MQA lost on album [Ticket open]

I read a glowing review in BBC Music Magazine as their Album of the Month for Beethoven Unbound by Llur WIlliams with the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas and some other keyboard items. I searched from thatwithin Roon and was pleased to find the album already available through Tidal, and that it was also MQA.
I selected the disc and then selected add to my collection in Roon. The album was added, but the MQA designation was lost. I deleted the album and tried to reload it from Tidal. This time I noticed that the MQA data for the album didn’t show the usual post unfold bit depth and sampling rate, but a single strange long number. I thought the MQA data was maybe corrupted and that’s why it was shed when I tried to add it. Then I noticed that the number was 12,800000 Khz. That rang a bell and I thought that must be a DSD 128 file inside the MQA wrapper. I have an external DAC/headphone amp that handles DSD up to 256 and I remembered when I did the initial configure within Roon it asked how I wanted DSD handled.

So what gives? Does Roon support DSD files within MQA? I went direct to Tidal and searched, but the Tidal search only came up with the single CD quality album. I did the reimport of the MQA album into Roon and tried to play it without choosing to add it, and my DAC light showed the non-MQA file being received. I’m confused and with a new highlighted disc many others may also be confused as well.

I assume that there is some bad album data being given to Roon from Tidal; especially since it is not available in MQA on Tidal.

But no MQA indeed, just redbook (didn’t test all the songs though, too many)

I was curious beyond just the issue of why I can’t get MQA out of this album. I know I have read that MQA is format neutral. The MQA “envelop” can be wrapped around a file of any digital type. I assumed this just meant around any Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) file — the digitization scheme used in 95% of digital audio including all CD’s — regardless of the bit depth / sampling rate used in the main digital music file. After the final MQA unfold, you got whatever file had been enfolded within it originally.

The only outlier was DSD, the format used in the SACD (Super Audio CD). For many reasons SACD never become mainstream (the need for costly single use playback equipment, incompatibility with CD and limited recorded repertoire available), but many high-end audio enthusiasts felt it did give higher sound quality. DSD got a second lease on life when direct purchase of hi-res audio files emerged. Fans of DSD could buy files on-line, more DAC’s were introduced that could handle them and audiophiles could argue about which was the highest quality digital sound quality available — DSD or PCM both in their original incarnations and new higher resolution versions of each one. This album appears to be a 2X DSD 128 file — 64 the original sample rate, with 128, 256 and extremely rarely 512 million samples per second now available.

Having stumbled across this album, I was surprised that DSD could be MQA’d. I never really thought about it much. I wonder if anyone had heard anything about MQA with DSD or Tidal or Roon expanding MQA to DSD masters. I’ve never heard an SACD or downloaded DSD file. I was curious about this being a major solo piano album, because in the debates over sound quality the one example DSD advocates always cited was that they felt DSD yielded the most realistic reproduction of piano sound they had ever experienced.

Just idle curiosity really. Anyone know anything about the possibilities?

Hi @Alan_Rossitter ---- Thank you for the report and the feedback. Both are greatly appreciated!

Using the album mentioned in your report, I can confirm that I am making the same observations on my end. As such, I have opened a ticket with our QA team for further testing/evaluation of this behavior. Once the team updates your ticket and passes it back to me I will be sure to update this thread with their findings. Your patience during this process is appreciated!