Hi-res streaming on Qobuz


Although hi-res titles on Qobuz indicate streaming at 96kHz or192kHz, I’m not sure my system is reproducing those levels. Both my Arcam Rplay streamer and Schiit Gungnir multibit manuals indicate they accept up to 192kHz.  But I can’t hear a difference in quality comparing hi-res to non hi-res files.  Even if I do an A B comparison using the exact same titles with Qobuz hi-res and Idagio CD quality  resolution, I hear no difference. There are no indicators to tell what’s happening, so I’m wondering if I’m indeed hearing in high resolution.
Is there any way I can be sure?
7c67ab18 c2ce 4b45 9523 fc4a71684ce0rvpiano
I briefly owned the Rplay and wound up sending it back to the dealer.  Everything sounded the same, I couldn’t tell much difference between mp3 and Red Book and High Resolution, and the player doesn’t indicate what is actually being sent to the DAC.  I had other issues with the player that prompted the return so I never even got to explore the issue on discussion here.  Arcam support was non existent, no response at all to the email address that was given for product support.
  Returning the player probably isn’t an option for you so I would go into their settings menus and make sure that everything is enabled, but you probably have done that.  My Bryston streamer tells what data rate is being transmitted, and where I have been able to compare high resolution vs Red book, the difference is audible.  Case in point are the Andris Nelsons/Boston SO Shostakovich Symphony Cycle.  I have a red book CD of the Tenth, and a high resolution download of the same recording, and the difference is not subtle
Actually, I’m quite happy with the quality of the RPlay sound. The reason I got it was that a.review in What-Hifi compared the sound favorably to the very popular here Blue-sound Node 2.  Arcam regularly transmits upgrades to the streamer. I would just like to hear a difference between hi-res and CD quality files.
rvpiano
... I’m quite happy with the quality of the RPlay sound ... I would just like to hear a difference between hi-res and CD quality files.
What else is in your system? Perhaps that's why you're not hearing the benefits of hi-res files.
Benchmark AHB2 Amplifier, Modified Conrad-Johnson PV11 preamp.
I do hear high resolution from my Oppo 105 Blu-ray player..
how long have you noticed that there is no difference ?
@ rvpiano

recently you had started a thread about possibly getting new speakers and that didnt work out due to the dealer......but were you doing that because you wanted to change the current ones OR you were hoping that this would solve the solve this issue where you dont hear a difference between the hi res and not hi res ?
I have a Topping E30 DAC that shows the bit rate of the stream being played. It reliably matches what Qobuz says it is sending. That said, just because a recording has been done in high-rez doesn't mean it will always sound better or even be noticeable.

For example, what microphones were used by the recording studio? What about their mic preamps and mixing console? A standard CD runs up to 22KHz, while a 96KHz recording goes to 48KHz, and 192KHz double that. What if the original studio recording contains no information about 20KHz due to their equipment choices?

Then there is our own hearing. I'm in my later 60s and have long since lost high frequency hearing above 12KHz or 13KHz. That said, some recordings sound much better than others, but I usually attribute that to the effort put forth in the recording and mixing process far more than the format used for file storage.
riley,
The quest for the new speakers had nothing to do with the streaming issue.
Just wanted to try something different.


mlsstl,
I know exactly what your talking about. Some recordings do sound much better than others.  And I’ve got a few more years on you. 
But, when I play hi-res discs on my Oppo player I can generally hear a difference.
Interestingly, the Oppo player doesn’t go through the DAC.  So the problem may in the Gumby.
Interestingly, the Oppo player doesn’t go through the DAC. So the problem may in the Gumby.


process of elimination
Yes, I tracked down in the Arcam documentation on how to access hi-res files.
When i tuned in the hi-res setting it said unsupported format, indicating the problem is in the Gumby.  I’ll investigate that now.
I can’t get a definitive answer, but I don’t think the Gumby supports hi-res streaming, even though the manual says it goes as high as 192mHz.
However it sounds so damn good I guess it doesn’t matter.
However it sounds so damn good I guess it doesn’t matter.


if it ain't broke, dont fix it. 

sometimes you have to leave well enough alone.

Just because your DAC tells you that it’s receiving 96K 24 bit or whatever, does not necessarily mean that you’re receiving hi-res. The DAC is exposing the container. There are loads of red-book files that are up-sampled to higher rates, but they contain no more information (data) than the CD; just a lot of extra zeros. This has also been done with SACDs.

