Tidal - Poor sound quality

Hi,

I purchased Volumio Virtuoso and added it to a Raspberry Pi 4 with a Allo Ddigione hat. Have tried it using both usb and coaxial connected to a Topping e30 DAc. I just wanted to say I am so disappointed with the sound quality. Previously I would connect my samsung s9 cellphone and stream tidal via usb-c and was very impressed with the tidal hifi subscription. The sound quality was great at 24/192 with bags of detail and clarity.

The Raspberry Pi with Volumio is not even close (more like a chromecast audio) in terms of quality.

I have gone back to using my phone connected to my dac and wasted $300 and my time.

Sorry for the depressing post but thought you should know.

Volumio with a raspberry pi is a cheap streamer solution yes but not worth $300. I’ve subscribed for the year so hopefully your updates will improve the sound quality.

S

So, you say that cell phone conencted to topping e30 sounds better then rpi volumio and digi one hat?
Why not connecting the rpi volumio to topping e30 directly via USB…

I have also connected the rpi via usb and cell phone still sounds better feeding the topping e30. I am assuming it is because Volumio limits tidal hifi to 24/48.

Interesting… Now I am liste to qobuz via chromecast audio but I plan to buy a topping e30 to use with rpi4 and volumio… I am hopping to be more better then chromecast solution…

Use the chromecast as a streamer and connect to e30 with a spdif cable. A big improvement on just chromecast.

To conclude you are saying if I will conect the e30 via spdif to chromecast I will hear a big improvement?
I do not understand you conexting to rpi4 via USB is not an big improvement… Volumio suppose to be bit perfect…
Thanks.

yes that is correct. I agree that rpi4 should be bit perfect but it loses a lot of detail.

I have the same set up and Tidal and Qobuz all sound great. Have you gone through all of the set ups ? No volume control or sampling ? I have fed a
Schiit Bifrost, Dragonfly Red, and a Denafrips Aires II. Have been very
satisfied with the Pi and Virtuoso. I have three Pi’s. One is the Allo Signature,
the other has the analog out hat, and the third uses the S/PDIF hat. Hope you
can figure it out. If so, you will enjoy it for sure. Even Radio Paradise which is
a free service sounds great.

Yeah, Tidal right now it’s limited to 48khz. They will release an update and hopefully in the future will have Tidal Connect, so that won’t be an issue.

I have a digione as well, and think the sound is actually really really good. Are you sure the Tidal addon in myvolumio is restricted to 48khz?

I personally got a significant boost going from chromecast audio to my digione.

My settings in volumio:

Output device: allo digione
I2S DAC: ON
DAC Model: Allo Digione

DSD Playback Mode: DSD Direct
DSD Auto Volume Level: Off
Volume Normalization: Off
Audio Buffer Size: 2MB
Buffer before play: 10%
Persistent Queue: On

Mixer Type: None (you really dont want this off!!!)

Audio resampling: off

Yes, it is restricted, you can see no song goes pass that, and you can play the same song in the tidal app and you’ll get 88.2, 96 and 192Khz.

Have tried all of the above but it’s not even close in regards to the sound quality of Samsung S9 using USB. I am still better off just plugging my phone via usb into my dac which is very disappointing. Hopefully Volumio can get Tidal to play 192/24 as calling themselves an ‘audiophile music player’ is a bit of a stretch. At the moment it’s basically a more expensive and less convenient (but marginally better) chromecast audio. All I do is stream music via Tidal Hifi and Spotify Premium.

My audio setup is not really up to audiophile standards but I can totally tell the difference.

Rega Brio Amplifier
Kef Q300 speakers
Topping E30 DAC

Inputs to DAC
Samsung s9 (usb)
Chromecast Audio (toslink)
Raspberry pi4 with Allo Digione (coaxial)

The new version of Tidal integration is on beta testing right now, that should fix the problem of not having all sampling rates right now. But for sound quality, I don’t know. Have you tried the USB out to your topping e30? Bypassing the Allo?

I am still having a hard time believing your S9 via usb gives a better sound source than the Digione.

Do you perhaps have some EQ enabled on your S9 that gives you a sound signature that is more to your liking? Even with the lower quality, the digione sounds far more “peaceful” than anything I have tried before. I do not own a topping E30, but maybe there is a difference in the topping USB and Coax input?

I understand your frustration, not getting the absolute top quality you can get is a bummer (although mostly a theoretical one imho). But stating volumio is not an audiophile player, because just one part of it doesn’t do what you want it to do, is a bit of a stretch ey.

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My phone using tidal via usb delivers 24/192 to the dac and volumio only sends 24/48. That is a big difference. Can total hear it and my ears are not great.

That’s not a big difference, but yeah, just wait till they release the new version. Or join the beta.

I hate too be that guy, but:

The digione is transparent within the human hearing frequency range so doesn’t have a sound at all.

The topping doesn’t care whether it gets binary data from your digione or your toaster, the laws of physics dictate that it has to sound the same.

It’s possible that you have a ground loop issue with the spdif-if it hums you could investigate that possibility.

There is no real possibility that you could hear a difference between 24/192 and 24/48. Even if your hearing could hear at the full dynamic range of either format-which it likely can’t, the general quality of studio recordings means that the only thing you reliably get with hi res is a lighter wallet and more noise in the recording.

From an os sound subsystem point of view I seriously doubt there’s any perceivable difference between the chrome cast, your phone or the Volumio device: the software on all 3 set ups will use buffering making data timing irrelevant, and in the case of your phone and the usb on the pi will use asynchronous transfer, so the clock in the dac will control the data.

My advice is listen to the thing that you are happy with features wise and forget about it.

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Would you mind telling what are the things that make you say that SQ is not good?
High noise floor? Distorsion? Crackles?

Is your DAC capable of rendering MQA? Volumio sends out MQA signal, so this might be a clue.

Please explain in more detail so we can give some hints

Dac cannot unfold mqa. The sound quality is a lack of seperation and clarity. A good example is when hearing the kick drum and bass guitar at the same time I can hear the two separately when using usb out on phone but cannot hear the bass guitar note over the kick drum using the digione. It’s a detail thing. Hope that helps. Looking forward to 24/192 on volumio when it’s updated. Thanks for reading.

On paper I totally agree but I can hear the difference. Maybe it is a grounding issue, thanks for duggestion. Raspberry Pi usb out is better than Allo digione but Samsung s9 is best. Maybe the DAC is better using usb? Thanks for replying.