Why do manufacturers support MQA?

or in units made in my younger days

“I don’t want tone controls”
“I don’t want balance controls”
“I don’t want a phono stage”
“I don’t want Record Out terminals”
“I don’t want more than two channels”

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First, let’s tone it down with the toxicity here – you can disagree with the product, but don’t inject such vitriol into the discussion.

Now as for considering it a paid add-on… No way. But there is another solution for our MQA license: Just don’t use MQA content.


I think MQA is dishonest and an attempt to monopolize the land, and my truth is that having some of my money go to pay those less than honest bullies, indirectly via Roon, makes me upset. Would you consider making it a paid add-on subscription so people who don’t want it can be free of it?

The author of that original post was not toxic. Here is a amended version.


Think you’re seeing ghosts where there are none. Toxicity, soapboxes etc.



Nah, he was right. There is some proper teddy chucking going on in this thread.

Words like “scam” and “greedy crooks” don’t help the discussion and those words are used to create an inflammatory situation. If you want to fight me on this, you can leave. I’m not going to debate toxicity. You can go start your own forum that allows that type of behavior.

As for your gif reaction, what’s the issue? MQA bills us based on Core Decodes. If a user doesn’t Core Decode, we don’t get billed. My advice to that user was 100% accurate and doable, while not having to introduce a new price tier in Roon that had no MQA Core Decode support.

What’s your problem with my suggestion that warrants a sarcastic “look at this guy” type of gif response?


You gave a sarcastic response, I replied in kind.

The idea about price tiering was a solid, workable one that could benefit everyone, although you might not agree with it. You decided to snark though, which is exactly what you’re accusing others of.

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You misunderstood then. It was not sarcastic. It’s absolutely a real and workable suggestion. If you don’t use Core Decodes, we don’t get billed.

Just don’t use the feature and we’ll stop getting billed and your money won’t go to MQA. That may not be obvious to anyone, which is why I suggested it.

Also, I can say this about our situation, but I want to make it clear that I can not say this about anyone else with any confidence as I don’t know their billing model.


Indeed. I hadn’t understood that. Thanks for explaining it.


My reasoning is this: if the user sees value in it - and presumably they do if they are using it - then wouldn’t they be happy to pay more for “premium” feature of decoding MQA?

Instead, Roon is losing money on a feature you have licensed (bad) and there’s a perception from the non-MQA users they they are ponying up for something they don’t see value in (also bad).

You could alleviate both situations by charging MQA decode fans the going rate.

Possibly, but at great expense to us by complicating the offering. Also, there may or may be contractual limitations here, but they were not discussed because we didn’t go down this road. It’s not really a road that feels right.

I’m one of those manufactures that supports MQA, while disliking certain aspects of MQA (to which I’ve spoken about elsewhere). It’s a dilemma I and others face.

You are forgetting about a third and largest class of users, who are indifferent to or want MQA. They would dislike the extra cost.


We’re getting into the realms of buyer psychology, FOMO and the like, but If I was indifferent to it I certainly wouldn’t pay for it. Why would I?

If they stop paying for it because they hear no value, it doesn’t hurt you. You already said it’s paid for by the decode.


Did not realize this. Interesting. So, per play, or per month for any decode, or what? Voluntary reporting, pinging their servers, audits? Sounds like an accounting nightmare!

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We already do this type of reporting for metadata… lyrics views are even by geography so the proper right holders can get paid. Pretty standard practice nowadays.


I think that in this discussion we haven’t paid enough attention to the good ole custom of planned obsolescence. It’s easy to make almost perfect PCM DACs these days. But once I’ve sold all my customers one of those, how do I, a DAC manufacturer, continue to pay for my kids’ soccer camp? Worse yet, how do explain to my wife that we can’t dump the kids at camp for a couple of weeks this summer? Oh, and, you know, pay my employees? I can’t make it better; it’s already as perfect as I know how to get it.

Well, the classic answer is that I add features, and hype the heck out of those features so that all the poor sods who bought last year’s model sell that one to some other sucker, and go out and buy my new improved model. And what could be shinier than a new codec which apparently dramatically improves the sound of the music, plus has a new indicator light in a different color?


This is an interesting dichotomy. MQA bills Roon based on decodes and yet Tidal users have an ever shrinking pool of non-MQA material to consume.

My betting is that analysing the user base of Roon/Tidal and MQA’s bills to Roon would show that the bills are increasing steadily in-line with the removal of non-MQA material on Tidal (for a given static number of users and straight-line usage of the platforms).

That must be somewhat frustrating?


The number of fully unfolding MQA DACs is ever increasing many of which work with Roon. This means Roon is less reliant on MQA decoding unless you wish to use DSP with MQA signalling, which is a unique Roon feature, where it seems Roon pay a license fee.
So in my case, I rarely use the MQA decoding feature in Roon as I only have one, little used endpoint that would require it.


Which brings us back to the many request for a switch to flick, that avoids MQA files. Whether on playlist or “radio”
But MQA has probably nixed that in their contract.


This only works if you have two streaming services.
Tidal is gives you no choice, they convert everything they can to MQA.

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I just enjoyed listening to Bob Stuart interview-on the What Hi Fi virtual show where they discussed all things MQA. You can see why manufacturers are interested in MQA, it’s just obvious really.
Too many people seem to get hung up on the digital data when what’s important is the musical information stored within that data.
That information is what is delivered, clean of unwanted distortion via MQA and I think we can expect to hear more of it via TV, Radio and streaming in the future. Feel free to diss agree, but don’t beat me up about it.
Video has improved exponentially over time and consumers like it and want the quality, they won’t go back. Audio however, has stayed effectively static in that space except perhaps via Blu Ray disc. But we all know spinning discs is so last century now and like it or not, streaming is the future.
MQA seem to have plans here to overcome the bottle neck of Chromecast, Airplay, Bluetooth and the like. Teaser…
Spotify are being forced to consider CD quality as everyone else can deliver it and consumers want it. Even Amazon are at 30 year old CD technology. Who wants to be left behind, So a rising tide raises all ships. The future looks bright…