My sound setup discussion / what can I improve?

My setup is fairly simple.

I have a Samsung HT-C5550 from early 2011 for my speakers.
It was replaced by a Blu-ray 3D capable player but I got the old model.

It is not ideal as a receiver as it does not display what kind of audio that is being played.

I can basically choose between 3 DACs,
The one in my USB headphones supporting 44.1kHz and 48kHz
The one in my receiver that supports 44.1kHz, 48kHz and 96kHz
The one in my on-board Realtek soundcard supporting 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 96kHz and 192kHz
All these values reported by roon in exclusive mode.

on-board sound card or external DAC will need to run as AUX to my speakers.

MQA changes things but I will probably rely on software decoding within TIDAL for thee time being.

My personal non TIDAL collection is all redbook CDs.

I can play the new master MQA albums in roon but with basically the same quality as HIFI as no decoding is happening.

If I replace my surround sound system I will have to hunt to find something supporting MQA,

Getting a USB MQA capable external DAC and hooking it to AUX input on my amplifier I’m not sure if I get any improvement over the software decoding done by TIDAL.

How much of your own music do you have? Large or small library? MQA looks promising, but how much music will ultimately be available? A wait and see approach might be wise in the near term…

The Schiit response:

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My collection is really tiny as it is designed to fit holes in TIDAL. Like Taylor Swift 1989 DLX or Rihanna LOUD with DVD bonus with the missing collaboration with Eminem. Less than 50 albums. Got a lot of duplicates when Metallica arrived on TIDAL.

At least you don’t have a ton of stuff that would require replacement. Tidal is a great service. I’m waiting to see how MQA pans out before jumping in. Reminds me of the start of the SACD/ DVD-Audio era. Will the format succeed? If music delivery is better, I’m all for that option sans a bunch of extra expense.

Not sure what you are getting at.

I know the effects of a format war sitting here with 150+ HDDVD
All of it bought after blu-ray won so they came quite cheap.

I’m invested in roon and have been a TIDAL user since it was called WiMP.
From a consumer perspective I’m getting master quality albums for free.

I liked the way adding master albums in roon made the hifi copy disappear.
The fact that the master album is separate will cause headache when using TIDAL on the phone.
I would really love seeing software MQA within roon as I prefer roon over TIDAL for playback.
I do miss music videos in roon but it is probably not the right place.

I’ve ended up using my mac as I find it interesting to see the effect of unfolding and watching 88.2/96kHz being sent to my DAC in the amplifier using the Audio MIDI Setup.

I really have a tough time telling the difference between AAC, HIFI and master as I believe I don’t have a suitable setup for proper A/B testing as you need to be able to switch quickly.

If I remember correctly you can only remember a few seconds of music making it hard to compare.

It is really hard to tell what is missing but there is quite a lot of sound missing so there must be a difference and if there is a difference HIFI must be more correct than compressed. The same argument can be aimed at MASTER quality where if everything is aligned you can’t get better quality output.

Your sound system might be a bottleneck. Only way to replace it is to buy something better. Samsung is in my opinion very good at cheap systems around €500. Pretty well balanced and easy to place with 4 tallboy, 1 center and a 8" sub. From what I know smaller subs are better for music as big subs are not fast enough for music.

TIDAL player has the great advantage of doing MQA in software. I hope roon will get software decoding as well.
Everything has become a mess as with duplicate albums. roon is doing a great job elimination duplicates when you add master files to your library. This could be a problem when on the road as the master copy disappears.

Some good music subs are made by Martin Logan. Not overly thumpy.

My point on MQA is to let it play out some and not invest a ton of money on MQA titles until the path is clearer. Listening on Tidal is certainly a cost efficient way to go.

I don’t see replacing equipment at this point. My hearing is not as good as my system performance. Most changes I’ll make are in concert with user convenience.