Why MQA is bad and Roon (shouldn't bother) (shouldn't be bothering) shouldn't have bothered with it :)

Another well reasoned article from Archimago -


Would sign up for LAST.

I think this is Roon’s strategy; wait until Archimago’s writings have soured the audiophools on MQA and then disown any initiatives to support MQA in Roon.

Meanwhile, release a new version that supports WAN access to your Roon library, causing everyone to forget about MQA.

The End. :grinning:


That would be sweet!

MQA CDs! What exactly is the point?

I think that’s partly the point of this whole article. That MQA brings a whole raft of additional problems for the consumer.

If I remember correctly, when MQA was first introduced it was strictly a new compression scheme for streaming. Over time it has become, for some delusional population, a means to supposedly improve SQ.

I wince every time I see a post on this forum whining about “when is Roon going to implement MQA”. That, IMHO, would be a profound waste of programming resources and make Roon a fellow traveler in the attempt to dupe the music consumer.

And so it continues.


Indeed, that is all I recall about MQA when I first heard of it. Also since then, Meridian have distanced themselves from it. Roon does not need to do MQA, it passes it through to your MQA DAC (bit perfect of course or the MQA light wouldn’t come on) to do the decoding.

I like MQA, really sorry about that. Sounds great. I’d buy CDs of classic recordings. There, said it. Now I’m off to the hall of shame. Sorry again, I blame my parents


This is nothing more then a noise-shaped 16/44.1k CD. Obviously there’s nothing to unfold here. I came across a 16/44.1k MQA album from Tidal below:


Obviously, the original sample rate is 44.1k which will display as ‘44.1k’ in a MQA DAC.

If Roon were to implement the first unfold, then a non MQA DAC will ‘magically’ display ‘88.2k’ (MQA core) further blurring the lines… some may be tricked into thinking they are listening to a 88.2k master!!!

Then you heard wrong or misunderstood. MQA was never just about compression. It has always been about three things.

  1. Improved sound quality though improvements in the ADC and DAC process.
  2. Compression.
  3. Authentication.

I know what I read. There was very little information to misunderstand. At no point did they say it was lossy compression (like an mp3 for example). As I didn’t stream music over the internet then (or now) it was of no interest at the time.

  1. Improved sound quality though improvements in the ADC and DAC process? Aliasing artifacts and distortion due to the use of leaky filters

  2. Compression? The correct term to use is lossy compression.

  3. Authentication? Well, end to end process with hardware lock DRM.


Sorry, but in the first articles about MQA, there was no mention of improved SQ. That came later in an attempt to get the format adopted by more vendors.

And therein lies the point of the Archimago article about the hidden evils of MQA. The ugly and unacknowledged truth is that MQA is not for consumers, but for producers.


You must not have read any of the first articles. The clue is in the name Master Quality Authentication, nothing about compression in that.

Have a look at this from the original press release in late 2014.

Also if you look at the conclusion of the 2014 AES paper it says this.

“This approach to re-coding results in superior sound and significantly lower data-rate when compared to
unstructured encoding and playback”

That’s because it is not lossy in the same way as an MP3s. If you think that is the case you have not understood MQA. Again from the 2014 AES paper.

This method is also efficient. For example, the Ravel segment illustrated in Figure 10 can be encapsulated into a distribution file containing all the relevant spectral and temporal information of the 192-kHz 24-bit original (9.2 Mbps) using an average data of 922 kbps.

OK, point taken. Would you agree that the publicity surrounding MQA has been geared toward 1) compression and 2) a supposed SQ improvement, rather than the nefarious scheme of instituting more complete DRM protection?

From the first lines of the articles you referenced above -
“transmission format which claims to be of potentially higher sound quality than presently used high resolution standards and yet is more economical of encoding, storage and transmission resources.”

@philr, Is that true and if so, why?

Which brings me to a point toward the end of the Archimago article, where he briefly mentions in passing, trhe further shores of DRM.

If MQA is being positioned to implement a more restricted DRM-like copy protection, then media servers like Roon, JShiver, and all ripping software, e.g. dbPoweramp, can bend over and kiss their customer base goodbye. The only alternative will be CD players and streaming services w/higher subscription costs to cover the tribute paid to copy protection initiators.

On the other hand, a whole new software market will open up for DRM busting software.

BTW - For those who want to copy their Netflix DVD (or any DVD) to their hard drive, check out the MakeMKV program.

No the opposition to MQA has been more focused on the compression and scaremongering about DRM which is not part of MQA.

It is not true that Meridian are distancing themselves from MQA. MQA has been set up as a separate company to Meridian that this all and this makes sense from a business point of view. Look at the Meridian website and you will see they are still supporting MQA and their part in its development.


MQA is not being positioned as DRM. Read this for more detail.


The fact is, it’s in the roadmap. It’s the ulterior motive behind the adoption of MQA by the big music suppliers, Sony, et.al…

Again, I return to enhanced DRM-like protection. The purpose of which is to prevent ripping of CDs and force people into using CD players or streaming services that have paid MQA tribute.

Do you disagree that this is possible?

I’m not talking about the negative publicity, but rather the MQA propaganda machine.

IMO, you are a gullible person. If they can do it, they will do it, particularly where money is involved. The article you supplied, if anything, convinces me more of that fact.