Chord products and MQA

I’m using a M-Scaler and Chord Dave combination and it’s one of if not the best Dac combo I’ve experienced. MQA didn’t really impress me vs high resolution. For me it feels most like marketing and good in a bandwidth sense.


With Chord products it’s recommended you avoid MQA anyway. The internal upsampler or the one in mscaler works best with the original file format. It’s not to say unfolding MQA first will sound bad, just best if you avoid MQA all together if possible if want max benefit of mscaler.

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Correctly. I have read this too.

So just pass the audio without any kind of first unfolding etc… Keep the INTERNAL MQA DECODER config set to NO. correct?

Although I do not use Tidal, I have disabled MQA decoding. Yes.

You could send a message to Rob Watts with your questions about Cord dac / M Scaler. He is very kind and responds quickly …

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Actually the idea is to avoid the MQA file type altogether if there is a non MQA file available. I know Tidal usually has that option but on some of their newer releases MQA is all you got. I think if you have to use MQA then unfolding is better but you can experiment.

I dropped Tidal a while back for Qobuz since I started to see more and more MQA only files on Tidal. At the time I didn’t have any Chord products, I was able to tell MQA folded and unfolded by roon both didn’t sound as good upsampled with HQPlayer vs hires files on Qobuz. Since Then I’ve only used Qobuz with any of the Chord dacs I’ve owned.

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Incorrect. If the file has been damaged by MQA, then playing it with no first unfold is even worse since now you have audio in the upper 15 bits and the lower 9 bits used by MQA will be seen by the DAC as noise.

When they say don’t send it MQA, they mean source audio that hasn’t been through the MQA encoder in the first place. This will be difficult if you use Tidal as your streaming service.


So, let the authentication & first un-folding happen in Roon and after that let chord do it’s magic… Got it…

That is correct.

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But if using mscaler, you should find the cd version better vs unfolded MQA. If you have access to a true hires version this may sound even better but sometimes cd version stills sounds better thru mscaler

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Chord & Quboz are made for each other… Finding CD version in Tidal is gonna be manual task …

It’s not too bad in roon. Roon will show if there are other versions available and if there’s a non MQA, make that your default. Even in Qobuz I always check versions just to see if has hires option.

As said, MQA version will still probably sound great but if spending money on mscaler, would think you want to ge the best out of it.

I don’t even hate MQA. I use to have ifi idsd dac and with that MQA sounded better unless using HQPlayer. Think on lessor dacs it may be better because it smooths away harshness. On Chord dacs they already sound good so this smoothness masks transparency and effects the soundstage. This filter is almost opposite of type of filtering Chord uses. So the MQA folded or unfolded has already been altered from the hires version.

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I have done it… TT2 + M-Scalar Placed the order… :grinning: Now the wait begins for delivery…


Super! Congratulations!! I’m waiting for M Scaler …

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I haven’t heard the TT2, just jumped from original Hugo to Hugo 2 to Dave. I was going to wait some time before getting mscaler but got an inheritance and figure I deserved it.

With my setup the mscaler is very easy to tell the difference. Without mscaler everything is still slightly blended together as part of an amazing recording. But with the mscaler active is frees them and sound like real instruments in a real space. They all come together as a whole but can also listen to any one of them separately.

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That is incorrect and a bad advice to do so for playing MQA music to a non-MQA DAC, because it loses the musical information from 22kHz to 48kHz that could otherwise be recovered by Roon MQA Core decoder if the MQA Decoder were left as enabled by default.

For those who hate or disagree with MQA music, just find a CD or Hi-Res version and don’t play the MQA version.

If you play the MQA version to a non-MQA DAC, you should have the MQA Core Decoder enabled by default.

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My understanding is that if using a non-MQA streamer or DAC, Tidal detects this and always sends a regular 16/44.1 version instead. Obviously if you have Roon in the chain that doesn’t apply as Roon can do the “first unfold” of an MQA file.
So presumably you are saying that if you turn off MQA decoding in Roon, Tidal ignores this and still sends the MQA version.

I hope to see what you describe. In my country it did not exist as a Demo, so I could listen, and so I relied only on user descriptions …

Not true if using Roon.
Not true if using Audirvana.
Not true if using USB DAC with Tidal official apps.
Only true if using native apps for non-MQA streamer, even then I have reasons to believe this a 16/44.1 of the MQA version, not the original 16/44.1 CD version.

That is correct. Using a different setting it is possible to set Tidal to not send the MQA version for Roon or in Tidal official apps.

The folded MQA file is not the same as the original cd file. It’s already been altered. That’s why it’s best to check the versions in roon to find the actual cd version.