qobuz.

Hi Chocky,

Can I ask whether when you are selecting your dCS DAC in the TIDAL app on your PC are you doing that by TIDAL Connect or by a USB connection?



Phil, in pictures;

Tidal App playing natively on my Mac; Sonny Rollins in FLAC 24/96.

Exact same album, this time Tidal Connect to my Vivaldi; Notice it switches to the MQA version, but 24/192 fully rendered.

I wonder if Tidal is trying to be smart and giving users what they believe is the “max” best quality version. :thinking:

It seems that if the file has it’s MQA counterpart, Tidal connect goes MQA HiRes, but if it is a new disc that has HiRes flac, but not MQA, dCS (Vivaldi One in my case) goes CD Quality.
We lost Hi Res Capability on these new discs HiRes flac but not MQA.
Kirsten Edkins Shades and Sound, from Cohearent Studios (Kevin Grey).

Just a quick note to say that we are currently investigating getting this working. It is likely the case we will need to push an update for this to work. Given that we support TIDAL through both Mosaic and TIDAL Connect, these may well need separate work on the back end. Work is underway on both, and I’ll keep you updated.


@James Any news on this?

Any news with that problem?

Hi Denys and welcome to the community forum. I hope that you will enjoy your time here.

dCS normally follow a policy of not announcing new features until they are ready for public consumption i.e. when the next revision of Mosaic is announced at the earliest. We do not know when that may be. In the meantime we do know that they are “investigating” revisions to Tidal but that is no guide to when, or even if , they will emerge. Fingers crossed it may be soon :smiley:.

It won’t be fixed anytime soon. My dealer told me to forget Mosaic, and use my dCS as a DAC and use a separate streamer. He is correct. It now works properly with Tidal and sounds way better to boot!

There are essentially four ways to play TIDAL on a current dCS product:
1- External streamer (eg Roon or anything else connected to the DAC’s input)
2- UPnP streaming
3- TIDAL via Mosaic
4- TIDAL via TIDAL Connect

Support for TIDAL hires FLAC streaming for 1 & 2 depends on external factors but will work if those external tools support TIDAL hires FLAC.

I wonder if and/or when 3 & 4 will support hires FLAC streaming.

@James - Any insights please?

This where I always get confused. As I (mis)understand If you do not have UPnP you must be using #1 (eg Roon) for getting Tidal via Mosaic.

I often find that I know nothing much about this hobby. In this case not being a Tidal subscriber I probably require help. However my understanding is that UPnP has nothing do do with streaming of a service but the replay of locally stored files using NAS and UpnP software. Perhaps the Tidal app can be added to a NAS?

Mosaic uses the Tidal API so there is no difficulty with using the service at least at a basic level. The arising issue cones from their partial abandonment of MQA and the addition to their catalogue of FLAC titles. As far as I understand things ( which may be incorrect) this has resulted in a service ( Max) whereby the user can choose the format for titles that exist in both MQA or FLAC editions.

I understand from past postings that the existing Tidal API ( or Mosaic version) requires amendment so that this choice becomes available. dCS have posted that they are aware of this and that work either has been carried out or continues to be carried out. No doubt this will inevitably result in a further revision to Mosaic. However we do not know the current status of this work nor in regard to any other revisions that may be in mind. dCS do not pre-announce revisions nor the release date of a new Mosaic version.

UPnP streaming: My understanding is some servers allow you to take the TIDAL (or other) streams and make them into a UPnP-playable stream for a UPnP DAC to decode.

TIDAL format: I don’t believe you have the ability to choose what type of data TIDAL will stream to you. I am a subscriber to both TIDAL Hifi+ and Qobuz Sublime+ (or whatever it is called these days). My understanding and casual experience is TIDAL is moving to lossless FLAC (as opposed to LOSSY MQA) streaming, and you get what’s available. Over time MQA is being removed and replaced by lossless FLAC. But the process of producing an album is a relatively long one, so even today you have albums being released in MQA format, I guess simply because the process started before the MQA implosion.

TIDAL API: I would have thought the API might always return a PCM stream - no need to tailor it with MQA as the PCM stream in MQA includes authentication and flags, so dCS units will always recognize MQA because of the PCM encoding, without flagging. I don’t understand why this requires any software changes aside from implementations enabling the MQA decoder whenever a file is higher res than 16/44 (which to me is rather terrible software design).

I don’t blame you Pete, it can all get rather complicated as most Control Point Apps these days act as a API gateway points.

In the case of Mosaic with online music services, Mosaic issues API calls to airable for catalog search and selection. Once selected, Mosaic then directs the dCS DACs to make direct call to the actual Music services to pull the music stream down.

Third party Control Point Apps like BubbleUPnP and Audirvāna on the other hand make direct API calls to the music services without airable in the middle for music catalog and search, and then rely on UPnP towards the dCS DAC as the renderer.

Likewise Mosaic’s interactions with UPnP servers both it and the dCS DACs use UPnP protocol into the UPnP servers like MinimServer or Asset.

As for Tidal’s Max service, I think the technical term for it is; clusterfuck :rofl:

As far as I can tell (which isn’t very much since I haven’t actually looked at it at the protocol level), it depends on what API calls are made to Tidal servers to stream the FLAC or MQA version of various tracks. It’s not clear to me why they would bother since every DAC capable of MQA is capable of FLAC.


Exactly. But is that really the case? Are you saying they are bothering to host an MQA file at all if the FLAC hires version is already hosted? Or are you saying that a call to retrieve the MQA file will result in getting streamed the redbook version if that particular MQA source has moved to hires FLAC?

Personally, I find it strange and amateurish to code the API such that you’re specifying MQA or not, on either end.

Yes actually. Take a look at the screenshots I posted earlier in this thread; Tidal appears to have both the MQA and FLAC hires versions of that Sonny Rollins “Go West” transfer.

  • When you play the album via the Tidal App on your PC/Mac it’ll play the FLAC 24/96 version which is not MQA coded.

  • However, from the Tidal App itself when you switch to the dCS DAC (Tidal Connect), the stream switches to the MQA version (rendered to 24/192k).

If you follow Lumin as posted by the OP, they had to work with Tidal and issued a firmware update to enable their platform to playback Tidal FLAC instead of MQA via Tidal Connect. Likewise BlueSound who went through the same thing for their BluOS (the owners of whom ironically now own MQA :laughing:).

I expect we’ll see the same from dCS, i.e. a Mosaic Processor firmware update at some point.

I can’t speaking to Tidal’s motivations for this “disaster”, but I’m guessing it might have more to do with licensing then technology per se.

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This makes it complicated at many levels. For example, lets say dCS changed Mosaic and/or network firmware to capture the lossless FLAC file. Then you’d get people saying they wanted MQA. Then dCS needs to somehow put logic and toggle options to get the lossless FLAC stream when available, etc etc. A PITA. This strikes me as very poor software architecture and very poor management decision making (at TIDAL).

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Tidal has announced they are phasing out MQA. At least that is what they have said😉