Request for a guide to best MQA configuration


I had to return a Roon tested DAC – the Pro-ject DAC Box DS2 Ultra – because it did not work properly (too much background hiss). I have since replaced it with a NuPrime Dac - 9, which is absolutely amazing, despite it not being Roon certified. Do consider working with that manufacturer and certifying that device. It really is awesome.

However, my wife listens to non Tidal streams, and because of that, I’ve decided to order a Bluesound Node 2 which I plan to connect to the NuPrime DAC using coax.

I realize however that Bluesound has MQA, and moreover, will pass along signal to any connected DAC. This means that I can effectively use it as a streamer when I listen to Tidal or my own hi res music.

Here is the question. My DAC does not do MQA. So the decoding and rendering needs to be done within Roon. What are the optimal settings within Roon please for such a config.?

I think others might be interested in this question if stated more generically, so I’ll restate it. Could you perhaps add a paragraph to the KB, so that we can all benefit?

Generic question stated:

Optimal settings when connected to an external DAC via a streamer that supports MQA.

— What does one do within Roon? (your answer please).

Many thanks, R.

The short anwer: nothing.

The slightly longer answer: Roon will recognise the Node 2 as Roon Ready device and should autmatically configure optimal settings. In this case, the device should be set as ‘Renderer only’ in Device Settings. This will lead to Roon doing the first unfold.

When using the analog output of the Node 2, the Node will perform the second unfold. Since you are using a digital (coax) output however, the MQA path is limited to first unfold only. Your DAC will be fed a 88.2 or 96 kHz signal.

Many thanks.

If I understand you right, I simply configure the Node 2 (‘the device’) as a renderer only. This will then pass the signal along. Am I right? Of is the external DAC the device? It does show up in Roon.

Also, does anything change if I connect a MacBook via USB serving as an endpoint? The music serving MacBook is on the other end of the ethernet network.

In either situation, does one mess with the DSP settings at all? Is there anything that is optimal for that please?

May I please pose the question again so that I understand better?

  1. In my scenario — BSN2 as a streamer connecting by coax to an external DAC – the term ‘Device’ on Roon refers to the BSN2. Is that right?

  2. Alternatively, if I connect the external DAC by USB direct to a MacBook serving as endpoint, do I again follow the same protocol and enable the MacBook core audio as a renderer? The music serving MacBook (a different computer) is on the other end of the ethernet network.

  3. In either situation, does one mess with the DSP settings at all? Is there anything that is optimal for that please?

Again, many thanks for the response.

  1. Yes. In Device Setup the Audio Device is the device that Roon sees for that Zone.

  2. Roon will see your DAC directly connected by USB to the Output on the MacBook. It should know that the DAC has no MQA capability and configure itself accordingly (Roon will do the first unfold and not preserve Rendering info). The Audio Device setting should default to “No MQA Support”.

  3. If the BSN2 autoconfigures to “Renderer Only” and the DAC autoconfigures to “No MQA Support” then you don’t need to do anything.

If you only ever plan on using the digital output from the BSN2 (thereby bypassing its internal DAC with the Rendering capability) then you could change the BSN2 configuration to “No MQA Support”. That would tell Roon not to preserve the Rendering info, which might slightly reduce Roon processing but should not make any audible difference. If you might use the analog output from the BSN2 then don’t bother.

In short, Roon knows what to do with most devices and will autoconfigure itself to match their MQA capabilities.



Thanks so very much. All my questions are answered.

One more question from this novice please. If I want to read up on the meanings of the various terms for the choices in DSP settings and elsewhere, is there a good source or two?

I just want to read and learn more.