Dropouts when playing MQA music

Roon Core Machine

Mac Mini M1

Model mgnr3ll/a

Memory = 8GB

Networking Gear & Setup Details

Google Nest Mesh Router

Both Mac Mini and Roon player (iMac Desktop) connected via Ethernet

Incoming Internet speed 200 mbps

Connected Audio Devices

Library is on 6TB hard drive via USB 3.0

DAC is Gustard X16 via USB from Mac Mini (MQA decode + render)
Player is a iMac desktop

Number of Tracks in Library


Description of Issue

I have had multiple dropouts with MQA music on all resolutions from 48kHz to 192 and 16+ 24 bit
I had extensive discussions with Gustard as if I switched Room to be the MQA decoder it seemed OK.
The dropouts were for both downloaded and streamed Tidal MQAs with the Gustard doing the decoding.

I made a short video here for a high res Tidal. Note the Gustard display briefly switches from MQA to PCM

I tried quitting Roon as a player and the core and it seemed better but it still had dropouts.

The I tried using Tidal’s software and played the same MQA album to the Gustard and it was fine. Zero dropouts.

If I play the same album with Qobuz (FLAC) it is fine also - no dropouts.

I had not had problems with MQA until recently and it is puzzling.

This is a real head scratcher. The same MQAs which were playing with frequent dropouts are now playing fine.

There was a Mac OS update which included a reboot so maybe that fixed it.

I assume this is not happening with others.

I have been having this issue as well; I use a Windows notebook computer and iFi Diablo as the DAC/amplifier, but it is horribly temperamental with MQA tracks, regardless of what buffering and other settings I try. It only works perfectly if I disable MQA encoding and rendering altogether and just use the core encoder, but this defeats the purpose of having an MQA decoder. I find the same thing where if you use the actual Tidal app itself instead of Roon, it’s more or less perfect. Very odd! I have been trying to get some help from iFi as well.

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