Nucleus MQA capability

I am a subscriber to Tidal and am looking at getting a Nucleus. I’m interested in playing MQA files and my understanding is that Roon will unfold to 96/88.4 kHz 24 bit. If the files are larger, then I need a DAC to unfold the remaining content. My question is do I need a new DAC to unfold the remainder of the MQA file, or will the Nucleus do the full unfold? Thanks

Roon will only do the first unfold so you would need an MQA DAC to do the 2nd unfold if you are interested in that. If that is your goal, then I would suggest getting a DAC which will do the whole unfold.

@Rugby I thought Roon recommended using its software for the first unfold and an MQA-enabled DAC (if available) for the second unfold. Your note implies that one should do all unfolding via one’s MQA-enabled DAC. Am I misreading you?

MQA requires a certified DAC to get the full experience, that’s just how it works. If you already have a good DAC, the first unfold in Roon is a good place to start.

The advantage of Roon performing the first unfold when using an MQA-certified DAC is that it can perform digital signal processing (DSP) to the source file without affecting the MQA encoding.

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@Martin_Webster Thanks for revealing this distinction! Makes sense now why Roon recommends first unfold through its software.

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MQA decoding is MQA decoding so Roon are agnostic… but the Roon application does the right thing if the endpoint’s MQA capabilities are setup correctly in Roon.

When set to Decoder & Renderer … the bit-perfect MQA stream is sent to the DAC where it is decoded and rendered. However, if any Roon DSP is used then Roon will:

  • Extract and preserve the MQA signaling
  • Perform the MQA decoding
  • Apply the DSP
  • Reapply the MQA signaling
    so that the DAC can stil perform MQA rendering.

Hope this helps.