Tidal MQA 16bit 44.1kHz decodes at '44.1kHz'

Please see below

This particular album from Tidal is unique that it uses 16bit as opposed to 24bit. The strange thing is Roon report that the decoding happens at 44.1kHz. I counter checked with Auralic Aries below:

Auralic Aries reported decoding happens at 88.2kHz, it makes sense here, otherwise something weird is happening here… Interesting, MQA mastered in 16bit, the bit rate is surprising low, hovering around 386~550kbps, normally this should be 1000kbps and above for a 24bit.

I can confirm I see this with Lumin native Tidal playback as well (at this particular moment).
Lumin MQA certified decoder reports it as MQA Studio 44.1kHz.

This is similar to a MQA CD.

If some day this is replaced by a proper 24-bit version, I’d not be surprised.

No unfolding?

For this MQA Core would be 88.2kHz. The 44.1kHz sample rate is the mastering sample rate for display.

Thanks @wklie, then Roon is reporting at ‘TIDAL FLAC 44.1kHz 16bit 2ch, MQA 44.1kHz’ by right it should report as ‘TIDAL FLAC 44.1kHz 16bit 2ch, MQA 88.2kHz’?

Roon display is correct (other than that I expect it to show MQA Studio instead of MQA in the future). MQA always reports the master sample rate for display.

Actual output (MQA Core decoding / full decoding / rendering) is not necessarily the same.

All along I thought Tidal display, 'TIDAL FLAC…MQA xxxxkHz is actually full decoding output sampling frequency that is reflected on the DAC display.

Hi @wklie

If the MQA core is running at 88.2kHz after decoded, that means the DAC will receive 88.2kHz as its final conversion. Even though MQA specifies the original recording is done at 44.1kHz, technically it ‘upsampled’ at the user end.

For this reason, it is not reporting the original sampling rate going to the D/A converter. This could be misleading.

Yeah, this is relatively new information for me also; saw that in another thread too.

Basically, Roon reports the MQA studio master sampling rate which is not necessarily the same as the decoded rate. I think this distinction only matters for 44-48 kHz studio sample rate masters–these appear to be “upsampled” by MQA decoding by 2X. For studio masters 88 kHz and above they are “folded” into the MQA file and then decoded back to their original studio sample rate.

Unfortunately that’s the way it is.

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