Roon Ready MQA DAC recommendations

@Brian, if I were to look at the manufacturer specs it would indicate that BluOs plays MQA, their specs dont speak to the hardware’s capabilities in a Roon environment…this is what we should look to “Roon Ready” for. I am suggesting levels of Roon Readyness…I jokingly called that RRR. REALLY ROON READY

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This is a historical wart. We would not certify a device in this situation today.

There was a period of time where we didn’t yet have the assets from MQA required to allow MQA and RAAT to work together. Obviously holding up all certifications of MQA devices while waiting for delivery of something from another company (MQA) that did not have a strict timeframe attached to it was not an option. Bluesound was certified in this window.

So I agree, in an ideal world Roon Ready would imply what you expect…and going forward it will. Out of about sixty partners, only three ended up in “limbo” on this issue. One (Lumin) remedied this with a firmware update a couple of weeks ago. We expect that Bluesound will follow suit as their schedule allows, and that this situation will be temporary.


Brian, I really appreciate your reply. You are explaining that in 3 cases Roon ready has been grandfathered and doesn’t “exactly apply”. So as not to mislead consumers, (they buy not totally ready product like I did and end up a bit disappointed) could you asterisk those 3 such that we know what we are buying? Also, this might put some gentle pressure on these partners to move their dev effort up.


Ropieee can be used with the RPi 7" touch display. You can skip to the next and precieus tracks, pauze and play. You see album cover, album titel, track titel and duration.

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We’ll certainly have a discussion about it.


@brian This is an issue. I have to keep asking here about Bluesound and MQA and Roon. Their device is appealing if it is 100% Roon Ready, but clearly it is not and Roon’s designation is misleading.

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I’ve ordered the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital, and I’m really looking forward to trying it out. I’ll use it as my main computer DAC/Amp, for powered speakers and headphones. Looks like an amazing little box, and quite cheap as well!

I am a really big fan of this one–they did a great job on the user experience and flexibility. Good knob, good screen, good menu choices. Plays every format that exists. External power supply is supported but optional, so it can travel light. It remembers the volume level separately for speakers + headphones + auto-switches when you plug/unplug the headphones, so it’s perfect for how you’re going to use it. Amazing what they packed into that price point.

Yes me too. I’ve bought one for the computer but need one for my main system, with network built in.

Carl, can you elaborate on the effects of not supporting RAAT. How does it limit the interaction with Roon?

Many thanks


The Sooloos protocol works well with Roon, it should do as the Roon developers understand it well as they originally crafted it back in the day.

On good stable network you’ll not notice any difference, in practically terms it boils down to these things:

  • Meridian / Sooloos network endpoints are limited to 96/24.

  • Meridian / Sooloos network endpoints are limited to PCM

  • Zones can only be grouped with other zones of the same type, meaning Meridian LAN zones cannot be grouped with RAAT LAN zones.

That said, please don’t take this as negative… I have a Meridian 861/ID40 DSP setup processor hooked up to Roon and it sounds just fine. The new 218 endpoint that supports MQA is well worth checking out and the 818 is sublime if you have the budget.

Of course there are several manufacturers that now support RAAT the worlds your lobster as some might say.

Hope this helps.

Wonderful Carl, thank you. The Meridian 218 is new (I think) and if I look in the manual it states:

Does that mean it will only play up to 96kHz with Roon or is there something else amiss?

Tomorrow I will get a chance to play with one, so I’ll soon find out.

Roon or Sooloos, unfortunately yes, Meridian don’t seem keen to engineer out this limitation even on their new equipment. Though it’s not a problem with MQA encoded files as their container package is 96/24 max, regardless of the signal original sampling rate.

Is there something I can read to help me understand this a bit more?

As I understand it…

Mqa via software unwrap max is 24/96, but with an mqa certified dac the hardware can unfold to the limits of the dac…ie 192/24, 384/32 +

So how does this meridian fit in? There’s a hardware limit on it?

I thought I was getting somewhere, but you’ve just confused me :grin::+1:

That is correct, so for MQA the limit is down to what the DAC chips can handle not the 96k input rate via the LAN.

However, with the Meridian DAC being fed via the Sooloos network protocol you can’t send it a PCM signal higher than 96/24 which means that say for a 192k non-MQA high res file it has to downsampled it to 96k.

Don’t waste your money on the Meridian Explorer 2 DAC. Although it’s MQA ready and provides Studio authentication, the sound is awful. You get what you pay for.

+1 to David’s post on Lumn. I have a Lumin S1 and have played TIDAL MQA tracks at 352kHz/24 bit with Studio Authentication just using the native Lumin app.

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Seems USB limits one to the power supplied with the computer or streamer. How would this work with a Pi as a streamer?

On another note, is MQA really worth it? The new Schitt DACs with USB 5 seem to be pretty sweet.

It isn’t a huge or high powered device. Probably smaller in real life than it looks in the pictures. It works just fine using a standard USB port for power. I have used it with Pi, NanoPi, providing power. No issues.

But the thing I was trying to explain is: the DAC has two USB inputs. One for audio and one for power.

If you plug in just the audio port, it uses the audio connection for power, too.
If you plug in both, it uses the power connection for power and the audio connection for audio.

The ability to run it off of just one cable is a convenience. It gives more flexibility. I might not use it in a stationary setup at home, but if I were traveling and trying to minimize the stuff I was carrying, it’s a nice option to have.

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