Written by 4:31 am Audiophile Music

A Rock and Roll Love Letter to Tidal Streaming and the Roon Library

Steven Stone explains why he has a major crush on Tidal and Roon…

This morning as I was perusing my Facebook feed, a friend mentioned a band I hadn’t heard in years, The Records. Ten seconds later I was listening to the original version of “Starry Eyes” via Tidal followed in quick succession by “Rock and Roll Love Letter.” After those two classics I wondered, “What did the live versions sound like?” which I vaguely remember since I actually saw the Records live show at Boston’s Metro club many years ago. I remember the lead guitarist had a black Tele custom with humbuckers. 

AR-tidallove3a.jpgNot more than fifteen seconds after the last strains of the studio version of “Rock and Roll Love Letter” faded I had a live version of “Starry Eyes” cued up and playing. The live version is faster with a more raucous edge and with the energy level I remember from their live show. 

I realize the term “whataboutism” has become a political term, but I find its quite relevant description of how I sometimes find myself migrating from one track to another – “What about another version?” I used to do this with my own physical musical collection – Play a cut of Taj Mahal and decide I want to hear something else by Jessie Ed Davis, his lead guitarist…but after a couple of excursions into its outer fringes even a large music collection can hit dead end or have voids. In many ways Tidal replaces all those albums I played once, twenty years ago, liked two cuts, and would, maybe, like to listen to again in, say, ten years…but I don’t have to store it… 

AR-taj1a.pngWhen you combine Tidal with Roon musical connections expand even further. With Roon my Tidal library and my NAS library of ripped CDs as well as all my high-rez digital files are united in one big library, which is great. The only hang-up I’ve encountered is this results in a huge library. So, huge that the ELAC streamer I reviewed recently, with its 32K song/file limit was not sufficient to hold them all. 

“I Can’t Make You Love Me”, the Bonnie Raitt classic performed by Sarah Bettens on her live album, did not appear in a search of the Tidal library. I have it ripped to my NAS. Instead, Tidal found another version recorded in the studio version. With Roon integration I have the option of playing either one. 

AR-bettins1a.pngI realize that many old-school audiophiles would consider playing one track from a performer and then switching to a track by someone else displays a notable lack of musical attention span, but this form of musical connection works for me and from listening sessions spanning over thirty years, seems to work for other humans as well. For those budding (or ancient) listeners with a musicological bent I highly recommend perusing the Music Map site to see how various musical genres have influenced each other. 

While on the subject of maps, I recently spent a week on Cozumel, which is a small Island off the eastern coast of Mexico, known for its excellent Scuba diving. I was there to do my skill-test dives for open water certification. I flunked due to a thigh ligament sprain, but it did give me plenty of time to sit around icing the wound while listening to Tidal.

AR-musicmap1a.pngI had access to Tidal two ways. I could get it via my iPhone’s cell connection or through the Onkyo DP-X1 by way of the rental condo’s Wi-Fi connection. Both worked well throughout my convalescence. In anticipation of the trip I had downloaded several playlists onto my iPhone, but I never needed to use them. And having access to my entire Tidal library while I was laid out, recuperating kept me from being that cranky old guy on vacation. 

I love my music library. Having it with me, everywhere, makes life a whole lot better…is it too over the top to admit that, yes, I do love Tidal…indeed I do…

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