Unfolding MQA with Tidal

I use my desktop and desktop speakers and an Explorer 2 to “audition” MQA from Tidal. If I like the album I click on the star and it finds its way to my 2 channel system’s SSD where my music is stored. I have a Meridian 218 in that system which does the MQA decoding. I have MQA decoding bypassed in Tidal.

My question: I’m thinking of trying a Berkeley Alpha 2 DAC in my 2 channel system so I will need the first MQA unfolding done by something else–apparently the 218 won’t do this, at least in a form the Alpha DAC will recognize.

If I enable MQA decoding in Tidal will it apply to the music streaming to my 2 channel system or just the desktop system?

I should add both systems are on the LAN.

First off Tidal content is never stored on your SSD, it’s always streamed. It may be virtually added to your Roon library but it isn’t physically downloaded to your drive.

Reading between the lines of your post, you are using the Tidal app on your desktop and the Explorer 2 to find MQA you like, you are then adding those albums to your favorites in the Tidal app which automatically adds them to Roon as well?

If your main system is Roon only, Roon doesn’t do the first unfold at this time.

PS) Without the 218, how are you planning on getting the music to the Berkley Alpha DAC, it has no USB or Ethernet? You’ll need a solution and maybe it could do the first unfold?

Right, I’m aware it’s only streaming. Your second paragraph is correct–I thought that is what I said. And yes, I’ll have to add a Roon endpoint/streamer. I’m looking at the Ultra Rendu or SOTM but neither do the first unfold. So, Tidal will not do the first unfold when streaming through Roon even if it is set to decode MQA, correct?

Roon MQA unfolding is coming but we have no actual ETA.

Correct. The Tidal app is not involved when playing through Roon, Roon pulls the content directly from the Tidal service. You can uninstall the Tidal app and Roon will still play.

I’m using a PS Audio Direcstream and it tells me exactly what the quality of the stream Tidal music is. Sometimes it’s a little change like 44/24 bit, others 96/24 and still others 192/24…the quality of the original recordings determines the quality of the MQA Tidal stream…and of course you need a really good DAC!