Its all MP3 sound , dosen't matter....If you really want to hear a difference, Get a Audio Quest Dragonfly (red) DAC and plug it in USB and now you will have great sound!
I must have not been clear.
Same music (from Spotify).
Same headphones (Sennheiser 700 and Shure 1540)
Same DAC/headphone amplifier (ifi micro and Centrance HiFi MB).
The only difference is when I use those things via my laptop vs. using my phone (android) or tablet.
Still using the dac/amplifier with the portable devices. Is there a better app to use for my USB to go?
So just to be clear...If your using a laptop or smartphone/tablet you cant really take advantage of a high end service like Tidal for streaming? Because those devices are chopping up the data stream or unable to handle anything beyond MP3 quality?? So is that why companys like Aurender sell music servers (less expensive) and full function server/players with internal DAC's (more expensive). Also, in order to listen to the new MQA format ill bet these lesser devices dont work at all right? Just trying to get this straight. Digital is so fun :-)
There is quite bit of confusion here. The format of the stream is irrelevant, because you are using the same stream in all three cases. However, you are using the analogue output of the three devices, and they each have a different inbuilt DAC. The snag is that by and large none of such devices have a decent DAC - the environment is just too noisy. See here for some measurements: http://archimago.blogspot.nl/search?q=laptop
Even a dirt cheap usb DAC like the Behringer UCA 202 will be a vast improvement. See e.g. http://nwavguy.blogspot.nl/2011/02/behringer-uca202-review.html
OK, my misunderstanding. And that should indeed all produce the same datastream, and bits are bits, so there cannot be any difference (are you not imagining things - the audiophile curse?). Unless of course the datastream is somehow compromised by the settings in the devices. Jitter really has to be absolutely awful to be audible.