Tidal confusion about MQA and signal processing

Hello Roon Lovers,

I wanted to try Tidal Masters and MQA so I got a subscription to see if I like it.

I have connected my Hegel H120 via Ethernet. I am confused about MQA and signal processing.

  • The upper picture shows a good old Yes album (!) played on my Hegel. Then it is no MQA core decoding by Roon. Instead it is converted to 44,1 kHz.

  • The lower picture is same track played on my Mac and computer speakers . Then it is MQA core decoding to 96 kHz.

Can anyone tell me why this is happening? It is in Swedish but I guess you understand.
Why doesn’t Roon in this case do MQA core decoding?
On some Albums it does MQA Core decoding up to 88,2 kHz.

The Hegel is telling roon it will do it so. The 44 to 105 is happening after roon and inside the Hegel, which as it is roon ready is telling roon what it is doing.
The Hegel has a special/odd way of converting as you can see

It looks like MQA has not been enabled for your “Magnus Hegel” zone. Click zone and enable MQA core decode in Roon.

You should also note that the H120 is not MQA certified and you will only get the first unfold done in Roon.

Hope this helps.

So what does this mean.? That in this case Hegel tells Roon to ignore the MQA 96 kHz and treat it as a Flac 24 bit 48 kHz. But then it is no use for MQA?

It is enabled. And I know just the first unfold is done.

From your screenshot it does not seem that way.

But hey… you know better :slight_smile:

Exaclty, Hegels DAC [edited by @jamie :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:] can only accept certain sample rates and thus needs to resample this is reported to Roon so it downsamples 48/24 MQA, resampling will break MQA. You best taking it up with Hegel its their mess of a system, Roon just does what its told the system supports. You can try setting the Hegel to have no MQA support as it doesnt, enable MQA core decoder in Roon and may decode to full then downsample, but it might not as it knows the device doesnt support it.

Okay I try that. I send an email to Hegel also.

For some reason it seem to be working here. But hey I am not an expert :slight_smile:

Because roon upsampled it to 88 which is one of the formats that Hegel accepts.
'H95/120/190 only accept these formats - 44.1, 88.2 and 176.4"
In your first example the tidal file was 48 so roon downsampled it to 44 and sent it to the Hegel.
Hegel literally took years to get roon ready and in their struggles obviously came up with this strange way of working. Roon is passing across what the Hegel asks for.

And, in addition to Ged’s statement, Hegel internally resamples everything to 105 before turning it to analog. So, no matter what sample rate you feed it, it will be processed at 105.

On the picture where your Mac was outputting audio, you can select ”exclusive mode” on the zone. That will enable bit perfect (whatever that means in MQA context??) output!

I still have my Auralic Aries Mini and it does not resample the same way.
If I try coax out on the Auralic and connect it to Hegel DAC and play a normal FLAC track (not MQA) I cannot say it makes any difference with resampling.

If I use I the the Auraic DAC it will sound different. Maybe the Hegel DAC is the weakiest link in that amplifier.

Then we have the conveicence aspect also with an one box solution, I have enough of electronics in my living room :slight_smile:

One week has passed with the trial with TIDAL MQA. Sometimes the signal get upsampled, sometimes downsampled. Sometimes the mqa core decoder is active, sometimes not. On non MQA Flac files found on Qobuz and ripped CDs from my library seem to behave okay.

I wonder if that is why H390 and H590 is not Roon Ready yet. Because those amps should have full MQA decoding and Hegel, Roon and Tidal MQA don’t play along nicely. But it is just my speculation :slight_smile:

This was already explained by a couple of different forum members above.

If you have Roon’s core decoder enabled the signal path should show it as on for all MQA tracks played through Roon. If the track isn’t MQA then of course it would be off. If this is not your experience then it may just be your Roon related MQA settings which I don’t think you ever confirmed in this thread.

At this point I would assume/pretend that your Hegel gear doesn’t support MQA at all and configure Roon accordingly - core decoder on with no MQA support selected. That should allow Roon to do the first unfold for MQA before sending to your Hegel gear. Roon should also do the up/downsampling as needed to match Hegel’s wacky sample rate restrictions assuming your Hegel gear is ID’d correctly by Roon (if not you may just want to use Roon’s DSP to “fix” this manually).


Yes Mqa support is set to off and Mqa vore decoder is enabled.

And Roon’s signal path still shows core decoding as off when playing MQA?

Post screenshots of what you are seeing, otherwise we can only guess and that will lead to confusion.

  • First scenario: Auralic Aries mini as an Roon endpoint. Digital out coax to Hegel DAC is used.
    Track '39 from Queen

  • Second scenario: Hegel H120 as Roon endpoint. Same track

Are these “standardinställningar” or have you muckered about with them? It seems that the Hegel H120 is reporting back a support for only 24/44.1 over RAAT, and it thats the case then everything is “fine”…
(In other words “working as expected”)