Going Tidal, Need ???

I plan to subscribe to the Hi-Rez Tidal service at $20/month.
In addition I have been told to expect to pay $150/year for
the Roon Service. Apparently Roon’s software is said be easiest to navigate.

So what equipment do I need to buy to enjoy HiRes sound?
-I do not have a lot of downloaded material, cds or records to store.
-I do have a DAC built into my cd player-oppo 205-which is usable independently.
-Budget is $2,000.00

Can someone explain to me, using 50 or less and small words, how streaming hardware and software function?
Equipment I own: Freya/Cary/Oppo/Altec. 



$500 bluesound node 2, with its own software, is all you need. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all magic to me, but it’ll take you less than an hour to set it and Tidal up. Look for Tidal Master recordings for high resolution. 
If you just plan to simply stream Tidal.... +1 the Node 2. If you want to rip CDs or explore digital audio there are other choices. I would add that the Node 2 (potential choice) would leave you approx. $1400 leftover to get a better DAC to attach to the Node 2. Add just a few extra dollars and you can get an Ayre Codex DAC. That is a killer combo- Bluesound Node 2 plus the Ayre Codex DAC.
The node 2 day is no slouch. Listen before buying a separate dac. I did. 
How about starting with a $50 budget and build slowly from there? Get a Google Chromecast and a mini toslink to toslink optical cable which allows you to bypass the Google Chromecast DAC and take Tidal straight from your phone digitally, (bypassing its DAC) through wifi into the Chromecast then bypassing its DAC by means of the mini toslink optical inserted into the 3.5 mm output on the Chromecast to transmit digitally by connecting the regular toslink optic end of cable into your Oppo. Try it. You won’t be disappointed and you can take your time to figure out what you really need and want.
You could do this all with a Raspberry Pi with Volumio via USB (cheapest, maybe best) or using a digital out card.

If you go with USB, your hardware outlay is under $100

Tidal is well integrated with Roon, but you don’t need Roon to get Tidal.

There is other player software that delivers better SQ IME, like Linn Kazoo.

You can even stream Tidal on a Sonos Connect. Reclock it with a Synchro-Mesh and you have a world-class digital source at 24/96 with 7psec of jitter.

Here is the list of players that support Tidal:


Steve N.

Empirical Audio

Tidal is the streaming service, Roon is an overlay that adds better meta data and links to similar music it also integrates your own music you may have stored on a NAS for example. Like the others said you do not need Roon to use tidal. I don't use Roon anymore and just use the Tidal app on my PC.

some good suggestions already but for a lot more tech information and other ideas look at AudioStream.com its Stereophiles digital streaming sight. There is a huge amount of information there from the basics to more advanced set ups.   

One other option is a small form computer ( Apple or PC) that has a digital out. I use an Asus Vivo, couple hundred bucks, but you do need a way to monitor it like a small monitor or if you have a TV in the same room makes for an excellent streamer and lets you do other computer related stuff that the dedicated streamers cant do.

Since you already have the OPPO 205 and use if for your DAC, you should just use it as a renderer for Roon and stream Tidal to it.  You don't need to buy any hardware.  Just use any computer and load Roon and Tidal on it and stream to the 205 using WIFI.

From the OPPO 205 webpage:

Built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi or Gigabit Ethernet connects the UDP-205 to users’ home networks, so users can easily play media files stored on computers and home servers.

Roon is an incredibly rich and engaging way to browse and organize your music. It runs on most Mac, Windows, and Linux PCs, or on other products which include Roon Core. Being Roon Ready means that the UDP-205 transparently discovers and connects to Roon without any configuration, and bit-perfect audio is delivered from Roon to your UDP-205 player. Together, Roon and OPPO deliver the power, flexibility, and performance of networked audio, with the easiest setup and highest reliability available. The UDP-205 supports streaming stereo PCM audio up to 192 kHz 24-bit from Roon. Learn more about Roon Ready, and sign up for a free 60-day trial by redeeming the code 0PP0-M1NA-MLB4.

