Signal path for MQA

I have read all threads around this (I think…) but still cannot get my head around 2 things.

  1. The GUI for Roon 1.6 has changed a bit but I nevertheless am pretty sure that all DSP is switched off. But why do I still get the Signal path: Enhanced instead of Signal path: Lossless?

  2. Secondly, the Processing speed shows a range between 50 and 100x ! The ROCK is doing only the Authentication… Weird.

Obviously I oversee something here, but I cannot see what. Any help is more then welcome.

The Signal Path is showing the processing the DAC is doing. Notice that it is after the stream is sent to the PS Audio DAC in the chain. Roon is indicating such because it knows the DAC is doing something.

Also, Roon is not doing any processing of the audio file, it is just sending it to the PS Audio DAC, that is why the processing number is so high.

Hi it’s not CPU usage as in a percentage, it’s an indication have how fast the signal processing can be done by Roon compared to real time (x1). As the system loads up, the number drops and anything over 100 is not displayed as it’s no longer relevant.

As a very rough rule of thumb:

  • No number is very good
  • High number is good
  • Less than 10 is marginal
  • Less than say 5 potential issues

Considering most DSD upscales result in 10 or considerably less, I think your scale is off. Mines at 4 with DSD 128 and have no issues with 5 other endpoints running at the same time. Anything below 1 is a problem.

OK, so that’s great then about the processing figures. Thanks.

@Rugby, when you say that Roon is not doing any processing of the audio file, just pass it along downstream - why is then the Signal path = Enhanced. All DSP is turned off, even volume is fixed. There must be something else lurking around…?

Fair enough, It was just a rough illustration and I was allowing a margin for adding another zone or wanting to use say DSP room correction.

though I did say …

As the saying goes, your mileage may vary …

1 Like

I did answer that Per.

In your Signal Path, where I put the RED DAC, this indicates the stream has left Roon and is at your DAC.

The Signal Path is showing what your DAC doing. It is reporting what it is doing back to Roon. Your DAC is doing processing on the signal and Roon is reporting that as Enhanced because Roon does not know if the DACs processing is bit perfect.

Last time I asked, Roon Labs consider MQA Rendering (second part of the Full MQA decoding process) to be Enhanced. This is the correct signal path report for a RAAT implementation.

OK, then it makes sense. Thanks!

Thanks for the posts everyone. I was confused by the blue “enhanced” indicator also on MQA selections.

I would not consider the MQA rendering performed within the DAC to be an “enhanced” audio signal. Following that approach, wouldn’t every signal sent to the PS Audio DirectStream be shown as “enhanced” since this particular DAC converts all bit-perfect signals (FLAC, ALAC, MP3, DSD, etc) to 20x DSD before the Analog Output stage. Neither rendering MQA or converting to DSD before the analog stage should be considered “enhanced” IMHO.

All I want this indicator to tell me is “am I sending a bit-perfect signal to my DAC or not”? Roon shouldn’t attempt to tell me what it thinks my DAC is doing. When I see a blue “enhanced” light, I go immediately to see if any DSP was turned on in error. Playing MQA files is very confusing.

Best all.

1 Like

Since you appear to be using an MQA capable DAC when you play MQA content Roon does its part and unfolds the content and sends it on to your DAC to render it. Roon does not “think” it knows what your DAC is doing, it “knows” that your DAC is doing the required MQA rendering. When Roon unfolds MQA content and sends it to a DAC that is NOT MQA capable it also “knows” that MQA rendering will NOT be done so it does not show it.

Take this MQA album:


When played to an MQA capable DAC you get this Signal Path:

and when played to a DAC that is NOT MQA capable you get this Signal Path:

My understanding is that both Signal Paths are showing bit perfect transmission from Roon to the DAC but the MQA Capable DAC’s Signal Path shows Enhanced instead of Lossless because Roon knows the MQA Capable DAC will be rendering the content per MQA’s guidelines.

You can always tell Roon your MQA capable DAC has no MQA capabilities and then you will get a Lossless Signal Path with any rendering.


1 Like