Can volumio handle MQA files?

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No, and there’s no compelling reason to do so at the moment… Have a look at this : … ions-r701/

Chris M

I know very little about MQA, but I thought it was possible to wrap it in any lossless format such as FLAC so that a dedicated decoder isn’t necessary??? Perhaps that isn’t “full blown” MQA??

In fact, Volumio CAN handle MQA, but only under some circumstances:

  • You need to have an USB DAC which is MQA compatible. For example, with my Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital I can play any MQA file
  • With a compatible USB DAC, volume must be set at 100

In any other condition, MQA will not work on Volumio. This is mainly because we can’t incorporate the MQA software decoder into Volumio as we will violate MPD’s GPL license.


That said, MQA is a lossy, DRM-enabled audio format that is a solution in search of a problem. High-end audio publications initially lauded it, but tides are turning as people are realizing it’s a gigantic money-making scam from Meridan, and will never reach a critical mass to be commercially successful.

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Yes. I got it to work last night by using Audirvana on my iMac and connecting to Volumio over UPnP. I can play Tidal on Audirvana and it does the first unfold before sending it over the wifi. My DAC is a Dragonfly Black, which can then render the rest.

I was just skipping through Tidal MQA last night after I got this running, and CD quality too. They both sounded superb.

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MQA is another shitty proprietary format …

Please dont give them money … :unamused:


this is exactly what I would like to achieve… I have a question: which card is needed to add to the raspberry to have full data transmission to pro-ject s2 without it being limited due to bandwidth problems?

thks in advance for kind reply

I’d suggest the HiFiBerry Digi+ Pro, the IQAudio Pi-Digi+, the JustBoom Digi or the Allo DigiOne. IIRC, the optical feed is bandwidth-limited by comparison with coax, but you should check that…

Chris M

Yes, I was thinking about the coaxial… I have some difficulties to verify if that of the Digi+ Pro can be good, I do not know where to look for a confirmation … the DigiOne is out of budget (if I am not obliged)

hours 18,56, update: according to what Hans Beekhuyzen said in one of the videos of his channel the Pro-ject S2 seems to be limited on toslink and spdif to 24bit 192kHz, so it seems (he declare) to be able to play MQA only in input usb … Really?

does it means that, for example, with Mytek dac the result would be different?

I’m lost… let’s see if with a direct question I can clarify my ideas: a 3b+ raspberry with HifiBerry Digi+ card and Volumio software plays, when connected to dac with MQA, regularly (read: without limitation) MQA encoded files from Tidal? if not, why? what should I choose instead?

My view is that MQA is the problem. It’s an attempt to introduce DRM into music under the guise of a ‘super new format!’ and poses problems for anyone that doesn’t align themselves with Meridian (for whatever reason). Archimago is quite amusing/sceptical on MQA and has a nice bit of measurement on the JustBoom S/PDIF card here ( … f-hat.html). Unless you have a pressing need to use only MQA, I’d give it a miss. Bear in mind that MQA reduces the bits available for resolution below 24, sometimes down to 14 (depending upon encoding). What is certain is that you won’t get all 24 bits/word, you’ll get a variable value. That’s not what I want from music that I purchase; if I pay for full-fat chords, I really don’t want to find that I’ve been given music-lite and an invitation to a brand new future without so much choice. Dressing it up with audiophile voodoo doesn’t make MQA look good, just tacky. YMMV.

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Nicely put and I fully agree!

Okay, thanks to both of you for your kind answer :slight_smile: … but neither of you is in topic :frowning:

my question was not addressed to the, umpteenth, format war as already seen in the past (CD vs. SACD… Betamax vs. VHS… etc. etc… boring!) but about the possibility of fully reproducing an MQA content by sending it to a suitable DAC through a Raspberry with Volumio… could I have a help about this?

p.s.: Archimago is a voice, there are also some against… I know the positions of both sides, I am not interested in religious wars

OK, if you are determined to do this, and your external DAC takes in USB, then you need nothing to add to the RPi. If you’re simply using the RPi as a switching device, then you need add no further processing in the form of extra HATs. The USB DAC should appear in the Output Device field as shown in this thread (setting-usb-dac-t6274.html).

thanks :slight_smile:

the potential problem (the source of my doubt) comes from the usb interface of the raspberry that is everything but audio grade… for this reason I was thinking of a Digi+ with SPDIF output, to isolate the dac from the electrical noise that comes, abundantly, in the usb input from the raspy

If your DAC will take coax, that’s the way to go. I appreciate that Chord Electronics’ Rob Watts is of the opinion that optical is better, and he may be right, if you use glass rather than plastic-cored interconnects. You still run into the theoretical bandwidth limitation, which is why I suggest the coax.

The Digi+ Pro would be better, as it has two timing crystals, so as to avoid the conversion inaccuracies you get with certain data rates on a single crystal. The Archimago link I referred to earlier shows the JustBoom Digi measurements, which you won’t find for the HiFiBerry. You can always wander through the various tests found at Audio Science Review ( and see what you find.

thank you :slight_smile: