MSB Discrete DAC - USB module settings for MQA on Roon

#1

Any MSB owners that have the Quad USB Module with MQA?

Using Roon to stream via USB out of my Innuos ZENith MK3. What setting should I use on Roon to get full unfolding and rendering of MQA files from my Discrete DAC? See pictures attached current signal path and current Roon settings. I don’t think MSB is doing the second rendering/ unfolding

Thanks!

Roon Server with MSB Renderer V2 Roon Endpoint and MSB Reference Transport Roon Ready
#2

Scott: can you tell me your Roon settings for MQA for your Quad MQA USB module on your MSB DAC?

Roon Server with MSB Renderer V2 Roon Endpoint and MSB Reference Transport Roon Ready
(Scott G) #3

Ok. I just installed the Network Renderer v2 which has MQA decoding (my Quad USB didn’t have MQA). I found settings here mattered a lot.
Audio Device MQA Capabilities: Decoder and Renderer
Advanced Device Settings>Enable MQA Core Decoder: NO
The second of these made the biggest difference. I’d be pretty sure the Quad USB with MQA handles things the same.
Is that what you’re looking for?
@support You might want to move this part of the thread over to @thynames post. I don’t know how to do that.

#4

I get something different on signal path, when I do these settings you described:

(Scott G) #5

Something isn’t right there. Here is what I see.
With Enable Core Decoder set to NO:

With Enable Core Decoder set to YES:

Best I can tell the signal path looks the same, and it’s showing Full Decoder in both cases. Musically, I strongly prefer the core decoder set to no. The life seems to go out of the music in the case where Enable Core Decoder is set to Yes.

If I have DSP in the chain there is a big difference in signal path. I didn’t get screen shots when I did this but I wrote it down.
With enable core decoder set to NO:
Source>MQA Authetication>Bit Conversion> Convolution Filter>Bit Conversion>MSB Analog DAC>MQA Full Decoder

With enable core decoder set to YES:
Source> MQA Authetication>MQA Core Decoder>Preserve MQA Signaling>Bit Conversion> Convolution Filter>Bit Conversion with Restore>MSB Analog DAC>MSB Renderer>Output

It is quite interesting that Roon chooses to process the MQA signal differently when the core decoder is ON (sending a partially unfolded signal), versus when it is OFF (sending the whole thing intact to the DAC. I have to say here that I found this confusing musically. I ended up turning the DSP off because it sounded ‘worse’ going through DSP and MQA vs MQA alone. There is probably some physics here I should understand, but I don’t want to deal with it.

#6

Are the pictures above with your Renderer module on MSB Discrete, or with the MQA / Quad USB module?

(Scott G) #7

These pictures are with the Network Renderer Module V2 on MSB Analog DAC. This interface module has MQA.
My Quad USB was bought in 2016 and MQA was not available then.

I’m listening to the album you had in your screenshot. Wow, I can see why you chose it for a sound demo.

Oh, I also see the full decoder happening in the DAC, but with 192kHz frequency.

#8

Thanks!

I got both modules on trial with my new Discrete DAC, the Renderer and the Quad USB MQA. I will have to make a decision within a week which module to pick.

I thought the Renderer would be much better, but I slightly prefer the USB module, streaming from my Innuos ZENith MK3. Not sure why. If I only can figure out this MQA thing with the MQA USB module.

And yes! J.S. Ondara is excellent!

(Scott G) #9

I have heard the differences are subtle, and I’d agree with that. I went from regular USB to Quad USB to Network Renderer. As I recall, the increment from regular to Quad USB was about the same as Quad USB to NR. It wasn’t life changing, but such is our hobby.
I never went the high end USB cable route, so I don’t know if that matters. I do like the fact that my NAS, Cisco Switch, ROCK and their power supply are out of sight in the basement. All I look at now is the MSB Analog DAC, two Pass amps and my speakers.

(Scott G) #10

You might try another USB cable. Sometimes the real fancy ones don’t communicate correctly.
The NR worked right?

#11

Oh… I have a great USB cable, Synergistic Research Atmosphere X Reference. It works perfect. That’s probably why my USB module sounds (slightly) better than the Ethernet Renderer. And the Innuos ZENith MK3 is an excellent server / streamer

(Scott G) #12

Why not ProISL? $$?

#13

Good question… maybe I will try that too

(Scott G) #15

Did you get the MQA thing figured out?
Any preferences among the interface modules?

#16

Yes I did. Needed a firmware update.

I preferred the USB Quad / MQA. Streaming from my ZENith MK3. I returned the Renderer module

(Scott G) #17

Great! Enjoy the awesome new DAC!

1 Like
#18

Hi, I have just ordered a Discrete DAC; was initially planning to go for the V2 renderer input but at my dealer’s we tested the V2 (with a macMini as Roon server) against the proUSB module fed from a Mac as Roon server; the proUSB sounded somehow better. So I have ordered it with the proUSB. I am not yet “sold” on MQA but do hope that the proUSB module still supports the “full” MQA so I can explore it thoroughly when the Discrete arrives.

(Scott G) #19

Don’t hope it will, the dealer will tell you definitively! From what I read it does support MQA.
I wish my Analog DAC accepted this module, but it’s too old. Feeding ISL directly seems like the best way to go technically. But your ears matter the most!

#20

Congrats! You will love it!

It should definitely support MQA (full decoder). When you get it, please post a picture of your Roon path using MQA file.

#21

Hi all, Discrete arrived and after (several) hickups all working nicely now. So far I have only tried the option with the Antipodes EX “zone” set to do both MQA decoding & rendering.

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Will try the option to do so in the DAC as alternative.