Tidal understands HiRes as MQA. That is problematic

The only streaming service Roon offers ( thats maybe not the correct word) is Tidal.
And Tidal understands HiRes as MQA. That is problematic. Many people see MQA as a lossy format, as a format that can easy lead to DRM, etc… Nothing really wanted by many.
You as a consumer have to buy a new DAC which “understands” MQA.
Lots of reasons to reject MQA as a costumer.
Tidal as the only streaming service in Roon is a bad thing. We need more choices.


I’m afraid the anti - MQA ‘fear’ campaign wears a little thin on me. I’m not too worried whether it survives or not, the market will determine that. Isn’t this a thread about ‘MQA Roon first unfold’, rather than ‘why we must not have MQA under any circumstances’ ?


GI don’t think the majority of comments in this thread take a view in that sense. The discussion is more along the lines of wanting Roon to do first unfold vs (what seems to be) Roon’s intention to do full decode + DSP (which I agree with).

Personally I would like to have higher quality sound. If that is via MQA then so be it. I just got a Rossini+clock and the future update to full MQA decoding is a plus for me.

I would also like more streaming services in Roon but that’s probably a tough deal for them to reach with most streaming services who don’t want to give up their interfaces or control. I use Tidal, Apple Music, and Pandora. I use Pandora a lot because I find their radio stations are still better than anyone else.
All there are a pretty good deal. Apple Music in $100 for a year, Tidal 11 something per month at veterans discount, Pandora $5 a month.

Yes the anti-MQA stuff is silly. Nobody is forcing anyone to use it. I think it’s mostly from people wh have invested in DSD etc and don’t want to hear about a challenger. To me the whole point is that MQA can be streamed and the other high resolution formats will probably never be.


They are forcing people if music is delivered in MQA only format. Why? Because undecoded it is slightly worse than CD and for that you also have to use twice the bandwidth!!!

The streaming argument is pointless: if you only stream MQA you have to use twice the bandwidth than redbook. If you don’t decode it then you’re paying for twice the bandwodth for less than redbook. So there is obviously many reasons to argue against it.


Nope, and you’ve not been paying attention. There are lots of issues with MQA, read up on it. Disclaimer: I own exactly 1 DSD album and plan to keep it that way. Disclaimer 2: Kii Three people have no vested interest in DSD either. Nor does Schiit, that don’t even make a DSD DAC anymore. This isn’t Sony or Korg posting here, just people who are bothered to make informed critique.

Nobody is forcing anyone to use it and nobody will. It also does not require twice the bandwidth of Redbook. That is the whole point of the unfold. If not for the unfold MQA would have no reason to exist.

You see, I don’t think undecoded is any worse than CD, not in my system. MQA state it’s better. It will be along time if ever before MQA is the only format. Not in my lifetime for sure. A non issue as far as I can see.

There have been studies made that the resolution is slightly lower (I think even Bob Stuart said so, like 15 or so bits effective instead of 16). This is largely theoretical.

As for the bandwidth requirement, it has been shown that it is about 2x that of redbook flac. Just the simple math:

24/16 * 48/44 = 1.64

On top of that consider that the 8 lsb’s are for the most part random if undecoded which makes the FLAC compression not be as efficient, and you get close to a 2x.

Still sounds great to me…


In most cases yes. And I’m happy about that. I am trying to be objective, the arguments against it are not baseless.

Sorry, as long as it sounds better than CD quality streaming then those arguments are moot.


An 18/96 flac file would be smaller size than an MQA 24/96 file and be higher in real resolution, as MQA is actually less than a real 18 bits and is lacking high frequency material.
So in real terms, there is no practical need to stream MQA.

Forcing people to use MQA? Yes it could happen. MQA is designed with DRM elements which would enable “control” of what you can and can’t play back, and what audio quality you can “unfold”. Get it, “if you don’t pay, you can’t play”…

In addition, if MQA is very successful the labels could “force” us to only have access to MQA versions if we want hi-res. I’m against it for that reason, as I prefer straight hi-res to MQA.


The only thing I want are more options for streaming services in Roon.
I personally will not use a lossy format as a high res replacement. Not with streaming, not with downloaded music.
I tried MQA last year with that cheap Meridian DAC they sold at the Black Friday selling for a ridicolous low price.
I didnt like it folded or unfolded, once twice or three times.
The future of Tidal is more unsecure than never before. Sprint and TMobile USA caneled the formation of a company today due to “missunderstandings”…
For me a second or third streaming provider within Roon would be something apreciated.


That makes sense. You admitedly tried MQA with a “cheap DAC” and didn’t care for it. Well I tried some music once with cheap speakers and didn’t care for it. That didn’t prevent me from finding out there were better alternatives out there.

I also wouldn’t mind additional streaming choices in Roon. But the one(s) offering MQA titles will always be my goto source.

MQA is nothing better. It is a marketing hype.
At least this is what I think atm.
I see no reason to rebuy my equipment for what I consider fake technology.
But maybe I change my opinion in a year or two. Who knows?


“Cheap Meridian Dac” was meant in a sarcastic way.
Sorry you didnt get it.
Meridian Marketing stated something like: All MQA benefits are audible with this entry level thing.
For my ears that was kind of terrible. A “Monty Python vision” of High def sound future.

Tidal Sounds equal to or better than CD with or without MQA coding present, and better than most other streaming services. With Roon MQA unfolding enabled, tidal sounds … well like it should and how you would expect to hear it in the studio and equal or better to other HiDef formats. MQA delivers what it promises. (Roon Rock, Devialet, Focal). I also find the Roon MQA marginally better than tidal MQA (Apple Mac instance).

That is a lot of coolaid you drank!