Cambridge Audio has announced a free firmware update for its Edge NQ, Azur 851N, CXN, CXN (V2) and StreamMagic 6 streaming products that adds support for Tidal Connect. Tidal What? Think of it as Spotify Connect but for Tidal: 1) fire up a song on your phone, tablet, PC or Mac; 2) select the Cambridge streamer as the output device; and 3) the stream is moved to the Cambridge streamer.
Side note: Tidal Connect endpoints are not to be confused with Google Chromecast endpoints which have none of Tidal Connect’s gapless playback.
Confused? Watch our beginners guide to Tidal Connect here:
The (German) press release reports that “the update process can be started either via the StreamMagic app or directly on the respective network streamer”.
The CXR120 and CXR200 AV receivers will reportedly receive a Tidal Connect firmware update in April.
But the devil lies in the details: Tidal Connect running on Cambridge Audio steaming hardware does not support (MQA) Masters. I have confirmed as much by updating the (excellent) CXN (V2) to its latest firmware, pulling up the Tidal app, pushing play on the MQA Masters version of the new Lana Del Rey album (Chemtrails Over The Country Club) and selecting the Cambridge streamer as the Tidal Connect output device. The stream is immediately forced back to ‘Hifi’ / CD quality. This effectively pushes MQA Masters listeners back to the unit’s USB input, a PC/Mac and a third-party app to execute the first unfold.
Cambridge’s explanation as to why can be found here. The company’s upsampling (and therefore bit-imperfect) digital filter might have something to do with it. Whatever the reason, the red carding of MQA for Tidal Connect running on Cambridge Audio hardware is crucial intel for anyone subscribing to Tidal explicitly for its Masters catalogue. That Cambridge omitted this ‘crucial intel’ from their Tidal Connect press release struck me as an odd move, especially when we consider how the UK company’s DacMagic 200M announcement was very MQA-focussed.
Further information: Cambridge Audio