Why do manufacturers support MQA?

If MQA is nothing but a cost center for Roon, then that means that you are spreading the cost of the use of lossy MQA across all Roon users. You should be charging users who want lossy MQA support for their MQA use and leave the rest of us who want no part of MQA out of the extra cost. Use the extra profit you make by not treating MQA as a cost center to develop features that improve Roon for all users.

As someone who doesn’t take advantage of DSP, the cost spent to develop that Roon function is as useless to me as MQA is to you. Others don’t use Roon Radio or don’t care about organizing audio files since they stream 100%. I don’t have strong feelings about MQA at all, but I imagine there are many Roon users who appreciate its inclusion as Tidal subscribers.

You can’t pick and choose functions as though off a menu and assume that those you care for are essential or universally appreciated.


So, which one is better: to pay for functionalities which you may never use or for the ones for which you beg for years to have them and they’ll never happen?

You buy Roon for what it is, you engage in the forum feature requests and feed back to help make Roon what it could be.
I have bought many physical items in Hi Fi and other fields with features and functions I never use. That’s just normal. This is cheaper to do for everyone over the cost of tailor making and individually pricing for everyone. That just makes no sense. The extra admin involved in individual billing would be a nightmare. As I see it.


There’s a cost difference between DSP and MQA functions. I don’t think Roon has to pay a fee every time someone uses the DSP function, but as Danny Dulai confirmed, MQA is cost center for Roon, and Roon has to pay for MQA when MQA core decode is used. I don’t care whether or not other Roon users want the MQA function, but if Roon is going to support MQA, it should be a profit center, and not just a cost center.

Guess who gets the bill if it has to be a profit center.
Welcome to the world of proprietary protocols and licensing!

Every feature is at least in part a cost center. These features don’t build themselves. And as others have mentioned, there are opportunity costs - the things that can’t be built because Roon developers are focused on building the features you may like and I may not. The point is, we don’t get to have our custom Roon - the product is the sum total of what the company thinks are the most compelling features.

As long as costs for specific paid-for features aren’t passed on to you - and that was confirmed by Danny - now you’re just substituting your judgment for the company’s as to which choices you would make. Which is fine, but not the point I thought you and others were making - that you’re subsidizing the cost of features you don’t care for.

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Yes, the MQA business model is the world of proprietary protocols and licensing combined with the market control of the Apple App Store. The MQA plan is to be paid every time anyone listens to recorded music, and eventually to make MQA the standard for all stored and streamed music.

Here’s what Danny Dulai said about Roon and MQA, “if you don’t core decode, we don’t pay… If you core decode, we make less profit. If you don’t core decode, we make more profit. It’s almost that simple.”

As a Roon user, I want Roon to not just survive but to continue to provide product enhancements and to increase the size of their user base. I believe that Roon management believes that having support for MQA increases the user base enough to increase Roon revenue more than the MQA licensing costs, and yes, that would make it look more like a profit center. My concern is that if the MQA business model succeeds, in the future Roon could find itself with MQA licensing in the same situation that many successful Apple App Store app developers find themselves in with having to pay Apple 30% of their net revenue.


Agreed - had no idea Roon existed until I stumbled across a Darko article.

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A post was merged into an existing topic: GoldenSound’s response to Bob Stuart’s blog response

A post was merged into an existing topic: GoldenSound’s response to Bob Stuart’s blog response

….& I moved to Qobuz, glad to save you a few “micro-dollars” :wink:

Who would be collecting a licensing fee if you actually decide to use equalizer?

Probably no one, unless Roon licensed its equalizer from a third party. That’s not my point. All features cost the consumer money, indirectly, and take developers away from developing something else and we can’t choose a hyper-individual package of features that only appeal to us.

So true. The best system by far for video tape was Philip’s Video 2000. The best picture quality and two sides of 4 hours. Nobody seems to even remember them. Including you.

Yes correct, forgot about Video 2000 :flushed:

You and 6 billion others

I am going to try my best to explain why Roon users who do not have an MQA DAC are upset that Roon treats users who stream MQA and those who do not stream MQA equally.
For disclosure: I have a lifetime subscription, so I will not lose money either way.

Essentially, the frustration comes down to a sense of “Fairness.” The analogy I hope to use is as follows:
Imagine you go out to dinner with 4 close, lifelong friends. You all order different entree’s, starters, wine, etc. But, when the bill comes, you all just split it equally 4 ways. Why? you are such close friends that even to think about money is unnecessary. These friends are like your brothers/sisters/whatever.

However, imagine you go out to dinner with 8 people from work. You order a salad and a baked potato, water, and no dessert or alcohol. The people around you order steak, crab, caviar, wine, wine, and more wine! When the bill comes, there is no way that you will split that bill equally. That is fairness- you pay for what you ate.

If we think about Tidal, the only streamer that actually streams MQA, you should ask yourself, “Does Tidal offer MQA to all subscribers, regardless of price tier?” The answer, is of course no! So, the question that customers of Roon ask, “why should people who do not use MQA pitch in to pay for the MQA Royalties?” In a word, that strikes people as unfair. I do not know how much the MQA royalty payment is per month for Roon (and I don’t want to know). However, it does not make sense that Roon offers the MQA free to all users, while the company that uses MQA (Tidal) does not. Even if it costs only 10 cents/month/user for the MQA fee, it will always cause people to feel that they are not being treated appropriately.

I think what people are asking is this: if people are paying a premium to Tidal for the pleasure of MQA, they can easily (and I do mean easily) pay for that pleasure with roon. That is so simple! Even if the cost for the MQA roon tier is just 25 cents more per month than the non-MQA roon tier, you can at least hold your head high and say “We are treating everyone fairly, and people are paying their way to use our software.”

From what I can tell, people who love MQA are more than willing to pay for that privilege.

Furthermore, I don’t even understand why Roon has to pay any royalties to MQA. Can’t you just send the MQA signal untouched to the MQA dac to unfold? Why must you unfold the stream in Roon? From my understanding, when someone buys an MQA dac, they have already paid a license fee (integrated into the price of the DAC) for MQA. Again, I don’t use MQA so I may not understand why the unfold even has to happen.

Best wishes,


Roon is also delivering many other posh dishes to the table that I will never eat.

Shall we have an unseemly row when it’s time to pay the bill?


Roon does provide the option to send an MQA signal untouched to your DAC. I choose this option to pass MQA signals through to one of my DACs which fully supports MQA. Roon pays no royalties for MQA when I play music on this system. On the other hand I choose to let Roon carry out the first MQA unfold before sending signals to my other system DACs which do not support MQA.

You can choose (as can anyone) to configure Roon never to carry out this 1st unfold when processing MQA files, and if you do this then Roon will never pay any royalty to MQA for anything you play.

Some say that playing MQA files without decoding (or unfolding) results in a sound quality reduction. Some disagree. It is up to each individual to choose whether or not to go down this route.

If you object to a very small royalty payment for MQA, and if you are one of those who find that MQA encoded files on your system do not sound ‘good’ without the 1st MQA unfold offered by Roon, then your best option (whilst retaining Roon) is to switch your external streaming provider from Tidal to Qobuz.