What is the Roon community's consensus on MQA?

This video review of MQA on YouTube had me thinking. I’ve had so many instances of listening to MQA versions of tracks in TIDAL and comparing them to my ripped AIFF versions from my CDs thinking my files sounded much better.

YouTube Link:
I published music on Tidal to test MQA - MQA Review by GoldenSound

Have I been duped to being an early enthusiastic adopter of MQA?

Just curious, what is the reason one adopts MQA? What is it improving on?

I don’t think there is a consensus on MQA. Many of us who are Tidal customers (myself included) use it since it’s the only way HiRes audio is offered on that platform. On paper it’s an interesting idea…lossy HiRes which decreases the file sizes dramatically much like other more widely used lossy schemes (MP3, AAC). What’s confusing to many people is the need to have a specific MQA-capable DAC to “unfold” any HiRes audio greater than 96khz.

While I personally think the sound is nice, I think MQA is mainly a format that tried to solve a problem that largely isn’t a thing in modern households. I think most of us are listening to MQA in our homes and not on the go. As a result, the need for smaller file sizes is pretty much moot since broadband in nearly all offerings is more than enough to stream HiRes audio in a FLAC or ALAC file. After all, videos offerings such as Youtube, Hulu , Netflix and everything else stream more data to us every day and we don’t think about it much anymore. This makes competing services like Qobuz or Amazon appealing since you don’t need tricks with them to get HiRes…you get the unmolested data straight from the source.

I do think that MQA is pretty clever for portable DACs since data on cell networks is still fairly limited compared to home broadband but even that is changing with 5G becoming more popular and eventually will be the standard in coming years.


There is no consensus. There are MQA adherents and detractors and a lot of people who are sick of their repetitive axe grinding.

If this thread is to avoid spiralling into inevitable closure we need a new approach. These are the special moderation rules for this thread:

  • People state their opinion, once;
  • Don’t talk about other people’s opinions. You might think they are wrong, misconceived or provocative. Doesn’t matter. All we want to hear is your opinion, once.

There is nothing approaching a consensus. There is an incredible amount of restating what professional audio commentators (pro and con) have written, without direct knowledge or experience.

Listen to the music. If it sounds good to you, keep listening. If it doesn’t, try something else.

P.S. To self-identify, I’m a big fan of MQA, have read the patent and official docs, and find the listening experience convincing. Others are convinced otherwise. Fair enough.

Living in an reasonless world? (and I mean audio wise).

I described my opinion about MQA here:

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I like both Tidal MQA and Qobuz High Resolution. For full MQA decoding and rendering I use a Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier feeding Focal Clear headphones through a Moon Black Dragon cable. I will continue to subscribe to both Tidal and Qobuz until/unless there is reason not to.

Remember them good ole’ days, before any of us had ever read a post on an MQA thread?

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It wasn’t my intention to open a Pandora’s Box; I should have realized the consequences of opening up this discussion. It was only because I had just seen the YouTube video and it was very impactful.

Actually, my preference would be to close this thread and just search the forum and read what’s already been written.

There have been some calls by others also to close the thread, so let’s do that.