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,


Thank you all, you have been very helpful.

Right or wrong I am going with the Direct Stream Jr. and will play around with different players.



@audioengr  Also, since Tidal only streams FLAC files, so I don’t find these to quite be up to "CD" quality.

Tidal also streams MQA.

Flac is a completely bitperfect compression algorithm without any sonic signature. You can compress and decompress as many times as you want, and the files will still be identical, and identical to the original CD.
If player software has a sonic signature this can only be because it degrades the signal. Most software fortunately does not do this, as you can ascertain if you have the analytical software to inspect the data.
The only component in this part of the chain that has a (very small) sonic signature is the DAC.

The FLAC files might be identical when unpacked to WAV, but the players all change the SQ when unpacking FLAC on-the-fly.  I have tried it with Amarra, Foobar, Kinsky, Kazoo and Twonky.  I have even demonstrated this at RMAF and other shows.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

@tonydennison  Congratulations on your choice. Keep us posted!

@audioengr  Thanks.