Roon Tidal Headless MQA?

I am running a headless Euphony OS with Roon and Tidal and attempting to get the first MQA unfold before my non-MQA DAC (Benchmark DAC2HGC). One issue I am having is dealing with Tidals settings on a headless machine. When I look at the help on Tidals website they say you need to use their desktop app in order to check the masters checkbox in the streaming section. Since my setup is headless I went to my iPad and Tidal to look for the check box only it does not show up. I contacted TIdal about this and they said it was a Roon issue and I had to contact Roon. Does anyone have any experience with this?



Tidal apps and Roon are two different program’s. I am.not sure what you are trying to do.

I am trying to get the masters in Tidal with the HIFI subscription using a headless system with Roon. It is my understanding that this would result in the ability to get higher resolution versions of recordings since the first unfolding would be done by Tidal and Roon. Instead of getting a 16/44 version it may yield a 24/96 version. I may have the wrong understanding of this.

Everything I read on Tidal states that you need to use Tidal desktop. If this were true it appears that no one using a separate Roon controller (headless) would be able to get the MQA version of a recording on Tidal. With all the hoopla regarding Tidal, Roon, and MQA, and with the widespread use of Roon controller, it seems there must be a way to get this. Am I missing something?



Hi Rich,

The recent hoopla marked commercial agreement between Roon and MQA. Roon will now implement MQA support, but that hasn’t happened yet.

The current position is that Roon will identify an MQA file when it is playing but has no indicator that a file is MQA when browsing. Roon can pass through an MQA stream to an MQA DAC but all DSP in Roon must be off for the DAC to authenticate the MQA stream and unfold it.

The Tidal desktop app currently performs a first MQA unfold in software. That is entirely separate from Roon. Soon Roon will also do first unfolding after implementation of MQA in Roon, but not yet.


Ok. I have another related question. Tidal says the only way to set the “masters” streaming setting is in their desktop app. As far as I can tell this is true. Roon is set up to have the controller on a separate device which is typically not a desktop. Is there a way people have found to get this to work so you can stream MQA when using a controller such as an iPad?



TIDAL’s advice only relates to their apps. As long as you have a TIDAL HiFi account, Roon will stream the MQA files.

So how do you get to the dialog box in Tidal to allow Masters to stream from the controller?



If you want to unfold MQA files in a Windows Tidal desktop program and control it from your iPad then you can use an app like RD Client to remotely access your desktop from an iPad. I use it to remotely access my music server. This is external to Roon.

I’m going to guess that Euphony is a stripped down Linux of some kind, mainly because it couldn’t be Windows or MacOS and it runs Roon. The Euphony website says the following:

“Choose between web interface, accessible from any device on your WIFI network, or download Euphony Remote from Google Play and transform any android device into a remote control unit for Euphony Drive.”

Is there a Linux version of the Tidal desktop program that you are running on Euphony ? I couldn’t find one. Are you accessing Tidal outside Roon or only within Roon ?

If you want to stream Tidal Masters bit perfect through Roon and unfold them in an MQA capable DAC then you will find some in the Tidal section of Roon, and more in the Tidal desktop program. If you favourite them in the Tidal desktop program then they will appear in your Roon library (may take a few hours to sync).

Rich, having read your posts again I think there is an initial fundamental misapprehension. The Tidal desktop program is a separate program that runs on Windows or Mac systems independently of Roon. You cannot currently do what the Tidal desktop program does with MQA files in Roon.

Hi Rich,

I wanted to further explain my original post, way back in the thread. The Tidal application and it’s settings have nothing to do with Roon or playing music in Roon, they are only for playing music back IN Tidal. So to avoid confusion, I am not going to talk about the Tidal application and only talk about Roon.

First I want to make sure you understand the current state of MQA playback.

  1. You have no MQA DAC

The only way to unfold MQA is through a desktop application. Tidal desktop and Adravanna are two options. These softwares will do the 1st MQA unfold and then send it to your non-MQA DAC.

  1. You have an MQA Renderer

MQA renderers are a special class of MQA DAC that cannot do the full unfold themselves because they are underpowered. However, that CAN do the 2nd unfold. The Dragonfly DAC is an example. For them to work, you need to send them the output of some software which can do the 1st unfold. (So the output from #1 above).

  1. You have a FULL MQA DAC

To use a fully capable MQA DAC is different. To get the best audio in this case, the software should NOT DO ANY unfolding and should send the audio stream untouched to the DAC so the DAC can do it all (Both the first and 2nd unfold). If the software does the first unfold, the DAC may still be able to renderer it.

Now, currently, Roon does not do any software unfolding. That will change in the future, but, at the moment, Roon does not. So, Roon cannot do options 1 and 2 above. It can do option 3, send an unaltered audio stream to an MQA DAC.

So there is currently no setting in any application that will send an unfolded MQA stream from Roon to your DAC. If you want to use MQA you, at this time, must use the desktop Tidal application.

Now, I will comment about Tidal and its applications. Tidal apps are for the device they are running on, they do not control playback on other devices. So, the Tidal app on the iPad is ONLY for Tidal playback on that iPad, it has no effect on playing Tidal back on any other device. That being said, you will not find the Tidal MQA controls on the iPad app because Tidal does NOT stream MQA to iPads, or really any mobile devices, ONLY to desktops.

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From Roon select Tidal from the menu top right on your remote. Once in, the various options are top left and Masters should be there. View all will list the Masters list. This is by no means exhaustive but it gets the job done. This is from a 10 inch Android powered remote. I can’t vouch for phone remotes or smaller format remotes.

Thank you all for your informative replies. Boy did I have the wrong impression of what you could do at this point! Henry, I looked for the right top menu and did not see tidal anywhere. Do you need to be in settings first or something? I am using an iPad so the screen is only a little smaller than yours. I could only see mention of tidal in one spot where you input the credentials but there did not seem to be a setting for quality there.

Tidal quality will be dependant on your subscription level. log in via Roon logs you into your account. In the Tidal desktop app there is a section to select HiFi.

Now that I figured out what Henry was getting at I thought I would clarify it for others following this thread. If you go to the browsing pull down on the top left where the overview, discovery, genre, and tidal menus are located click on Tidal. Once you are in there the masters button pops up near the top right. With a non MQA DAC I was able to stream either 24/44 or 24/48 depending on the file.


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