You even can maybe get a 60-day free trial of Roon.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

As for hi-rez, this is another story. The best hi-rez you will get with either a quality USB converter or a quality Ethernet renderer. Either of these will reside between the computer and your DAC (OPPO205). This converter should provide a very low jitter digital output. The reason for using an external converter is to avoid using the high-jitter master clock inside the OPPO. Instead, the low jitter master clock in these external converters is used.

This converter will connect to your computer where your hi-rez files reside using USB, Ethernet or WIFI. The output of the converter to the DAC will usually be a high-quality digital coax (S/PDIF) cable. This cable should be a BNC-BNC with RCA adapters and not shorter than 4 feet or 1.25m.

For playback, you can use a myriad of different software on your computer. I personally use Linn Kinsky and Minimserver for my Ethernet renderer because the SQ is unbeaten. Both freeware and available for Mac or PC.

Here is an example of a low jitter renderer:


Steve N.

Empirical Audio

Some server/streaming BASICS ...  

1. I subscribe to Tidal, but this is a "wired" system, meaning that you can either play the tunes from the App directly from your PC/phone/table. But if you want to send the Tidal tunes from your PC to your external DAC, you will have to use a "wire" like a USB connection to your DAC.

2. From #1 above, if you connect your USB directly to your DAC, there will be much of the Jitter/distortion that is described above. That is why I use a USB converter from April Music (used, $250, new $500). I plug the USB into that, then I can run a S/PDIF, XLR, or BNC to my DAC. This GREATLY reduces distortion/jitter.

3. Roon is designed to send music over wifi, from your computer to your DAC/Server, and Roon tells the NAS what to play. 

4. I signed up with JRiver, and I have a MAC.  Since I subscribe to Tidal, I looked for a plug-in on JRiver for Tidal, to play Tidal music thru JRiver. I did a small search, and I think that JRiver still does not have a plug-in for Mac owners to used Tidal. Bummer. 

will check out the Miniserver and Lynn server that Steve suggests. 

5. I had an Oppo, the jitter control is .... OK, but you can do better. I would start there to improve sound. If the music quality coming out off the Oppo is compromised, then that distortion will go through the entire system to your speakers, and you will hear it. the point: start with the cleanest signal possible. E.g, consider a renderer or reclocker, like Steve's company above. 
Wow!! Thank you so much for all helpful advice. For some reason
I thought this Oppo 205 was a decent piece of equipment but it sounds like I should by bypass it and buy a better DAC?

The Roon software is supposed to make the operation easier?

My goal is to obtain the best sound available via steaming.

Ethernet connection better than WiFi I would assume?

Is Quboz better than Tidal sound quality-wise?

Apologize for my ignorance!!

"The Roon software is supposed to make the operation easier?"

Roon is one of many playback apps you can use. Most of them are easy, although some prefer Roon. Many use Linn Kazoo and Lumin.

"My goal is to obtain the best sound available via steaming."

I would start with the Oppo and get it working with Roon and Tidal on a PC or Mac and then go from there.

If you want better SQ later, then you can go several directions:

1) add an Ethernet renderer and drive the Oppo with S/PDIF cable - $2-4K These can support Roon or DLNA.

2) replace the Oppo with another USB DAC and use USB from the computer to DAC - $2-4K

3) replace the Oppo with another DAC and add a USB converter to drive the DAC.  The USB converter connects with USB to the computer. - $4-6K

4) replace the Oppo with another DAC and use Ethernet renderer to drive the DAC You can get renderers that work with Roon or DLNA. $4-6K

If you want to stream free tracks from Amazon Prime, then you will need to do #2 or #3.

"Ethernet connection better than WiFi I would assume?"

