When is Bluesound MQA coming to Roon?

I am using flawlessly BluOS with my Node 2 to stream Tidal MQA files. Roon integration with my Bluesound device is great but miss the MQA feature… Is it coming soon via a firmware update?

Thank you!

Hey Ruben. Any update would have to come from Bluesound as they are doing the MQA unfolding and would have the best information available.

I’m not sure the Bluesound devices are true hardware decoders. Their Tech support were unclear as to what is happening with their DAC. Sounds like it may need a software decoder on the core side a la the TIDAL app or the BluOS app.

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Bluesound has spoken to its decoder status … see [Definitive Word On Bluesound MQA Implementation]

I still don’t see this as definitive. Looks to me like it depends on software decoding which Roon doesn’t have yet, that would make it a renderer only.

Here is their response to me:

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Well that’s weird.
I have a Node 2 coax output to Audio Research DAC 8.
With a MQA file from Bluesound app the DAC shows it playing at 96k not 48k. Yet above says it will output 24/48…

But Fritzg… I think when they say “neither” and “both”, the point they are making is that there is always a software step involved in getting MQA.

Please someone correct me, but the source and destination need to communicate so that they understand what degree of unfolding should happen. I think that is what Bluesound are doing IN SOFTWARE in the destination device… THEN the Bluesound DAC is fully capable, having received the software instructions of fully decoding to 24/192.

Perhaps they are just being more precise than we/you are used to hearing?

When you say “renderer” I hear software, but I think of:

Tidal --> software rendering --> analog out of full unfolded MQA to my analog headphones with no need for anything happening on DAC.

But perhaps “full MQA compliant DAC” always means:
24/48 MQA in a FLAC wrapper --> destination DAC where <–> software step determines what Origami/unfolding to do and MQA-compliant DAC performs decoding


Right, so it IS unfolding MQA.

Have we stopped to consider:

  1. When we play MQA on BluOS to Bluesound, we get to see a logo
  2. When we play MQA from Roon to Bluesound, we CORRECTLY see a lossless FLAC traveling down the signal path which is played on the Bluesound device
  3. That based on the lack of an MQA-LED light on the Bluesound device, we wouldn’t know one way or another that the decoding hasn’t happened (well… our ears I guess… do we trust them?)
    4). That there are known issues about forcing 48hz that apply to 2nd gen Bluesound SPEAKERS, but NOT to 2nd gen Bluesound Node?
    5). That there are known issues about forcing 48hz that applies to the Bluesound network card for NAD receivers… and I believe this thread was started by those issues?
    6). That these issues do NOT affect Node 2, Node 1, Powernode, etc?

I’m using the terms Chirs used in his recent article about MQA:

A. No decoder
B. Software / Core Decoding
C. Software / Core Decoding with Hardware Rendering
D. Hardware Full Decoding


From the answer I got from Bluesound, I can’t tell if their devices are C. or D.

Thanks Fritz… how did I miss that article.!?

It was really helpful and brought me back to where I was before… that “100% on chip” Mqa was possible.

That said the Bluesound guys seem to be reluctant to be seen as a renderer… perhaps because they are in category C (where the trade offs are limited/none vs D) and don’t want to be seen in category B.

This is what was posted most recently by Bluesound on their community forum:

[quote]I will be happy to explain as far as I understand it…

TIDAL serves out MQA content. The BluOS Controller App is a remote control for your Bluesound Player. There is no processing in the BluOS App - the closest thing to that is it can act as a source of music when playing from mobile in the Nav Drawer. All Bluesound Players are decoders. When handed information from TIDAL they will decode and unfold MQA at 24/48 and then pass it to the DAC in the chain. If that DAC is an MQA certified DAC it will continue to unfold it to it’s utmost ability. All Bluesound internal DACs are MQA certified so will unfold to the full 24/192. (Internally it’s a little bit more complicated but this explanation works for practical purposes).

Roon may process bit for bit but when Roon groups, it converts to PCM. Therefore when Roon is grouped, even with MQA content, the MQA portion has been filtered out (or ignored). Roon’s grouping is independent of Bluesound’s grouping. So though you get MQA content when playing a single Bluesound Player using Roon, as soon as you use Roon’s bridging technology, the MQA is filtered out.[/quote]

It seems to me that Roon is to “blame”.

So don’t group it with other players.

If Roon is to “blame” then how is it the case that the following happens:

  1. Play an MQA track through Roon to Meridian Explorer 2 DAC and the DAC unfolds (blue light appears on DAC) provided that volume is set to 100 in Roon (i.e. Roon DSP does not reduce volume).

  2. Play same track through Bluesound Controller to Node 2 and this appears in the Node log file:

dspout: Playback device is default:route,bm,tone,mqa_render,96000,1,0

  1. Play the same track through Roon to Node 2 (not grouped with anything else) and the Node log file shows:

dspout: Playback device is default
Feb 10 15:13:22 (none) user.info dspout: Stream parameters are 48000Hz, S24_3LE, 2 channels

So how is it that the Meridian Explorer 2 correctly decodes an MQA file played through Roon but the Bluesound Node 2 does not?

Could it be something to do with the line in the Node 2 log file settings section:

<dspout_args>-M default:route,bm,tone,mqa_render --mqa-no-render-resample</dspout_args>

Does this imply that the Bluesound Node 2 is acting as an MQA renderer i.e. that some initial unfolding is happening in the Bluesound software controller i.e. it is not (or not wholly) Roon to blame?

Good points.

I saw that you asked your questions over at Bluesound forums just now.

Let’s see what they say.

The “grouping” comments are a red herring. This issue is not related to Grouping.