I’ve been using Roon for about a month and just bought a new NAD M17v2 processor.
I run Roon on a new i7 Intel NUC and previously had been streaming Tidal Masters (I do not yet use Roon with any stored media) through a number of devices including a Pro Ject Pre Box S2. Through that setup I have been able to fully decode MQA files at all resolutions including 192.
I received my NAD M17 v2 this past Friday, and it is a native Roon device. It shows up in my Roon software under settings - audio, and I am able to stream Tidal Masters to the NAD, but the front panel display shows 44 or 48kHz and nothing more. If I switch to the native BlueOS app on my Android Pixel 2 XL, or running BlueOS on my MacBook Pro, the front panel shows the Tidal Masters playing at 96kHz or 192kHz, the point being the Tidal files play at the correct resolution through the BlueOS app but not Roon to the NAD (and yes Roon to the Pro Ject Pre Box S2).
NAD tells me this is a Roon issue and, needlessly to say, I am frustrated.
And the answer is setting volume leveling to auto. I was toggling every setting possible and when I did this the resolution changed. Judging from the sound quality I’m guessing that previously I was not even getting MQA.
Very nice now.
Hope this helps others who experience this issue.
In the Device Setup page for your NAD M17 v2 zone, what do you have the “MQA Capabilities” set to? For Bluesound products, the correct setting would be “Renderer only”. When streaming from Roon, Bluesound products rely on Roon’s built in MQA Core Decoder before completing the 2nd unfold MQA Rendering process internally.
Thanks. But to be clear, the toggle at the button is still to be set to enable MQA decoder? When I toggle that off it looks like I lose MQA completely. Is this correct? Thx
Yes, “Enable MQA Core Decoder” needs to be on for MQA functionality to work with Bluesound products.
Forgive my ignorance…
If I set my Roon devices to decoder only, then Roon does the first unfold to 96, and NY external device (in this case the M17) does the next unfolds to 192. If I play something that is only 96, does that mean the software alone is doing the MQA work? I also have a Project Pre Box s2. Should that and every device be set to render only? Perhaps my real question is when and why I would have my device (s2 or M17 or Chromecast Audio) ever do decode also. I fear I am not understanding some key concept here.
There are two stages (“unfolds”) in the full MQA process, the MQA Core Decoder stage and the MQA Rendering stage. Some devices are able to perform both stages of the MQA process on their own, while others can only do one or the other. The MQA Core Decoder stage is the same for every implementation on the market, this is the process that unfolds the 24/48 stream to 24/96. The MQA Renderer stage is where things like DAC specific compensation and correction occur as well as the second unfold to the “Studio” sample rate occur, and thus this stage can only happen on the device itself. You can read more about Roon’s MQA functionality here.
Due to an implementation quirk in the Bluesound products, they only act as MQA Renderers when playing MQA content via Roon. This should have no impact on sound quality, the MQA Core Decoder stage produces the same output wether it is performed on a device or in software like Roon.