Is Roon supporting MQA? What are the pros and cons of MQA?

I use BluOS to search for MQA albums as they are clearly labelled there. A feature coming to Roon soon I hope?


Thanks - was not aware of this. Since Roon’s quality indicator (color) doesn’t show a lossy content Ihad assumed that the base was lossless. I’ll go through my Tidal content and clean it up to have only FLAC non MQA content.

MQA files not decoded are not Lossy. They play as normal. The Mastering may even be better.

MQA is a lossy format, that is 100% fact.

The mastering that MQA was created from might be better or the MQA might subjectively sound better, that’s to be decided by the listener.

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Doesn’t that depend on your definition of lossy?

No, when you don’t preserve 100% of the source content it’s lossy.

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It’s a CD file. All the MQA stuff is below the noise threshold. So yes, it does depend on understanding.

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But it isn’t a CD file, MQA is 24 bit. I think you mean’t PCM in a FLAC container.

So, any digital version of an analog source would be lossy, right?

Ok, better than CD to be accurate

In theory that is correct, but I’m talking digital to digital.

Well not really because you have to toss away the content put outside the audible band, you are left with 14-15 bits of musical data for a non MQA DAC.

At least that’s what @jussi_laako measured.

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Could we get a Roon Developer to comment on this since we obviously have several opinions but there is only one true fact–)) Roon currently doesn’t show MQA encoded Tidal content as lossy, so Roon at least doesn’t consider it lossy. I have no desire to waste time going through Tidal content to find stuff that doesn’t show up as MQA if it doesn’t make any difference (ie. it isn’t lossy at its base level). If it is lossy I’ll take the time to eliminate MQA content from my Roon dbms.

From my limited research on the internet it appears MQA is may be a little less than CD quality in its unfolded state, since they apparently use a few bits of the 16 bit part of the content to encode the compressed lossy MQA higher resolution content. Would be nice for someone who actually works with this and knows to answer this clearly.

Roon quality indicator is representative of it’s internal processing, not the source media.

Why don’t you keep the version that sounds the best to you?

And yet MQA clearly state better than a CD file. I think we have to use our ears here.

Lets see if any of the Roon team wades in. In the meantime you may want to look at this discussion for more
about what Roon considers lossy and what the “quality” indicators mean.

Generally speaking anything less than ie. CD quality ie 44/16 is considered lossy, anything above that is considered Hires.

By this definition MQA files are HiRes as even unfolded as they are generally 44/24 bit. However many don’t consider it HiRes unless is 88 or 96/24 or 176 or 192/24 and MQA is not that unti it is decoded. However MQA files are lossy in the sense that they do not preserve every bit of a 96/24 or 196/24 Hires file they discard some of the bits that contain no musical information, that is why some consider it lossy even though it is a higher resolution that CD. Without any decoding you still get CD resolution.

You also need to understand that MQA is more than just compression and that MQA files have been through a process that attempts to reduce problems in the original ADC conversion when the original digital file created which can improve the sound quality even without decoding. If you really don’t want MQA at all you should find non-MQA files as even if you turn decoding off MQA files will have an element of MQA processing in them and are not the same as the original CD or HiRes file even if they are sourced from the same master.

I find as do many others that usually the MQA file is better even without decoding, decoding improves it further. Many others disagree. Try it and make up your own mind.

From the horses mouth…for what its worth…

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Sorry, that comment is most likely prohibited by NDAs.

They are still trying to avoid showing the real numbers, by selectively picking samples that don’t have much high frequency content. None of those cases demonstrate unfolding with strong ultrasonic content and 24-bit TPDF noise floor, stuff that you can for example modern music produced in digital domain using software synthesizers. Or noise gated close-mic recorded cymbal kits.

Now give me some data for such, then we can see how MQA handles content that can go to 0 dBFS in 22.05 - 44.1 kHz band and how the noise floor in the 0 - 44.1 kHz band then looks like.

I’d also like to see decoded results of “fully unfolded” 0 - 176.4 kHz sweeps (DXD). And 7 kHz square waves bandlimited to 176.4 kHz bandwidth. How much there is content retained above 100 kHz and how the noise floor then looks like…