Bubble UPnP Server and Tidal streaming

All this Raspberry Pi talk over the past few days with @MartinT has got me back on the digital tweakery path. 

We briefly touched on how Tidal's SQ is probably being squeezed by streaming from iPad or iPhone over AirPlay. The implication is that connecting directly into the system's DLNA (OpenHome) set up would yield better SQ.

Now, this is easy with Spotify, which conforms to some standard or other which I can't be bothered to look up at the moment and allows you to you straight into Volumio on the Raspberry Pi or other software on other platforms. But, frankly, why bother with 320k MP3 when Tidal gives you CD quality?

I've known for some time that there was a solution to the Tidal problem by using something called Bubble UPnP Server (often lazily shortened to Bubble UPnP, below), but never got any further than this rather brain scrambling web page https://bubblesoftapps.com/bubbleupnpserver/index.html, and a few threads and blog posts that were equally opaque. 

Anyhoo, last night, while updating the OS on the Syno NAS and minimserver (my chosen music server), I decided to have another look at setting up Bubble UPnP. I found this http://www.hifizine.com/2016/06/how-to-stream-tidal-to-the-raspberry-pi/, a simple set-up for Bubble UPnP. Phew!

While digging around looking for clarity, the penny dropped. This technobabble on the Bubble UPnP Server webpage:

BubbleUPnP Server provides new services, many of them running on top of your existing UPnP/DLNA and Chromecast (Google Cast) devices:
  • make various media formats not natively supported by Chromecast playable with smart transcoding. Works in tandem with Android BubbleUPnP
  • secure Internet access to your UPnP/DLNA Media Servers content with Android BubbleUPnP and foobar2000.
    • stream and download your music, video, photos with your Android device from a mobile or WiFi connection with optional transcoding to reduce bandwidth.
    • no need to sync, to upload to the cloud, to register for an online service
  • create OpenHome Media Renderers from any UPnP AV or Chromecast renderer (provides on-device playlist, multiple Control Point access to the same renderer)
  • create a UPnP/DLNA renderer from any Chromecast device
  • fix issues of UPnP/DLNA Media Servers (discovery issues, broken data, add some audio DLNA compliance) by creating a proxy Media Server
  • access your UPnP/DLNA Media Servers across different networks
Unless BubbleUPnP Server is used only for use with Chromecast, it requires at least one working UPnP AV Media Server or Media Renderer to do something useful. 

Amounts to:

Bubble UPnP Server piggybacks on top of minimserver and connects to Tidal and Qubuz. (my words. my setup)

Easy Peasy!

I followed the steps in the Hi-Fi Zine article and had Bubble UPnP Server up and running on the Syno in minutes. 

I haven't yet done any SQ comparisons, though.


  • edited January 2018
    Great stuff and do report back on SQ.

    One little correction: Spotify uses Vorbis (not mp3) encoding at 320k rate, which explains why to my ears it sounds closer to CD quality than other compressed formats.
  • Thanks Martin

    And thanks for putting me right about Spotify. I did know that, but I had forgotten. My sloppiness.
  • I haven't yet made any SQ comparisons, but I noticed I probably don't need Bubble UPnP Server for TIDAL. MoOde 4 (which is in Beta at the moment) will enable the RPi to connect directly to TIDAL.

    Something else to have a fiddle with.
  • Just a quick update. I'm not sure if it's the Lumin app or Bubble UPnP Server that's doing it, but the set up forgets the Tidal login details and is this morning refusing to log into Tidal at all. 

    MoOde 4 is going to be the way ahead by the look of it, although I've noticed OpenHome Player streams Tidal, too.

    Suddenly so many choices! 
  • Well, today, I finally got some time to get back on this issue. Partly because MoOde on the big rig decided to eat itself the other day.

    MoOde 4, for some not fully explained licensing issue, is not available as a nice, simple download. First, you have to install the one-before-last version of Raspbian, then you have to compile a download of files from MoOde into the final, working MoOde Linux (or something like that).

    The problem is that I don't understand WTH I'm supposed to do. Then I found people on forums, apparently with more Linux chops than I have, who were struggling to get the thing working. 

    Time to look elsewhere.

    I installed the latest Volumio. Easy. And looking a lot more like a commercial product than an open source one. 

    Cool. Works perfectly.

    But, unlike MoOde, it doesn't handle Tidal :-(
  • Yesterday, I also reinstalled Bubble UPNP Server, and it's working a treat so far. It's more stable, is so far not forgetting the TIDAL login details. And, best of all, the TIDAL SQ is not much behind that from local streaming. Time to try Qobuz's HD streaming, I wonder?

    It's great when everything drops into place and works wonderfully.

    I hope it stays that way! 
  • edited May 2018
    Another piece of the jigsaw...

    I've installed the Bubble UPNP app on my Chromebook (Android apps run on the majority of Chromebooks, now), so I can control the music from my lappy.
  • Seems like a success Dave. :-)
    When I tried Tidal I found it better than I expected. I think I've only ever downloaded from Quobuz. Will try their streaming option myself at some point...
  • So far, it is, Ben.

    Tidal through this set-up is much better than via the iOS app and AirPlay. 

    As usual, with these things, it seems much easier when you've done it.
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