Suggestions for streamers that support native streaming applications?

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New to the site. Am hoping my first ask is not too over the top…

It seems like a lot of better streamers don’t support the streaming subscription’s native applications, that you need to use another software program for the interface. Some devices do use Spotify Connect. Many suggest using Roon or some other software. I don’t have an existing digital library to integrate so Roon is sort of overkill for me. I also don’t have a DAC that does MQA. Most of my listening is CDs and LPs, I love Academy Records and Discogs. I use Spotify for music discovery. I’ve tried Tidal in the past and felt like it didn’t get me like Spotify does for recommendations. I just signed up for Qobuz. The first runs with Qobuz sound very promising! The also love the articles on Qobuz. I should add that if Spotify did CD quality streaming and figured out how to catalog classical music I probably wouldn’t be posting this…maybe.

I’d like to use the Qobuz app on an iPad and the only way to use it directly appears to be Chromecast which leaves a lot to be desired on many levels. My Apple TV is limited in that it doesn’t support 24/96 streaming. That, and I feel that I could be doing better. Or I could be all wrong here and missing something entirely…

A Bluesound Node2i could work, but then you have to use their software. I’m feeling like I should stop obsessing and that the Bluesound will get me to 80% of what I’m looking for.  A Sonore Rendu device, or Auralic Aries product, but they all seem to require a less than optimal software interface, or Roon. I looked at the very nice Innuous Zen Mini at Can Jam but I don’t need a server or a CD ripper and again, Roon or some other third part software. For budget I would like to stay around $1000. Prefer a device with an Ethernet cable.

To give you and idea of my system… Focal Aria 926 on IsoAcoustics, Wyred4Sound Power Amp, PreAmp and DAC. Cambridge Audio CD Transport and Apple TV, both through Wyred4Sound Remedy Reclocker to the DAC. Linn Basik turntable with Rega cartridge and Rega phono stage. Digital interconnects and speaker cables are Transparent. Analog interconnects are Nordost. Nothing too crazy for wire, just basic stuff.  Everything but the power amp is plugged into a Furman power bar. The power amp plugs into the wall. It’s all on a dedicated 20 amp circuit. I’ve done some work on the room and positioning and am getting very close.

Any suggestions on the best way to inject Qobuz into my system would be greatly appreciated. There no TV in the room, it’s just books and music, and I’d rather not bring a computer in there either. I’d like something that works like the iPad AppleTV combo but with much better sound quality. Not just the ability to stream 24/96 but better presentation as well.

OK, I’ll stop now…

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So now that my system is being fed a nutritional diet of Qobuz it’s as if everything sounds better, including CDs, LPs and Spotify as well. Now I know this has got to be psychological, but it makes sense, sort of. If you are learning to do something and someone gives you a better hand tool to learn that task with you are going to get better at it faster. Even if you return to the tool that was not quite as good you will have developed the muscle memory from using the better tool and will now do a better job than before, even with the previous tool.

So does hi-resolution audio make for better listeners? Is it educational? I’m thinking so.

Of course I know that resolution is only part of the picture here. Right now it’s hard for me to listen past the newness of the 24/96 streams. (I have never fed my system this type of source before.) So perhaps I might be overlooking some shortcomings of the direct iPad to USB connection. Considering the simplicity of it, it’s pretty amazing.

I’m still wondering now how much improvement I will get with an Ethernet connected device like a Mac with some decent audio software. I pretty much have the stuff to do this, I just have to schedule the time. The only way I will find out is to just try it myself and learn something. 😉 I’m also guessing that better streamers will provide better sound. That’s for another day…

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