If you really want to know what you have you need a "detective" program like MusicScope to tell you.

To which I would add that there was a thread here, not that long ago, wondering whether modern DACs do such a good job with red book that they often become indistinguishable from high-rez. Then there were the experiments with SACDs that were filtered down to red-book standards and were indistinguishable from the originals. It was, they said, all in the mastering.

To which I would add that many of us are listening through ears that do not hear what they heard some time ago.
Is there a click from the DAC when the sample rate changes? (the muting relay kicking in to prevent speakers from thumping).


So far we know what you have sounds good to you. If it does not alliow you to hear a difference just downgrade your Qobuz subscription.
The object is too enjoy the music.
You are there.
All Schiit DACs can handle 24/192 on all inputs, including coax. Qobuz (flac) streaming via rPlay shouldn't be a problem at all .. there's no format conflict. Maybe check your app for some errant setting? 
mel melm,

The problem is, the DAC doesn’t tell me anything!  No read outs.

melvinjames,

I’ve  checked the app several times.
The exact wording when I try to access hi-res is “unsupported device.”
I guess the streamer and DAT are incompatible.
Maybe that’s why Arcam discontinued selling the RPlay.
@ OP,
Hey Richard,
I use an Ayre Codex and Bluesound Node for streaming. The Ayre shows the output on it's display. I can definitely hear a difference between 44 and 96.
Perhaps you can get a Bluesound Node instead of the Arcam. Though Bluesound support can be somewhat Byzantine, it is available, and they have helped me many times.
You don't need the newest model. I still use the original Node (Square cube), and it works like a charm. Ebay should have a bunch for sale.
Bob
Yeah, something is amiss there. I just hooked up my Bimby (coax) to my Bluesound Node 2 and had a listen to high-res Qobuz without issue. Yes, I can hear a difference as well.
@rvpiano .. Chris Connaker wrote an article about DTS Play-Fi a few years ago which you might find interesting:

https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/bits-and-bytes/dts-play-fi-has-major-design-flaws/

Basically, his issue is the stream goes through the device your app resides on, which may not support higher res streams. Are you using iOS? Android?
Hi Bob,

I’ve  thought about getting the the Node.  I witnessed the hi-res capability at your house.  The problem is, the sound from the Arcam at normal resolution is truly great. They regularly send software upgrades as well. I mentioned previously that, in a review, the Arcam compared favorably to the Bluesound.  That’s why I chose it.  Even if I don’t have hi-res, the majority of my listening is not hi-res on Idagio, and since it’s so good I don’t want to give up on it.
Cant wait for my demo speaker cables to arrive!
melvinjames,

I use the IOS platform on an Ipad.
I read the article with interest, even if I didn’t understand everything. 
It may indeed explain the problem I’m having.
It doesn’t seem to affect the sound on normal resolution, though, which is exemplary.
You should hear your schiit gungnir mb switch Internally when being fed a different resolution
I hear no such sound, which probably proves nothing is happening.
It’s so much easier if you just tell yourself you hear it. 
Could you test with the DAC attached to a different source? A computer attached by USB would at least help you identify the problem component and give you an idea of what behavior to expect as you switch between CD and HiRes quality files. You could even assemble a streamer for about $100 using a Raspberry Pi.
Found this note in the rPlay manual: “Files up to 16-bit/48 kHz are streamed without compression or transcoding. High resolution audio files (24-bit/192kHz), are down-sampled to 16-bit/48kHz for transmission. This allows for the most reliable streaming experience over Wi-Fi to multiple speakers.”  If you are hard wired via ethernet and use a UPnP app like mConnect, maybe it would convert 192khz files. With the PCM5102 DAC chip you should be able to hear the difference. Would be worth a try. Apple AirPlay itself is limited to 44.1 or 48 kHz. 
Thanks everyone for your input.
If the rPlay downsamples hi-res recordings, time for a new streamer IMHO.  Also, if you haven’t already done so, make sure your settings in Qobuz are set to deliver 24/192 or whatever sampling rate you’re looking for.  If you have it set at 16/44 that’s all you’ll get even if the recording is hi-res. 
I have a Lyngdorf TDAI 3400 that appears as a UPNP device on my network, it’s fead via a Network Acoustics ENO Ag. If I stream high res or low res from Qobuz via the MConnect HD app on my iPad it sounds dull and undynamic compared with the same track streamed using Bubble UPNP On an Android device. Buying a cheap Android tablet and Bubble UPNP just as a ‘Streaming Controler’ is a cheap upgrade.
I can confirm what richtruss says, I have the same TDAI3400 and I could only hear very marginal differences between spotify and some qobuz tracks when using ipad and Mconnect HD.

