New TIDAL tiers and MQA

Could you link that please?

I find myself in the unusual position of supporting @Chrislayeruk’s point. He has a complete Meridian system and doesn’t use Roon’s MQA decoding at all, since Roon pays per decode Roon pay nothing when he plays MQA as it’s all done by his system. Presumably Chris you’ve disabled the first unfold in Roon.



simply put: if you don’t core decode, we don’t pay.

If you core decode, we make less profit. If you don’t core decode, we make more profit. It’s almost that simple.

from Roon’s COO here: Why do manufacturers support MQA? - #294 by danny

You are not able to even play MQA through Roon if you have this on:

So disable that and MQA does not get paid.

This is another reason why MQA is so confusing to many. You cannot even play MQA at all through Roon if you do not core decode MQA. It’s simply not possible to not use Roon MQA decoding and get MQA.

Um. Pretty sure the stream gets passed through intact…

… otherwise the renderer/decoder settings make no sense.

“MQA bills us based on Core Decodes. If a user doesn’t Core Decode, we don’t get billed.”

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Yes you can? when the streamer/dac is a decoder + renderer?

I (obviously) don’t believe that this is the case but without dedicated MQA hardware I can’t tell at all. The position appears to be confusing (at least to one of us :wink: )

Of course it is. I do it every day with a Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier. Sounds terrific.


I’m speaking about normal DACs.

@Chrislayeruk keeps saying you don’t pay extra for MQA and it’s free to all, etc., but you do pay if you buy a DAC that decodes and renders MQA, and Roon certainly does if you have the MQA core decode on, as per above.

I paid $499 for lifetime Roon, $449 for a used Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier, $100 for Tidal ($150 for Qobuz), and $1119 for a Roon Nucleus direct from Roon.

If you don’t like MQA, don’t subscribe to Tidal.


Evidently that wasn’t clear…

Glad we’ve got that sorted now :wink:

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TBC I was speaking about @Chrislayeruk’s DAC :wink:

Correct, Roon sets Roon ready Dacs appropriately and I don’t use the core decoding.

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You buy a DAC you want, and if you don’t want MQA, you don’t buy an MQA DAC, but the competition in price means you can buy at all price levels and any fee for MQA is not prohibitive in relation to the product you buy. It’s funny how some object to MQA making any money when every other company in the world does and some make so much more.


See it as a psychological exercise and it will be way easier to bear!!! (and even fun) :slight_smile:

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Yes - you can!

I do not use ROON MQA when I play music through my second system which has a Mytek Brooklyn+ DAC. The DAC informs me that I am getting a bit-perfect stream to my DAC which then plays MQA.

Anyone with scruples would object to MQA making money based on their entire business plan.


OK. We need to pause and level-set here because this thread is going way off the rails with incorrect information on the very basics of what PCM is and how delta-sigma DAC chips work. Please read the below… all of this is accurate and I’d be happy to link to anything you need me to in order to backup my statements.

The output of MQA processing is PCM. No DAC, I’m talking about the actual chip that does the digital (1s and 0s) to analog (voltage) conversion, understands MQA. And, even that statement is weird because “MQA” isn’t its own digital data stream. The digital data stream is and always is PCM. Delta-sigma DACs understand PCM and that’s what you are always feeding the DAC; PCM. You never feed the DAC “MQA”.

The MQA encoding is embedded in the PCM. It’s using some of the 16 or 24 bits of the PCM word to store this encoding. If you “unfold” the PCM, using the MQA bits as the instruction or guide, then you get a higher resolution PCM while also setting those “MQA bits” back to actual music instead of them set as an unfold instruction. The DAC chip isn’t doing this. You do this first unfold in software.

This is why MQA is backwards compatible with all DACs. The DAC just sees PCM. If you don’t unfold it is still PCM. What does the DAC do with those MQA instruction bits? The DAC converts them to noise.

What I do want you to take away from this… If you are using Tidal and you turn off MQA processing (ether core decode in Roon or your network streamer) then the “MQA encoded bits” are being converted to noise by the DAC. MQA acknowledges this. Their response to this is “you cannot hear it because it’s below the noise floor”.