Best Connection Between MAC and NAD

I have a MacBook Pro and just received a NAD C 399 with MDC2 BluOS-D module.  I'm trying to figure out what is the best way to connect them.  I started using Apple Music and coming out of the MAC headset jack into NAD audio inputs.  The quality of that audio was OK, but not great.  I attempted to use an USB-C - HDMI adapter cable into the NAD, but that did not work.

Then, I signed up for Tidal and connected a USB-C out from the MAC to a USB input for the NAD.  I believe this enabled the use of the NAD DAC.  Those helped the sound quality.  But, now I'm wondering if I should explore an optical option.  Coming out of the MAC USB-C and either using an adapter cable or dock to come out an optical connection and into the NAD optical port.

Any suggestion what would be the best configuration for connecting the MAC to the NAD?



just install Roon bluesound is roon compliient it will work great and roon Is amazing

I think that as long as you are merely connecting the Mac to the NAD, you are only going to get so far when it comes to sound quality. Mac's are great computers, but not high quality music servers.

Buying a proper streamer will solve this problem. A good starting option would be the Bluesound Node.

+1, “Mac’s are great computers, but not high quality music servers”.

Several years ago, I replaced my MAC computer with an Aurender N20 Music server. I suggest you start investigating music servers. Bluesound Node is another option.  

Sorry, I am confused.  Is the NAD C 399 with MDC2 BluOS-D module a steamer?  The specs say it will stream Tidal.  

The MDC2 BluOS-D module specs say:

Support for hundreds of internet radio stations and over20 streaming services.

Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect.

The MDC2 BluOS-D module also features BluOS high-resolution music streaming. Available for iOS, macOS, Android, and Windows, the flexible BluOS Controller app provides access to hundreds of internet radio stations and more than 20 streaming services. Like all BluOS products, the MDC2 BluOS-D module supports high-resolution playback up to 24-bit/192kHz, as well as MQA. With the MDC2 BluOS-D module, users can share music from any source connected to the host component with up to 63 BluOS-enabled components on the same network. Playback can also be controlled by Alexa or Google voice commands, and from smart home control systems from Crestron, Control4, Lutron, RTI, and others.


I'm new to this and still a little confused.  Considering the spec info just mentioned regarding the MDC2 BluOS-D module which I have and is part of my NAD C 399 does that mean that I really don't need an additional streamer such as the Bluesound Node because the MDC2 BluOS-D module is already providing that function at a roughly equal high sound quality?  

And if that is the case, going back to my original question, what is the best cable connection between the MAC and NAD?  Please advise.  Thanks!

Yes. I suggest you stream from your MDC2 BluOS-D module and see how it sounds.

I believe the MAC COMPUTER only has USB cable outputs. Run a USB cable from the MAC to your MDC2 BluOS-D module and see how it sounds. You might need a USB-C converter to the USB input on your MDC2 BluOS-D module. 

Great suggestions on the hardware.  Thanks!

I started out using Apple Music because I've been using earlier iterations of Apple Music for years.  Then, the NAD dealer rep showed up to set up my system.  He began to praise how Tidal provided much better quality audio.  So, now I've been testing out both services.  In the mean time I've been hearing about how Apple is working to improve its sound file quality.  So, now I'm not sure which of them to pursue.  Please let me know if you have any suggestions regarding a preferred service - Apple or Tidal - and if either has better features?  Thanks!

@pacificm, Great question. I searched on Apple Streaming music vs Tidal and found this link

Apple Music vs Tidal Streaming Link:

Please review this info and continue searching for additional information. I use QoBuz for my music streaming and like it very much. Qobuz offers hi-res albums of 24/96 and 24/192. QoBuz also offers over 2,000 playlists for you to chose from.

In your case, I suggest you compare Apple Streaming and Tidal to see what service provides the best sound quality, catalog selections and ease of use.

More info on Apple streaming, see link

Tap Apple Lossless Audio to turn it on or off. From here, you can choose the audio quality for streaming and downloading audio (probably need to check your settings).

  • Lossless for a maximum resolution of 24-bit/48 kHz
  • Hi-Res Lossless for a maximum resolution of 24-bit/192 kHz

Thank you so much for your great response!

I have a follow up question.  You said that you use QoBuz.  In comparing Apple Music and Tidal, it appears that Tidal has the edge on sound quality.  I'm playing the streaming into a NAD C 399 with MDC2 BluOS-D module attached to new, good stereo speakers and subwoofer.  So, sound quality is important to me.

Your choice of QoBuz over Tidal would suggest that QoBuz sound quality is better than Tidal.  My question is overall whether you think QoBuz is better than Tidal in sound quality?  Thanks!

@pacificm, Everyone has a different opinion on that question. I prefer Qobuz over Tidal but others prefer Tidal. I searched and found the following for more info:

Tidal vs Qobuz link

Another Tidal vs Qobuz link

I suggest you demo both and make your own decision. I compared Tidal vs. Qobuz for 2 weeks and selected Qobuz for its sound quality, catalog and playlists. I especially like its hi-res albums. For more info, please search on Tidal cs Qobuz for many more reports. In any case, you have to decide what sounds best, has the right catalog and ease of use for yourself.

I am streaming Qobuz using an Aurender N20 music server.