Not necessarily. Depends on the hardware. If you can reach your stereo rack from your router or switch with a reasonable length Ethernet cable, then definitely go wired Ethernet

In general, it is easier to get Ethernet to sound great than USB. Less hoops to jump through. You will need high-performance expensive cables in either case to get the best SQ.  I use Ethernet myself with a DLNA renderer that delivers 10psec of jitter over a S/PDIF cable to a DAC.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio

If you are in an apartment, Ethernet is the most reliable for audio or video. 

If you use WifI you are subject to channel congestion, which is worst in an apartment or office. Use 5GHz bands and check your wifi environment with a Wifi analyzer if you can. 


I don’t think you need any new hardware. I also have an Oppo 205 and it works really well with Roon and Tidal (inc Tidal’s lossless and MQA content). Someone mentioned jitter, the Oppo 205 supposedly has some additional features to help manage that (link below) although I actually use the XLR analog audio out from the 205. Either way if you have a UDP-205 I think you have all you need for an excellent Roon/Tidal setup.

There is no better software than roon to integrate tidal with your digital library. Not kazoo or LUMIN nor DS Lightning. Sure you can use any of the programs to access tidal but try integrating tidal albums with your digital.
roon has fantastic SQ! 
If you are buying $20 a month tidal, get a dac and server that supports MQA. If you don’t, you are losing or wasting your money. 
If you use chromecast or some of these other suggestions, you will get SQ only for background type  listening.
Steve +Swajames + Rbstehno:

I was told I need to buy a server to fit between the Internet download
and the DAC. Roon makes one for $1400.00 that was recommended
to me ( by the store owner who claimed he had one personally).
 Now it seems I may have the jitters. My home has an easy solution 
for hard wiring internet to where it is needed. Is the $500 Bluemoon 2
a solution as good or better than the Roon ?
Firstnot, honestly I'd just give the 205 a try.  You have it already and it really is all you need to get started.  Get a free trial of Roon (you can find 14 day/30 day free trial codes if you look around). You can then use an existing Mac or PC as your Roon Core (if you have an iTunes library etc on that PC then Roon will tap into that).   Provided your PC (Roon Core) and your UDP-205 are on the same network it will show up as a Roon endpoint and you can use your PC or the Roon app on your phone or a tablet to control your music.     You can buy standalone Roon Cores, Roon Nucleus, and store music on that but you can use what you have for now and see if you like it.  If you have a PC, a 205 and a Tidal account it won't cost you a penny to try it and I am betting you will be as happy with it as other Roon users are.   

Good luck and report back.  Interested to learn what you think!
adding one point - the UDP-205 does indeed support MQA. Tidal has quite a lot of MQA content now (in addition to the lossless FLAC you get on the Tidal HiFi tier). You may need to use the USB DAC input for MQA.
I’m in a similar boat; I’ve been using a Bluesound Node 1 for a while and have a Node 2 still in the box. I like the convenience etc.
I like the Oppo 103D for the display useage but have an Oppo 205 in the box waiting also.
Wishing the 205 was easier to get Tidal and Tidal MQA but looks like the USB is the only way to get the full “unfold” of MQA.

Maybe I need a computer to do it?

Thanks I will do the freebie method and report back as how it sounds.
I have a mac laptop and saw the free trial offer from Roon.
Tidal doesn't seem to have the trial offer but perhaps Qobuz does?
Good move. I have used Tidal for a long time. Now, I use Tidal MSQ on a Macbook. I have to say that I don't think there is a better way to listen to music if you want to enjoy a kick-ass collection. For the $20 a month, it cannot be beat, IMO.

I have a Nuprime DAC10 that has a USB input. I USB cable between my laptop and the DAC. That is all there is to it. If your Oppo does not accept a USB connection, I would upgrade the DAC.

I have a Node2 new in the box and I haven't even bothered to hook it up because I listen only near field, so why bother?

Add a good quality USB cable and that is all I need to get a very nice sound from TIdal. It is FLAC quality for me.