Questions from a noob on digital streaming

Ok, I am a noob.... I apologize here in the beginning.

I have been a vinyl guy since forever....

I have been considering a change to digital for several months and finally started to make the transition. I just sold my turntable so there is no going back, and believe me the decision was brutal to make. But I am happy with my new path....but still a bit anxious.

I am currently using a Cambridge magic plus through a tube Pre and tube mono blocks. I am planning on getting the direct stream Jr. and this is where my questions start.

I have been using Audirvana to play Tidal with my current Cambridge Dac...

I see that DS Jr. has installed ability to play Tidal, and use Roon.....

Does this mean I can play Tidal without using Roon or other player with the DS Jr. and MConnect Controller?

What are the pros and cons of this if true, compared to using Audirvana or Roon or Jriver?

Can I use Audirvana to play tidal through the DS Jr. ?

What are the pros and cons of this vs Tidal direct through the DS Jr.  or roon  or Jriver  etc.?

What I think I understand is...Tidal is a streaming service (check), audirvana and roon are players used to play the stream and send to the Dac (check)????? But the DS Jr is a streamer ????? Why is one better than another? And which should I use?

A bit confused, and I have been trying to do my own research, Im just not quite getting what is what and why one may be better than another.

I am trying to sell a quicksilver pre-amp to complete my purchase of the DS Jr.....It's on audiongon YOU SHOULD BUY IT !!:-)

Also, since I am selling the tube pre and using the Jr as a pre.....will the power tube amps smooth out the digital sound????

OR  should I get the Gain Cell, which I could today, and keep the Tube pre???? Seems a waste to have a tube pre with no turntable and switching strictly to streaming.

I HATE confusion....

Thank you,



Every playback/control software sounds different. If you want to stream Tidal, the options available do not deliver the best SQ compared to players that do not stream IME. Also, since Tidal only streams FLAC files, so I don’t find these to quite be up to "CD" quality. Whether you hear this of course depends on how good your system is. Those with less revealing, less optimized systems will be fine with FLAC, and they may not hear large differences in different software.

One of the better streaming combos I have found is Linn Kazoo and BubbleUPnP. This is for UPnP renderers, not for Roon-Ready renderers.

There are two ways to go with networked audio:

1) Roon RAAT renderers - only Roon player works and integrates well with Tidal

2) UPnP/DLNA renderers - Many different players work, including Jriver, Twonky, Audirvana Plus, Linn Kazoo, Linn Kinsky, HQplayer, Lumin and more. Only a few of these allow streaming of Tidal, and some require a separate server software like BubbleUPnP and Minimserver to be running at the same time.

The first decision you need to make is whether you like Roon GUI and must have it. Then, you only have to choose hardware that supports Roon, that which is Roon-Ready.

IF you go with UPnP, then your options are much greater. I have found that Linn Kinksy with Minimserver delivers the best SQ of any of the players on the market. If you must stream Tidal and use UPnP or Open Home renderer, then Linn Kazoo and BubbleUPnP are a close second.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

Are there different qualities of sound if these are file managers?


@audioengr   Any pre-information on which combinations (from European experience) may work well / best with Qobuz, given it's pending US launch?

The one I like best that is UPnP for streaming is Linn Kazoo with BubbleUPnP server.  I suspect that it will support Qobuz.  Another thing to try is Lumin with BubbleUPnP server.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

Follow willemj’s suggestion and invest $35 and get yourself a Chromecast Audio and spend another $30 ( or more if you want) and buy an optical cable - mini to regular size, and plug it to your DACmagic and you’re done. Sit back and stream Tidal at 44/96 right from tablet or phone without the need for any extra software. Unless you have mega $ vinyl rig, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the sound quality coming out of you <$100 investment.
Keep us posted.