using bubbleupnp and a samsung phone there is more microdetails and improved soundstage. I would certainly try this if you have an android device or can get a friend round with one.

the sound wasnt dull before but its more with bubbleupnp.
I have my suspicions about the genuineness of the Qubuz hi res tracks. I have bought quite a few and they do not sound right compared with those native tracks upsampled by my DCS Vivaldi upsampler/streamer. If all they are doing is selling "processed" upsampled versions (which I suspect they are) I prefer to do it with better equipment as they could do better!!
I have my suspicions about the genuineness of the Qubuz hi res tracks. I have bought quite a few and they do not sound right compared with those native tracks upsampled by my DCS Vivaldi upsampler/streamer. If all they are doing is selling "processed" upsampled versions (which I suspect they are) I prefer to do it with better equipment as they could do better!!

There's been a great deal of online chatter about this over the years and not just with Qobuz. (HDTracks was lambasted early on for selling upsampled Redbook as high-res.) Qobuz states they only stream (or sell) what the labels provide them and, if memory serves, they analyze what they're given to make sure high-res is indeed high-res. My streaming and purchasing experience with them has been stellar thus far, but then again, I don't play in the DCS levels of audio gear.
if you don’t hear the gungnir Mb Clicking when the resolution changes, it’s not changing. Here’s what you can do. Get a node 2i or any other roon ready streamer, get a Black Cat silverstar BNC cable. It has an adapter so it can be coax on the streamer side (if it doesn’t have BNC) and it will attach BNC to your gungnir. It sounds awesome 😎 
I think it would be helpful to have a streamer that displays resolution.  However, even if it does and you cannot hear the difference perhaps there isn't that much of a detectible difference doing a blind test.  I wish my BlueSound Node 2i had a resolution display.  I do think I hear a difference when playing MQA recordings.  However, maybe that is all in my mind.  Wonder if anyone hears better sound quality when playing MQA recordings?  Maybe remixed recordings sound better using more up to date recording equipment.  MQA is still a mystery.  I think most in this group think MQA is a gimmick ad maybe they are right.
I guess I’ll give the Node 2i a shot.  I can always return it after I’ve compared it to the Arcam.  If it’s equal or better in SQ i’ll keep it because of the hi-res capability.
If not, ill send it back.
The Node 2i is also currently on sale everywhere at $100 off.

J.Chip
interesting experiment.  I streamed Idagio through my IPhone instead of IPad.
Results were awful.  Horrible sound.
@OP, 
Any Bluesound Node will perform equally after upgrades.
I asked BS about this, and they confirmed it.
So, you can save some coin by getting an earlier iteration.
I still use the original Node-though the last major upgrade had to be re-upgraded, as it caused a number of issues-But, Bluesound fixed it.
B
thanks for the tip, but I already ordered the new one.  it’s currently $100 off normal price anyway.  Arriving tomorrow.
Well, I got the Node 2i and put it through its paces. I compared hi-res streaming on Qobuz to normal streaming of identical selections on Idagio.  The differences in quality were tiny if any at all.  Certainly not a game changer.
But the biggest difference was in the comparison to the Arcam.
While the sound of the Node is certainly good, it does not have the transparency or dynamic range of the Arcam.  It’s definitely a step down in fidelity.
It could be the Node needs to break in more.   (I don’t know how much break in a streamer needs.). I did leave it on for hours.
My impressions jibe with the review in What Hifi.
Based on these preliminary tests, there certainly is no reason to hold on to the Node.

Well @rvpiano, now you can rest assured you made the right choice to begin with. I have the Node 2 and didn’t detect much (if any) burn-n so I doubt it’s much of a factor. It’s a nice streamer, no question, but it’s certainly not the end-all. FWIW as much as I enjoy high-res my focus has changed over the years. My goal is to get Redbook ’right’. Besides the fact there’s far more music available at 16/44.1, I’ve found there’s an awful lot of goodness to be had from well-mastered CDs. Best.
Yes, the quest is over.
My brief experience with the Arcam  was that it didn’t match the Node in SQ, but 
ymmv.  I also have a Bryston BDA3, which is both a significant upgrade over the Bluesound and displays bit rate.  The Qobuz high Rez tracks sound much better than standard on the Bryston.  Via the Node the difference is less striking