in ,

Tidal Connect: Who? What? Why?

  • Norwegian streaming service Tidal has announced that its Tidal Connect programme has jumped the Sonos fence and will eventually appear on selected streaming devices from KEF, Lyngdorf, Bluesound, NAD, DALI, Monitor Audio, Cambridge Audio and, eventually, Naim.

    What the heck is Tidal Connect?
    Essentially, it’s like Spotify Connect — but for Tidal.

    How does it work?
    Pull up the Tidal app, push play on some music and click the ‘available devices’ button in the bottom left: . Tidal Connect devices appear alongside Chromecast devices. Click to pair — the music stream will be moved from the smartphone to the paired device.

    Unlike Apple AirPlay and Bluetooth, Tidal Connect streams do not travel through the smartphone or tablet on their way to the paired network streamer. Think: Google Chromecast stream routing.

    Why would I use Tidal Connect instead of Chromecast?
    Two reasons: 1) Gapless playback; 2) MQA Masters. Neither is supported by Google’s Chromecast.

    Why else does Tidal Connect matter?
    It gives us something that Spotify Connect currently does not: the ability to stream CD-quality and hi-res content – in addition to its less-often discussed lossy tier – from the comfort of our couch and without relying on third-party integrations. No more manufacturer-coded streaming apps, no more Roon, no more Plex and no more Audirvana. We need only one of Tidal’s native apps.

    “One of”? Oh – does it work with Tidal’s desktop apps?
    Indeed it does. MacOS and Windows users are also invited to the Tidal Connect party.

    Which streaming devices currently support Tidal Connect?
    This is where things get a bit wobbly. I’ve confirmed with my own eyes and ears that Tidal Connect works with the KEF LS50 Wireless II and the Bluesound Node 2i, the latter suggesting that any BluOS-controllable device running up-to-date firmware should be Tidal Connectable. Hello DALI active loudspeakers, wassup NAD M33 and M10 super-integrateds and how’s it going Monitor Audio IMS-4?

    However, in addition to KEF, Bluesound, NAD, Monitor Audio and DALI, Tidal’s list of supported devices, filtered by Tidal Connect, includes Naim and Cambridge whilst simultaneously pointing us at each manufacturer’s own streaming app: Cambridge’s Stream Magic and Naim’s Naim. Odd. Hoping for an admin error on Tidal’s part, I updated my Cambridge CXN (V2) and Naim Uniti Atom to their latest respective firmwares…but no dice: neither appear inside the Tidal app as an available Tidal Connect device.

    We await further advice from these manufacturers and more.

    Further information: Tidal Connect

    UPDATE from Naim: “We’ll be introducing TIDAL Connect support in 2021 via a free firmware upgrade to our latest generation of streaming products (Mu-so and Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation; Uniti Atom, Star and Nova; ND 5 XS2, NDX 2, ND 555).”

    UPDATE from Cambridge Audio: “TIDAL’s new Connect feature is coming to Cambridge Audio’s range of network players. We are currently working on a soon-to-be-available firmware update that will enable users to stream their favourite tracks at the touch of a button within the TIDAL app. TIDAL Connect will be available for Edge NQ, CXN (V2), CXN (V1), CXR120/200, 851N and StreamMagic 6 V2.”

    UPDATE from Lyngdorf: Their TDAI-3400 is fully functional with Tidal Connect:

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

    Why I’m switching off YouTube comments

    Harman Kardon introduces Citation streaming Amp