Why do manufacturers support MQA?

While I’m not a fan of MQA, Roon currently only support two streaming services and one of them features MQA heavily. Plenty of users do like it and they’re Roon customers as well. Interestingly the setup advertised is an alternative to a Roon endpoint on a Pi. The new lossless services coming online this year would appear to make Roon’s and its supported services’ futures more precarious. I’m happy enough to see Roon pick up customers where it can.

Fair enough Chris, but they do take the “party line” when it comes to critically evaluating MQA:

Those of you who read audiophile forums and magazines may have heard some critical things about MQA. But for us all that really matters is what our ears tell us, and the emotional response we have to the music. Our ears give it two enthusiastic thumbs up.

For those of us who like to understand WHY we like something/lack ear-thumbs…

Thanks Peter. But I bet your TV is an OLED, or something equally capable of realising the full benefits of 4K/HDR programming? :sunglasses:

A similar comparison can be drawn with MQA. Lumin has been MQA-capable for a long time, and is IMO one of the few manufacturers who are able to fully exploit any perceived benefits from this format, because your products are world-class.

BUT will the ‘average’ consumer investing in a $400 SMSL DAC really appreciate any benefit from MQA? I very much doubt it. In these such cases, MQA is just being used as marketing BS, to help shift more units and increase the prices of hardware.

I can think of millions of consumer products that do exactly this across every field of enterprise and I don’t hear much complaining. It’s the way of the world and how consumer society works. As far as MQA goes, to date it has cost me exactly nothing over and above what I would have paid anyway.
Youngsters buying MQA DACs on the promise of better sound will not be disappointed along with the whole industry as they learn to expect and appreciate more than the MP3 that has long outlived its usefulness in the main stream. A rising tide raises all ships. The constant harping and negativity is just tiring.


Moderators have removed posts that had strayed off topic. Please keep to the point.

Please don’t get me wrong Chris. I’m not complaining about MQA.

All I’m doing is pointing out that the whole MQA concept is just a method of extracting more disposable income from consumers, with arguable benefit to the consumer.

Whether or not you wish to be ‘fleeced’ in this way is up to you. You buy an MQA device, or you don’t. If you do, and/or you stream MQA, then MQA gets paid.

You ‘pays your money, you takes your choice’! :smiley:

That I agree with…

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And now I get why the Roon service pricing model makes sense.

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That’s advertising on Darko’s platform. We aren’t picking videos.

Hi Danny,

However by sponsoring this video content, has Roon not endorsed the content?

By sponsoring Darko, we endorse all of his content.

But, don’t try to read too much into our intentions when it comes to the content of his videos and our “ad” in front of them. We do not get previews of the videos or their content before they air, nor do we get to “approve” them.

If we find that his content disagrees with us more than it agrees with us, we will stop sponsoring him as a whole, because that’s how advertising works.

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I wonder if Spotify and it appears Apple soon too offering lossless subscriptions this year is partially due to MQA’s increased traction with music services and hardware .

Is it an attempt to kill off MQA ?

Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m sure that it’s an attempt to use any HiFi momentum MQA might have created to grab more $$$$$.

Nah. If anything, it’s an attempt to fence off Amazon – Spotify and Apple do not want to be singled out as ‘the one with lesser audio quality’.

Whatever happens at Tidal (or MQA for that matter) does not really matter in the grand scheme of things.


The big streaming services have bigger concerns. Why would MQA threaten them?

Seems much more like a race to the top (for a pleasant change): “we’re streaming in better quality than <insert other streaming service here>”. MQA is just TIDAL’s way of doing this; and TIDAL doesn’t even use MQA in its marketing. Amazon is doing HiRes PCM (badly by some accounts, but that could change very quickly).

^ agreed René.


Now that is a nice thought.
When was the last race to the top in the audio world. I like your thinking Joel and hope you are right :+1:


Unfortunately, in order to stream Amazon, Apple or Spotify you will have to abandon Roon and make do with the apps offered by these platforms. The Spotify app isn’t bad, but it’s very limited by comparison with what’s offered by Roon. The apps offered by the other two - well!

John has been very effective in raising general awareness of Roon.

I doubt I would have bought a Nucleus and a Roon subscription without John’s videos. I don’t attend shows (as I tend to steer-clear of that strange breed know as ‘Audiophiles’ :dizzy_face:) but John’s initial videos on Roon were both informative and instructive.


Oh I have used them all and love Roon all the more for it.

The only service I was happy with the interface was Google Play Music and that was killed of in favour of the terrible YouTube music.
Tidal is ok but no more, I am hopeful for PlexAmp to improve, the going is slow and it allows me to link to my large library and Tidal and works pretty well , though is not pretty

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Is there a word missing in this sentence?


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Great question, interesting when asked the other way as well. Why would a manufacturer NOT support MQA?


  1. A manufacturer has an issue with MQA
  2. A manufacturer lacks technical expertise to implement it

Personally, I’m not a fan of USB for audio. (excuse me while I get a helmet to protect my head from stone throwers.) I have my reasons. Some technical, some personal, some philosophical. But can a manufacturer remove USB outputs from a streamer and still sell any? Maybe.

  1. You’d need interested buyers with the same belief system.
  2. You’d need those buyers to be willing to ignore the fact that one day they will sell / trade in that streamer to someone who may care more about USB.

If there’s already a set of people who oppose USB, then you have a ready made market. But you need to be able to find and reach them. If you have to educate them on the “evils” of USB first, that’s a substantially more monumental marketing task. And, you don’t do your marketing in a vacuum, so you have to undo everyone else’s attempts to convince them that USB is not just universal, it’s good.

Right, MQA. I’m in category 1. I have an issue with MQA. When it was first becoming available to implement, I went all the way to the doorstep of onboarding.

Why do manufacturers support MQA? (and why did I consider it)

  1. Meridian is a bigger name than Musica Pristina
  2. Their marketing quality (not content) is compelling, which meant they would likely influence the market
  3. They seemed to have a large budget to push their agenda
  4. As an “early adopter”, I would have a market advantage
  5. Manufacturers are people too, so we get marketed to

Eventually, I stumbled upon the deal-breaker for me. So humor me for one more bullet point list?

Why do manufacturers add a feature:

  1. They think it’s useful / adds value
  2. They think they can differentiate with it
  3. They think they can explain the benefits / or that someone else will
  4. They think it will drive sales
  5. They can get an extra sales-cycle out of an old product by adding “Now with Super Desirable Feature”