Does DSP feature in Roon function for Tidal MQA files

I extensively use the DSP features of Roon introduced in ver 1.3 like PEQ and Headroom management. I stream Tidal through Roon and I have been very happy with the sound using these DSP features. With these new Tidal Master files which are MQA encoded, I am wondering if the PEQ settings will still function on Tidal Master files. If it is, then I was planning to invest in a MQA capable DAC or wait until Roon can decode these files and still use the DSP features of Roon.

Any alteration of MQA files will destroy the MQA instructions being sent and MQA DACs will not see the stream as MQA. If Roon is allowed to do the first unfold, then it could apply its DSP afterwards.

There have been no definitive statements about DSP and a full MQA decode. Assumptions by many are that this scenario will have to live inside a DAC.

Unfortunately, the ‘pass through MQA’ cannot be disrupted or alter in anyway through a DSP engine before it gets hardware decoded. Software decoding may offer limited DSP functions after the first fold back but it will probably can’t do a full fold back, i.e. up to 24/384k.

If Roon is eventually allowed to do the first unfold to 24/96, the question would be do you get more benefit from the DSP or going from 24/96 to 24/192 or whatever. I’d take the DSP any day since I’ve never been able to hear any difference between a 24/192 FLAC file and a 24/96 down-convert of that same file.

Hi Daniel,

I own a NAD C390DD DAC/amp with a BluOS streamer module and am listening to MQA ever since the MQA upgrade for both the DAC and the streamer was released in June 2016.

What strikes me is the fact that the firmware update enables full MQA unfolding in 24 bits with sampling rates varying (depending on the TIDAL stream album or downloaded albums) at 44,1 / 88,2 / 96 / 176,4 to max. 192 kHz

Meanwhile, the DDFA chipset which is used as DAC/amplifier is still capable to perform equalising settings like -4 dB correction at 40Hz, tone EQ and digital volume control…

Might it be that the design of the 35 bit chip architecture offers so much headroom, that the 24 dB MQA unfolding resolution is maintained and the other EQ parameters are available in the digital domain using the rest of the 35 bits (= 11 bits) for this?

Or am I being fooled and listening to a non-MQA decoded output…? This would be however very strange, since I double-checked ( see pic)

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I wood ask also on the MQA facebook site, your amp is unique its digital also after dac so i think its the only one that can do MQA and DSP afterwards right now.

Hi Ieberich,

I followed your advice and the answer confirms my assumption that DSP and MQA in the digital domain works!

Their answer:

Hi Peter

You assumption is accurate and I couldn’t have explained it better myself. 24 bits of music and 11 bits of headroom for all that other fiddling about.