New TIDAL tiers and MQA

This is a great suggestion on the surface, but as I understand it now Tidal no longer provides standard PCM 16/44 for much of their catalog, having replaced it with lossy MQA. If we do this, won’t we be streamed MQA anyways when we play these albums, and if this is true how will it help you as Roon will still rightly detect the source file as being MQA correct?

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No one actually knows anything like this right now. It’s 100% pure speculation. I’m not saying that’s not what TIDAL is doing, but if someone claims they know something for sure, that is false information unless they can provably demonstrate how they know this.

For example, working with some of the newer and smaller services, we know that it is possible to get MQA and non-MQA from many backends, and that the non-MQA is not just “broken MQA”.

Again, not saying that TIDAL isn’t “breaking MQA” to give that middle tier, but I am saying that no one knows anything unless they can prove how they know it.

unless they “break” the MQA data so it’s not detectable as MQA.


From a consumer’s standpoint it’s not speculation, at least to what Tidal provides to us through their desktop app and Roon. For example, if set Roon to stream “HiFi” tier from Tidal (via settings, services, Tidal, edit, “streaming quality”), it does not matter as Tidal/Roon streams me MQA anyways and Roon detects it as such. I commend Roon for being honest about this!

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I’ve only seen this for Australia? Are they going to offer the middle hi-fi tier in the US? I could go for that, mainly for their pretty decent mobile app.

but that’s comparing a singular flag passed on a HTTP request to TIDAL for a user on HiFi+ to HiFi+. It’s not the same thing. If this was going to be true for HiFi vs HiFi+, then no one would sign up for HiFi+ … just sign up for HiFi and not HiFi+ and get MQA!

“breaking MQA” is the debate, and its unclear if that’ll be the case. Should be trivial to find out though once we have access to the tiers.

I’m not interested in guesses, regardless of how smart people think they are… this will be easy to verify once we can.


I’m not interested in debate. I’m interested in the truth of MQA in general, and this question of whether I can stream standard PCM in every case from Tidal in particular.

Fact: when I set Tidal to “Hifi” instead of “Master”, Roon reports the file as MQA.

What is the truth here? Danny you just claimed there is a way to not get “MQA capabilities” but your own product is reporting this does not in fact work - myself and every other consumer presumably gets MQA anyways. Which is it?

This seems to imply that only the Hifi+ tier will be MQA, but I don’t know if it’s correct, or even the source of the image:

from another thread: Tidal “HiFi Plus” Introduced - #53 by UK_Phil

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Your suspicions are warranted as like just about everything else surrounding MQA ambiguity rules the day. I think @danny is wrong in that Tidal is just streaming the MQA file in any case. This is entirely in line with how MQA markets their product, as “backwards compatible”. Tidal is pretty clearly in a transitional state with regards to MQA, still switching over as it were, so there is ambiguity around their “HiFi” and “HiFi+” products which made sense in the past and were clearly distinguishable, but not so much anymore…

That’s a misnomer though. An MQA file played without the MQA decoding in the signal chain is still not the same file as a normal FLAC.


At the risk of seeming pedantic, FLAC has nothing to do with it. What you should say is “…still not the the same file as the normal PCM from which the MQA encoding was sourced”. FLAC compresses (from a data bit/byte perspective) PCM and MQA agnostically and is not itself an audio encoding - though the name would seem to imply it is…


Its my understanding that Tidal is separating their HIFI plans into HIFI and HIFI plus to combat Spotify’s
upcoming cd quality subscription.

Tidal’s HIFI will just have CD lossless and HIFI plus will be CD and MQA . Anyway that is the rumor.

Competition is a good thing. IF this happens ,there will be a choice for Tidal subscribers.


I guess people leaving Tidal for Qobuz has had an impact on Tidal sub base.


It seems in the end I have had it confirmed its incorrect marketing fodder, and Tidal will not be supplying FLAC PCM lossless hi res only MQA, we just need reassurance that they will place all the 16/44.1 PCM files back that were taken by MQA equivalents

The original source

Now I get why Tidal made their announcement in Australia first.

Qobuz just launched in Australia (and a few other countries):


This may belong in a separate thread, but: what other services? :slight_smile:

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Confusing, but I think he means this from a programmers perspective. The “services” might be various API(s) from Tidal itself, and not “services” in the sense of other streaming companies.

I think you are getting confused between Roon and TIDAL today (or at least yesterday), and “future TIDAL”.

TIDAL has just made available an extra non-MQA tier of subscription. It only seems to be launched in Australia right now. My guess it’ll come everywhere soon enough, but I am only guessing. This is brand new, and unless you are already paying less for TIDAL than you were last week, you are still on the “MQA” tier, regardless of what setting you pick in Roon.

As for me saying that you can turn off MQA streams in Roon, I made no such claim. The only claim I made was that if you turn off Core Decode in Roon and it’ll stop Core Decoding in Roon.

Switching to HiFi instead of Master only instructs us to tell TIDAL what to get. Tidal has been treating both as the same for many tracks, and in some cases, they even will deliver lossy AAC when you ask for Masters or HiFi. None of this is new, and none of this applies to the new 3-tiers of TIDAL subscriptions.

If you are trying to get non-MQA streams out of TIDAL, at the moment (unless you are in Australia), there is no way to do so reliably.

If you are in Australia, presumably you can switch to the new “middle” tier and get no MQA streams. I don’t have access to that new tier, so I can’t tell you for sure, and as far as I know, no one has reported information either way.

Once this is available to us, we (and others) will absolutely check on this.


I can’t speak to that by contract, but even if my hands weren’t tied, I wouldn’t say anything until it was released.

No, what @DeLub thought I meant is what I actually meant.


That’s great to hear - hopefully you are referring to a smaller service I already subscribe to…

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I had exchanges with a poster on in order to test exactly this. He created a brand new Tidal account on the new Hi-Fi tier here in Oz and then tested through Roon to check out the signal path. Here is my cross-post to Roon community summarising: