Missing advertised MQA support

I think Roon is great and one of the reasons I bought a subscription was for MQA-support. It says on the MQA software page, “Integrated MQA audio technology to optimise sound quality and authenticate file provenance”.

To me, “integrated” suggests more than pass-through of MQA material. How is Roon using MQA to optimize sound quality? It suggests something like a capability to make use of MQA, and to output a higher bitrate. The other applications listed perform a software decode, as does the Tidal app.

I bought Roon several months ago over Audirvana because I like the Roon interface, and the community, and I thought MQA decoding was soon to be supported, as it is in Audirvana. I would really appreciate an update from Roon about this.

Roon will be there to exhibit, boot 306 at AXPONA, hopefully they will announce something there…

That announcement by MQA just indicated that they and Roon had come to an agreement. No time frame has been given by Roon.


Something big is coming, MQA and ROON sharing the Booth 306!


Ok, looking forward to updates!

I just converted to lifetime finally, so that should provide the necessary funding (◔_◔)


I’m not sure where this news is coming from and why we are listed on AXPONA’s site, but we are not going to be at AXPONA 2018.

As for MQA + Roon, its already been announced that we are doing it, and our implementation has some interesting things not seen elsewhere. Anything more than that is either someone making stuff up or breaking an NDA.


“Anything more than that is either someone making stuff up or breaking an NDA.”

Interesting - your particular relationship with Roon has its own NDA? Most of us understand the NDA from the perspective of how it hides what MQA actually does (if anything beyond known art - e.g. the so called “de-blurring”). You seem to be indicating that you have your own relationship/implementation with MQA that requires a specific NDA. Am I reading too much into this?

Yes, you are.

What @Danny means is that if anyone has heard anything about Roon’s MQA implementation beyond what he stated:

  1. Roon is going to implement an MQA solution
  2. That solution is going to include some features not seen in other products

That means that they are either making it up or know something factual and by disclosing it are breaking their non-disclosure agreement with Roon Labs.


MQA has NDAs that extend to technical and commercial details. Roon has its own understandings with the people it shares information with. The end result is that users get very little information and speculation is, as they say, rife.

If we had a book on release then I’d be backing around mid-year. To date, however, my betting acumen has not made me a wealthy man.


Ah, he was referring to an NDA “with Roon Labs” and not MQA.

Perfectly understandable that I assumed the NDA in question was with MQA as these agreements have been central to whether MQA has anything (i.e. if any of its marketing/technical claims are true) to offer the audiophile or the general musical consumer.

Andrew, are you and/or dCS part of the Roon team/company in any way? I ask because you answer my question in a very confident way, so I assume you are involved in some way…

I think they have found a way to combine MQA and some DSP functionality.

And of cause no one except Roon could do this.

Later maybe some expensive customized Dirac surround processors can do.
The thing is I doubt they are interested at all to do.


I prefer DxD / DSD upconversion (via HQP) to MQA across the board, but I’d at least be curious to hear MQA unfolded in Roon and then unconverted to DxD / DSD. That way I could use any filter I want on my DAC (or any DAC for that matter) and then it’s just a matter of choosing Tidal’s lossless version or Tidal’s MQA version.

The beauty of using first unfold is one don’t have to resort to the use of leaky MQA filters. Audirvana provides up-sampling after the first unfold so one can choose the digital filters inside their DACs.


Interesting that MQA allow all this on a closed system. Not so closed really.

Andrew is a trusted friend of the company.

Andrew has had a long history with Roon, helping as an alpha tester and even some development tasks. For example, he shaved 90% of my dev time for getting Roon OS’s multichannel HDMI support done (on a Sunday evening!).

While Andrew is not employed by Roon Labs, I would gladly sit back and have him speak for the company. I have linked to his posts multiple times when his explanations are even better than what we could have said.


True, but it does not eliminate whatever DSP effect the “deblur” is (or do you believe, contrary to the mass of marketing claims, that “deblur” IS “leaky MQA filters”)? Also, some have noted that the 48k split requires a reconstruction filter, in what way this is audible is unknown as its exact workings is behind IP.

I am starting to appreciate Stereophiles recent hedge on MQA in which they (through John Iverson) question MQA in a direct way related to your post:

“…without the ability to even evaluate the format’s compression scheme separate from its deblurring component, I don’t believe that, over the long term, MQA is in the best interests of audiophiles. I just hope it’s not too late”

Thanks all for sharing info on the planned implementation of MQA unfolding in Roon. If one thing is clear, it’s that exciting developments are in the works.

I have a simple setup that I think will benefit from MQA unfold in Roon to deliver lossless signal to Dynaudio Xeo2 speakers, My 2017 macbook pro runs Roon core and sends the signal via ethernet (or 5G wifi) to a RPi with a HiFiBerry digi+ Pro running Roon Bridge. Output from the digi+ is via optical (toslink) to Dynaudio Xeo 2. These powered speakers have built in DSP for room placement, and I’ve been extremely happy with them. I like that the speaker engineers design the DSP.

I demoed Audirvana and there’s a subtle but notable improvement in clarity for most MQA tracks I tried (particularly newer recordings). Aside from this, I prefer Roon (and also already purchased it), so I’ll wait for MQA to come to Roon.

It’s been a fun adventure reading about various Roon setups and figuring out my own setup. The amount of information shared in this community is really impressive!



I agree with Iverson. MQA is dangerous.

It is at times like trying to read tea leaves, but MQA marketing claims seem to imply that DSP after MQA would mean corrupting the “debluring/time domain” correction that is the central claim of MQA’s sound quality tweakiness. Thus their initial commitment to an analogue only output from any MQA device. Of course, the compromise that led to Tidal hosting MQA encoding seems to indicate that business realities led them down another road.

IF you are correct, and Roon becomes the first (or most prominent) of DSP processing (even if it is simple EQ) downstream from MQA decoding then that will beg even more questions from MQA - what, exactly, is it supposed to be doing that leads to a SQ improvement?

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