Full MQA Decoding

Scenario one - running roon core on my mac with a meridian explorer 2 as an output dac into stereo and I receive this:

I then us a meridian 218 zone controller/streamer as a roon endpoint and I get this:

Am i getting full MQA unfold from the software as the 218 is indicating MQA with a blue light?

Roon has recognised the MQA capability of both devices and is not doing any software decoding.

The explorer 2 with Roon requires Roon to do the first unfold. The 218 does not it seems.

Thanks - wouldn’t roon know if the 218 is doing that and then indicate"MQA Full Decoder"?

It does, hence your display. Note the colour of the lights.
In Roon settings, what does it say?

I have it set as decoder and renderer

If that’s how Roon set it, it means Roon knows it can decode and render MQA and only has to pass the files on.
Roon sets it automatically so you shouldn’t have to do anything…

That’s incorrect, the Explorer2 can (and is) performing MQA decoding. Look at the signal again … MQA decoding is shown after the Explorer2.


The difference in signal path is due to the Explorer2 being connected to the Mac’s CoreAudio subsystem via USB, and the 218 being streamed to via the network (a much simpler path).

In both cases, Roon is not performing any MQA decoding or other DSP and is outputting a bit-perfect signal to both devices. “Exclusive [bit perfect] Mode”, is enabled for the Explorer2, so all is good.

That makes sense how about the 218? Where is the the first unfold done?

On the 218. As Joel said the Signal Path’s differences are due to the connections used.

Thanks maybe that is why the 218 is a sonic step up from the Explorer 2?

I have always preferred a DAC with an Ethernet connection or a combination of a USB/Ethernet Bridge and DAC, to one directly connected via USB.