Roon, Bluenode 2, Tidal and MQA

Just discovered something about MQA and my Bluenode doesn’t do MQA processing on the digital out…

So it’s necessary for me to use Roon to do the MQA…

Was wondering why the bass sounded so soggy… The other thing I discovered was that my ripped CDs sound a lot better than Tidal…


I seem to remember that this is expected behaviour and part of getting mqa certification. I believe that it would be possible to extrapolate the secret-sauce of mqa if you were able to look at the digital output after the initial unfold. I’m starting to forget the specifics now as it has been a while since I was able to flush mqa and no longer have to worry about it.

Maybe someone who is still living and breathing this stuff could answer in more detail.


I’m a little rusty on Bluesound and MQA, having sold my Node2i last year. And I never really saw the point of MQA other than as a conduit to fill Bob Stuart’s pockets with other people’s money.

Roon can do the first MQA ‘unfold’ (decode) which the Bluesound Node can output via its S/PDIF as an 88.2 or 96 stream.

If you want full MQA decoding/rendering, you really want an MQA DAC connected to the Core or an endpoint via USB.

Alternatively, use the Bluesound Node’s RCA analogue output and let it do the full MQA decode and render.

Thanks for this. I don’t really care for MQA, it’s just I don’t want the worst of both worlds - that is, sending still folded MQA files to my non MQA dac (which is part of the amplifier).

I could use the Bluenode DAC, but I’ve found the amplifier DAC better - fed through an optical cable for galvanic isolation. I suspect it’s a combination of dirty power, better connection and the amplifier DAC matching the amplifier. (It’s a McIntosh 6700 if you’re wondering).

I’m quite happy with standard, uncompressed CD quality - in fact, the reason I worked out there was an issue was because I finding the bass was a bit soggy. I then did some tests of my ripped CDs against Tidal - the ripped CDs were a lot better. This made me realise there was a problem with the MQA files not being unfolded because I was using the digital out.

One thing I did discover one other thing along the way. I switched quality from Master to Hifi on my Tidal settings and I think Tidal then replaced my MQA albums with non MQA versions. However, this was not reversed when I switched back to Master.