Tidal premium a waste if my DAC is not MQA compatible?

Not really looking to upgrade my Oppo 105 DAC. Am I wasting my money by subscribing to premium vs HiFi? Or is Quboz studio premiere a better choice. Using both now and not really hearing much of a difference between Tidal MQA and Quboz premier .

Tidal Hifi is not all about MQA so I guess if you like what you hear the stay with it…MQA was added after Hifi so going back you might notice a downgrade in quality. I have a 105 too…oldie but a goodie. I do have a Lumin D1 now too but if its playing MQA I cant say I really take notice.

I have a non MQA DAC, The Marantz HD-DAC1, and I can tell you even for MQA it sounds better than my MQA capable SMSL M500.

I would not change my plan because quite a few songs that impress me because of sound quality are MQA. What I am doing is playing Roon Radio to just listen to music. You will notice very different levels of sound quality among songs. And you will also find that those that impress you won’t all be MQA, but you will see many are. Some FLAC files will be amazing too, and that is why many people who compare them extensively are all over the place, with a few saying FLAC sounds better, others loving MQA and many saying they don’t hear a difference.

The best thing is to try with your equipment and your ears.

Be aware that when you dac is not MQA capable, Roon will decode it and send the bit perfect PCM to your DAC. In theory it shouldn’t change the sound, but I think most agree that it does. It’s the same that sometimes happen with multichannel movies. You have players that send the bit perfect signal in DTS or DD streams, and the receiver decodes and shows either DTS or DD on its display. Other players send the same discrete channels as PCM. In theory either way should sound the same but to me they sound quite different. In the case of multichannel audio I always prefer the bitperfect untouched by the player signal. Just last night I was playing around with the “Core MQA decoder option” and I noticed I like the sound more when it is turned on, meaning that the core is doing the unfolding and is sending PCM to the DAC. I did not listen extensively… I was using my headphone rig consisting of a laptop USB to the M500 connected to a Schiit magni 2 Uber or a Valhalla 2.

Good luck. Enjoy.

No matter what, you should choose Tidal HiFi over Tidal premium. Tidal HiFi offers lossless CD quality, plus MQA as a bonus. Tidal Premium is lossy.

Mentioning this because from time to time some people subscribed to the wrong plan instead of what they wanted.


I don’t hear anything to get excited about from MQA, but lossless is a must.

For me, Tidal MQA and Qobuz high-res are both great. I have both but will probably drop Tidal because Qobuz is only $12.50 per month if you pay annually. Otherwise, keep the one that has most of your music choice. Both Tidal and Qobuz have 100 percent of what I listen to. My Oppo 203 is not MQA, but I have a Meridian Prime and Dragonfly Cobalt that are.

Agreed that lossless 16bit 44.1k is the most important step. Ironic use of the term “lossless” since MQA is itself lossy!