Any technical obstacles to MQA decoding in Roon?

Seems like this topic has been dormant on the forum but is still a big ticket item for me while I wait on dCS to incorporate MQA into Rossini.

14 days ago:

Agreed, and this question could possibly have been tagged onto one of the fifty existing topics… :slight_smile:

Sorry for the breach of protocol!

Not a breach at all @Mark_Lindsay. Your question and statement are reasonable. There are fragments of topics that exist on Roon’s community forum that address the issue but one cannot be expected - nor should one be expected - to search and read every thread to find the answers.

We know Roon’s developers are working on an MQA decode. They are quite tight-lipped about their progress but since it’s been awhile since Tidal launched their Masters versions - now two months passed - there are obviously technical obstacles that are being overcome by the developers. There may also be legal and commercial obstacles as well because I’m certain there are contractual agreements that must be in place before Roon can launch an MQA decoder.

My distillation of reading the Roon forum is that MQA decoding is coming. While that isn’t exactly a satisfactory answer to my questions about when, I keep in mind Roon’s past performance of delivering a good and stable platform that delivers on its promises.

Like you, I am awaiting Roon’s implementation because it my affect my hardware selection decisions. And I am awaiting the day when I don’t have to run both the Roon and Tidal applications at the same time to search for and listen to music.

Fortunately, I can listen to music while I wait, albeit impatiently. And it sounds pretty good right now…

Thanks for the thoughtful response, I appreciate it.

II didn’t mean to upset anyone :). I personally think it’s good form to search and read before posting a new topic, but there you go. Now the next person has 51 topics to go through! I guess I’m just surprised by the huge number of MQA related questions swamping the forum - it’s a feature that isn’t even out yet… and having now heard it, I’m even more perplexed about the level of interest.


I’m not sure how you could possibly make that assumption?

Perhaps they just started work several months later than Tidal, and/or are trying to achieve something completely different to Tidal. Plus they’d probably have to test it with all their hardware partners.

So it’s no doubt a reasonably big technical project, but implying there may be ‘obstacles’ to overcome kind of implies Roon haven’t released it yet due to some issues their end.

As you say, the contractual stuff is highly likely to take time too - again we don’t know what the starting point was for Tidal, maybe they did a deal six months ahead of Roon?

I’ve got no inside info, but my hunch is these things, as well as roadmapped 1.3 features being the priority the past few months, is probably why MQA isn’t there - it just wasn’t as high a priority.

I believe there are obstacles Roon designers need to address. First, they need to get an accurate profile of the USB DACs, if they can’t, then they need to supply a generic profile (some compromises) This is going to be case if it is connect via SPDIF interface.

The second is licensing deal, now this is a sensitive one… Whether partial or full decode, I believe Roon wants to give everyone the best what can be offered in this format.

MQA has stood by the concept that a “full decode” needs to happen at the hardware level. I have not read a single post hinting that MQA is even considering it. In reality, I don’t think any software platform is going to be allowed a full decode.

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From what I have read, I agree that a full MQA decode will have to incorporate DAC-specific parameters. My original question in this thread was regarding when Roon would attain the first “unfold” as Tidal and, recently, Aidirvana have.

Quite possibly but we will just have to wait for a while.


It will be like :
Glass half full
Glass half empty

Not that it matters much: either way you chose the wrong glass for your beverage. :wink:


Rampant, uninformed speculation: My hunch is that the holdup lies not with Roon’s developers, but rather in a licensing snag involving either Tidal or MQA.

Thanks for forwarding the link.

As frustrated as I am with the delay on Roon-based MQA decoding, I still have a hunch that the holdup pertains to a ball that is in MQA’s court and that Roon is playing things diplomatically by not throwing them under the bus.

Here’s a tasty nugget from PS Audio’s founder this morning pertaining to a firmware update for their Bridge II:

It’s always a mystery with these guys until it happens but so far it looks like we will have it included – and Tidal too.
The MQA particulars are what’s holding things up for the Huron release right now. They are dangling the option of a full MQA decode (as opposed to only the first unfold) and we’re certainly OK with that as long as we don’t have to change anything in our DAC.
That all looks ok so far, so fingers crossed this will all happen. Couple of weeks is what’s been quoted.

Full decode in software? I’ll take that! I think that MQA, Ltd has always had their eyes on bringing their tech to mass-market, akin to Dolby on tape decks in the 80s, and mass market today means that the tech has to eventually be contained inside a cell phone, not a component-sized DAC.

Don’t get too excited, unless you have a Bridge II, I guess. Unless I’m completely misunderstanding, what Paul’s talking about is more like “possible full decode in firmware” — IMO, that’s still fundamentally conditional on specific hardware and unlikely to carry over to Roon. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if your hunch about MQA holding up the show is on the money.

I do. :blush:

But if the full decode can be pulled off in a Bridge II firmware update, having cleared both the licensing and technical obstacles, I’ve got to have faith that Roon can do the same.

The obstacle to full decode in software isn’t a technical one, silly rabbit.