Is Roon’s Signal Path Accurate?

This signal path from Tidal seems to indicate I’m getting a full MQA decode

But the signal is going OUT of the Bluesound before conversion to analog. It’s going on a COAX SPDIF to my McIntosh MA8900, which does not do MQA

At most this should be a second “unfold” but not full

I shouldn’t be seeing “MQA Full Decoder” at all, should I?

What gives?

It’s doing the decode inside the node before the output

1 Like

Over digital?

I didn’t think Bluesound supported that

I’m not an MQA expert for a start but I believe the node is decoding and then sending that out.
Roon doesn’t know what it’s being decoded to as the node isn’t reporting that back, it’s just saying this thing has a full decoder and it could be sending it out analogue or digital.
The output will be a standard digital or analogue fully decoded signal. The node may well be then squishing that down to 96 if it’s outputting digital but that is internal to the node and invisible to roon.

I guess Roon doesn’t know what output you’re using, it just knows that the Node can do it.

1 Like

In my node you can see that roon authenticates the MQA then just hands it over to the node, job done and no further information available.

Thanks. I guess the best assumption is “MQA Full Encoder” can mean that…up to a point. I had thought the Signal Path was my unassailable road map, especially when involving a “Roon Ready” device, one that’s been out a few years. Seems like someone at BS and or Roon would be aware that outputting a SPDIF from this particular streamer is not a 100% full unfold MQA file.

Well my point was not to bellyache about that as much as maybe find that I can bypass the subpar DAC on this Bluesound and still get good quality full MQA.

If you turn off any and all DSP do you see “Full MQA encoder”?

Cuz I do

And so?

10 characters

I’m just trying to figure out what’s really going on with my signal bud. Putting DSP in the chain alters what Roon does with the signal. I was asking because I thought it might be a way to test if your Bluesound does the same thing as mine

I have been long under the impression (based on their documentation) that if you want full unfold MQA from this streamer you gotta use the analog outputs that come with it

Here I have a situation where I am not using the analog outputs but Roon is telling me I’m getting a full MQA decode

Just trying to figure it out

Your not getting a full encode via coax only the internal DAC of the Node gives that out of the node. It only outputs the first MQA decoder stage of the BluOS MQA decoder to 88.2/24 or 96/24. For digital outs it expects coax to be connected to an MQA capable rendering DAC. As the BluOS does not feedback on which of its many outputs are used, Roon just assumes your using the Bluesounds DAC and getting full decode and rendering but your not.


You should have Roons MQA decoder active and node set as Renderer only as your DSP is breaking MQA signalling there completely.

1 Like

I’m not bothered TBH Redbook is fine by me :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

Isn’t core decoding supposed to get enabled automatically when DSP is used?

@ged_hickman1 what does your signal path look like after you change these settings?

@Doug_Hannah If your McIntosh doesn’t support MQA you should enable core decoding in Roon so you at least get the first unfold.

Doug, pay attention to the Signal path:

Analog/Digital outputs

Multiple outputs are active simultaneously. Analog output is active always. Roon has no way of knowing which output(s) you are using or not using. Think about it.


If you’re using Roon DSP you should turn on Roon MQA decoding. Set you MQA capable DAC to MQA rendering.

Can’t Roon Ready devices like the Bluesound report that info back to Roon?

Report back to Roon? How? The NODE 2i has multiple outputs active simultaneously. It does not know which, if any outputs are being used.


Yes, I understand.

In my defense

I thought the device being “Roon Ready” meant it had code in it communicating the DACs capabilities back to Roon, so that Roon would “know”

Mea culpa.


I think that only applies to a usb connection which is two way.
And with the node (and vault) having multiple outputs all active simultaneously it’s a bit of a crap shoot for Roon there.

1 Like