Roon, TIDAL and MQA

Such a problem. One should have a servant standing by via palace intercom at the Tidal app ready to make a favorite. :sunglasses: Wish I had a music room. :smirk:

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Anders just do it once "favorite " everything it all goes to ROON, sit back and enjoy. BTW possibly the Tidal “master” sounds better than the ROON decode? have a listen adios ROON save money.

First world problems…
Became a music room when I put speakers there. Didn’t put computers there.

But I’m not worried. Roon will deliver perfection.

What Roon decode??

So far the Tidal MQA software decoding using the Windows Desktop app doesn’t sound as good as Roon + HQPlayer (or without) on the same non-MQA DAC.

  • Played on Roon (no MQA DAC): the Tidal CD-quality version vs the Tidal MQA (downsampled to 24/48) gives a slight edge to the 24/48 files in overall spaciousness
  • The Tidal Desktop app with software MQA decoding doesn’t sound anywhere as beautiful as even the standard CD-quality version on Roon. It does sound better than the CD-quality version via the desktop app, but that’s possibly just the upsampling

There is also major difference in volume where Roon is louder, so that may bias things, so I will need to do more comparisons later. We haven’t even scratched the surface yet, but this is still a huge milestone where Hi-Res is available at scale. A year from now we will probably all be used to it, but these things are still awesome to see, just like when HDTRacks started selling DSD.

I agree. We’re streaming hi-res! There’s some hoops to jump and some “config” to do and, as always, some nitpicks. But it’s hi-res and a lot of it sounds really good. Better than most of my CD rips.


Make sure you have exclusive mode and force volume checked and that you don’t have MQA passthrough checked so you are getting Tidal to decode the MQA files.

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Do them in a batch, I did. Also go to Masters in Tidal, click on an Artist and the click through their albums and see which one indicate master as you play a few seconds.

9 posts were split to a new topic: RAAT, Cables and Audio Quality

I did not have exclusive mode checked - it makes A/B switching between apps harder, but I will and retry it. Force volume can only be ticked before selecting Exclusive Mode, so not sure if it works. I never had MQA passthrough checked. I’ll play with it tonight!

An aside: Anyone else notice this? When switching back and forth between Tidal and Roon, it seems like Tidal takes control of frequency and bitrate and doesn’t relinquish it. If I play a Master track on Tidal, pause it then go to Roon and play a CD-quality track, my DAC still indicates that I’m playing a 96/24 file. If I play a Master file in Tidal and then switch to a Hi Fi file in Tidal, the DAC indicates that the stream is 44/24–bit depth doesn’t reset. If I then switch back to Roon and play a red book file, I get the same indication: 44/24. When I check Audio Midi settings–I’m using a MAC–that’s what I see: Even though I check the box to bypass OS audio–

–it seems that Tidal is altering the OS’s audio settings and not relinquishing them:

Roon is then NOT taking back control.


Correct. That is what “Use Exclusive Mode” means, though it would be nice if the client released control once you hit the “stop” playback button.

You must exit the Tidal client (not just stop playback) to release control back to the OS or to other players.

Sorry, I should have mentioned this. I did it both ways. Exiting Tidal didn’t make any difference.

I have to restart the PC to release control.
There was no other way.

Hm - doesn’t happen here. As soon as I exit Tidal (or any other exclusive mode player), they release the DAC and it’s available for any other program.

This used to be a problem with earlier versions of OS X, but haven’t seen it recently and not with macOS Sierra.

I have the problems with a PC.
Mac seems without trouble on that front till now.

As I’ve been selecting, playing, and switching between the Tidal app and Roon, I’ve been experiencing an issue where the Tidal app doesn’t “give up” its exclusive use of audio. Inconsistent behavior that happens only sometimes. Takes a “Quit” on the Tidal app when it happens.

Anyone else getting their Tidal queue killed when “Add to Queue” is used in Tidal? When I “Add To Play Queue” in the Tidal app, it puts my selection up next. The same behavior as selecting “Play Next.” I guess I should complain to Tidal.

Fistly, sorry if I have missed the answer to my question in this rather long trail of very good information…

I don’t have an MQA DAC so while waiting for Roon 1.3 to release I was curious to see what is already available in Tidal in MQA/Master quality but I don’t seem to be able to find those albums in the “What’s new” section (see enclosed screen shot)

I have a Tidal premium subscription and it says “TIDAL HiFi” under my user name, running on a Windows 10 system. (See enclosed screen shot for version information)

I do not get prompted to restart Tidal (but I have logged off and on again in case that makes a difference (it doesn’t)
Located in Sweden, if that is relevant.

Happy for someone to shed a light on what I need to to in order to get the “MASTER” version of Tidal up and running.

Thanks in advance.

Mine is the tab to the right of ‘top 20’

‘Masters’ in mine. ‘Svenskt’ in yours.

My guess is the Swedish factor is quite relevant here :wink:

Thanks Steve. ‘Svenskt’ means ‘Swedish’ so nothing to do with MQA/Masters, as your winky smiley probably indicated.

I’ve read references to ‘downloading the new Tidal app’. What does this mean in a (Chrome) Browser context? Just a refresh of the page or something else? Have tried refresh as well and that changes nothing…

Still looking for the correct way of finding the Master albums…